How to buy a diamond engagement ring?
This question became typical for every young man considering proposing. Actually, this particular question is not problematic. The problem is that it contains three other questions:
1. Where to buy it?
2. How to choose the diamond?
3. How much should it cost?
And there is one most critical question that you apply to each one of those three questions is :
How not be fooled?
The "headache" usually comes here. Well, you should definitely know something. It does not matter where you purchase your engagement ring: online, at a jewelry store just behind the corner, or from some company at Diamond Exchange. You will be fooled in any place if you don't know three simple rules.
Just like every person has an ID or Driver's License for identification, all quality diamonds have a diamond grading certificate. For example, if you want to identify a person and ask for his ID or Driver's License, you don't want to see the fake one. You want to see the original one - the same as the diamonds. There are hundreds of gemological laboratories globally, but only a few of them are reliable.
So, the first rule is always to ask for GIA-certified diamonds only!
If the Seller offers you a "beautiful" diamond for the "good" price or with a "huge discount," but without a GIA certificate or with a certificate of some other "well known," "international," or "independent" gemological laboratory – turn around and walk out the door. If that's what you did - congratulations, you just saved yourself from being scammed. Why? Because 98% of the so-called "gemological laboratories" on the market were created to serve not the customers but indecent diamond and jewelry traders, helping them get higher prices for lower quality diamonds by "upgrading" diamonds' characteristics. It sounds crazy, but it is true. Usually, the Seller will try to convince you to stay by telling you one of the following fairytales:
1. GIA certificates are too expensive!
Bullshit. GIA and not-GIA "laboratory" certificate costs might usually differ up to $30-40 maximum for a one-carat diamond. I remind you that you are going to pay five-six thousand dollars for the excellent quality one-carat diamond. You are not going to believe that $30 matters, are you?
2. GIA does not accept the diamond check of less than 1-carat weight!.
Nonsense! You can easily find GIA-certified diamonds from 0.20 carat on the market. GIA certificate is a must-have for polished diamonds from 0.40-carat weight and up with excellent symmetry, polish, and cut grades.
3. It takes too long for GIA to issue the diamonds' grading report.
It's not true. Jewelers come to diamond exchange to buy a ready-to-set diamond. It is up to the jeweler to buy a diamond with or without a certificate. The duration of certification is not the jewelers' concern but of the diamonds manufacturer.
4. GIA "underestimates" the parameters of the diamonds.
It's a lie. It was GIA who created and invented modern diamond grading standards that we all use. They cannot "underestimate" or "over-grade" the diamonds.
If indecent persons will tell you fairytales to steal your money, it doesn't mean that you have to believe it.
I guess your next question is if there are any other gemological laboratories you can trust? Yes, sure. There are several reliable gemological laboratories, but their diamond grading reports are not widely represented on the market. Gemological laboratories like HRD, SSEF (Swiss gemological institute), TGL, or any Japanese gem lab are represented mainly at the local markets, can be trusted as correct and accurate graded. So, if you want to be sure that no one fools you, remember rule number One - ask for a diamond with a GIA certificate! Whether you buy your diamond engagement ring, online or offline – ask for a GIA-certified diamond!
Now let's talk about the second question: How to choose the diamond?
Rule number two - Triple Excellent. No matter what Color, Clarity, or Carat weight you want to choose, always look for Triple "Ex" - Excellent Symmetry, Excellent Polish, and Excellent Cut grades in a certificate. We love diamonds, not because of it's color and clarity, but because of the beautiful sparkling or play of light and colors inside the stone. Regular glass is colorless and clean too well, but no one is ready to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of standard glass set in an engagement ring. We want the diamond to sparkle and shine and not to be just colorless and transparent. If you would like to sell or upgrade your stone in the future, no diamond dealer will succeed in reducing half of its value, telling you fairytales that something in your stone is not good enough. Even if you, as a non-professional, can hardly see the difference between Excellent and Very Good diamond grades, the professional will see it immediately. With a Triple "Ex" diamond, no one will fool you. Not now, not in the future. Even if you have to save on the engagement ring, I advise you to get the stone with the lower Color or Clarity grades, but stick to Excellent Symmetry, Polish and Cut grades!
Now, how to choose the diamonds' Color and Clarity? It's easy! First of all, ask yourself: "What color of metal do you want for your engagement ring?" If you want a White gold engagement ring – you don't have any other option, but look for D, E, F, G, or H colors only! Yes, their prices are higher, but lower Colors ( I to L ) will look easily noticeable on the white metal background. You will quickly see the ugly yellowish tint in the diamond, and you don't want your fiancé to notice it.
If you are ready for a Yellow, Pink, or Rose gold engagement ring, lower diamond colors like I, J, K, and even L are perfect for your choice. Those diamonds look up three (usually two) grades whiter, set in Yellow, Pink, or Rose gold due to the yellowish-red colored background of the engagement ring. The tints of I - K colors set in diamonds are hardly noticeable in Yellow, Pink, or Rose gold. This small professional secret may help you save a good amount of money on another matter and still get a fabulous ring.
The Fluorescence grade has to be "None." I can explain why, but it will take time, and there are more essential things to discuss. Strong fluorescence can make your diamond look milky and unattractive. Just believe me, please. Fluorescence has to be "None."
The Clarity. From Flawless to SI1, you can choose the clarity grade of the diamond by yourself, relying on your budget only because you will not see diamonds' inclusion and clarity imperfections by the naked eye without ten times magnifying loupe. As to SI2 and I1 grades, you can ask to choose it pro, but only the person you trust. Why? SI2 and I1 diamonds can be ugly included in the center or just with several noticeable inclusions on the sides of a diamond that can be hidden under the claws of the engagement ring. About lower clarity grades - do not approach the clarity of I2 and I3, please! The low price is not worth it.
The last of three questions you ask yourself about buying an engagement ring is how much it should cost? The engagement ring price consists of the price of the diamond and the price of the setting.
The setting. Well, it is up to your taste and your budget. Simple Solitaire engagement ring settings without side stones may cost you from $200-300 and up. Heavier and more sophisticated Side-stones or Halo diamond engagement ring set with many small diamonds may cost up to $5,000-6,000, depending on the metal's weight and the diamonds.
The price of a diamond. How much to pay for it? What would be the fair price? It is easy. There is a Rapaport price list for perfectly polished diamonds. You may find it online; if you can't find it – talk to me. If the Seller asks for an excellent cut diamond, the price of Rapaport price list – it is a fair price. If the asked price is much higher – bargain with the Seller or go and look for another one.
Now you know how to buy your diamond engagement ring safely:
1. Ask for GIA-certified diamonds only.
2. Ask for "Triple Ex" – excellent symmetry, excellent polish, and excellent cut grade only. The fluorescence should be None.
3. Don't pay the price much higher than the Rapaport price list.
Keep in mind one more thing, please: your LOVE is worth much more than a ring. My sincere congratulations!
PS: If you still have questions to ask, don't hesitate – I would be glad to answer!