Diamond Boot Camp?

  1. Hey all,

    So I've been poking around the internet and the forums trying to teach myself about diamonds. I'm kind of embarrassed to say I have no clue what to look for. I really wasn't into jewelery until recently nor had I ever really thought about engagement rings or anything like that. Now I'm at the point where I really want to learn about diamonds so I can decide what I want :tup:.

    I've read articles about the 4 C's but I was hoping that all you folks could tell me what you think the most important characteristics are and how YOU pick your diamonds. Articles are great, but I'd love to hear what you guys think. I really am quite clueless when it comes to this. I've read all the e-ring threads I can get my hands on but I'm still kind of confused. Then I went to blue nile just to look at some prices and I have no clue what to pick!

  2. If you have not gone to pricescope.com, go there. I love jewelry period and am not in the market for an e-ring, but have learned a ton. They have all sorts of threads w/ ideal measurements, color and clarity questions, and tools to give you some input as to stones. But, if you are looking for a non traditional stone, like a radiant, I don't think the tools apply (?). I don't know if there are any concrete rules, KWIM? If you like colored stones, there is a lot of good info too.

    For example, some people like icy looking stones, D-E-F, but if I was in the market for a traditional e-ring, I'd look for G-H-I, and J, if there was a good cut and some florescence to make it look less yellow. But, I like the warmer colored diamonds, even K-M too. I love colored diamonds- a yellow radiant would be my ideal e-ring if that ever happens to me. I kind of break the traditional e-ring profile!

    Also- as to clarity, a lot of ppl will differ. I would even get an I-1/2 if the inclusions were not REALLY noticeable. I've seen some that the cuts, like a radiant or cushion, mask them more than something like an emerald cut would. I don't mind imperfections either, as long as they are not big carbon spots or take away from the stones. I also would not pay for IF, VVS or VS anything. I would look for an SI1-2, that was eye clean, to maximize the money for a larger stone. However, many ppl will differ from me and to them, the specs, esp. clarity, are so important and they want VS2 or above.

    My diamond studs that are 1 carat, I would do over though if I could. I got a deal, $350, they are I, but have visible carbon inclusions near the prongs. I still love them, but if I could do over, I would.
  3. I agree, go to pricescope.com, they have some Forums like we have here that can school you about diamonds in one day!

    The majority of people will rank cut highest, if a diamond isn't cut right, it doesn't matter how clear or what color it is it will not sparkle like one that is cut right.
    I do not care about completely colorless diamonds personally. IRL you can't really even tell a difference between a D or an F, I'd go up to an I easily. I have posted a few photos of J and K colors that look completely colorless.
    On clarity, it's just very important to me that I can't see any inclusions.
    On a day to day basis a VVS1 won't be any more impressive than a VS2 or in some cases a great SI1.
    So I shop for an Ideal or excellent cut in an F, G, H or I color personally and looks for a VS2 to SI1 clarity so I can go bigger w/o sacrificing beauty.

    Also, check out whiteflash.com, they have excellent customer service when you call, you'll get your own SA that can look at the exact stone you like and tell you if it's really good or not, if it's not they'll look through stock to find one that is.
  4. Do you mean you paid $350 (or $3500)? One carat total for both ears? Sorry but I'm shopping right now for one carat total for earrings and obviously if you paid $350 it must have been to a relative or friend.
  5. sparkle, sparkle, sparkle is very important!!! i'm one who likes colorless/near colorless diamonds, g is usually the highest i'll go. i don't like to see an inclusions, to the naked eye. i'd rather get a smaller stone that fits my criteria than to settle for something larger.

    when shopping for a natural stone, i think it's best to see in person. even certified stones can be miss-leading. plus, shopping around is fun, and you'll learn what you like and don't like.
  6. I agree! Pricescope.com has tons of good information. Also, the ads in Town and Country magazine are TDF. You can get a lot of ideas about cut and settings from looking at pictures.

    If you can, a visit to a nice and fairly large jewelry store such as Bailey Banks and Biddle might be helpful. You can look around and see what you like IRL, even if you decide to order on-line.

    Have fun! Once I started enjoying jewelry, I couldn't get enough. :girlsigh:
  7. Thanks all! I checked out pricescope real quick...looks awesome! So the closer the letter is to A means the less color it has, right? Do color and clarity go hand in hand? If a diamond is colorless does that necessarily mean it is clearer?
  8. No, 1 carat total weight, .5 in each ear. I went w/ a place that imports and manufactures in the Chicago area a few years ago. The diamonds were not graded/certified by the place, but were all matched, like normal studs are. I tried to pick the set that had the most sparkle and the least inclusions. My inclusions are near the prongs and one stud is much worse than the other. They were an impulse buy and I like them, but wish I had waited for a nicer pair. I will get a nicer pair one day that is like 1.5 or 2 carats. That's years though...

    I also got my mom a band ring that was 1 carat total for $600, uncertified and it appraised for $3,500 when she took it to her jeweler. You have to really see the things in person though b/c the clarity and color varied from each item. Her ring does have one stone that seems like it has a dark spot, but overall, for the money it sparkles a ton and she enjoys it, which is what counts, I think.
  9. D is the most colorless grade there is...there is no A-C. I personally wouldn't go lower than an H color, but it's really personal preference.

    I agree with a lot of what the other folks have said. For me, cut is the most important C, then color, then clarity..

    Additionally, I recommend sticking with diamonds graded by AGS or GIA. You can probably find some good deals on EGL diamonds, but be aware that often their grading is more lenient than AGS or GIA because they have labs all over the world and so they aren't as consistent with their grading. So a D color by EGL might be an E or F by AGS or GIA. This isn't always the case, but typically EGL graded diamonds aren't priced as expensive (and therefore have a lower resale/appraised value too).

    ETA - Color and Clarity are not related. You can have an O color diamond that is internally flawless, or conversely a D color diamond that has lots of inclusions.
  10. I wanted to add this to the prior post- for low cost, you DO make sacrifices. For example, cut, clarity, color OR all three.

    I.E.- I got this email offer today b/c I have ordered from here in the past:

    The stones are not certified and are estimated at I2-3. Possibly they look just fine IRL and are sparkly. Are they great quality, for sure, no. But, if they sparkle and appeal to someone, then they might work for him/her, KWIM?

    Your gut is right though- for certified stones that are colorless and eye clean you are going to pay MUCH more. But you are getting MUCH more, too. :yes:
  11. The lower the letter the less color it has. I believe the lowest letter is D. As one goes up the alphabet the color turns slightly to yellow then to more yellow. I'm not sure where a pink diamond comes in to it, but definitely, if you want a clear diamond, the lower letters are what you look for.

    As for clarity, that's rated differently. The most clear diamonds are "I" for insignificant. That means they almost no inclusions. Then, if I remember correctly, the scales goes to VVS1 and VVS2 for very, very slight inclusions. After that it's VS1 & VS2 for very slight inclusions and then I think it goes to S1 & S2. At some point the inclusions become visible to the naked eye, but I can't remember when that is.
  12. Its I1,I2 and I3 that are the range that are where you can see little lurkers!!!

    The D thing started as you used to get dealers marketing their stones as A grade,triple AAA grade color etc,so the diamond council stepped in and deemed it mis-leading (it is) and set the chart to run from D down to Z so that the general public could'nt be misled and mis-sold diamonds (not all bad De-Beers!!)

    And the ladies are right cut is your first port of call,the rest can be down to your buget and taste. Some people don't mind too much on color,and you can pick up some very beautiful I or J colored stones,that have a fantastic fire and life and will 'face up' very white indeed.

    I have also seen some quite included stones in my time grading,and with careful cutting and a sympathetic goldsmith some quite big blemishes can be cleverly hidden by claws and settings that improve the look of a stone dramatically and can keep it in buget too.
    Size is also a personal preference and an area that you can save your budget to help lift the other C's if you like.

    The only one not to compromise on tho is the cut.Its that C that is responsible for separating a good stone and a fantastic one. This again can be played with a little,but its much less forgiving,you don't necessarily have to go for the ultimate best,cuts have tolerances and as long as they are not stretched too far you can make a very savvy purchase.

    And most of all buy with your eyes,the most powerful tools you own!! And you will find that one stone above all others speaks an untranslatable language to your heart that defies any cert or recommendation,and if you find the one that truly makes your heart purr you've found your perfect stone. xxxxxxxxxxx
  13. The DH and I have been shopping for our 'upgrade' recently and I rather enjoyed this article on selecting the right E-ring from a GUY's point of view:


    It's so funny!! And kinda true (for me) in some ways....:p