Once you’ve decided what kind of diamond your budget allows you to buy, it’s time to hit the stores and see where you can find the best deal. Let’s see how you should compare different diamond offers to make sure you get the most value for your money.
Write Down the Characteristics of Each Diamond
To make a good comparison, you should put down on paper the most important information about the diamonds you look at.
Apart from the jewelry store’s name, here are the characteristics you should jot down for each diamond:
This may seem obvious, but there are stores that offer big promotions on already inflated prices, and the big discounts can make the deal sound attractive until you see that what you would pay is pretty close to the regular price at another store.
Make sure you are not distracted by the promotion signs, and write down only the final price that you would pay after all discounts and fees are taken into account.
The most important quality factors you need to evaluate for each diamond are its 4 Cs: Color, clarity, cut and carat weight.
Ask about each of these characteristics and check whether they are certified by a reputable grading lab such as that of the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America).
This might not sound very important, but it can actually be crucial. Make sure to ask about any guarantees and warranties such as return policies and service plans.
A price may sound really attractive until you find out that once you buy the diamond, you cannot return it or exchange it for another one if you later find any problem with it.
Similarly, a more expensive diamond can turn out to be a better deal once you learn that it comes with a plan that will make possible repairs significantly cheaper.
Make Sure the Diamonds Are Certified
Certification helps you to verify the quality of a diamond, and its grading report should be issued by a trustworthy institution.
However, this is not the only reason you should require a certificate.
When you compare the quality characteristics of different diamonds, you should make sure they are graded using the same scale. Otherwise, comparing grades that have different meanings tells you nothing about which diamond is better and relatively cheaper.
If a diamond is not certified at all, you cannot really check whether it is a good deal compared with other stones. The price may sound good, but it may turn out that it is too high for the stone’s actual quality grade.
Compare Similar Diamonds
Make sure that when you make the actual comparison, the diamonds you compare have the same or at least similar quality characteristics.
This means that you should compare the price of a diamond of VS1 clarity and G color at one store with a stone that has the same color and clarity offered by another jeweler.
Try to compare diamonds that are identical across all four Cs, i.e. with identical color, clarity, cut and carat weight. Otherwise, you don’t really know which store offers you the same quality at a better price.
Of course, you can start by comparing different quality grades to see whether it is worth it to pay more for a better color or clarity, for example.
However, you should do that before you start comparing offers across stores. Once you’ve decided on your target combination of color, clarity, cut and carat, start comparing offers from different jewelers on diamonds with the same quality.
View the Diamond Under Magnification
Lastly, don’t forget to see the diamond you are about to buy under a microscope or a 10x loupe. You should always check the internal structure of the stone just to make sure that its quality is as described in the certificate.
Check if the diamond’s flaws match the ones mapped on the diamond plot, which is part of the grading report the stone should come with.