As a fine jewelry professional for three decades, I’d like to give you some very practical advice. Now that it’s time to put major money down to buy something you know little or nothing about, there are certain things you will definitely want to know.
Diamond buying is a daunting task for the layperson. There is so much to information to take in; how stones are graded, diamond terminology, as well as the myriad of factors which ultimately determine cost. I’ve purchased diamond rough in Africa, worked for and with diamond wholesalers and retailers in Chicago, and sold hundreds of diamonds through the years to private clients.
In this Two Part series I’d like to share a list of do’s and do not’s, distilled from my extensive diamond experience. There is no sense in your having to reinvent the wheel, especially with so much money at stake.
Top 10 “Must Do” Things Before You Buy a Diamond
- Do ask your friends who have purchased a diamond to refer you to the person or place where they purchased their diamond and if they were happy. Earned trust is invaluable here. You’ll want to work with someone who has proven they have your interests at heart, not just interest in your money.
- Do try to find a wholesale/retail “diamond dealer” who works directly with private clients. Because of their diamond inventory, they can show you just about anything you’d like to look at. If they don’t have it, they can get it from other diamond dealers.
- Do take the time to look at several loose (un-mounted) diamonds. I’m talking 4 or 5 diamonds at a time. Visually compare the diamonds side by side. Listen to the information about color, clarity, proportions and weight of each one. This will quickly give you diamond grading experience, and you will start seeing differences between diamonds.
- Do make sure to do your stone shopping in natural light. Stores pay big bucks to make light their cases with lighting that cancels the natural yellow tint which begins to show in diamonds of a certain color grade. Enhanced lighting also make the stones sparkle much more than might otherwise in sunlight alone.
- Do use Blue Nile to price shop and see what diamonds of certain color, clarity and weight are selling for. Do this in addition to the time you spend actually looking at diamonds and it will enhance your understanding of diamond pricing.
- Do buy a diamond with a GIA or EGL certification. Nearly all diamonds now have a certification number laser inscribed on the girdle. The diamond grading on GIA certified diamonds is a little more consistent and conservative than EGL certifications.
- Do take any diamond purchase, while the stone is still loose, to an independent appraiser who is GIA trained Graduate Gemologist. Ask them to confirm that the diamond matches the identifying number on the diamond certification. Also ask them to do their own analysis of the stone: i.e. color, clarity, proportions and weight while the stone is still loose and not yet mounted.
- Do take the diamond back to the appraiser after it is mounted and have him or her confirm that it is the same diamond that you purchased and assign a retail replacement value to the diamond and ring. Make sure that a photograph of your finished ring is included as part of your appraisal.
- Do insure your diamond and the mounting using the documentation the appraiser produced as part of the appraisal. You can add it on to your home owner’s policy and will file copies of your documentation (not the originals) to your insurance agent.
- Do buy the stone that makes you say, “Wow!” Once you have seen enough stones to begin to really understand the things I’ve outlined here in these two posts, it is time to trust your gut. Which stone really jumps out at you through the loop and to your naked eye? Typically there will be ONE stone, which after all is said and done, says, “I’m yours!”
Now that you know what to do when buying a diamond, you might like to learn what NOT to do in Part 2 of this two-part series: Top 10 “Don’t Do” Things Before You Buy a Diamond.
David D. Bull, GG
By appointment in Aspen, CO
Call (970) 456-5700
Innovative, artistically original jewelry & accessory
designs of high quality and exceptional value.