Jewellery Guides

Top 10 Diamond Buying Mistakes

Written by Eddi Norris
October 1st, 2020 • 7 min read

The likelihood is, you’ve never bought a diamond before, and you’re not sure where to start.

That's why we've put together the most common mistakes people make when buying a diamond, so you know what to avoid - and our gemmologists best tips for find the diamond that works for you and your budget.

What are the top 10 diamond buying mistakes?

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
  2. Disregarding the “Cut” of a diamond
  3. Assuming all grades and graded diamonds are the same
  4. Expecting to find a bargain if you search around
  5. Expecting all diamond sellers to be professionals
  6. Choosing the wrong engagement ring for your diamond
  7. Aiming for a flawless diamond
  8. Not being prepared to compromise
  9. Buying an uncertified diamond
  10. Under-valuing good service and honest guarantees

Read on for the in-depth dos and don’ts of diamond buying, from the importance of prioritising a diamond’s ‘cut’ to using your eye to make the final judgement call.

We get it, you haven't done this before.

Let one of our qualified gemmologists help you find the perfect diamond for your budget. During each free consultation, we’ll show you a range of diamonds to suit your budget, and walk you through the characteristics of each stone. Arrange an appointment to learn more about choosing a diamond and creating the perfect ring.

1. Rushing into your diamond purchase

Selecting a diamond should take time and consideration. For most people, this could be the most considered and high-value 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. Book now to meet with our experts.

2. Disregarding the C 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. Visit our Diamond Fundamentals guide to learn more.

Each of the ‘Cs’, cut, clarity, colour and carat, have a bearing on the aesthetics of a diamond. Most gemmologists agree, the most important diamond quality factor is 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 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 what it is.

For this reason, Queensmith only deal with GIA certified natural diamonds and IGI certified lab 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. IGI are considered the best laboratory for accurately grading lab diamonds.

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 many people prefer to view a diamond in person before buying. Whilst Queensmith diamonds can be purchased online, we also welcome you into our showroom to view the diamond, or a selection of diamonds prepared by our experts, before you buy.

4. Expecting to find a bargain if you 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.

Discover styles you love, with our gallery of custom rings.

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, or a gemmologists with similar credentials. The GIA set the diamond-grading standards used throughout the world. Ask about your jeweller’s background and accreditation before you meet.

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. Aiming for a flawless diamond

A flawless diamond seems like an appealing choice - but the reality is, they are incredibly rare, and incredibly expensive. Most professional gemmologists will go their entire career without ever seeing a flawless diamond. First-time diamond buyers often expect to find diamonds with high clarity grades, like IF (internally flawless) or VVS1 (very, very slightly included), only to realise how rare such diamonds are. In reality, nearly every diamond on the market contains natural inclusions, but few are even visible to the naked eye.

Our advise is to compromise slightly on the ‘clarity’ of your diamond - look between grades VS2-SI1 for a diamond that appears clean when viewed without magnification, and doesn't break the bank. Choosing a diamond above VS2 will come with a considerable price tag, but the difference visible to the naked eye will be negligible. Instead, you can dedicate this budget to improving the cut and colour grades!

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. 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 sure you're dedicating your budget to the right areas. Clarity, for example, can be compromised on for the sake of a high cut and colour grade. The size of your diamond may also be compromised for a stone that's bright and beautiful, rather than poorly-cut and lacklustre.

9. Buying an uncertified diamond

Not all diamonds are independently or impartially graded - so choose a diamond that has been certified by a responsible and highly accurate grading laboratory to ensure the diamond lives up to its awarded grades. We recommend GIA for natural diamonds, and IGI for lab diamonds, both of whom undergo strict and extensive grading practices before awarding each diamond it's set of grades.

The GIA are a grading laboratory with the best grading credentials, worldwide. As a non-profit organisation, the GIA do not benefit from over-grading diamonds, which you may find with private graders as they seek to increase their profit. Learn more about the GIA.

10. Under-valuing good service and honest guarantees

The diamond itself is important, but finding a jeweller with whom you can build a trusting 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. We offer ring resizing, polishing and cleaning and ring annual servicing checks for free with every Queensmith ring.

Ready To Find Your Diamond?

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.

Book an appointment with our experts using the button below - we can't wait to hear from you.


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