There are 5 things any diamond buyer should look for:
- A diamond that has sparkle; an excellent cut diamond, is always the better diamond before carat, color, and clarity
- A diamond that is large and not small, within realistic expectations
- A diamond that is 100% eye clean and not milky or hazy
- A diamond that is white and not yellow/brown, unless that's what you are looking for
- A diamond that is certified, preferably by GIA to ensure you are buying something that is authenticated and inspected by unbiased gemologists
Cut Grade - Priority #1
- Cut is by far the most important factor when purchasing a diamond; after all you are purchasing a prism so sparkle is the most important thing.
- Cut grade is explicitly stated for round brilliant shape diamonds; it is extrapolated for fancy shape stones (i.e. princess, cushion, oval, emerald, etc.).
Carat Weight - Priority #2
- Like cut (i.e. sparkle), you can appreciate and see the size of a stone; not even an expert can tell you a color or clarity from 1-2 feet away.
- You cannot "see" a carat weight unless the stone is placed on a scale, but your eye can see the size (i.e. measurements) of a circle, square, oval, etc.
- The measurements of a stone are one of the most overlooked and underappreciated line items on any diamond's certificate - pay attention to them!
Color - Priority #3
- Any color you pick is fine, so long as you are ok with it.
- It is not wise to consider what "other people" will think about your stone, it's your money!
- For most stone shapes, I (eye) color or better will do the trick in any setting
- If you are going for size in a white metal setting with a round stone, there's no harm in considering a J-K color with medium blue fluorescence.
- For yellow and rose gold setting with a round stone there is also no harm in considering a K color, again if you're chasing size.
Clarity - Priority #4
- As long as your stone is 100% eye clean and not cloudy then, in our opinion, clarity is the last priority because it is not discernable to the naked eye.
- Remember diamond plotting on a certificate is performed under microscopic analysis.
- Diamond grading, however, is performed under 10x loupe inspection that means several markings on a certificate is not always a bad thing.
- Look for plotting that show imperfections on the perimeter (preferable) of the stone and/or towards the bottom of the stone.