Despite the many different styles of engagement rings on the market, some couples opt to buy loose diamonds to accommodate or create a more unique ring. The sky is the limit for the imagination and it can be a great option for the artistic minded couples. Since loose stones are still a high dollar item, it is important to get as much information as possible before making this beautiful purchase.
Benefits of Buying Loose Diamonds
- Loose stones are often less expensive than buying a ring “off the rack” but it is important to remember labor and setting costs, which can add up quickly.
- Design and create a one-of-a-kind engagement ring to celebrate a couple’s unique love.
- Viewing the loose diamond gives the couple an opportunity to see the gem in a more natural and less distracting manner.
Things to Consider Before Picking Out Loose Diamonds
It’s a good idea to have a sense of the design you envision before buying loose diamonds. For instance, if you are leaning towards a bezel (level) setting, you will be able to take advantage of how it can hide small imperfections that would otherwise stand out in a prong setting. Another consideration is the color grade of the stone. A lower-grade diamond with a slightly yellow tint can be accentuated if it is in a yellow gold setting whereas the same stone could appear more sparkling white against a platinum, palladium or white gold setting.
Viewing Loose Diamonds at the Store
- It is critical that you shop at reputable stores in order to ensure the stone has a grading certificate from the GIA. Prior to heading to the store, print out a copy of the 4 Cs and a diamond grading chart to take with you. If shopping online, bookmark a link with all the important diamond grading info. By having a little information under your belt, you can avoid much of the sales talk and confusion that typically surrounds buying diamonds.
- Generally, loose diamonds will be shown in individualized transparent containers with a white background to best showcase the actual color of the stone. Do not hesitate to ask the merchant to take the stones out of their case for careful inspection. Most (if not all) stores will have a jewelers magnifying glass, loupe and other tools available for you to examine each stone in detail.
- Ask to check the stone against a “master comparison set”, also sometimes called a “master color set”. This should have been previously graded by the GIA and will allow you to compare the stones and get a baseline of quality expectations.
Your local jewelry stores may have a good selection of loose stones, but to save money you may want to look at well-known online jewelry stores such as Blue Nile, James Allen, Diamond on Net, Stuller and the NY Diamond Exchange.