Diamonds make a great investment, but you shouldn’t make your investment blindly. To avoid overpaying for diamonds, you have to know how much an individual diamond is truly worth. And while it’s popular to judge a diamond’s price based on its carat weight, size isn’t everything in the world of investment diamonds. A 3 carat diamond with visible inclusions might not be worth as much as a flawless 2 carat stone.
It’s important to understand how diamonds are evaluated, certified, and sold in order to know if your purchase makes the grade for investment purposes. The characteristics that determine a diamond’s value are the 4Cs—carat, clarity, color, and cut.
Understand the 4Cs of Diamonds
The 4Cs were pioneered as a way to standardize diamond grading by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). “GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight,” explains the GIA. “Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world.”
Learning more about the 4Cs will help you understand how a diamond is described by jewelers and jewelry retailers, so that you can get the right price for the diamonds you purchase and know that they will increase in value as a good investment.
The 4Cs of diamonds are…
- Color: Graded from D-Z, ratings indicate everything from colorless (D-F grades) to light coloring (S-Z grades). If a jeweler tells you a diamond is an F grade, but it has a yellow tint, walk away.
- Cut: Most diamonds have 5 cut grades, from excellent to poor. Cut is vital, since it determines the brilliance and fire (the “sparkle”) of the diamond.
- Carat: Carat weight is the primary indicator of size in a diamond and makes the biggest impact on price—though there are exceptions. For instance, you can pay less for a diamond with a carat weight of 0.97, as opposed to a one-carat diamond, which is the same size to the eye.
- Clarity: This 4Cs characteristic is graded from Flawless (the best) to Included (not so great). But understanding clarity differences can make a big difference in value. A Slightly Included (SI1 or SI2) diamond is cheaper than a Very Slightly Included (VS1 or VS2) diamond, but to the naked eye, there is no difference.
Ensure Diamonds are GIA Certified
If you’re familiar with the 4Cs, you’ll also be more savvy when it comes to reading a diamond’s certification. Given that the GIA is considered the global authority on all gems, you should always ask your jeweler, whether online or at a brick and mortar store, if their diamonds are GIA certified. GIA certification will help your investment stone retain its value by ensuring its quality.
These certifications evaluate the diamond based on the 4Cs (and sometimes other key characteristics as well) to create a “blueprint” of the diamond’s quality and value.
Types of GIA certificates include…
- Diamond Grading Report: This gives you a full 4Cs assessment, along with a plotted clarity diagram. This report covers loose diamonds with D-Z color grades with a carat weight of 0.15 carats or more.
- Diamond Dossier: The GIA Dossier provides a full 4Cs assessment for D-Z color grades with carat weights between 0.15-1.99 carats.
- Diamond eReport: The eReport is an online-only report with a full 4Cs assessment and image for loose D-Z color graded diamonds between 0.15 and 2.99 carats
- Diamond Focus Report: This is another online report covering the 4Cs for select diamonds under .40 carats.
Buy Your Diamonds Loose
By purchasing your diamond loose, you avoid not only overpaying for the stone, but also potentially overpaying for the band, setting, or even other gems that aren’t necessary for your investment. If your insurance company requires that the stone be set, you can buy a ring (or other setting) separately, or even create a custom design. The safest way to store an investment diamond is in a safe deposit box to prevent wear from damaging your investment.
Buying loose diamonds is also easier than ever. Online retailers provide consumers with easy comparisons on loose diamonds that be done from the comfort of your own home.
Buy Your Diamonds Online
Buying your diamonds online is probably one of the biggest ways to avoid overpaying for diamonds. In fact, you can save up to 20 to 30 percent on your purchase, giving you the highest possible return on the investment. And the bigger the diamond, often times, the bigger the difference.
Many online retail jewelers have tens of thousands of diamonds to choose from. These platforms are also set up to make your consumer experience as easy and informative as possible. Many provide pictures, video, and GIA certifications for you to review before making your purchase. Plus you save time driving, parking, walking, and dealing with hovering salespeople working on commission.
At Brilliance you can browse diamonds by your unique taste, preferences, and budget with no pressure to buy. Get real value from your diamond buying experience and find the perfect investment diamond at Brilliance.com.