As consumers, we've developed a habit of wanting the very best product we can buy. Well when it comes to buying loose diamonds, getting the "best" diamond can be a little more difficult. It would often require a large budget.
But, you can still get an incredible diamond that fits within your budget. It's all about understanding the factors that determine a loose diamond's price as well as some tips and tricks to saving some money while still getting a beautiful stone.
We understand that for most people, getting the most for your money is very important. So we've come up with a list of 7 tips that can help you save money when you buy loose diamonds.
1) Compare color grades with your own eyes
Do you want to pay more for a feature that you can't even notice? Most likely not. That's why we recommend that before you buy a diamond, you compare a few stones in person and figure out what color grade looks white to your eyes and where you can start to notice a brown or yellow tint.
All certified diamonds are given a color grade by independent labs, like GIA (Gemologist Institute of America), based on how much color is present in the stone. A white or colorless diamond is the rarest and the most desired, then as the grades get lower, more color is present in the stone (usually yellow or brown colors). To understand more about how diamonds are graded based on color, click here.
Some people are better at spotting any color present in a diamond, and it will bother them. Others are more comfortable with a lower color grade. Buying a diamond that is a grade before you notice a tint will ensure that the stone still looks beautiful. It can potentially help you save a lot of money as well, because the less color in a stone, the more expensive it is!
2) Consider sizes that are just short of major thresholds
As diamonds get larger, the price difference between sizes gets larger as well. This means that the cost to upgrade from a 1 carat diamond to a 1.5 carat diamond is less than the cost that upgrading a 2 carat diamond to a 2.5 carat diamond would be. This is because these large stones are more rare, and people are willing to pay a larger amount per carat to get a diamond of this stature.
When you are deciding what size you would like your diamond to be, one money saving trick is to shop just short of major size thresholds. Carat weights such as 1.0, 2.0, etc. are all levels that you can expect the price per carat of your stone to increase substantially. Shopping short of these (such as 0.9 carats) is a great way to avoid the price increase, and in many cases, you won't even notice that the stone is any smaller.
3) Remember that prongs can be used to hide inclusions
Many diamond engagement rings use metals prongs to hold the center stone in place. These prongs wrap around the diamond to keep it secure, but can also be used to hide any blemishes or inclusions on the diamond itself. If you have a diamond with an inclusion near the edge of the stone, it may be possible to cover the imperfection with a prong.
The inclusion may still be visible from some angles, but this does a great job at keeping it out of direct sight and out of mind. Just like with diamond color, diamond clarity is rated on a grading scale as well. A "flawless" diamond is one that has no blemishes or inclusions, and lower grades will have more of these present. As you can image, a flawless diamond would be very expensive. So, a good way to save some money would be to get a diamond with a lower clarity grade, but one where you can hide these blemishes or inclusions with prongs.
4) Mount the diamond in a white metal
As you read in the first tip, shopping for a diamond with a lower color grade can save you serious money. Well you should also know that the appearance of a diamond's color can be impacted by the ring itself.
White metals such as platinum or white gold reflect their white color into the diamond, and as a result, the stone can appear to be a color grade one or two higher than it really is. This would allow you to get a stone that might have more color present, saving you some money by allowing you to get a diamond with a lower color grade. Mounting your ring in yellow gold, on the other hand, can sometimes reflect the yellow color into your stone.
5) Consider a princess cut diamond
Princess cut diamonds are the most popular "fancy cut" diamond, and the second most popular shape for engagement rings. This can be credited to the princess cuts' square shape which is easily recognizable and able to be mounted into most engagement ring settings that you'll find on the market today.
The real benefit to the princess cut however, is that it uses more of the raw diamond material than the round cut diamond does when polishing and creating the finished diamond. Since less of the raw diamond has to be cut away, the per carat cost of a princess cut can be up to 20-30% cheaper than a round brilliant. So if getting a large stone is important to you, this is a great way to do that while staying within your budget.
6) Know the difference between a flawless and an "eye clean" diamond
As we've mentioned, flawless diamonds are diamonds that have no inclusions or blemishes? But to be more specific, a flawless diamond is one that has no visible inclusions at 10x magnification. An "eye clean" diamond, on the other hand, is any diamond that has no visible inclusions when viewed by the naked eye.
Now to some people, having as few imperfections as possible is important. With that being said, you can save a lot of money and have no visible difference (to the naked eye) in your diamond's clarity when you buy one that is "eye clean" as opposed to flawless. So unless you plan on pulling out a magnifying glass every time you want to admire your diamond, this is a great option to consider.
7) Look at the diamond in person before you buy
I've given you a lot of tips on how to save money while shopping for a diamond, but I want to stress how important it is to go and see the diamond in person. Small differences like a slight shade of yellow or an inclusion being more visible than you had thought can be hard to see when viewing a diamond online. Keep in mind that we recommend finding a diamond with great proportions, which means great sparkle and is impossible to fully judge based on "paper" (i.e. the certificate).
Sure the previous tips are great for saving you money, but if you're opting for a lower grade on one or more of a diamond's qualities, you should verify that these grades don't ruin the diamond for you. It's great to save money, but having a beautiful diamond that you are happy with is the most important thing.