With the dazzling array of natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds and convincing costume-jewellery fakes on the market today, how can one be sure of getting the real deal when shopping for a diamond?
According to jeweller Ronald Abram, managing director of Ronald Abram at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, the choices are vast, and there’s likely a stone for nearly any buyer with any budget. “With natural versus lab-grown, crystal-clear or coloured and even cubic zirconia, the one thing you can do wrong is head down to the jewellery store without doing some homework.”
So to make sure you get the most value for your purchase, here are some of Abram’s tips for purchasing a diamond.
LEARN ABOUT THE 4Cs
There are four important qualities an individual should be looking for when shopping for a diamond : cut, colour, clarity and carat. The 4Cs of diamond quality is a language jewellers everywhere use to describe the attributes of a diamond which, when taken together, help to determine its quality. Quality is ultimately tied to price, so it’s crucial you learn the 4Cs so that you understand what you’re buying.
Cut pertains to both the shape and make of a diamond. Colour refers to the amount of yellowness in a diamond and is graded on an alphabetical scale from D to Z. Clarity is based on the presence or absence of inclusions within a diamond. Lastly the carat is the unity of measurement which describes a diamond’s weight.
There are several different diamond cuts that vary in shape and size and the most popular in Asian markets is the cushion cut. If you are shopping for an engagement ring, colourless diamonds are still popular. However, one can also opt for a non-traditional yellow diamond or a sapphire. In either case, the clarity and quality of the stone is extremely important and the price varies depending on its carat size.
GET SOUND ADVICE
When it comes to selecting diamonds, our chief advice to our customers is to always look for quality over size. Although a larger stone may be more enjoyable to look at, it is not the ideal place to park your money from an investment perspective unless it is of a fine quality. A common misconception even among seasoned diamond buyers is that a diamond must display top colour and clarity to be considered of good quality, but that is not exactly the case. A diamond with top colour and clarity that is cut poorly is not very desirable because it lacks the scintillation of a diamond with superior cutting, but will still be quite costly.
So it is actually a combination of various factors that determine the value of the stone, including the quality of the cut – often referred to as the “make” of the diamond. Fully understanding the many nuances of what makes a diamond desirable requires years of experience handling diamonds.
CHECK THE SOURCE
The ultimately and the most important piece of advice we can offer someone looking to purchase a gemstone or any significant jewellery is to make sure they acquire it from a reliable source. It is important that they find a source that not only has the inventory, but one that they know they will always be able to go back to. Equally important is making sure they are in the hands of someone with expertise in exceptional gemstones to offer the correct advice. The combination of these ingredients is what has contributed to the success and credibility in our industry.