Diamond buying tips
All the factors are important, and none can be taken in isolation of the other: you could buy a D colour, flawless diamond, but if the cut is ‘poor’ then it will appear as dull and lifeless, just as, a well cut diamond, which is J as a colour and I2 Clarity will have its brilliance affected by the lower colour and very low clarity.
We (AGL) recommend quality over quantity every time. Don’t get too ‘caught up’ by wanting a 1 carat, or half carat diamond, regardless of the quality. Remember, the diameter – that’s what you actually see – between a 0.43 carat and a 0.50 carat diamond could be a matter of 0.02 mm, but the price could be over a thousand dollars higher for the 0.50 carat. Rather than compromising on a lower grade, say (0.50) half carat diamond, it is better to go for a moderately higher clarity grade diamond that is slightly lower, but not too low in colour. We suggest trying to get the best colour and cut you can, an F-G or higher and a Good+ make. If the diamond is a 0.50ct or lower SI1 – 2 is fine for clarity, as long the ‘marks’ are not too central.
But if 0.75ct or higher you should select a VS1-VS2 clarity, or higher, as the table area increases in size it makes it easier to see the inclusions. We suggest you should avoid diamonds of I colour or lower, and definitely avoid I1, I2 and I3 clarity, particular if quality is important to you. Low clarity in diamonds affects the brilliance of a diamond no matter how well it is cut, after all if a diamond doesn’t have fire then why bother!
The details above are just a very brief overview. Diamond Grading and Gemmology and Jewellery Appraisal are all part of our profession, one that takes years of training and constant practice. While it helps if you know about the factors that affect price and quality, you should still rely on a professional.
It is essential that you get an independent assessment of any gem you are considering buying. The importance of an independent report and valuation cannot be over emphasized! This does not include the jeweller writing you out an official looking document, or a valuation from a valuer employed by them, it means a completely separate company based at different premises with no conflicting interest. Beware of a company with an ‘in house valuer’ who supply their own valuations without disclosure. This is not only unethical but it may contravene rules as set in New Zealand by the ‘Fair Trading Act’ & the Commerce Commission.
AGL provide special reports on diamonds. Called AGL Diamond Reports, these reports give precise details on a diamond, including ‘Cut Grade’, and are prepared using internationally recognized grading methodology and special equipment. AGL Diamond Reports can give you confidence in choosing a diamond so you can compare ‘apples with apples’. Only then can you decide if the price you are paying is a fair one.
Thanks to Debeers Diamond Promotion Service for some of this information – Intro and 4 C’s