A Guide to Buying Diamonds

By: Jonathan Blocker

A Guide To Buying Diamonds

Those who are thinking about buying diamonds either as an investment, for mounting in custom diamond jewelry, or simply as an addition to a collection, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the subject. Not all diamonds for sale are necessarily a good value; the old Roman advice caveat emptor is especially applicable when it comes to buying diamonds.

Getting Started

There are two things you need before you start buying diamonds:

1. A thorough knowledge of the diamond market

2. Where to obtain reliable appraisal services

The latter is especially important. Any appraisal of certified diamonds should be undertaken by an independent agency that has no connections to or interest in the wholesaler or retailer who is offering the diamonds for sale in which you are interested.

This may require a bit of detective work. The problem is that the world diamond market is controlled by a relative handful of corporate and international banking interests. However, it is well worth your while to find such appraisal services so as to insure that your interests are protected when buying diamonds.

The "Four Cs"

The laboratories that analyze diamonds for sale examine these gems for four different objective characteristics:

* Carat: this is the weight and mass of the gem, equal to .2 grams.

* Cut: the way the stonecutters have shaped the gem, i.e. "round" or "square" and how well this has been done

* Clarity: this looks at any internal flaws, such as a "cottony" appearance within the gem

* Color: certified diamonds can range in color from crystal clear to dark amber and even black.

This analysis is done prior to the actual appraisal, but is an important part of the process.

The Appraisal

While a lab report is based on objective, observable criteria, an appraisal is more subjective. The purpose is to determine the market value of these gems, primarily for the purpose of insuring them.

So - how much will you pay when buying diamonds? This is what the appraisal will determine.

Some cuts are more valuable than others. Princess cut diamonds, which have grown tremendously in popularity over the past thirty years, are the product of a unique cutting method developed in 1979 by a Los Angeles jeweler. These gems combine elements of "round" and "square" cuts; the princess cut diamonds results in the lowest amount of waste, so the diamond retains more of its original mass and weight.

These are only a few of the issues that should be kept in mind when buying diamonds, but they are the most important.

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