Diamond-Buying Hacks That'll Save You Money—and Get You More Diamond
Diamonds are in demand, and, amid a pandemic, they’re proving to be a woman’s (and man’s) best friend. As people have rolled back their travel and social plans, they’ve been spending their money on fine jewelry, and it shows. During June, July, and August of 2020, jewelry retail sales grew by $1 billion1. A large number of those sales were engagement rings, a reflection of the many proposals that took place even as the world seemed to come to a pause.
Perhaps it’s because of the significant global changes taking place that people have turned to diamonds: they’re timeless, providing their wearers with beauty and elegance no matter what happens in the world. If you desire memorable, timeless pieces of jewelry to wear to your Zoom gatherings and online meetings, it may be time to buy yourself some diamonds; plus, Valentine’s day is just around the corner so there’s that.
Whether you’re shopping for a V-day gift, engagement ring or treating yourself to something nice, it’s smart to know what to look for as you peruse online sites or retail stores for your perfect purchase. With a few tips and some know-how, you can shop for diamonds like a jeweler and get the best deal on the diamond of your dreams.
Before you begin shopping for diamonds, it helps to set a spending limit. Once you have your spending limit, shop around on different sites to see what the price range is for your budget—retailers like White Flash and Brian Gavin have wide selections that can give you a better idea of what you’re looking for. Also make sure that the retailers and jewelers you shop with have a return policy that allows you to return or exchange your purchase. Not only will it allow you to check with independent appraisers to make sure you’re getting a quality diamond (for big buys), it will also give you time to ensure that you’re completely happy with your purchase.
Best Diamond Bargaining Practices
Many people don’t know that they can bargain for jewelry—not only is it an option, but it is also an effective way to strike a great deal for high quality pieces.
Before bargaining, do some research on what diamonds you’re looking for, and look at the price range. Your best bet is to have some knowledge so you come off as an understated expert; if the jeweler suspects you are in the know, you’re more likely to strike a better deal.
Here are some tips to act the part of a seasoned buyer:
- Refrain from buying when you first walk through the doors of the jewelry store. Research similar pieces that you’re interested in, and quote lower but realistic prices that you’ve seen.
- Keep bargaining, and do it consistently. Choose a diamond to bargain for, and come back and keep naming your price. Many jewelers may get worn out if you keep returning, and sell you a nice piece at your price.
- Pick up some simple skills: you can learn to use a loupe (a small magnifying glass used by jewelers), use tweezers, clean a gem with a diamond cloth, and inspect a diamond, and you can practice these at a jewelry store without making a purchase.
- Always have big purchases (over $1,000) appraised by a reputable independent appraiser, and mention that appraiser’s name before purchasing. It ensures that your purchase is worth the money, and that the jeweler will be much more truthful about the piece you’re interested in; ultimately, this puts the jeweler’s reputation at stake.
Know The Four C's
When shopping for diamonds, know the four C’s: cut, color, clarity, and carat. The quadruple C’s cover different aspects of a diamond that are important factors in determining its quality and beauty. After all, there’s no point in paying top dollar for a quality diamond that is dull and unappealing.
The most important aspect of the diamond, its cut, points to how well a diamond is cut and polished, as well as its proportions, symmetry, and depth. The cut significantly affects a diamond’s beauty and overall appeal: with the right cut, diamonds reflect light brilliantly and achieve maximum sparkle. To get a beautiful gem at the best value, prioritize the cut of the diamond: the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades cut on a scale from Excellent to Poor. Once you’ve picked your cut, it’ll be much easier to choose from the rest of the C’s.
Color refers to how white or colorless a diamond is. The whiter and more colorless a diamond is, the more brilliantly it shines. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t get the whitest diamond because it’s more important that the diamond looks colorless compared to the piece of jewelry on which it’s set. Also make sure that the diamond you end up purchasing is free of any tinting that prevents white light reflections. After all, the light reflected gives a diamond its alluring sparkle.
After looking at the cut and color of your diamond, inspect it for its clarity. Clarity points to how free a diamond is of inclusions and blemishes, internally and externally. These minor imperfections can affect a diamond’s ability to let light pass through it. It’s most important that a diamond is “eye-clean," meaning when you look at it with your naked eye, it should look free of imperfections. As long as you like the cut, find the cheapest eye-clean diamond available to get the extra bang for your buck.
Contrary to what many may think, carat refers to the weight, not the size of the diamond. Weight doesn’t guarantee size. You may come across two diamonds of the same carat weight that look noticeably different in size. When selecting the carat weight of a diamond, you’re better off prioritizing quality over weight: it’s better to pick a smaller, stunning diamond rather than a dull, larger one.
Here’s a shortcut for using the four C’s to get the best deal: as you shop for diamonds, prioritize the cut, then strike a balance between the color and clarity. This guarantees that you’ll keep in mind the most important aspects of a diamond, while still taking into account your budget.
How to Buy Diamonds Like a Jeweler
When buying diamonds, it pays to be thorough about your purchases. Check diamonds that are set in their respective jewelry pieces, as they can be placed in a way that hides major imperfections, like cracks or blemishes. You can always ask the jeweler to pull the stone out of its piece for a closer look, as any skilled jeweler can inlay the piece again.
Look at diamonds away from the sunlight: any diamond that has been cleaned will sparkle brilliantly in the sun, so looking at the diamond under the halogen light is a better bet. Even if the diamond you’re purchasing is certified, double check with the jeweler to see that the weight, imperfections, cut, and measurements are exactly what is listed to avoid buying a diamond with a forged certificate.
Look for Certification
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the most for your money is to check for the certification of your diamond, either through the American Gem Society (AGS) or Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The AGS and GIA are two reputable institutes that many jewelers recommend.
Beyond certification, one of the easiest ways to ensure that you have a high quality diamond to buy it from a reputable vendor that is known for its diamonds. Retailers including James Allen and Blue Nile are known for their quality diamonds and have great return policies and customer service, making the shopping experience easier.
Buy Diamonds at Wholesale Prices
If you’re really set on getting a bargain, you can go to the diamond or jewelry district of a major city to buy it from a wholesaler. When buying from a wholesaler, you’ll be buying the diamonds loose, meaning diamonds that are not yet mounted on a piece of jewelry. You can always go to a jeweler to design a piece and mount your chosen diamond on it.
Acting like a seasoned buyer and knowing the four C’s really comes into play when dealing with wholesalers. You’ll be able to negotiate the price, but know that wholesalers are accustomed to interacting with professionals. If you play your cards right, you can get amazing deals on loose diamonds. When buying wholesale, bring bills, as wholesalers often only take cold hard cash.
There are many ways to strike deals on diamonds with the right know-how. By preparing yourself and acting the part of a seasoned buyer, you can negotiate the price of your purchases as close to wholesale prices as possible. You don’t have to be an expert to shop for gems, and you really can have it all: the satisfaction of a great deal, coupled with the joy of owning a stunning diamond.