Choosing the Right Diamond Takes Thought & Heart

There are more than 2 million diamonds for sale at any given time — what separates them is color, clarity, cut and carat. Most importantly, though, is what you want in this gemstone that dates back 3,000 years to India.

While it’s unlikely yours will be on display such as the 45.5-carat Hope Diamond in the Smithsonian (valued at $350 million) or the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor Diamond on view in the Jewel House at the Tower of London (priceless), yours can be just as valuable in its own way.

A small diamond with just the right color, clarity, cut and carat can have value beyond measure when chosen thoughtfully and lovingly.

In doing so, follow these steps:

Understand the 4Cs of quality (the aforementioned color, clarity, cut, carat)

  • Choose a jeweler wisely
  • Insist on a diamond grading report
  • Protect you purchase with an appraisal and insurance

Color. Most diamonds have an absence of color, but they can come in shades of brown, blue, orange, pink and gray. Some experts say the less color in the stone, the more valuable it is.

Clarity. This measures the amount, size and placement of internal inclusions — small imperfections created through the extreme pressure and heat that diamonds experience when forming — and external blemishes. Grades run from flawless to included, which contain a number of imperfections. 

Cut. This does not refer to shape but to the proportion and arrangement of a diamond’s facets and quality of workmanship. Grades range from excellent to poor. Cut determines brilliance, sparkle and fire.

Carat. This is the weight of the diamond, and usually the higher the carat weight the more expensive the diamond. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can be of different quality and price depending on the other Cs. 

Along the search for your perfect diamond, you might want to consider earth-created versus lab-grown and readymade versus bespoke.

Diamonds grown in a lab are generally about 30% more affordable because fewer resources are employed to create them compared to the mining process. They are just as good. Depending on your jeweler, a diamond used in an original creation doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more expensive than one already in a jeweler’s case. Do your research.

When all is said and done, though, and all the guidance considered, what you really want is brilliance reflecting, refracting and dispersing light in the way that matters to you.

After all, Buddhist texts dating to the 4th century mention the use of diamonds and their refracted light to ward off evil when worn as talismans. And in the Early Middle Ages they were ingested to cure some illnesses. 

Fortunately for today’s world, a Hungarian queen in 1074 A.D. decided a diamond in her crown was just the thing.

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