If you’re like many men just starting off in life and in love, buying a diamond with a limited budget can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, this process is made manageable if you’ve read what the experts have to say about how to save big on a small budget. There are a lot of misconceptions out there that add to the stress of diamond buying. Some have partial truths and other misconceptions should be ignored altogether. Keep reading to find out what these are and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Think Outside of the (Ring) Box
1. To get the most for your money, try thinking outside of the typical norm and open up your mind to different possibilities you might not have previously considered. For instance, a setting with a smaller center diamond can be made to appear glamorous, large and stylish if used in a halo setting. A halo setting is one that has dozens or even hundreds of tiny diamonds surrounding the center stone, creating a dazzling display of sparkle. It is a setting that demands to be noticed and appears larger than it’s one or two carat counterparts. A bonus is that the tiny diamonds are extremely inexpensive, sometimes as cheap as cubic zirconia believe it or not! Why? Because these tiny diamond chips are the excess from larger diamonds in the cutting process. They are then cut and used in micro pave, pave or halo settings. The quality does not need to be nearly as good as it would with larger stones because they are not under individual scrutiny. Be sure to get the lowest price possible and do some negotiating at the store. Remember, the diamond chips used in halo settings aren’t valuable and can even be replace with cz to save additional money.
2. Another great option is to choose a non-traditional shaped stone such as an oval, marquise or pear cut. What these do is elongate the look of a stone and make it appear larger than a typical round or square cut. They can be affordable and you can find something within the 0.50 carat range for a reasonable price. Even better? Combine the oval, marquise or pear cut stone with a halo setting to get the most bang for your buck.
3. We all know that bigger is generally better when it comes to buying a diamond, but if a 2 carat ring is not in the mix right now, don’t worry. You can always upgrade later. How? Get a diamond simulant for the center stone until you can afford a larger rock. Replace the simulant later down the road and you’ve just saved yourself thousands. Simulants are getting so good at mimicking a diamond that these days women are getting more and more comfortable with the idea—especially if the setting is gold or platinum.
More Tips on Buying a Diamond Tips from the GIA
Here are some more tips courtesy of the the reputable GIA’s website to help:
Do the research: Familiarity with the 4Cs of diamond quality is a crucial element in speaking the language of diamonds. Every diamond can be described by these attributes, which when taken together, help to determine the diamond’s overall quality and value:
- Carat: Diamonds are weighed in metric carats. Two carats weigh about the same as a small paper clip.
- Clarity: Created by nature under tremendous heat and pressure, nearly all diamonds contain unique internal characteristics called “inclusions” and external characteristics called “blemishes.” Many clarity characteristics are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained gemologist.
- Color: Truly colorless diamonds are very rare and highly valued. GIA uses letters to represent colors, beginning with D (colorless) and ending at Z (light yellow or brown).
- Cut: While diamonds can be fashioned into different shapes, the term “cut” refers to a diamond’s complex relationship with light. A number of factors influence a diamond’s cut grade, including its overall face-up appearance, design and craftsmanship.
Choose a qualified jeweler: Consumers should select a jeweler as carefully as they would a doctor, lawyer or any other trained professional. Find someone who is credentialed, such as a GIA Graduate Gemologist. Take note of their affiliations with jewelry industry groups and professional associations.
Ask for an independent diamond grading report: A diamond grading report details the gemological quality of the diamond. It tells whether the stone is natural or synthetic, if it has been treated – and how, and its quality rankings in each of the 4Cs. Verification of information contained in any GIA diamond grading report can be attained by going to Report Check, GIA’s secure online database, or by accessing it directly through the GIA 4Cs app.
Keep the purchase secure: Have the diamond appraised and insured. A diamond grading report is the independent assessment of quality; while an appraisal gives a monetary value. A personal message or the report number can be laser-inscribed on the diamond’s outer edge, called the girdle, to help identify it if it’s ever lost or stolen.
Purchase the stone loose and have the ring set later: If someone is unsure what their future fiancé prefers in a ring, one option is to purchase a loose diamond and decide on the mounting together later. Make sure to have the loose stone graded.
Consider the alternatives: Colored gemstones and pearls make unique and memorable alternatives for celebrating special occasions. With the union of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Jessica Simpson and Carrie Underwood, colored gemstones are increasingly popular in the engagement ring world. Consumers should look for independent reports for colored gemstones and pearls, also available through GIA.