Diamond Basics

diamond ringsDiamonds are by far the most important of the gems to the jewelry trade. They have been for a long time, and will continue so for a foreseeable future.

So, how do you make a good decision on a diamond ring purchase without getting ripped off by your jeweler?

Well, the value of a diamond is determined by its grading under the 4 C’s, color, clarity, cut and carat weight. Having a good understanding of these factors will go a long way to getting the best value out of your budget.

Color – the most sought after diamonds are those lacking any color. GIA grades diamond color as D through Z, with D being closest to colorless.

Clarity – rated under scrutiny from a 10x magnifying glass. Clarity is affected by foreign inclusions or mineral elements. GIA grades are FL (flawless), IF (near flawless), SI2 (Slightly included) and I2 (included).

Cut – is the process of transforming a rough stone into a finished gem by cutting faceted faces into the gem to catch and reflect the light. (should not confuse cut with shape, which can be round, rectangular, heart shape, etc…..) The most common form of cut is the brilliant or full cut which has 57/58 faces. Other cuts include swiss cut (33 faces), emerald cut, radiant cut etc….

Carat Weight – is the actual weight of the diamond. This will determine how big a diamond is, but not the quality of the diamond. A higher quality smaller carat weight diamond can be more expensive than a larger diamond of lower quality.

diamond engagement rings

How Do Diamond Prices At Local Stores Compare to Other Vendors?

For the majority of engagement ring shoppers, budget is probably one of biggest concerns on your mind. As a matter of fact, I often receive pricing related questions via emails. So, how does online stores measures up in this aspect?

Here is an objective example of a price comparison I performed in December 2014.

At a local store, I randomly selected a J color, SI1 clarity diamond with Canadian origins. To make sure that I am actually comparing apples to apples, I found the same exact diamond being listed at B2CJewels.com.

You can clearly see that the same diamond retails for $3,850 at the local store while it retails for $2930.84 at B2CJewels.com. As I performed more comparisons, I found that the price premiums at local stores tend to be 20-30% higher than many other online vendors.

If you want to learn more about performing your own†price comparisons, read this article for details

That said, prices don’t mean everything when it comes to buying luxurious products like diamond rings. Remember, there are other aspects for consideration when buying an engagement ring like beautiful setting designs and high quality craftsmanship.