Make an Educated Choice When Buying a Diamond
A man — usually — comes into Austin’s Fine Jewelry to make one of the most romantic and important decisions of his life: choosing an engagement ring.Keith Austin and his staff come to his rescue to guide him through the process of choosing a precious ring to endure a lifetime.
Finding a truly memorable ring comes with tremendous pressure. Selecting a diamond requires a balance between quality, size, and budget — with additional personal concerns, such as the style and preferences of the recipient.
Providing knowledge, expertise, and experience
Keith Austin earned his Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certificate in preparation for launching his business. With the GIA certification and more than 30 years of experience, he is highly qualified to discuss diamonds and other gemstones. However, his commitment to educate and serve the client makes him stand out.
How to choose a diamond
Keith Austin and his well-educated team delight in helping their client navigate the complexities of a fine jewelry purchase. Through inquiries about the recipient — after all, this person should be included — they focus on the needs of both client and recipient.
“First, we ask if the proposal is a surprise or if the question already has been asked and answered,” Keith said. “If it is going to be a surprise, we recommend the client purchase a simple ring with one diamond.” Afterward, the couple can come in together to select a wedding set or make other changes.
Does the recipient prefer white, rose, or yellow gold or perhaps platinum or silver? Do they desire a white diamond or another color — or even perhaps a colored gemstone such as a sapphire or ruby? A discussion of the budget helps establish a range for this symbolic gift.
The 4Cs of choosing a diamond
Once the client’s needs have been determined, they introduce the 4Cs of evaluating a diamond: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.
The GIA cut scale ranges from excellent to poor for standard round brilliant diamonds. A polished diamond’s proportions affect how light is reflected, which affects its beauty and overall appeal. The best diamond cut by popularity is the Round Brilliant with 57 facets. It also is the most expensive cut. The most affordable diamond shapes, according to industry experts, are oval, cushion, and princess cuts.
The GIA clarity scale includes 11 clarity grades with the best grade being Flawless. It is extremely rare to find a natural diamond that lacks any flaws, which are by-products of its formation. This factor helps gemologists separate natural diamonds from synthetics.
The GIA color scale extends from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Diamonds can range in color from light pink to dark brown, including colors such as cognac (cinnamon brown) and champagne (pale yellow), Keith said. The more colorless, the higher the price of the diamond. However, diamonds come in every color of the rainbow. A vivid-colored diamond is referred to as a “fancy.”
In the selection process, consider that the naked eye may not distinguish the difference between some color grades. Even with specialized tools, the difference between some grades is barely perceptible. The difference between the D, E, and F colors is quite small.
Diamond prices vary according to the color. The more colorless the diamond, the higher the price. As a diamond picks up color, most often yellow or brown, the price starts going down. If the color becomes intense, however, the price goes back up. A fancy-colored diamond can be as expensive as a nice colorless diamond, Keith explained.
One carat weighs 200 milligrams, which is divided into 100 points. With cut, clarity, and color in mind, the larger the diamond’s carat weight, the higher the price.
The 4Cs provide a way to objectively compare and evaluate diamonds, but numbers alone can’t express a diamond’s captivating beauty. For that, you must visit Austin’s Fine Jewelry to see for yourself.
Other considerations when choosing a diamond
The team at Austin’s Fine Jewelry guides a client through considerations beyond the 4Cs.
What size of diamond is best for an engagement ring? In the United States, around one carat is the national average for an engagement ring. In comparison, the average is .05 to .06 carat in European countries.
If a diamond’s size is a priority, shapes like the oval or cushion cut offer a larger surface area and may appear bigger than a round diamond of the same carat weight. The appearance of size also may be influenced by the size of the recipient’s hand and the setting for the stone.
If sparkle is the goal, the focus will be on cut and clarity, such as the round brilliant cut and a nearly flawless stone to reflect light.
When considering long-term value, the emphasis should be on the quality of cut, clarity, and color.