Three Stone Round Diamond Ring Settings in Clearlake

5 Tips on What To Look For When Buying Diamonds For Wedding Rings

A wedding, or an engagement in  Clearlake, is one of the most important events in every couple’s life. One of the best ways of making the experience memorable is by choosing the right ring to symbolize the love you have for one another. While most couples would like to get the most beautiful ring they can lay their hands on, budgetary restrictions can be a challenge. However, it is possible to find an ideal ring based on your budget.

For anyone looking for precious diamonds for engagement rings and wedding rings in Clearlake, they should consider going about the process carefully. There are various dealers in the market, some of who may sell you fake diamonds. Here are a few useful tips on what to look for when looking for precious diamonds for engagement or wedding rings.

Consider the Diamond Cut

1. Any expert will tell you that the cut is the most important thing to consider when buying diamonds in Clearlake. The main reason behind this is that the cut usually influences the sparkle. A diamond may be clear and feature a high quality color grade, but if the cut is poor, it may still appear dull. The dealer you buy from should be able to cut your diamond in the proper proportions. If your budget can allow it, choose a diamond with the highest cut grade.

Diamond Color

2.  Contrary to common belief, lack of color in your diamonds denotes a higher color grade. Some people go for pale yellow diamond, without knowing that it is low quality. To avoid such an experience, ask the diamond dealer to give you grade H or higher. Near colorless diamond ranges from grade G to J, but it may be quite expensive.

Clarity Diamonds can also be chosen based on their clarity levels.

3. This is usually not a very important factor to consider, considering that the precious stones usually come with imperfections, known as inclusions. These tiny imperfections may not be easy to detect, and they may only be seen through a microscope. However, the fewer there are, the higher the clarity grade of your diamonds. If your budget can be stretched further, consider buying grade VS1 grade or higher.

Consider the Diamond’s Carat Weight

4.  Unlike common belief, carat does not mean the size of the diamond, but its actual weight. Carat and cut must be considered side by side, because no matter the size of the diamond, a poor cut grade can make your precious stones look smaller. Another important fact to keep in mind is that the more the weight of the diamond, the more you will pay for it. Therefore, you should consider going for a less heavy stone with a high grade cut.

Ask for Proof of Certification

5. There is nothing as unfortunate as buying diamonds for your special event only to realize that they are of poor quality, or that they were stolen. To avoid such an eventuality, always ask the dealer in Clearlake to show you the copy of diamond certification.

With these tips, you should be able to make the right choice when buying precious diamonds in Clearlake for you engagement or wedding.

4 ct ring

Clearlake How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Purchasing a diamond interaction ring is fairly a worthwhile acquisition every guy should be fortunate enough making. Some that do not truly know too much about fashion jewelry and rubies may really feel as if they ought to simply most likely to a shop and also select out a ring which looks appealing to them. Although this could do the method, there are much better methods to selecting the very best possible type of ruby involvement ring for your loved one. The adhering to will note the leading 10 secrets to getting a diamond interaction ring.

Look around

Possibly one of the best keys to bear in mind if you keep in mind nothing else from this listing is to look around. Getting a ring of this kind on an impulse will most likely not lead you to the ideal deal or the most effective diamond. Therefore, take your time when purchasing an interaction ring, search and also see just what is around to be acquired.

You Can Discover a Stunning Diamond Interaction Ring for sale

You must additionally understand that you are able to find a charming diamond interaction ring with a desirable price affixed to it. This is not to state that you need to restrict your choices just to sale items but constantly do not hesitate to browse the sale counter when looking for an interaction ring to offer to your future fiancée. Do make certain that it is a legit sale as well as not one that runs all the time.

Dimension of the Ruby Actually Doesn't Issue

An additional secret when it pertains to buying an interaction ruby ring is that the carat weight dimension of the diamond is not really just what matters when all is claimed and also done. Although some might think that a larger diamond equals a better ruby this is commonly not the instance as cut, shade and also clearness all have to be considered along with the carat weight of the stone.

Buying Online Is a Choice

With today's technology, you can acquire virtually anything on the internet as well as the same holds true for ruby engagement rings. For those that such as the concept of an online acquisition, there are lots of sites which offer diamond rings to buy and also could provide rather a great offer as well. Simply be particular to obtain documents specifying real high quality of the ring. The on-line company must have a 30 day refund guaranty without any inquiries asked.

Getting the Ring with Wedding Celebration Bands Can Save Money

You might additionally locate that if you remain in the marketplace for not only an involvement ring however wedding bands also, acquiring all of these items with each other could save you money. Certain ring developers will generate interaction rings with matching wedding celebration bands which you can acquire as a collection.

White Gold Resembles Platinum But Is Cheaper

If your liked one suches as silver-tone jewelry however you are not able to afford a platinum ruby interaction ring, consider buying one constructed from white gold. White gold is a great option as it resembles platinum however is a lot cheaper.

Fashion Jewelry Retailers Typically Have 1 Or 2 Sales Throughout The Year

One more key to acquiring a diamond involvement ring is that several precious jewelry sellers use sales during the year. Some are vacation sales whereas others are a way for the precious jewelry shop to obtain eliminate the old supply to make space for brand-new products entering the store.

Getting the Diamond as well as Setup Separately Can Conserve Cash

You might additionally locate that buying the ruby as well as setting separate from each other can save you some cash. It additionally enables you to select precisely the sort of ring that you want as well as be able to see it before the stone is established.

Getting a Tiny Carat Weight Size with Baguettes Is Often a Better Deal

If you are searching for a ruby involvement ring with a great deal of glimmer however you are incapable to afford a huge carat weight diamond, consider getting a smaller sized ruby yet add baguettes to the ring. This will include shimmer and also sparkle and also not set you back as high as a larger ruby may set you back.

Take Into Consideration Tiny Fashion Jewelry Stores Which Deal Personalized Solution

For those who are looking for a fashion jewelry store which will provide individualized solution, you might desire to buy the ruby involvement ring for your enjoyed one at a small precious jewelry shop. These jewelry stores are frequently run by the individual owner who will certainly do whatever feasible making your engagement ring purchasing journey magnificent.

eternity ring

How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Clearlake

In an ideal world with unlimited budgets and an infinite supply of diamonds, everyone would have beautifully cut "D Flawless" diamonds. In the real world every diamond is unique. There are plenty of gorgeous diamonds to go around - you just need to know how to find one. Choosing a diamond is about balancing several factors to make the most of your budget. Each factor contributes to the beauty and prestige of your diamond. I will explain these factors so you will be prepared to make an informed decision about your diamond purchase.

FACTOR 1: CARAT WEIGHT

People often use the word Carat when discussing how big a diamond is, however "Carat" actually refers to the weight of a diamond. There is no rule as to what carat weight you should buy, but you'll doubtless have heard that "bigger is better." If you ask me, I think bigger is great but you shouldn't forget about the other aspects of a diamond's quality.

A useful tip: if you're looking at Certified Diamonds, you may find it valuable to compare the diameters of different diamonds. Since every diamond is individually cut, some may appear larger than others of the same weight.

FACTOR 2: SHAPE

Approximately 75% of diamonds sold worldwide are Round Brilliants. Rounds diamonds are the most popular, most brilliant, and most expensive. If you are purchasing a diamond as a surprise, Round Brilliant is generally your safest bet.

There is no real hierarchy of shapes being better or worse - it is truly a matter of personal preference. Princess Cuts are the second most popular, and a classic alternative to round diamonds. Cushion Cuts are trendy and have a beautiful vintage look. If you want something different but not too crazy, try an Oval Cut, Asscher Cut, or Radiant Cut diamond.

While no shape is better, there are some significant differences between shapes. Take for example, the radiant cut vs the emerald cut. Though they are a similar shape, the extra facets of the radiant cut give it additional fire and sparkle. If you prefer the emerald cut's understated elegance, consider that it's easier to spot any imperfections and select a higher clarity grade.

Another tip: Diamonds (even round diamonds) may not be perfectly symmetrical. It's nothing to worry about if your diamond's width does not precisely match its height, but if your diamond is much longer than it is wide it may not be what you're expecting. This is especially the case in shapes like Cushion and Oval, where a more asymmetrical diamond might look "skinny", with much of the fire and brilliance concentrated at the ends.

FACTOR 3: CUT

"Cut" refers to a diamond's finish and proportions, and is critical in determining its beauty. Getting the angles right ensures a beautiful diamond that's full of life. In many cases it can be more difficult to spot flaws in a fiery, brilliant diamond. Cut is generally graded in five categories: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Excellent is the highest graded awarded by GIA (whereas other labs may use terms like "ideal" or numbers like "0"). If you want to play safe, stick to "Very Good" and "Excellent" cuts when you choose your diamond.

FACTOR 4: CLARITY

Almost all diamonds have naturally¬ occurring features called "inclusions." Inclusions form as the diamond crystallizes deep underground, and they are unique to each diamond. They take many different forms, and can help you identify a diamond as your own. However, large and prominent inclusions can detract from the beauty of a diamond.

There are many different types of inclusions, and not all are created equal. If your diamond certificate has an "inclusion map," check where the inclusions are. Try to find a diamond with inclusions near the edge where they will be masked by sparkle or hidden by the setting of your diamond. If your budget is limited, I recommend buying "SI" clarity or better. "SI" stands for "Slightly Included." With close inspection you can usually spot the inclusions in an SI¬ graded diamond, but these inclusions will most likely not be visible once your diamond is set in jewellery. If you want to be sure your diamond will look "eye clean", even up close, I recommend selecting a VS2 clarity diamond or better. "VS" stands for "Very Slight Inclusion," and imperfections in VS clarity stones are rarely seen by the naked eye.

FACTOR 5: COLOUR

The term "colour" usually refers to how much warm tint is in a diamond. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (very strongly tinted yellow or brown). Pure white diamonds are considered more desirable, and are more expensive. Warmer¬-hued diamonds (such as K, L, and M) are not necessarily less attractive, but they are significantly less valuable.

Conventional wisdom is to select J colour or better. Personally, I love G and H colour diamonds ¬- they hit the "sweet spot" where most people will not notice colour in the diamond unless they're doing a direct comparison. However, an I or J colour diamond that is well cut and has a lot of life can give you a beautiful diamond at a bargain price.

Depending on how they are cut, different diamonds will display colour differently. This is why colour grades are assigned by looking at a diamond upside¬down. Generally, more¬ brilliant diamonds show their colour less than less brilliant diamonds.

FACTOR 6: FLUORESCENCE

Fluorescence has a bad rep, and most of it is unfair. Diamond Fluorescence refers to how a diamond responds when subjected to ultra¬violet light. Fluorescent diamonds can glow any one of several colours, but the most common is blue. In rare cases fluorescence can cause your diamond to have a milky appearance when viewed in direct daylight. This is most often the case with strong or very strong fluorescence and D/E/F colour diamonds.

However, there are many, many more cases where blue fluorescence is a positive thing. Imagine you were shining a blue light on a yellow diamond... the blue tint can make your diamond look whiter. If your diamond falls in the "near colourless," "lightly tinted," or "tinted" range I recommend looking for medium blue or faint blue fluorescence.

Warning: Green, red, and yellow fluorescence are rare, and they will not have the same benefit. If you are interested in a diamond that has strong blue, very strong blue, green, red, or yellow fluorescence, I recommend asking your salesperson to show you your diamond outside in natural daylight. If you're buying online, contact the seller prior to making your purchase so they can examine the diamond first in natural daylight.

FACTOR 7: GRADER

This should always be your first question: Says who? Every diamond grading laboratory has different standards, so comparing diamonds graded by different sources is extremely unreliable. One grader might grade a diamond K SI2, and another might call that same diamond F VS2. I know that sounds crazy, but I see it happen all the time.

The most reputable and consistent grading laboratories are GIA, AGS, IGI, and HRD. GIA is considered the global standard worldwide. AGS is a popular alternative in the U.S.A. while IGI and HRD are more common in Europe.

EGL is tricky because there are EGL labs all over the world, and some of them do a great job while others can be less reliable. We strongly recommend caution when buying an EGL certified diamond unless it's from EGL-¬USA.

Many diamonds are assigned grades by valuation companies and in-¬house graders. If your diamond does not come with a report from a major laboratory, you should always ask where the grader trained. He or she should be certified by a major grading laboratory: GIA, AGS, IGI, or HRD. Be smart and be cautious about reports done by uncertified shop owners, salespeople, or valuation companies.

SELECTING YOUR DIAMOND

You can choose to purchase your diamond online, or from a retail store. If you prefer to purchase your diamond in a retail store, avoid the big chains and shop with smaller independent jewellers. Many independent jewellers are actually significantly less expensive than their large competitors. (You don't have to take my word for it - shop around and you'll quickly learn that this is true). This way you'll buy a better quality diamond and - if you wish - you'll have the opportunity to design your own hand-made engagement ring setting.

If you choose to shop online, I would recommend comparing prices and service across several websites. Be sure that the company ships from your country - otherwise you'll be hit with expensive duty and GST. Always make sure you call or e-mail customer service and have them hand-inspect your diamond before you complete your purchase. Sometimes a diamond may seem like a great deal, but it could have an unfortunate inclusion, asymmetrical cut, or be negatively impacted by fluoresence. And above all, make sure you have an easy and affordable way to return the diamond if it doesn't turn out as you'd hoped. Online shopping is the best way to get a great deal on a diamond for your engagement ring, diamond studs, or pendant - just review this article, be reasonably cautious, and have fun.

___________________________________________

Vintage Wedding Rings in Washington

Sapphire Rings in Clearlake

5 Tips on What To Look For When Buying Diamonds For Wedding Rings

A wedding, or an engagement in  Clearlake, is one of the most important events in every couple’s life. One of the best ways of making the experience memorable is by choosing the right ring to symbolize the love you have for one another. While most couples would like to get the most beautiful ring they can lay their hands on, budgetary restrictions can be a challenge. However, it is possible to find an ideal ring based on your budget.

For anyone looking for precious diamonds for engagement rings and wedding rings in Clearlake, they should consider going about the process carefully. There are various dealers in the market, some of who may sell you fake diamonds. Here are a few useful tips on what to look for when looking for precious diamonds for engagement or wedding rings.

Consider the Diamond Cut

1. Any expert will tell you that the cut is the most important thing to consider when buying diamonds in Clearlake. The main reason behind this is that the cut usually influences the sparkle. A diamond may be clear and feature a high quality color grade, but if the cut is poor, it may still appear dull. The dealer you buy from should be able to cut your diamond in the proper proportions. If your budget can allow it, choose a diamond with the highest cut grade.

Diamond Color

2.  Contrary to common belief, lack of color in your diamonds denotes a higher color grade. Some people go for pale yellow diamond, without knowing that it is low quality. To avoid such an experience, ask the diamond dealer to give you grade H or higher. Near colorless diamond ranges from grade G to J, but it may be quite expensive.

Clarity Diamonds can also be chosen based on their clarity levels.

3. This is usually not a very important factor to consider, considering that the precious stones usually come with imperfections, known as inclusions. These tiny imperfections may not be easy to detect, and they may only be seen through a microscope. However, the fewer there are, the higher the clarity grade of your diamonds. If your budget can be stretched further, consider buying grade VS1 grade or higher.

Consider the Diamond’s Carat Weight

4.  Unlike common belief, carat does not mean the size of the diamond, but its actual weight. Carat and cut must be considered side by side, because no matter the size of the diamond, a poor cut grade can make your precious stones look smaller. Another important fact to keep in mind is that the more the weight of the diamond, the more you will pay for it. Therefore, you should consider going for a less heavy stone with a high grade cut.

Ask for Proof of Certification

5. There is nothing as unfortunate as buying diamonds for your special event only to realize that they are of poor quality, or that they were stolen. To avoid such an eventuality, always ask the dealer in Clearlake to show you the copy of diamond certification.

With these tips, you should be able to make the right choice when buying precious diamonds in Clearlake for you engagement or wedding.

cheap engagement rings

Clearlake How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Not all vendors give ruby grading laboratory reports (aka diamond top quality records) to their consumers. So my basic recommendations to you is to maintain your money in your pocket when taking care of such jewelry experts.

Just buy a ruby involvement ring if it comes with the initial ruby high quality record.

A lab record is an independent evaluation of the 4Cs of a loose ruby and consists of an outlined representation of the stone's clarity characteristics and a visuals depiction of the rock's proportions. Having such a record permits you to contrast rubies of different qualities as well as inevitably assists you make a more informed getting choice.

A retailer may reduce edges as well as not supply a lab report or an unscrupulous vendor may offer a phony one as a result of the time, difficulty and expenditure he'll birth to obtaining a rock graded.

Yeah - there is a price for grading a ruby (though that price is eventually paid by the consumer), plus the shipping and also insurance policy fees for sending out the ruby to the lab. And also let us not neglect the possibility price of a jewelry expert not having the diamond in his shop for sale for a few weeks while the grading happens.

However, a diamond grading record might also not be available because the expenses to obtaining one may influence as well heavily on the final cost of the ring. For example, a 0.3 ct diamond ring costing $250 state, may cost around $75 to be graded and have the report number inscribed on the girdle on the ruby. As you look for that ideal ruby involvement ring for your sweetie, you'll find that there is a hodgepodge of laboratories asserting to offer trusted ruby rating records. However I would just place my cash on ...

The Premier Ruby Grading Lab News

Yes, all diamond high quality reports are not developed equal. Within the sector, it is an agreement that both premier laboratories are GIA-GTL (Gemological Institute of America's Gem Trade Lab) as well as the AGS (American Treasure Culture Laboratories).

The GCAL (Gem Accreditation and Guarantee Laboratory) also supplies very related to reports or "diamond certificates" as they are referred to by GCAL. The GIA has the best international online reputation for freedom as well as consistency. Because of their constant shade and also quality strictness guidelines, the world's biggest and also most pricey rubies have actually been sent there for rating years. In 2006, GIA-GTL added a two-dimensional cut grading system for rounded brilliant diamonds.

AGS makes use of the strictest cut standards in the market. It utilizes a three-dimensional light efficiency metric that could grade several diamond forms. As a matter of fact, it is the only cut grading system that is acknowledged by the scientific neighborhood.

Just what is more, its Diamond High quality Record makes use of an one-of-a-kind as well as proprietary 0 to 10 grading system to assess the 4 Cs - a system which is much easier to understand compared to GIA's grading system. In fact, AGS even goes the added action by corresponding their 0-10 ranking range to other forms of score. For example, the standard VS1 ruby quality rating is a 3 on the AGS Diamond Top Quality File.

Ruby Reporting - The Drawbacks

1. Diamond grading is not standard or regulated and for this reason you might encounter rate 2 laboratories that utilize looser guidelines to the tier 1 grading laboratories discussed above. If you purchase a diamond that has actually been rated by a tier 2 laboratory, you might end up paying a lot more for a lower high quality ruby. So for example, a diamond ranked a "F" in color at a tier 2 lab might get a G, H, or lower shade score at a more reliable lab. The market likewise marks down diamonds graded by lower known labs by concerning 15-30% or more. So either you just purchase a ruby rated by a tier 1 laboratory or you accept that you could be buying a minimal quality diamond compared to just what is specified on the record if that diamond is rated by a minimal known laboratory.

2. Several large store have massive contracts with lower known labs with "softer" diamond grading standards. Several of these softer labs put "recommended replacement values" on the lab records - worths which are more than just what shops means market the rubies for. So a salesperson in a chain store may claim to you, "Take a look at the great deal you are getting below. We are selling you this diamond interaction ring for $2500 but the record says that the suggested substitute value is $4000." Wow - what a deal - NOT! This is why it is much better that you trust only independent rate 1 labs.

Likewise bear in mind that reliable diamond rating records are not appraisals and also don't use assessment figures. Diamond assessments are frequently grossly inflated and are not something you'll desire to count on.

3. Ruby reports are riddled with disclaimers that specify that nothing is "certified" or ensured which the laboratories are not answerable for errors. Actually, the GIA offers a disclaimer of kinds on their web site concerning making use of words "accredit." The internet site says:

"It is incorrect to state that students, graduates, their companies, or certain gemstones are "certified" by GIA. The Gemological Institute of The U.S.A. does not license anybody or anything. Neither a trainee neither a graduate who has been granted a certification or diploma, nor a treasure which has actually been rated or identified by GIA has actually been accredited by GIA".

So it is feasible that you the consumer is left holding the bag ought to an inaccuracy in a report is later discovered. Courts have actually often ruled that vendors, not labs, are in charge of such mistakes. Why? Because the labs suggested ahead of time that their records could not be held liable.

Luckily, there are a pair means to give on your own extra purchaser defense:

A. You could fly to India where jewelry experts use a life time buyback policy to their consumers. As well costly to fly?

B. You might locate among the 20% people jewelry experts that sell completely adhered rubies. These are diamonds that are sold with lifetime breakage, life time trade-in and life time buyback plans.

C. Not as good a treatment as buying a completely bound diamond however you can purchase a ruby that features a real "certificate" as well as not a report. "Licensed rubies do feature warranties" albeit for much shorter durations.

Accreditation Some sellers refer to a "ruby report" as a "qualified ruby" but practically this is not correct. From a legal perspective, a ruby report is a simply an expert point of view though in reality, elements of a diamond rating record are not simply opinions.

As an example, a diamond's carat (weight) could be accurately figured out along with its cut grade by measuring its optical performance or by referring to a computer system model. A certification on the other hand is a declaration of reality - a document for which the provider accepts legal duty and will make restitution to the consumer for errors.

Some leading diamond grading labs use both reports and also certifications. AGS provides Diamond High quality Papers (non-certified records) as well as Ruby Top quality Certificates. Diamond Quality Certifications are prepared exclusively for AGS retail jewelry experts as well as uses guaranties from participating American Treasure Society participant stores.

GCAL accredits it's diamond grading likewise. Its 100% money-back guarantee policy stands for a duration of two years from the date on the appropriate certificate. This plan guarantees the precision of the cut, shade as well as clarity grades and also the carat weight.

A record or certificate need to will certainly have a number on it that might or could not be engraved on a ruby. You will certainly have the ability to get in that number on the site of the licensing lab to inspect a report's credibility.

Elements Of A Ruby Grading Record Diamond grading records are always evolving but certain aspect ought to continue to be the very same. As an example, the:

The Record #. This number is provided as well as recorded in a lab's record as well as may or could not be etched on a ruby's girdle. You could go into the report number on a grading lab's site to check the authenticity of the ruby high quality record or to obtain even more info about the ruby. Shape & Aspect Design: This is the synopsis and the cutting design utilized for the aspect plan. There are 3 basic aspect styles - "fantastic cut, step cut as well as blended cutting style" and 12 basic forms which include notables such as round brilliant and also princess cut" rubies.

Measurements: This refers to dimension (not weight) of a ruby. Dimension consists of dimensions such as length, width, weight and also size. A measurement is generally listed to the hundredth of a millimeter. Measurements play a massive function in just how a diamond glows.

Carat weight Weight: The weight of a ruby is gauged to the hundredth of a carat weight and some also supply such step to the thousandth of a carat weight (1.123 ct.). Carat weight is the most objective and also the simplest to recognize of the 4Cs due to the fact that all one has to do is weight the stone. Color Grade: This tells you the level of color lack in the ruby. The much less color the higher the grade.

Rubies are commonly graded from D-Z; the closer to "D" the whiter the ruby. You should never see ruby color range such as (G-H, I-J-K, and so forth) on a diamond record. You ought to just see shade ranges on evaluations for rocks that are mounted.

Quality Grade: Practically every ruby has actually inner flaws called inclusions and outside flaws called blemishes. A ruby is graded inning accordance with the dimension, type, place and amount of these imperfections.

Clarity grades vary from Remarkable (FL) - Included. Labs make use of a couple experts to grade the clearness of a ruby in order to think of a much more precise reading.

Cut Grade: Extra current ruby records include a cut quality for common round dazzling rubies. Cut takes into account the sparkle, fire as well as scintillation of the diamond. Cut quality varies from Outstanding - Poor.

Other components you might stumble upon on a diamond report include the gloss, proportion, fluorescence and also proportion. Armed with this information, you are better able to earn an assessment of the quality of diamond that is installed in an engagement ring.

pear diamond solitaire

How to Buy a Diamond And The 4 Biggest Mistakes When Buying a Diamond

Clearlake

In an ideal world with unlimited budgets and an infinite supply of diamonds, everyone would have beautifully cut "D Flawless" diamonds. In the real world every diamond is unique. There are plenty of gorgeous diamonds to go around - you just need to know how to find one. Choosing a diamond is about balancing several factors to make the most of your budget. Each factor contributes to the beauty and prestige of your diamond. I will explain these factors so you will be prepared to make an informed decision about your diamond purchase.

FACTOR 1: CARAT WEIGHT

People often use the word Carat when discussing how big a diamond is, however "Carat" actually refers to the weight of a diamond. There is no rule as to what carat weight you should buy, but you'll doubtless have heard that "bigger is better." If you ask me, I think bigger is great but you shouldn't forget about the other aspects of a diamond's quality.

A useful tip: if you're looking at Certified Diamonds, you may find it valuable to compare the diameters of different diamonds. Since every diamond is individually cut, some may appear larger than others of the same weight.

FACTOR 2: SHAPE

Approximately 75% of diamonds sold worldwide are Round Brilliants. Rounds diamonds are the most popular, most brilliant, and most expensive. If you are purchasing a diamond as a surprise, Round Brilliant is generally your safest bet.

There is no real hierarchy of shapes being better or worse - it is truly a matter of personal preference. Princess Cuts are the second most popular, and a classic alternative to round diamonds. Cushion Cuts are trendy and have a beautiful vintage look. If you want something different but not too crazy, try an Oval Cut, Asscher Cut, or Radiant Cut diamond.

While no shape is better, there are some significant differences between shapes. Take for example, the radiant cut vs the emerald cut. Though they are a similar shape, the extra facets of the radiant cut give it additional fire and sparkle. If you prefer the emerald cut's understated elegance, consider that it's easier to spot any imperfections and select a higher clarity grade.

Another tip: Diamonds (even round diamonds) may not be perfectly symmetrical. It's nothing to worry about if your diamond's width does not precisely match its height, but if your diamond is much longer than it is wide it may not be what you're expecting. This is especially the case in shapes like Cushion and Oval, where a more asymmetrical diamond might look "skinny", with much of the fire and brilliance concentrated at the ends.

FACTOR 3: CUT

"Cut" refers to a diamond's finish and proportions, and is critical in determining its beauty. Getting the angles right ensures a beautiful diamond that's full of life. In many cases it can be more difficult to spot flaws in a fiery, brilliant diamond. Cut is generally graded in five categories: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Excellent is the highest graded awarded by GIA (whereas other labs may use terms like "ideal" or numbers like "0"). If you want to play safe, stick to "Very Good" and "Excellent" cuts when you choose your diamond.

FACTOR 4: CLARITY

Almost all diamonds have naturally¬ occurring features called "inclusions." Inclusions form as the diamond crystallizes deep underground, and they are unique to each diamond. They take many different forms, and can help you identify a diamond as your own. However, large and prominent inclusions can detract from the beauty of a diamond.

There are many different types of inclusions, and not all are created equal. If your diamond certificate has an "inclusion map," check where the inclusions are. Try to find a diamond with inclusions near the edge where they will be masked by sparkle or hidden by the setting of your diamond. If your budget is limited, I recommend buying "SI" clarity or better. "SI" stands for "Slightly Included." With close inspection you can usually spot the inclusions in an SI¬ graded diamond, but these inclusions will most likely not be visible once your diamond is set in jewellery. If you want to be sure your diamond will look "eye clean", even up close, I recommend selecting a VS2 clarity diamond or better. "VS" stands for "Very Slight Inclusion," and imperfections in VS clarity stones are rarely seen by the naked eye.

FACTOR 5: COLOUR

The term "colour" usually refers to how much warm tint is in a diamond. The scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (very strongly tinted yellow or brown). Pure white diamonds are considered more desirable, and are more expensive. Warmer¬-hued diamonds (such as K, L, and M) are not necessarily less attractive, but they are significantly less valuable.

Conventional wisdom is to select J colour or better. Personally, I love G and H colour diamonds ¬- they hit the "sweet spot" where most people will not notice colour in the diamond unless they're doing a direct comparison. However, an I or J colour diamond that is well cut and has a lot of life can give you a beautiful diamond at a bargain price.

Depending on how they are cut, different diamonds will display colour differently. This is why colour grades are assigned by looking at a diamond upside¬down. Generally, more¬ brilliant diamonds show their colour less than less brilliant diamonds.

FACTOR 6: FLUORESCENCE

Fluorescence has a bad rep, and most of it is unfair. Diamond Fluorescence refers to how a diamond responds when subjected to ultra¬violet light. Fluorescent diamonds can glow any one of several colours, but the most common is blue. In rare cases fluorescence can cause your diamond to have a milky appearance when viewed in direct daylight. This is most often the case with strong or very strong fluorescence and D/E/F colour diamonds.

However, there are many, many more cases where blue fluorescence is a positive thing. Imagine you were shining a blue light on a yellow diamond... the blue tint can make your diamond look whiter. If your diamond falls in the "near colourless," "lightly tinted," or "tinted" range I recommend looking for medium blue or faint blue fluorescence.

Warning: Green, red, and yellow fluorescence are rare, and they will not have the same benefit. If you are interested in a diamond that has strong blue, very strong blue, green, red, or yellow fluorescence, I recommend asking your salesperson to show you your diamond outside in natural daylight. If you're buying online, contact the seller prior to making your purchase so they can examine the diamond first in natural daylight.

FACTOR 7: GRADER

This should always be your first question: Says who? Every diamond grading laboratory has different standards, so comparing diamonds graded by different sources is extremely unreliable. One grader might grade a diamond K SI2, and another might call that same diamond F VS2. I know that sounds crazy, but I see it happen all the time.

The most reputable and consistent grading laboratories are GIA, AGS, IGI, and HRD. GIA is considered the global standard worldwide. AGS is a popular alternative in the U.S.A. while IGI and HRD are more common in Europe.

EGL is tricky because there are EGL labs all over the world, and some of them do a great job while others can be less reliable. We strongly recommend caution when buying an EGL certified diamond unless it's from EGL-¬USA.

Many diamonds are assigned grades by valuation companies and in-¬house graders. If your diamond does not come with a report from a major laboratory, you should always ask where the grader trained. He or she should be certified by a major grading laboratory: GIA, AGS, IGI, or HRD. Be smart and be cautious about reports done by uncertified shop owners, salespeople, or valuation companies.

SELECTING YOUR DIAMOND

You can choose to purchase your diamond online, or from a retail store. If you prefer to purchase your diamond in a retail store, avoid the big chains and shop with smaller independent jewellers. Many independent jewellers are actually significantly less expensive than their large competitors. (You don't have to take my word for it - shop around and you'll quickly learn that this is true). This way you'll buy a better quality diamond and - if you wish - you'll have the opportunity to design your own hand-made engagement ring setting.

If you choose to shop online, I would recommend comparing prices and service across several websites. Be sure that the company ships from your country - otherwise you'll be hit with expensive duty and GST. Always make sure you call or e-mail customer service and have them hand-inspect your diamond before you complete your purchase. Sometimes a diamond may seem like a great deal, but it could have an unfortunate inclusion, asymmetrical cut, or be negatively impacted by fluoresence. And above all, make sure you have an easy and affordable way to return the diamond if it doesn't turn out as you'd hoped. Online shopping is the best way to get a great deal on a diamond for your engagement ring, diamond studs, or pendant - just review this article, be reasonably cautious, and have fun.

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Vintage Wedding Rings in Washington