When you are in the market for diamonds, you will be looking at a huge range, and are likely to be confused by the sheer variety. Luckily, there are a number of standard parameters by which you can assess and eventually narrow down the range of options to a more palatable size, thus making your choice a lot easier.
Carat weight is among the most important defining factors of the size, quality and price of a loose diamond. Figure out what sort of diamond you are looking for, a 0.50 carat minimalist piece, or a substantial 2 carats diamond? Deciding on the carat weight before going out to buy the piece itself is a great idea as it makes your job a lot easier. Do a bit of research among friends or family of your spouse-to-be to understand her expectations.
The shape of the diamond is completely a matter of personal preference. See which designs you like or your partner likes, and go for those. Either way, one of the safest and nicest choices is the round brilliant. Rounds are among the most common shape choices for diamonds all over the world. The shape can sometimes determine the price of the diamond. In general, round brilliant diamonds are more costly than the other shapes in the market.
This is one of the relatively more technical aspects of diamond purchasing. Cut quality will have a fair effect on the pricing of any loose diamond. Unfortunately, it is a tricky business, as there is no agreed upon global or national standard for cut grades. Some of the vendors will offer a cut grade only on round diamonds as labs usually don’t offer any grades on fancy shapes. AGS, however, is an exception and provides cut grades to all shapes.
Some vendors don’t bother with the certificate’s cut grade and instead develop and implement their own matrix based on the measurements of the diamonds. This leads to a lot of ambiguity, and sometimes might even be misleading. You should always give more importance to the certificate cut grade rather than something a vendor would hand you.
The color of the diamond has a significant impact on both the appearance and the price of the gem. Different shapes do reflect color in different ways and with different intensities, so both price and quality fluctuates with every permutation. If you’re looking to get loose diamonds cheap, you’ll have to factor both of these in before making a choice.
Connoisseurs would say clarity is a tremendously important factor, but honestly, unless you have a lot of money lying around, clarity should be the least of your concerns. As long as the diamond looks clean to the naked eye, you’re golden. Beyond that, you’ll be paying more and more for every ray of light making it out of the surface. With the money you save on buying a clean, yet low-clarity grade diamond, you could buy a better color grade or a larger diamond.
Fluorescence, Symmetry and Polish
These are all technical aspects which could impact the stone’s value without actually making much of a difference to its appearance. Be wary of them, but if you want to understand exactly what they are and how they affect the quality of the diamond, you should perform a little research.
Diamond Lab Certificate
When you’re out to buy loose diamonds, your only realistic choices should be AGS or GIA Certified Diamonds. This is not to say that diamonds certified by HRD, EGL or IGI are bad in any way, but professionals agree that the grading inconsistencies prevalent in these labs lead to generally unreliable results.