Buying a diamond may be one of the trickiest of tasks a man (or woman) may face when it comes to the ritual of engagement; perhaps even more so than popping the question! It is important for the consumer to know and understand the many aspects of buying a diamond before browsing the internet or venturing off to the nearest jewelry store.
Prior to 1931, there was no accurate grading system to effectively reflect a fair price for a diamond, or any colored stone. For centuries, diamonds and gemstones were sourced and cut, but with no real way to measure the quality except for the weight. The Nineteenth Century introduced a cut that was similar to the old “mine cut” known as the European cut. Like the old “mine cut,” the “European cut” also produced 58 facets, allowing light to refract through it very well. The difference was that the European cut was more round than its predecessor. By the early 1900’s, lighting had changed from gas lamps and candlelight to a brighter light powered by electricity, far less forgiving of flaws and inclusions. It would take one more innovation by Marcel Tolkowsky known as the “Tolkowsky brilliant cut,” adding a rounder culet. Since World War II, the “modern round, brilliant cut” has been the ideal cut for a diamond, as it is today.
Diamond Grading System
Established in 1931, G.I.A. is an abbreviation for Gemological Institute of America. Recognizing the lack of standards with colored stones and diamonds, the primary goal was to implement such a system to regulate and properly identify stones. This would become a tool that would benefit both the jeweler and the consumer. G.I.A. has established four characteristics to identify and categorize each round diamond on the market: Cut, clarity, color, carat weight. With a grading system to identify each aspect, G.I.A. changed the way the public viewed diamonds.
Not only has the internet changed the way diamonds are viewed, but also how they are being purchased. The internet has created a new niche for diamonds purchased and sold online. The consumer has a disadvantage to the seller when purchasing a diamond through the internet. The main advantage is that the consumer cannot physically see the diamond before it is purchased. With a complex grading system, one single difference in the diamond (which may not be seen online) can change the aesthetics (and value) of the diamond in a drastic manner. Photos can be altered, which means that the product may not be exactly what is seen. With so many components, diamonds can take a lifetime to fully comprehend. Factors include (but are not limited to) carat weight, color, cut, table ratio to culet, and treatment. Two diamonds may have the exact same qualities, but when compared in person, side by side, they may look different.
The best way to shop for a diamond is to see it first. Aesthetics are highly important when it comes to finding the right diamond, and this cannot be established by numbers and online photos. Physically seeing the diamond can change everything. For a diamond quote, please contact us. Our trained staff can answer any questions you may have to create an engagement experience as unique as the bride-to-be.