Three Diamond Buying Tips

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 at 9:26 am by Maureen

,Thinking about getting engaged this year?  Maybe for Valentine's Day?  These days, there's more to understanding diamonds than color, cut, clarity and carat.  You also need to watch out for color-enhanced, clarity-enhanced, synthetic and lab-grown diamonds.  Unfortunately, these are often undetectable to the naked eye.  

Many types of gemstones, including diamonds, are heat treated to improve their color.  Of course, as a diamond's color rating rises up the scale, so does it's price.  This process and the resulting effects vary greatly in permanence and stability, so over time your beautiful purchase may fade.

Black spots ("inclusions") found in diamonds are sometimes drilled out and replaced with a clear resin to improve the gemstone's aesthetic.  Craig Brady states "We don't sell clarity-enhanced diamonds. While this process improves the diamond's clarity rating with the naked eye, it compromises the diamond's integrity and makes any repair or remount tricky because the resin can melt and run out of the gemstone when heated." 

New synthetic diamonds, particularly moissanite, can be very convincing imposters.  Cases have been in the news of unsuspecting consumers learning they purchased a fake after the seller is long gone.  Lab grown diamonds are even more difficult to detect.  Their longterm value is very unpredictable with some industry insiders predicting that China will be flooding the market causing the value of lab-grown diamonds to bottom out.  So what can you do?

1.  Inspect any diamond you're considering through a jeweler's loupe.  By comparing diamonds under magnification, consumers can not only really appreciate the diamond's value but also choose the one that speaks to their particular taste.  A good jeweler will give their customers an appreciation of the science AND the art behind the sparkle-- pointing out specific characteristics of that particular gemstone. 

2. Make sure the diamond has been GIA-certified. Currently, certification from the Gemological Institute of America is the industry standard. Best not to accept any substitutes.  

3. Buy from a reputable, long-standing brick & mortar store in your community.  Unlike big box or chains stores, independent jewelry stores are often family businesses operating in the community for decades, with staff that has decades of experience, and inventory buying habits that include inspection of every gemstone rather than buying by lot.  Don't assume higher prices from an independent jeweler.  Smart jewelry store owners belong to buying groups, such as RJO (Retail Jewelers Organization), which get them volume discounts.  In today's retail climate, particularly after the recent economic downturn, a main street jeweler has survived by being trustworthy, offering great service and competitive prices for superior quality.  They are the best choice to help you make your best choice.