DIAMOND BUYING GUIDE
- See Diamond 101 Interactive section of our website.
- Next buy the stone loose. Prongs can cover up inclusions so always look at the stone unset.
- Cut is the most important of the 4 C's. The cut is the craftsmanship applied in cutting the facets of the stone. A great diamond cutter will cut the diamond to make the best use of light. When a diamond has proper proportions, light is reflected from facet to facet and then dispersed through the crown of the diamond. If a diamond is cut too deep, light will escape through the sides and it will look dark in the center. It will also look smaller than it should. If the diamond is cut too shallow, the light will escape through the bottom of the stone before it can be reflected. The shallow cut diamond is sometimes referred to as a fish eye and will look bigger than it is but will have a watery appearance. Remember a well cut diamond is a brilliant diamond.
- You might be able to get a good deal on a diamond on-line but it will take a lot of luck. Buying a diamond by comparing certificates is like picking out your wife-to-be from a license photo. Think about it. You will see a lot of stones on-line with the exact same details and the price can vary by 75%. I don't know about you but that scares me. How can the same color and clarity and certificate be so far off in price? Grading is subjective. For example, an SI1 could have a black cluster of inclusions in the center of the diamond or a white inclusion off to the side. Of course, I would rather have a white inclusion off to the side and that is why that stone would be higher priced. Also, you need to compare diamonds side by side. The certificates are great but the eye doesn't lie.
- Certificates in my opinion are the most accurate and they are available from the GIA & AGS. I think that the EGL certificates are good but not as strict as the other two. EGL NY seems to be the strictest of the EGL family. EGL Israel I find to be very lenient in their grading. If you have a GIA or AGS cert with the same grade as an EGL NY cert., the EGL will be roughly 20% cheaper.
- Once you settle on a diamond, mounting, etc., ask some questions. For instance, how does your warranty work? What is your trade-in policy? Is there a 30 day cash refund? Are there GIA Graduated Gemologists on staff?
Conflict Free Diamonds
At NEFJ, we work only with the industry's most reputable and regulated suppliers of high-quality diamonds, adhering to a strict zero-tolerance policy against conflict diamonds. We verify every diamond in our inventory to ensure that they are mined and processed in an environmentally and socially conscious manner. NEFJ exceeds regulations set forth by initiatives such as the Kimberley Process, the Patriot Act, and other governmental and non-governmental measures against the illicit acquirement and distribution of diamonds, and we hold our suppliers to those same rigorous standards. We support all programs that encourage the development and regulation of the diamond trade, which continues to serve as a valuable source of employment and revenue for countries throughout the world.
The 4 C’s
When you’re searching for the right diamond, the first step in the process must be an examination of the 4 C’s of the stone. A diamond isn’t a gemstone without the 4 C’s, demanding a savvy shopper do their reading up first. Clarity, color, and carat are all important measurements of a diamond, but here at Northeastern Fine Jewelry, we consider cut to be the most important “C” of all. When a diamond is cut with proper proportions for the shape, it will disperse light in an optimal way. If the facets are too deep, light will seep out of the side of the stone and make the diamond look small and dark. If the diamond is cut too shallowly, it will appear watery and dull. A well-cut diamond is the heart of brilliance, scintillation, and fire.
It’s important to purchase a diamond that’s been graded by a reputable certifier. But with dozens of different grading schemes on the market, what should you look for when you’re faced with an unknown acronym? While debates still rage about the quality of various certifications, we at Northeastern Fine Jewelry have our own opinion for this diamond buying guide: AGS is a good grading program, but we favor GIA certification as the most comprehensive way of grading the quality of a diamond. You may see EGL-graded diamonds on the market, but here at Northeastern Fine Jewelry, we find their standards to be somewhat lax. Of course, caveat emptor comes into play here, but we encourage our customers to keep their attention focused on GIA and AGS diamonds.
Once you’ve reviewed the certification for your diamond to examine its shape and the 4 C’s, there are other questions that you should ask a jeweler. Understanding how your chosen diamond will work with your preferred engagement ring setting is of vital importance. Some settings aren’t ideal for your preferred diamond. For example, because of the sharp points of marquise- and princess-cut diamonds, choosing a setting without chevron prongs to protect them isn’t a great idea. You should also inquire into the warranty for your diamond, as well as a trade-in policy for future diamond purchases. An important question that often gets overlooked is: “Are there GIA-certified gemologists on staff?” When you’re in need of future inspections and appraisal, it’s a crucial part of the selection process to know this.
If you’re interested in learning more than what can be condensed into this diamond buying guide, don’t hesitate to give us at Northeastern Fine Jewelry a call! You can contact us at 1.518.372.3604, or visit us at our Albany, Schenectady, or Glens Falls, New York showrooms!