7 Factors to Consider When Buying a Diamond

Simran Distvar

May 25 , 2024

7 Factors to Consider When Buying a Diamond

7 Things to Know Before Buying a Diamond

So, you've decided a diamond is the way to go! Maybe it's for an engagement ring, a dazzling necklace, or just a special treat for yourself. Diamonds are stunning and timeless, but with so many options, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Don't worry, this guide will break down everything you need to know into 7 easy-to-understand factors. By the end, you'll be a diamond-buying pro!

Factor 1: The 4Cs 

Imagine a diamond having a super important school report card. That's kind of what the 4Cs are! They stand for Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity, and they tell you everything about a diamond's quality and beauty.

  • Carat: This refers to the diamond's weight, not its size. One carat equals 0.2 grams, and diamonds are often priced per carat. But remember, a bigger carat doesn't always mean a better diamond! We'll get to why in a bit.
  • Cut: This is where the magic happens! The cut refers to how the diamond is shaped and faceted (tiny flat surfaces). A well-cut diamond will sparkle brilliantly, reflecting light like a disco ball. A poor cut can make a diamond look dull, even if it has a high carat weight.
  • Color: Most people think diamonds are colorless, but they can actually have a hint of yellow, brown, or even blue! Generally, the closer a diamond is to colorless, the more valuable it is. However, some fancy colored diamonds, like pink or blue, are very rare and expensive!
  • Clarity: No diamond is perfectly flawless. Tiny internal marks (inclusions) or surface blemishes can occur as they form naturally. The fewer these imperfections, the higher the clarity grade and the price.

Factor 2: Understanding Diamond Cut

We mentioned cut is super important, so let's dive deeper. A good diamond cut is like having the perfect recipe for brilliance. The way the diamond is proportioned, its symmetry, and how well it's polished all affect how light interacts with it. This creates that fiery sparkle we love!

  • Cut Grades: When looking at diamonds, you'll see a cut grade assigned by a gemological lab (like the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA). Excellent (EX) and Very Good (VG) are the top cut grades, ensuring maximum sparkle.
  • Playing with Light: A well-cut diamond will display three key things: brilliance (overall brightness), fire (rainbow flashes of light), and scintillation (the sparkle as you move it).

Factor 3: Size

Carat weight might seem like the most important factor, but remember, cut plays a huge role in how big a diamond appears. A well-cut diamond with a slightly lower carat weight can actually look bigger than a poorly cut diamond with a higher carat weight.

  • Focus on Sparkle: Don't be afraid to consider slightly smaller carat weights if the cut is excellent. You'll get a brighter, more dazzling diamond that might even appear larger to the eye.
  • Budgeting: Carat weight often impacts price the most. By prioritizing cut over carat, you can stay within your budget while getting a truly stunning diamond.

Factor 4: Color

While colorless diamonds are traditionally the most valuable, completely colorless stones are quite rare and expensive. Luckily, most people can't tell the difference between a colorless diamond and one with a very slight hint of color (like near colorless grades).

  • The Sweet Spot: Grades like D, E, and F (on the GIA color scale) are considered colorless, but diamonds with grades as low as G or H can still appear colorless to the naked eye and offer a great value.
  • Warmth or Ice? It's also a matter of taste. Some people prefer a warmer look, which can come from slightly colored diamonds. Ultimately, the best color grade depends on your preference and budget.

Factor 5: Clarity 

Just like diamonds aren't perfectly colorless, they also won't be completely free of inclusions or blemishes. The good news is that most inclusions are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, even with high clarity grades.

  • Finding the Sweet Spot: For most people, clarity grades between SI1 and VS2 offer a great balance. These diamonds will have very minor inclusions that are undetectable without magnification. This allows you to get a beautiful diamond without overspending on super high clarity grades.
  • Flawless vs. Value: Internally Flawless (IF) or Flawless (FL) diamonds are incredibly rare and expensive. Their inclusions are invisible even under a jeweler's loupe. For most jewellery, the difference between these top grades and a well-chosen SI1 or VS2 diamond won't be noticeable, and you can save a significant amount of money.

Factor 6: Choosing Your Diamond's Design

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, each with its own unique look and style. The most popular are:

  • Round: The classic choice, known for its brilliance and fire. Round diamonds tend to be the most expensive per carat weight due to their cutting process.
  • Princess: A popular square cut, offering a sharp and modern look. Princess cuts tend to be more affordable than round diamonds of similar carat weight.
  • Emerald: A rectangular cut with elegant elongated lines, often chosen for its sophisticated air.
  • Oval: A beautiful elongated shape that offers a larger look for its carat weight and creates a slimming effect on the finger.
  • Pear and Marquise: These teardrop and boat-shaped cuts have a vintage feel and are perfect for unique and eye-catching pieces.
  • Fancy Shapes: For something truly special, consider heart, cushion, or radiant cuts. These add a touch of personality and individuality.

Factor 7: Certification 

When buying a diamond, especially a larger or more expensive one, getting a diamond certification from a reputable gemological lab is crucial. This independent report verifies the diamond's 4Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) and ensures you're getting what you pay for.

  • Reputable Labs: Look for certifications from labs like IDGl. These reports are highly respected in the diamond industry.
  • Understanding the Report: The diamond certification will detail the diamond's specifications and a plotted diagram of any inclusions or blemishes. A jeweler can help you understand the report and answer any questions you might have.

Bonus Tip: 

The best way to feel confident about your diamond purchase is to do your research beforehand. There are many online resources and guides available to help you understand the 4Cs and diamond buying in general. Don't hesitate to ask questions at reputable jewelers. A good jeweler will be happy to educate you and help you find the perfect diamond for your needs and budget.

With these 7 factors in mind, you're well on your way to becoming a diamond-buying pro! Remember, the most important thing is to choose a diamond that you love and that fits your budget.