Top 10 Diamond Buying Mistakes
If you’re shopping for your first big diamond purchase and feeling a little overwhelmed, you won’t be the only one. Our job at Queensmith is to make things a little bit easier. For a clear guide on what not to do when buying a diamond, take a look at our top 10 most common mistakes, and avoid the pitfalls that buyers often fall prey to. Read these, and then focus on the main reason you’re here – to take home a beautiful, quality diamond engagement ring that your fiancée will treasure forever.
1. RUSHING INTO YOUR DIAMOND PURCHASE
This is a big decision. An engagement ring will be on your bride’s hand for the rest of her life, so picking out a diamond should take time and preparation. Remember, you will likely only do this once! Although you may think about replacing a small diamond with something more impressive after a few years, or swapping the ring out for something different later on, the truth is that this rarely happens. Aim for the best, don’t compromise, and get it right the first time.
Sit down and plan your budget, what you want from your purchase, and what you (and your fiancée!) like. Discuss the options with a reputable jeweller – you will need guidance. Buying a diamond is usually something you will not have done before, and no amount of reading will compare to the knowledge of a professional. 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.
2. DISREGARDING THE CUT OF A DIAMOND
It’s likely that you will have already come across the ‘Four Cs’ of clarity, colour, cut and carat (if you haven’t, check out our guide here). However, while all of these elements are important to consider when buying a diamond, one of the biggest mistakes that can be made is to not pay enough attention to the type and quality of a stone’s cut. Defining the cut is much trickier than defining a colour or clarity grade, but the cut is what really makes a diamond – it gives it sparkle and fire, and the more precise and symmetrical the cut, the more scintillating your diamond will be. Moreover, a good cut will actually enhance a diamond’s colour, clarity and carat weight.
Buyers often place too much emphasis on looking for a colourless diamond. Try instead to take time to consider how the stone has been cut. Be aware that while some jewellers may show you a range of cuts, the best of these might not actually be a well-cut diamond – rather, it is the best they have. Well-cut diamonds are more expensive, it’s true. A diamond with the same weight, colour and clarity grading can vary hugely in price depending on its cut. Unfortunately, it costs a jeweller less to stock an inferior cut diamond, so it can be difficult to find good examples, but they are available. Again, working with a trusted jeweller, like those at Queensmith, is the key to ensuring top-quality work.
Set yourself a rule to first aim for a well-proportioned, symmetrical diamond, and then consider size, colour and clarity along with your budget.
3. ASSUMING ALL GRADES AND GRADED DIAMONDS ARE THE SAME
Grading systems are invaluable tools for both jewellers and customers, but don’t assume that every diamond that carries the same figures will be identical.
For one, laboratories differ in their guidelines – some playing it a bit looser with their certifications. At Queensmith, we only deal with well-respected labs that conform to industry standards. Likewise, for smaller diamonds, you want to be certain that the shop you buy from has properly graded and listed their stock.
However, 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.
4. THINKING YOU CAN GET A BARGAIN IF YOU SEARCH AROUND FOR A GOOD DEAL
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.
You might decide on specific clarity and colour grades that you would like, and think that shopping around will allow you to find the lowest price. Or, you might consider buying abroad, or from a trade fair. Be careful. If a diamond with the same grading as another is significantly cheaper, it is likely that it is badly cut or contains innate flaws that you cannot see.
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. IMAGINING THAT ANYONE SELLING DIAMONDS IS A PROFESSIONAL
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 gemology.
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.
6. BUYING DIAMONDS ONLINE
Just because an online shop or website seems to carry a huge array of diamonds, it does not mean that they own, or have even seen, the diamond you order. Rather than stocking the diamonds they sell, online companies usually use databases from other business to list on their site, and the stone you ask for may be sent to you directly from the vendor without anybody at the intermediary site having examined it.
Diamond selling websites have overheads just as real-life shops do, and they are often competing with many other sites to offer the lowest price, so the likelihood is that they will not offer quality diamonds. Once again, a low price will usually mean low quality.
7. 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.
8. NOT CONSIDERING 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 it’s 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 it’s 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.
Queensmith hope that we can be the ones to provide you with that help, support and expertise. Pop into the shop or give us a call, and we can go from there.