When buying a diamond ring, regardless if it’s a well-thought birthday present, an engagement ring for your significant other, or simply an exquisite piece of jewelry meant for yourself, it should never be taken lightly.
Diamonds are meant to last forever, and it is, therefore, natural to ask yourself, how do I buy a diamond ring without getting duped?
How can you be certain that you are getting exactly what you wanted and all that for a fair price?
There are several things you should consider, especially if you are looking to buy that perfect ring with a natural diamond, such as how can you tell if a diamond is lab-grown?
Fortunately for you, we have compiled a list of points you should get yourself acquainted with before choosing a girl’s best friend that will dazzle everyone you come across.
Let’s dive right in and see what we have in store for you!
Always Use Reputable Sources
The diamond ring business is as huge as ever which is not strange considering just how much money is involved. As such, it makes a fertile ground for scammers and fraudsters alike.
Whether you are purchasing diamonds in person or online, keep in mind that you should only shop with reputable businesses. When buying diamond rings, or any other jewelry for that matter, always try to vet the source i.e. the seller you are buying from.
There are several tricks that unethical jewelers use to rip you off and you should definitely memorize these before you decide on purchasing anything.
1. Fiddling With Prices
Be wary of wholesale sales and huge discounts. It isn’t difficult to imagine how something must be wrong when an expensive diamond engagement ring is suddenly being sold for a fraction of the price.
There is a reason diamonds are expensive and it must raise at least a couple of red flags when an already dubious store displays signs such as a 50-75% discount on diamond rings.
The rather obvious trick here is that the prices have previously been artificially inflated and are now on a seemingly unbelievable discount.
Do not let this cheap trick fool you as the price of a properly evaluated diamond is more or less the same across all stores and will rarely (if ever) be sold for a tenth of the evaluated price.
2. Bait and Switch
The so-called “Bait and switch” technique is another in the dishonest jeweler’s arsenal.
The way it works is that you make a payment for a reasonably priced diamond ring you saw within the store just to get a call that the ring you picked is no longer available along with an offer for a ring that is far more expensive.
The payment you’ve made for the initial diamond ring is now counted as store credit and is rarely redeemable. This is a way of forcing you to buy something well over the budget you have previously set up for this purchase.
You can negate this trap by buying only from respectable sellers and by not paying for the goods until you have received them. Furthermore, true jewelers and shops will often have a money-back guarantee nevertheless.
3. Investing in Diamonds
Diamond rings do sound like a sound investment but counterintuitively they rarely are. You should never fall for the sweet-talking advice of buying a diamond ring because it is a wise investment for the future.
An honest jeweler will seldom advise you to buy a diamond ring just because of its immense resale value. This is because they know that in reality, a diamond ring will retain 30-40% of its price at best.
If you are actually interested in investing in diamonds you should perhaps consider investing in stocks concerning diamond mines or large jewelry-making companies such as ALROSA, De Beers, or Rio Tinto Diamonds.
Certification is basically the diamond’s identity card and tells you all about its color, clarity, cut rating, and similar characteristics. More on this topic, the famous 4Cs that define a certain diamond, is in the next part of this article.
Apart from the characteristics, proper certification is good enough proof that the diamond you’re looking at is in fact real and authentic.
If you are in doubt about the fact whether the diamond in question is at all real or not, just remember there are techniques to determine whether the diamond you’re looking at is real or not.
Never accept anything that has not been graded by a respectable gemological institute. There are two institutes that are revered as the foremost experts when it comes to diamonds:
There are a lot of third-party laboratories which grade diamonds, but serious sellers will only consider those graded by the aforementioned two institutes.
The reason why certain sellers are insistent on having someone else’s certification is that they are in fact trying to scam you to buy an inferior diamond for a price of a high-level one.
Never accept uncertified diamonds regardless of the price or their alleged characteristics. It is those characteristics that mainly decide the price of a diamond and should always come from a certified grading report.
Experienced diamond traders will surely tell you about one of the most obnoxious phrases in the retail business: “You are here to buy a diamond ring, not a piece of paper.”
This kind of sentence usually comes with a surprisingly low price for the ring but is actually a way of saying that this diamond is of such inferior quality that it couldn’t be certified nor sold otherwise.
The bottom line is – never buy a diamond that does not have the proper certification!
Diamond Grading Characteristics – The Famous 4CS
As we have mentioned earlier, all diamonds are graded when certified according to four of their characteristics which interestingly enough all start with the letter C – the famous 4Cs.
You should try and learn these characteristics so that you can properly read a grading report and so that jeweler talk doesn’t sound like technical mumbo-jumbo to you.
More importantly, the state of the characteristics, their level, is what determines the quality and in turn the price of any diamond.
The 4Cs of a diamond are as follows: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat and we shall delve into them so that you can get more details and in turn have a much more educated guess about the true price of a diamond.
The cut is widely considered as the most important of the lot as it directly influences how much a diamond sparkles. You must have heard about well-cut diamonds, and this is exactly what you’ve been hearing about.
Well-cut diamonds truly shine and sparkle, whereas poorly cut ones have a dull, low reflective surface. Without getting too technical – it is all about the light shining through the crown of the diamond. The grading of a diamond cut most often contains five grades and ranges from Excellent to Poor.
If we do not count extremely rare cases, all natural diamonds are colorless. However, natural diamonds are in most cases not entirely colorless as their color usually ranges from having an icy white hue all the way to having a light yellow color.
Truly colorless diamonds are the rarest and therefore the most expensive. On the other end of the spectrum are the yellow diamonds which are most often found and are the cheapest.
The grading report uses letters from D to Z to define the color of a diamond with D through F being colorless and S through Z being a very light yellow.
Clarity is a characteristic that in layman’s terms describes the number of imperfections and impurities within a diamond. The impurities are actually tiny markings visible on the diamond itself.
The grading scale for clarity goes from Flawless (usually abbreviated to FL) which is by far the rarest as less than 1% of diamonds are flawless.
All the other types determine the amount of these tiny marks that are found on a diamond. The least desirable one is called Included 3 (I3) but is the most commonly found one.
The last of the four defines the diamond’s weight. Naturally, this is the one people get most preoccupied with even though all the characteristics influence the price almost identically.
After all, we all want the biggest stone our money can buy so how to tell the weight of the diamond from the grade report?
The carats are divided into points with one carat equaling 100 points so that ½ carat is going to be 50 points, 2 carats is going to be 200 points, and so on.
Now that you can speak the basic language of diamonds you are ready to go on and intelligently buy a diamond ring for that special occasion.
Making Sure You’ve Got the Real Thing
Diamond certification is one thing but considering the amount of money involved you would want to be certain that you’re holding a real diamond in your hands. Doing an impromptu test then and there is recommended but being absolutely positive is on another level itself.
Knowing the 4Cs empowers you to know all about the diamond’s features but it doesn’t give you the knowledge of discerning between a real and a fake diamond.
The best way to go about this is to bring a diamond tester, which is a device that can easily fit inside your pocket and can give you a clear answer on the spot.
Another way of dealing with uncertainty when buying diamonds is to hire a diamond expert to accompany you and give their expert opinion on the diamond you have set your eyes on.
Related Read: Diamond Buying Guide: How to Choose a Diamond?
Never forget that the most beautiful diamond rings are the ones that were given and received with love. That being said, it is important to know how to buy a diamond ring without getting duped or swindled into buying a low-grade, or even worse a fake diamond ring.
Avoid dealing with shifty characters as diamond rings aren’t something you buy every day. Remember to be wary of sudden discounts and those “unbelievable once in a lifetime sales”. If the price is too good to be true, go with your hunch because it probably is.
Always ask for the certificate and if one is not produced, do not feel ashamed to simply say thank you and walk away. Especially now that you know how to read the reports from the certificates!
Use the knowledge you now have about diamonds and what makes some of them so exquisite and expensive to your advantage. We wish you luck in finding that ring that will perfectly emphasize your feelings and intentions, and we hope our little article helps you in your endeavors.
Learn More: Which Brand Is The Best For A Diamond Ring?