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How to Buy a Diamond - The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2021 at 6:07 am by Jeremy

Here at Estate Watch & Jewelry Co. we aim to get you the best possible diamond jewelry for the best prices. The truth is, finding a beautiful diamond is easy, but finding one that fits your taste and budget is more of a challenge.

inspecting diamonds

If you’re a first-time buyer, chances are things can get overwhelming. 

  • Are diamonds indestructible? 
  • Is the biggest diamond the best one? 
  • Are diamonds only suited for engagement rings?

Don’t worry. Our diamond buying guide has been carefully tailored so you can unravel the secrets of diamond quality as well as grasp a diamond’s price and value. With the help of our GIA-certified staff, and by getting to know the relevant features of these precious stones, you can make smarter choices and find the best value. 

Three Common Misconceptions About Diamond Buying


1. Diamonds are indestructible

Even though diamonds are among the hardest naturally occurring substances, it is still possible to damage one. This is especially true for engagement rings that, being constantly worn, receive the most stress of all jewelry. 

2. The bigger, the better

Size doesn't mean quality. All characteristics of a diamond should come together in perfect harmony to make the best diamond possible. A larger diamond with poor clarity and color can have a lower price than a smaller one with better features. 

3. Diamonds are just for wedding bands and engagement rings

Diamonds are not only suited for proposals. They are a wonderful complement to your overall elegance, whether they are a part of your earrings, bracelets, necklaces, or rings. They bring timeless character that can be passed on for generations to come, just like an engagement ring would.

buying-a-diamond-ring

We are happy to share our knowledge and experience that has set us apart from all the competition in the Phoenix area and that will enable you to truly recognize the perfection of this both financially and emotionally significant purchase.

 

The 4Cs of How to Buy a Diamond


Cut, color, clarity and carat weight - the pivot of every diamond appraisal. As fingerprints are unique to every individual, diamonds have their own distinguishing characteristics that make each stone special. The more you know about them, the better the choices you'll make. 

diamonds

If you want diamond jewelry to really sparkle and show all its potential in elegance and grandeur, you should choose the one that will perfectly complement the person who is going to wear it. So without further ado, here are the most important things to consider.

Diamond cut


A common misconception about the diamond cut is that it determines the diamond shape. However, what it refers to is brilliance. The quality of the cut can dramatically impact the sparkle and fire of a diamond. It is the most important of all characteristics, as it refers to how diamond facets interact with light, and it is the only one affected by the craftsmanship of human hands.

Diamond cut

Image credit by 4cs.gia.edu

According to the Gemological Institute of America, three factors determine a diamond's cut

  • Precision
  • Symmetry and
  • Polish

The precision of a diamond cut

This aspect determines how size and angles relate to parts of the stone. It is a measure that shows how well all diamond facets align with each other in 3D. All diamonds will sparkle in bright light, but not all of them show the same potential otherwise. If a diamond shines in low light, that is a sign of a highly skilled jeweler using high-end tools. 

 diamond cut precission

Image credit by idr-edu.com

A diamond’s total depth (height) is measured from the top of a diamond to its bottom and expressed in percentages. One of the main factors when determining a diamond’s cut grade is the total depth percentage. 

A shallow-cut diamond lacks depth, which is why most of the light that enters leaks out from the bottom of the stone, resulting in low brilliance and sparkle. However, it does make them appear bigger in size. 

A deep-cut diamond also experiences issues with light which does not flow properly through it. This is why it has lower brightness and looks less lively. 

An ideal-cut diamond has proportions which allow maximum brightness and sparkle. This type of diamond has both excellent polish and symmetry and is used as a benchmark for all diamond grading.

 

The symmetry


This is one of the final stages of a diamond's finish. It is the arrangement, size, and shaping of diamond facets. If you want to hone your skills in buying diamonds, keep a lookout for symmetrical and especially asymmetrical features. Low symmetry grades negatively impact the diamond's sparkle and allow the visibility of inclusions. 

diamond-symmetry

Image credit by gemonediamond.com

Gemologists have established various grade scales, among which the one for diamond symmetry goes as follows:

  • Poor
  • Fair
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Excellent


If symmetry is "poor", it means that the facet alignment has very much impaired the appearance. So much so, in fact, that it would be easily visible to the naked eye. "Fair" is a higher and better level, but it won't reflect light as well as diamonds higher up on the scale.

Diamond polish


Diamond polish stands for the placement and details of facet shapes, including the outside finish. Although perfect polish is rarely achieved, there is a scale that matches the one in the previous paragraph. While the grade of "poor" affects a diamond's beauty, "fair" can be acceptable for stones under 0.70 cts.

diamond polish

Image credit by instoremag.com

A grade of “good” hides all the imperfections from the naked eye. However, if you have a diamond whose polish is lower on the scale, consider having it re-polished. It might lose some weight, but it will definitely look much better. 

The triple “excellent” is the highest cut grade and marks a diamond of excellent rating in the precision of cut, symmetry, and polish.

Different cuts of diamonds

Diamonds are cut and polished in many shapes, ranging from the classic round brilliant to the most intriguing shapes imaginable, like a horse's head!

diamond cuts
Different cuts of diamonds - Image credit by weddingknowhow.com


Here are the top 10 cuts for your next favorite piece of diamond jewelry:

  • Round Brilliant Cut Diamond - the most popular of all diamond shapes. The round brilliant makes up approximately 53% of all engagement ring choices when it comes to center stones. 
  • Cushion Cut Diamond - once known as the old mine cut, this stone combines a square cut with rounded corners, resembling a pillow. Although a bit less brilliant than the round brilliant cuts, it has better fire (the amount of light reflected) which adds to their appeal. 
  • Princess Cut Diamond - this is the second most popular shape used in engagement rings, taking up 12.2% of all the rings sold. This is also a ‘brilliant cut’ with the facet angles calculated to sparkle as much as possible.
  • Emerald Cut Diamond - the emerald cut boasts 57 facets and an elongated rectangular shape with cut-off corners. 
  • Oval Shape Diamond - the elongated round shape of the oval diamond breathes elegance and fire. As it is faceted in the style of a brilliant, its fire can rival that of a round brilliant. 
  • Marquise Cut Diamond - also called a navette (Old French for “little ship”) because of its shape, a marquise diamond will look larger when put face-up than a round diamond of the same weight. Many brides often opt for the marquise since its elongated shape makes their fingers appear longer and more slender.
  • Pear Shape Diamond - the pear shape combines the brilliance and design style of the round brilliant and the marquise, which results in a shape with a single point and rounded end.
  • Asscher Cut Diamond - this step cut diamond like the emerald cut is a blend of the princess and emerald cuts. The cut of the Asscher diamond emphasizes clarity, ideal for showcasing higher clarity loose diamonds.
  • Radiant Cut Diamond - the radiant cut diamond is relatively new, dating back to the 1970s. This cutting technique combines the best elements of emerald and round diamond shapes, resulting in radiant brilliance and fire. 
  • Heart-Shaped Diamond - its shape makes it an ideal center stone in a diamond engagement ring. The first famous heart-shaped diamond ring was given as a gift of friendship from Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Elizabeth in 1562.

Diamond color

Diamond color refers to the natural tint in white diamonds. Most of the ones found in nature have a slight tint of yellow, and while also beautiful in their own, natural way, the quality of a diamond depends on the lack of color. In order to come closer to perfection, the diamond should be as "colorless" as possible. 

Diamond experts have set the standard in letter grading, in which "D" stands for colorless and "Z" for light yellow. Let's take a closer look at what these grades mean for your stone:

  • DEF Colorless
  • GHIJ Near Colorless
  • KLM Faint Yellow
  • NOPQR Very Light Yellow
  • STUVWXYZ Light Yellow

diamond color

Image credit by gemblog.igi.org

Since the color directly impacts the stone's appearance, this is the second most important of the four characteristics. Poor color grade can make diamonds appear slightly yellow. Excessive fluorescence (a certain glow you see when an object emits visible light) is also not preferable.

In order to determine the color grade, it takes much more than just looking at the chart. Each diamond requires unique inspection since other factors like the cut, shape, and carat weight may impact the way the color appears.

The difference in adjacent color grades may not be visible to the naked eye, but it will reflect on the pricing.

When buying a diamond, you should be careful to take the color into consideration since it may distract from the diamond's sparkle, a principal characteristic of a diamond's cut. 

You might need a trained eye to help you make the right diamond purchase since that J color which is near colorless, may not look much different to you than a K color which is faint yellow. 

Our GIA-certified, dedicated staff will make sure you get a top-quality diamond at adequate pricing. All you need to do is drop by our Scottsdale jewelry store and we can find it together. 

Did you know?

There are diamonds of color that are considered very valued, like a green diamond or a pink one. Color grades for diamonds like these are very different and do not appear on the diamond color chart. 

green diamonds

Diamond clarity

The clarity grade tells us how free a diamond is from blemishes and inclusions. The Gemological Institute of America has compiled the following diamond clarity chart:

  • FL (Flawless)
  • IF (Internally Flawless)
  • VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VVS2 (Very, Very Slightly Included 2)
  • VS1 (Very Slightly Included 1)
  • VS2 (Very Slightly Included 2)
  • SI1 (Slightly Included 1)
  • SI2 (Slightly Included 2)
  • I1 (Inclusions 1)
  • I2 (Inclusions 2)

A flawless diamond is rare, but the more imperfections they have, the more they interfere with light, and the brilliance of a diamond is dulled, which takes away from the high-quality cut. 

diamonds clarity grade

Image credit by diamondsbymanee.com


When buying a diamond, check if the stone is "eye-clean". This means that there are no imperfections visible to the unaided eye. An eye-clean diamond offers excellent value and is much less expensive than a rare, flawless one that thus commands a higher price. 

Diamond carat weight 


It is important to emphasize that carat weight does not refer to the diamond's size. A 1-carat diamond weighs 0.2 grams, which is about one-quarter of a raisin. But 1-carat diamonds may greatly differ in size, depending on the diamond's shape and type of cut. 

However, carat weight still doesn't come before the overall appearance and brilliance. In fact, it comes in third on the customers’ scale of importance as well. When you wish to buy a diamond, choose the one with an excellent or ideal cut rather than sticking to a number on the carat weight chart. 

 diamond-carat-weight

Image credit by 4cs.gia.edu

The Use of Diamonds in the Jewelry Industry

 

Now that you know what to look for in a perfect diamond, here are the most popular jewelry items you can find at our Scottsdale store and show off at your next special occasion, whether it’s an engagement party, wedding, anniversary, birthday or just a usual day at the office you want to brighten up. 


A diamond engagement ring 


diamond engagement ring is, without question, the most popular piece of diamond jewelry that will make the big question really pop. Whether you choose a classic round diamond, a cushion cut diamond, or any other kind of engagement ring style, the message couldn't be more clear. White gold, rose, or yellow gold engagement rings complement the stones perfectly, whether they are solitaire or not. At our jewelry store, you'll be able to find famous brand names such as Tiffany or John Hardy, whose design never fails to disappoint.

 

diamond engagement ring

 

Diamond earrings


The round brilliant cut or the cushion cut diamond is perfect for stud earrings, as you can see in many of David Yurman’s designs. However, drop earrings or even statement chandelier earrings may look better with pear-shaped diamonds or a more narrow marquise cut diamond. If you’re in the Phoenix area, you'll definitely find a pair that will complement your style in our vast earring selection

 diamond earrings

Diamond bracelets and necklaces 


Jewelry pieces like diamond bracelets and necklaces leave much more room for glamour and flare. You can have a beautiful emerald cut diamond bracelet by either Cartier, Tiffany or any of the famous designers in our showcase, or opt for a multi-shaped diamond necklace that will blind with beauty at first sight. 

 diamond bracelet and necklace


Diamond watches


Since this is an item that's very prominent, visible with every hand movement, it should impress. A watch enhanced with a diamond setting is the item that screams elegance - top brands like Hublot, Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are the perfect gift for every stylish person who values punctuality. 

diamond rolex watch

  

The Final Word


We hope that this diamond buying guide has provided you with the fundamentals of choosing the perfect diamond for you or that special someone dear to your heart. 

Here at our Scottsdale store, we are always happy to provide you with the support you need when making your diamond purchase and make sure you find the best stone within your budget.

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