Diamonds, as they say, are forever – and that’s all the more reason to educate yourself before buying one, says gemologist Jeff Bertman.
Diamonds, as they say, are forever – and that’s all the more reason to educate yourself before buying one, says Jeff Bertman, a gemologist at Rogers Jewelry in Quincy, Mass.
But before you immerse yourself in the minute details of a diamond’s “Four C’s” – cut, color, clarity and carat-weight – take a step back.
“Most people are not buying diamonds as an investment, but as a token of love,” said Bertman, noting that most of his customers are men looking for engagement or wedding rings. “First you should find out what she likes.”
Bertman said he often reminds customers that they are not shopping based on their own preferences, but on the preferences of the person who will be wearing the diamond.
“If you think about what you want – you want a smile and a ‘yes,’” Bertman said. “That’s what you should be searching for.”
While customers are often looking for perfection, Michael Molloy, a gemologist at the newly opened DeScenza Diamonds in Hingham, Mass., said it’s best to be mindful that buying a diamond is always a compromise.
“Everybody would like to have a 3-carat, D color, flawless diamond, all things considered,” Molloy said.
Unfortunately, he said, budget constraints often force diamond shoppers to choose the attributes they find most important and downplay the others. Someone with their heart set on a bigger stone, for example, may need to settle for less-than-perfect clarity or color. Likewise, someone for whom clarity is most important may settle for a smaller stone.
Molloy recommends focusing on a diamond’s cut and color, the two factors most important in determining its brilliance. In particular, he suggests sticking with a round diamond because it reflects light the best.
“Basically, there are two reasons why diamonds are so special: their supreme hardness and their brilliance,” Molloy said. “When you leave the round shape, it’s not quite as bright.”
Finally, both Molloy and Bertman recommend making sure your diamond is certified by the Gemological Institute of America, which will ensure you’re paying exactly what your diamond is worth.
A.J. Bauer may be reached at email@example.com.
A CLOSER LOOK
Diamonds are classified and priced by examining what are referred to as the “Four C’s.”
Cut: Often confused with shape, a diamond’s cut determines how it reflects light and, therefore, its brilliance. More expensive diamonds are cut so that light is dispersed throughout the stone and reflected back out. Diamonds that don’t evenly disperse light are typically less bright and less expensive.
Color: The color of a diamond, while at times subtle, can greatly impact affect its luster and price. So-called “colorless” diamonds are the most prized and are able to reflect all the colors of the rainbow at once. Generally, the more yellow a diamond appears, the less the luster and the lower the price.
Clarity: A diamond’s clarity has to do with both internal and external flaws. The more flaws and blemishes, the lower the price. So-called “flawless” diamonds can be very expensive.
Carat: Carat describes the weight of the diamond and is used to measure its size. Obviously, the larger the diamond, the more rare and costly it is.
Source: DeScenza Diamonds.
The Patriot Ledger