With the help of a 35 year diamond dealer expert, we managed to answer all your questions regarding diamonds: Size, cut, quality, prices, treatments, appraisals, ethics, and lab-grown diamonds. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries or custom requests!
How to buy a diamond: the 4 C's
The most important thing to figure out before embarking on the journey of finding the perfect diamond is knowing your budget. Of course, there may be some compromises, but always try to get the largest diamond for the amount of money you are spending on it. One way to do that is by sacrificing a certain degree of quality for size. Your partner is more likely to focus on the size of her diamond rather than the clarity.
A good tip to know is that often clients want to hit that 1ct marker, but often times shopping just under 1ct, in the 0.94-0.99cts, price can be significantly better. Once you hit the 1ct mark prices tend to pop off!
However, one thing you should never overlook is the cut of a stone. It is extremely important as it greatly impacts the sparkle and carat weight of your stone.
Round diamonds are usually the most expensive cuts because diamonds naturally come in a rough shape, sort of a double triangle, so when cutting a diamond to create a round stone, you lose about 50% of the stone. When so much of the rough is wasted, the customer has to pay for it, which increases the price. Square stones tend to be the cheapest as they waste very little of the rough and are also less in demand.
Trends also greatly affect the prices of diamond shapes. For about 15 years, oval cuts were the least popular cut, nobody wanted it. Now, suddenly, everybody wants an oval cut. Similarly, princess cuts were all the rage, but are now forgotten. The increase or decrease of demand for a shape will also influence the price. Ultimately when buying you want to focus on the shape you like and not what's trending because like fashion, trends come and go but your engagement ring is forever.
The most ideal cuts for maximum brilliance and size are round and oval. Their proportions make so that they show the largest "surface area" and have the perfect symmetry of facets which allows for maximum brilliance. In contrast, cushion cuts are beautiful, but they look much smaller compared to their weight. So, if you are looking for a larger diamond within the same carat weight, you should consider other cuts.
Clarity refers to the inclusions within your diamond. Within the same clarity, prices and quality can range drastically. For example you can have 2 SI1's, but one of them can easily be 1-3K dollars more because when looking at the inclusions of the stone you will see one has inclusions strategically placed along the girdle (rim) of the stone Vs the less expensive diamond has the same amount but placed right in the center of the stone, in plain sight. This is why we always recommend working with a professional who will sort through lists of diamonds, individually checking and comparing each one to find you the best quality and price.
You also want to watch out for cloudy/milky inclusions. They resemble exactly as the name sounds a small part or sometimes the entire stone that looks like a small blurry cloud. These inclusions will hinder light from passing through the diamond. They become glaringly obvious once compared to other stones. Milky stones are much more dull, they do not sparkle or demand attention.
An average price for a one carat stone can vary depending on the clarity, color, cut, and carat. It can go from $5K to $20K. Although $20K is excessive, you can always find decent stones in the $5K range. The price is also affected by who you buy it from. If you’re working with a high-end jeweler versus a smaller local shop, the prices will vary.
Diamonds always go up in value. They are the most concentrated form of wealth in the world, meaning there is nothing else in that size worth that much money. This is a product you wear every day and will still get your money back if needed. If you take into consideration expensive purses that wear out and deteriorate with time, diamonds are a much smarter investment.
Much like colored stones, diamonds also have treatments that you should avoid such as lead and glass filling and irradiation. These treatments are used to enhance the quality of the stone by diminishing the appearance of inclusions and enhance the color. However, these treatments do not last forever, and the diamond will go back to its natural state. The stone also will not have any resale value as these treatments are detectable right away. If you are buying from a jeweler you are unsure of, always ask for the right documentation (preferably GIA certificate) because treatments such as these are not often disclosed but will be written on their certification.
Appraisals & GIA Certifications:
We always recommend buying a diamond with a GIA certificate. This will guarantee you that you are buying exactly what you think your buying. GIA is known for it's strict evaluations and will avoid the accidental purchase of a diamond with treatments.
GIA certificates disclose the qaulity of your diamond but no the market value. It is always safe to get an appraisal to be sure of the value of your stone and for insurance purposes. However, do not have your jeweler who sold you your diamond, appraise your jewelry for you. Always look for an independent appraiser to avoid bias.
We have a full blog on jewelry & engagement ring appraisals, if you'd like to learn more!
Although there is truth in the term “blood diamonds,” the industry has changed a lot since then. The Kimberly Process has been established to ensure that every diamond has to be documented and certified. Almost every diamond sold right now has known origins because of the Kimberly Process. Currently, 2% of the diamonds on the market are blood diamonds. This means clients no longer have to worry on the ethics and origins of their diamonds.
We also have Canadian diamonds, which come with their own set of rules on mining rights.
Lab diamonds start with a tiny flat natural diamond which is then put in an oven that reaches astronomical degrees to grow the diamond. Although lab diamonds are much cheaper than real diamonds, they use a lot of energy and power consumption to create a diamond in a few weeks when the natural process actually takes millions of years to develop. 3 years ago, when lab-grown diamonds started, they were valued at $3K per carat. Now, it is down to $300. This is why we are constantly seeing the value for lab diamonds plummet. They are estimated to be the new CZ, eventually bieng valued at no more then 10$ a stone.
Lab grown diamonds are always detectable. They are also not great investments as their prices do not remain as steady as real diamonds. It is also a fairly new process; therefore, we do not actually know what the diamond will look like in 10-20 years. Lab diamonds are great if you have a smaller budget, but if you have the budget, a real diamond will always be a smarter investment.
At Fine+Flux we sell natural diamonds as well as lab diamonds, if requested by clients. If you have any questions or custom requests, please send us an email at email@example.com and we will be happy to help! We specialize in custom engagement rings, so if you have any questions, reach out!