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  February 25, 2020

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The 4 C's

5.08ct Pear Shape Burmese Ruby
5.08ct Pear Shape Burmese Ruby
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Advice For Novice Shoppers

Shopping for a diamond is not nearly as complicated as you may have been led to believe; as a matter of fact, diamond shopping can even be a fun experience! It all depends on how confident you feel about what you know. If you're like most people you just want straight, common sense guidance that will allow you to feel comfortable making your own decision. We've put together some sound and easy to understand advice that will cut hours off your learning curve and help you find your dream diamond in minutes.

Many retail jewelers will tell you that you shouldn't purchase from anyone on the Internet because you won't get a warranty or any of the other services that are offered by a traditional retail establishment. This is nonsense. You can have your purchase covered by your renter's insurance or homeowner's policy. Give your insurance agent a call to understand how your policy works. As for service, you can walk into any reputable jewelry store for free jewelry cleaning and inspection, even if you did not purchase your jewelry there.

Your first priority is to understand that all diamond-grading institutes are not created equal. We recommend diamonds graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). GIA is the industry leader in diamond grading and accuracy.

There is a serious problem in the jewelry industry with "overgrading" diamonds, rating them several grades higher than more stringent GIA recognized standards. If some major certification houses overgrade diamonds, what risk do you run on uncertified goods? Even though certification is an opinion, you certainly want that opinion to be as accurate as possible.

The American Gem Society (AGS) is an equally excellent source of reliable diamond grading, on a par with GIA. Other recognized certification houses such as the European Gem Lab (EGL), International Gem Institute (IGI), American Institute of Gemology (AIG) and Hoge Raad voor Diamant, or High Diamond Council (HRD) provide an opinion that, in some instances, agrees with GIA standards, but on many other occasions the grading is a bit too liberal for our tastes.

We believe the visible beauty of a diamond is provided by these factors in order:
  1. Cut
  2. Carat Weight (Size)
  3. Color
  4. Clarity
Brilliance and scintillation, the "sizzle and sparkle" in a diamond, is determined by cut. Without proper cutting the diamond can be dull and lifeless. You've probably seen examples of these "dead" diamonds behind the glass in some retail stores, even though they try to use crazy lights to trick you into thinking those lifeless diamonds have some fire. Do you have to get what the industry considers "ideal"? Most likely not, depending on what other factors such as size/color/clarity/budget are important to you.

For basic fundamental guidance on all shapes in layman terms, click here.

Larger may or may not be better depending on who you talk to, or depending on who wants the diamond! We rank this number two because if you buy a diamond that is too small or too large one of you won't be happy with it no matter what the quality grade. We believe it to be fairly imperative that you know the size parameter before color and clarity, then mix the color and clarity desired to conform to your budget.

It does not take a 10x microscope to see color variance, which is exactly why we rank color higher than clarity. For most people the color grade needs to be two letters or more apart on the grading scale before a noticeable difference can be seen. The majority of people observe that the diamond gets "darker" before actually seeing the hue change from a colorless D to end of near colorless J and further out.

A GIA graded J-color diamond can be acceptably white enough for the budget conscious. For the white diamond conscious shopper you might want to stay within the D to H color range.

White light is a combination of all colors in the spectrum. When a beam of white light enters a diamond the light breaks up into the total array of rainbow colors. These beautiful colors (also known as the "fire" of a diamond) will be much more vibrant with a higher color grade and a nice cut. A diamond with a color grade further down the scale (showing "darkness" or tints of yellow) will inhibit the flashes of blue, red and the other brilliant colors normally seen as part of the "fire" affect that has made diamonds so prized.

Remember, to each his own. Many people prefer the "warm" hues of an off white or yellow diamond. It is important that you love the look regardless of other people's tastes and opinions.

We say "invisible" because in reality if the inclusion(s) isn't actually visible to the naked eye, then how much does clarity actually affect the beauty of the diamond?

Think about it --- if a diamond is graded by GIA as SI2 or higher and the inclusions aren't visible from the top, that diamond will most likely be as beautiful as a diamond with the same cut/size/color specs and an internally flawless (IF) clarity grade.

If you are trying to stretch your funds then you might want to focus on choosing a diamond for the "visible" factors, determining which of those make the most difference to you, before choosing the clarity grade. Select a diamond that meets your taste and budget and you will be happy with your choice.

Be forewarned, if an inclusion is visible to the naked eye then most people will only see that flaw and not the beauty of the diamond.

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Diamond Brokerage Service, Inc.

About Us | Contact Us | Customer Service | Wish List