Most people assume that the most flawless diamond their money can buy is the best choice, but thinking a little more strategically can get you way more bang for your buck.
If you’re considering popping the question this holiday season or just looking to buy a special piece of jewelry for someone special, don’t go shopping before you read these tips from Ramón Garcia. Ramón is a second-generation jeweler, designer and diamond specialist, so his tips are worth their weight in gold (pun totally intended).
Know your C, C, C, Cs
The ABCs are the building blocks of language, and the 4Cs are the building blocks of diamond grading.
People throw around tons of terms regarding diamond cuts, including but not limited to
“excellent cut,” “ideal cut,” “Astor ideal cut” and so forth. Ramón emphasizes that no term insures that a diamond has the best cut. Instead, just look for the diamond that sparkles the most and is the brightest. No matter what it’s called, that cut is serving the diamond well.
Diamonds come in different colors, and “colorless” diamonds have varying levels of color too. The range is D to Z, with D being completely colorless and Z having a canary fancy yellow color. Ramón recommends looking at several diamonds of various color grades, so you can get a sense of your options.
Every diamond has flaws and imperfections that impact its clarity grade. According to Ramón, the most important thing is whether those imperfections are visible to the naked eye. As a jeweler, Ramón walks around with a magnifying glass but he’s one of very few people with that habit. Unless you expect your gift recipient to buy a magnifying glass and inspect your gift, gauging clarity with your naked eye is very sensible.
The weight of a gem is expressed in carats. The bigger the gem, the more carats and generally speaking, the greater the cost.
Applying your knowledge
Once you’re acquainted with the four Cs, keep the following tips in mind.
You’re buying a stone, not a piece of paper
The certificate that accompanies your diamond will describe how it measures up, but DO NOT become too caught up in this piece of paper. It allows the diamond to be identified and priced but you’re not buying a piece of paper – you’re buying a stone.
As Ramón puts it, “buying a diamond based on its report is like thinking the Capitals will win the Stanley Cup because on paper they have the best team and won the President’s Cup.” Anyone who saw last hockey season knows where that kind of thinking leads.
Your setting and design will tell you where you can compromise
Depending on the selections you make, you can compromise on certain Cs with minimal visual evidence of the compromise. For instance:
- In a yellow gold setting, consider a diamond in the near colorless (G-J) to faint colorless (K-M) range. A diamond set in yellow gold will reflect some color. So save some money and go lower on the color scale and go bigger on the carats.
- A halo setting in which the primary diamond is surrounded by smaller diamonds makes it difficult to appreciate the clarity of the central diamond. You don’t have a sidelong view, and reflected light from the surrounding stones will generate tons of sparkle. This is an opportunity to let your eye select the clarity level rather than insisting on a FL(flawless) or IF (internally flawless) diamond whose clarity the setting will obscure. Once again, your money will get your more carats if you let clarity slide a bit.
- If you’re going with a four-prong solitaire setting, remember that all aspects of the diamond will be especially visible. That’s doubly true if the setting is white gold since the color will render clearly. Those who choose a solitaire setting should avoid sacrificing color and clarity for carats in too extreme a trade-off, because your choices will definitely show.
You don’t have to choose from what you see in the store
At Silver Spring Jewelry, you can customize your ring to fit your vision. Ramón uses CounterSketch software so that he can collaborate with customers to design a ring in real time, changing everything from the setting to the stone to various embellishments. It has the power to turn a ring you like into a ring you love.
If you have a unique concept, you can stop by Silver Spring Jewelry and one of the designers on staff can help you bring it to life!
Visit silverspringjewelers.com to get inspired by a vast selection of diamonds, settings and other precious pieces of jewelry. Silver Spring Jewelry has been family-owned and operated since 1971, and the family prides itself on providing sound advice and exemplary service for every customer. If you’re considering a piece of jewelry this holiday season, make an appointment at Silver Spring Jewelers to talk with an expert and get answers to all of your questions – just call 301-439-4260.