Jun 12

Before you start shopping for that perfect diamond ring, you need to learn all about the four Cs of diamonds: cut, color, carat and clarity. Once you’ve completed that part of your diamond education, there is still more to know. Here are a few insider secrets to buying diamonds that will help you to avoid getting scammed and always get the greatest value for your dollar.

Less is More

The cost of diamonds tends to dramatically increase with each 1/2 and full carat of weight. Look for stones that are just shy of those marks, and you can save big. Instead of a full carat, purchase one that is .95 carats in weight, and go for the 2.44 carats instead of 2.5. The size difference is negligible, but your savings will be large.

Get Colorful

The best white diamonds are colorless, allowing light to shine through them so that they sparkle brightly. The whiter a diamond’s color, the more valuable it is. Diamonds are graded according to a color scale that uses the alphabet, with letters closer to A being the most pure and colorless. As you move down the alphabet, grade indicates the amount of shading and color in the diamond. Instead of going for a pure, colorless diamond, buy one that is rated G, H or I, meaning “near colorless.” As with the carat weight, the difference is imperceptible to the average person, but you will get some pretty hefty savings.

Avoid Ranges

Stay away from online stores that use ranges for their diamonds rather than definitive carat weight. You might come across a diamond ring that you love, but then see that the carat weight is anywhere from .95 carat to 1.10 carat. Remember the golden rule — carats increase in value when they the 1/2 or full-carat mark. That diamond is probably priced for a full carat, but you may find yourself with one that is on the lower end of range at .95 carats. In that case, you’ve definitely overpaid for your purchase.

Ask the Right Questions

Some jewelers use tricks to hide a diamond’s flaws. Before you hand over your credit card, ask the jeweler whether your diamond has been given any chemical color coating, or whether it’s been laser drilled or fracture filled. Insist on a certificate from a certified gemological association, and check the certificate for any mention of laser drilling. You should also ask your jeweler for a written statement concerning any color or clarity enhancements that have been done. Take your diamond in for an independent appraisal, and if the appraisal turns up any of these enhancements, head back to the jeweler with the diamond in one hand and your receipt and other paperwork in the other.

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