Top 10 Diamond Buying Mistakes
So, you’ve decided to propose? Hooray! But the likelihood is, you’ve never bought a diamond before, and you’re not sure where to start. More likely still, is that you’re not entirely sure which diamond you should buy, from where, and whether it’s the right choice. We’ve rounded up the 10 most common mistakes consumers make when buying a diamond, to highlight the pitfalls that buyers often fall prey to - so you don’t have to.
1. RUSHING INTO YOUR DIAMOND PURCHASE
Selecting a diamond should take time and consideration. The unique engagement ring you create, with the unique diamond you choose, will take pride of place on your bride’s hand for the rest of her life. Theoretically, this should be the most considered purchase you’ll ever make. Whilst it’s important to do your research, no amount of reading will compare to the knowledge of a professional - discussing your options with a trained gemmologist and diamond expert will help you to reach the best decision. What’s more, this should be fun! Working together with someone you like and trust will help to make the whole process enjoyable and stress-free. Our gemmologists always take the time to get to know each client and help them figure out the best personal decision.
2. DISREGARDING THE ‘CUT’ OF A DIAMOND
First of all, understanding the ‘4Cs’, aka the four characteristics that determine a diamond’s beauty, value, and grading, should be the foundation of your decision. If you’re unfamiliar, check out our guide here. Each of the ‘Cs’, cut, clarity, colour and carat, have a bearing on the aesthetics of a diamond. The most important of these? Undoubtedly, cut. Ultimately, you want a diamond that is bright and eye-catchingly sparkly. A high cut grade is what makes some diamonds (quite literally) a cut above the rest, producing sparkle, fire and an intensely scintillating diamond. Moreover, a good cut will actually enhance a diamond’s colour, clarity and carat weight.
Often, buyers are persuaded to choose diamonds with the highest colour or clarity grade. The truth is, diamonds ranging from D to F will appear colourless to the naked eye, so as long as you’re sticking between these grades, colour is a great place to compromise. Clarity refers to the small, natural marks found in the majority of diamonds. The beauty here is that these marks too, are negligible to the naked eye so long as the diamond is graded above SI1.
A well cut diamond is (as expected) more expensive than a poorly cut diamond. For this reason, some jewellers prefer to keep stock of inferior cut diamonds, and therefore end up showing you the best they have in store - which is not necessarily the best cut your budget could afford. Selecting a trusted jeweller is vital - check their online reviews and ask the tough questions. At Queensmith, our ethos is transparency, and our gemmologists are able to use their expertise to source the highest quality stones for you budget.
3. ASSUMING ALL GRADES AND GRADED DIAMONDS ARE THE SAME
Unfortunately, there are a number of diamond grading laboratories arounds the world, meaning standards in grading can vary. Some are looser with certifications, meaning a diamond doesn’t live up to its grades on paper, and is ultimately overpriced. For this reason, Queensmith only deal with GIA certified diamonds. The GIA are a not for profit organisation, and the most trusted and reputable graders in the world. Each diamond is graded a minimum of twice, to ensure the correct grades are awarded, according to their strict standards.
Even if you are sure of the accuracy of a diamond’s grading, it’s important to remember that stones of the same colour, cut grade and clarity will still likely differ. The brilliance and unique beauty of a diamond is always one of a kind, which is why we encourage our clients to view diamond options in person. Sometimes, the choice between two stones that are identically graded can be obvious for the individual buyer.
4. Expecting To Find A Bargain If Your Search Around
It’s natural to want to know that you are getting the best value for your money, but be wary of offers that seem too good to be true – they usually are. Diamonds are valuable commodities, and are priced as they are for a reason.
Diamond prices are set by De Beers, which means that there is a relatively fixed wholesale price, and while retail does of course vary, there is no reason that a diamond should be drastically cheaper in another country or even another shop. Look out for large discounts too, as some jewellers mark up prices purely to slash them for the appearance of a good deal.
Make sure that you find a jeweller that you trust, and who is willing to guarantee their assurances and products. At Queensmith, we will share our knowledge with you and help you to pick the best diamond and engagement ring or wedding band for your price range.
5. Expecting All Diamond Sellers To Be Professionals
Anyone can sell a diamond. There are no qualifications needed to do so. Working in a jeweller’s does not, unfortunately, mean that the person you are dealing with truly knows what they are talking about. A sales person may be just that – trained in sales, but not in gemmology.
Make sure that you have your questions answered by an expert. Ideally, a GIA graduate. GIA (the Gemological Institute of America, which also functions in the UK) set the diamond-grading standards used throughout the world. Ask about your jeweller’s background and accreditation before you meet, and take a look at their certificate in person when you arrive. And we practise what we preach - our consultants have received diplomas from the GIA and Gem-A.
6. CHOOSING THE WRONG ENGAGEMENT RING FOR YOUR DIAMOND
Picking out a beautiful diamond is just the beginning of the process when designing an engagement ring – or wedding band. You will need to pay careful attention to the proportions – you don’t want the stone to be too big or small, or to be set clumsily. Make sure the placement and setting complements the diamond, so that they work together in harmony.
A knowledgeable jeweller, such as our own here at Queensmith, will be able to guide you in picking the right band, and will know exactly how to combine all those crucial elements into a cohesive piece of jewellery that will stand the test of time. Our in house design team are able to produce CAD images of our bespoke engagement rings, to any metal work enhances and work in harmony with the centre diamond you select.
7. BUYING DIAMONDS ONLINE
If you feel uncertain about buying a diamond you haven’t seen in person, don’t buy online. The likelihood is that jewellers with extensive stock listed online have not viewed each stone individually. At Queensmith, we initially ask our clients an idea of their rough budget and the diamond shape they’re after, before their first consultation. Our gemmologists then get to work sourcing a selection of diamonds with the best graded characteristics, within the budget. Our gemmologists go on to view each diamond themselves to ensure each stone lives up to its grade, and familiarise themselves with any flaws to point out to you, the buyer. It’s part of the personal service that a trusted jewellery should provide.
8. Not Being Prepared To Compromise
There’s no hard and fast rule about what you should spend on a diamond engagement ring – while the old adage used to be three months’ salary, it really makes more sense to think about what you want, and can realistically afford.
It pays to splurge a little on this occasion – after all, a nagging sense of discontent will take the sheen off of any ring – but weigh up the options and make a sensible choice with the help of your jeweller. Your fiancée is an individual, and her diamond should be too. There’s a huge array of choices out there, and while one person might prefer a big rock with a slightly lower colour grade, another might be after a perfectly clear stone that is a little smaller.
Don’t aim too high and spend too much for the sake of it – but do make sure that whatever you buy is exactly what you want.
9. BUYING PURELY FROM THE DIAMOND'S CERTIFICATE
A diamond is more than its constituent parts. Of course the numbers are important, and will play a part in your choice, but there are certain things that are simply not included on your diamond’s certificate, and other less tangible elements that require a hands-on approach.
No two diamonds are ever the same – the grading might be identical, but the appearance completely different. Seeing the diamond in person will allow you to get a good idea of its polish, proportions, fluorescence, luminescence and individual beauty: things that can’t be put down on paper. Even an expert with many years of experience needs to see the stone to evaluate its cut and get a feel for its unique personality.
10. UNDER-VALUING GOOD SERVICE & HONEST GUARANTEES
The diamond itself is important, but finding a jeweller with whom you can build a business relationship, and who provides relevant guarantees when buying, is crucial.
Not only will they help you to select something that looks beautiful, they should be able to stand behind its quality and assure its worth. A commitment to your purchase, and to you as a customer, is paramount.
Always ask to see a diamond’s certification before you buy it. If this is not available, or will not be shown, do not buy. Pay attention to what the offered guarantee includes – cleaning and checks come as standard, but look out for any hidden clauses or personal obligations. To make sure that the diamond you buy is the one you actually receive, inspect it under a microscope and note its certificate number to refer back to. At Queensmith, we offer this as standard.
Good service is worth finding – it will ensure that you have peace of mind, and can always rely on your jeweller for advice and maintenance even long after the purchase date.
Bear these pointers in mind as you continue your search for the perfect diamond, and it’s destined ring setting. Take a moment to do some research. Consider all the features and attributes of the stone. Set a realistic budget, and most importantly, collaborate with a jeweller who can guide you along the way.
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