Guide to buy diamond jewellery


Key points to be kept in mind while buying the right diamond jewellery

Earlier, when a daughter was born, the family would start saving for the gold they would give in her wedding. However, since a few years, the scales have been tipped. Now, they prefer giving diamond jewellery in the wedding to their daughter or daughter in law.

Having said that, most of the India’s diamond jewellery market is unorganized and unbranded. Many women still prefer to buy diamond jewellery from their old ‘diamondwala’ in Surat or their trusted diamond merchant in Zhaveri Bazaar, with total disregard to the quality of diamonds and the purity of gold used. It’s really sad because when they are paying hefty prices, they should get their money’s worth.

If you are buying diamond jewellery and don’t want to be cheated, keep in mind these points.

Know the quality of diamonds 

For those who are unaware of the fact, there is a universal grading system to find out the quality of diamonds. It’s commonly called the “Four Cs”, consisting of Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut, which determine the quality of diamonds.

Carat: Carat is nothing, but the unit in which diamonds and other gemstones are weighed. 1 carat = 0.2 gms. However, this Carat is different from Karat, which refers to the purity of gold. Also, the diamonds of the same weight do not necessarily mean that they will be of the same size or value. Most jewelleries use diamonds that weigh 1 carat or less.

Clarity: Diamonds are formed naturally under tremendous heat and pressure, and can develop inclusions and blemishes. The fewer these inclusions and blemishes, the more the diamond clarity and rarer the stone. This rarity of clarity determines a diamond’s value. Every diamond has some traits or the other. A flawless diamond is a rarity and hence, extremely valuable. Experts and experienced gemologists can determine the clarity of a diamond using a microscope and a 10x loupe.

Diamond Clarity Chart
Flawless : FL
Free of blemishes and inclusions when examined under 10x magnification
Internally Flawless : IF
Free of inclusions. Only insignificant blemishes visible under 10x magnification.
Very Very Slightly Included : VVS1-2
Minute inclusions that is very difficult to locate under 10 x magnifications.
Very Slightly Included : VS1-2
Minute inclusions that are difficult to somewhat easy to see under 10x magnifications.
Slightly Included : SI1-2
Noticeable inclusions those are easy to see under 10x magnification.
Included : I1, I2, I3
Inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Color: The color in diamond parlance means the lack of color in a diamond. A colorless diamond allows more light to pass through it than a colored diamond, hence it is of a greater value. However, this color is different from the fancy color diamonds like pink, blue, etc.

The scale begins with the letter D which represents 100% colorless, and hence extremely rare and valuable. The scale continues till the letter Z where the color of the diamond is light yellow or brown. The color of a diamond is graded by comparing it to a master color set in controlled lighting and precise viewing conditions.

*A master color set is a standardized set of stones of various color grades. By holding your diamond up against the master set, one can determine the where it fits on the color spectrum.

We recommend you to choose a whiter diamond over clarity. Because color is visible, while blemishes are not so visible, as far as small diamonds are concerned.

Cut: Cut gives a diamond it’s sparkle and brilliance. Whereas all the above factors are determined by the nature, cut is something that is dependant on the human intervention. Also, a cut is more difficult to determine than the color or clarity, and can be often ignored or misrepresented.

A well cut diamond will direct more light through the crown, and is more expensive than a fair or good cut one. There are 3 types of diamond cuts: Shallow, Ideal and Deep.

Diamond Cut Guide
Shallow Cut

A shallow cut diamond will usually have a larger diameter and so a larger look for each given carat weight, however the more shallow the stone, the more light is lost out of the base and can cause it to look fireless and transparent.
Ideal Cut

An ideal cut diamond has the correct proportions to reflect all of the light that enters the stone cut through the centre creating maximum fire and sparkle.
Deep Cut

A deep cut diamond will tend to have a smaller diameter and so a smaller look per carat weight. A very deeply cut diamond will lose light out of the sides of the stone causing the brilliance to be compromised.

The cut of a diamond has three characteristics:
  •          Brilliance – the total light reflected from a diamond.
  •          Fire – the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum
  •         Scintillation – the sparkle when a diamond is moved
Most diamond jewellery uses round brilliant shaped diamonds, however, cuts like marquise, pear, oval and emerald are used often too. Other shapes like hearts, princess and triangles are gradually gaining popularity.

You can learn more about cuts by referring to the following GIA determined scale –

Diamond Cut Chart
Maximum fire and brilliance. Reflects nearly all of the light that enters the diamond, creating exceptional sparkle and life.
Very Good
Properly reflects most of the light that enters the diamond, producing superior fire and brilliance. Under normal lighting conditions, appears very similar to Excellent Cut, but for a lower price.
Reflects a majority of the light that enters the diamond, for an above average appearance. An excellent value compared to higher cut grades.
Allows much of the light entering the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom, reducing perceived fire and brilliance. More acceptable in diamonds of less than .75 carats, where differences in sparkle are more difficult to perceive.
Allows most of the light entering the diamond to escape from the sides or bottom. The diamond may appear noticeably dull and lifeless, even to an untrained eye.

Synthetic Diamonds

Now, that you know how to ascertain the quality of diamonds, it’s important that you know about synthetic diamonds as well, especially Cubic Zirconia.

Synthetic diamonds are produced in a laboratory through an artificial process. And, they have the same hardness and brilliance of a naturally formed diamond. Cubic Zirconia, the biggest competitor of natural diamonds is optically flawless and usually colorless, and can be produced in various colors like blue, pink, yellow, green etc. It’s low cost, durability and close appearance to natural diamonds has made it very popular with the masses.

Ask for diamond jewellery certification

While buying diamond jewellery, make sure you ask for a diamond jewellery certificate (even if you trust your jeweller). This certificate is provided by a registered and recognized laboratory like IGI, DGLA, etc. It is a report that provides you a complete breakdown of all diamonds and gemstones used in the jewellery piece.

  •          You will know the quantity and total carat weight, measurements, shape, cut, proportions, clarity and color.
  •          Not only this, the identification, content and weight of precious metals used in the making of the jewellery are also stated.
However, if you are purchasing SOLITAIRES, insist on a copy of the GIA diamond grading report for the diamonds used. GIA is the world’s most trusted agency in diamond grading and gemstone identification.

Make sure the diamonds used in your jewellery are certified, which means the diamonds are graded in an independent GIA / IGI and other such laboratory by their trained technicians in accordance with theirstrict set standards and measures. Sometimes, your local jeweller might give you a certificate which would show that his GIA or IGI-trained store employee has graded the stones. Such diamonds have no certification as it’s highly unlikely they were graded following the global quality standards.

Why you must insist on buying certified diamond jewellery?

Certified diamond jewellery are verified for quality by recognized gemologists. Hence, they -
  •          Provide an assurance of the quality purchased.
  •          Hold better value vis-à-vis non certified jewellery when it comes to resale and upgrades.

Insist on hallmark for gold

Always insist on a hallmark when buying your diamond jewellery. Because, during jewellery making process, gold is often glued/soldered with alloys that are impure and can reduce the purity of the precious metal. A hallmark helps you ascertain the purity of gold used in accordance with the Indian Standard specifications.

The hallmark for gold specifies on 5 components given by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). These components are:
  •          BIS mark (it is triangular) to tell you whether the hallmarking is done by third party assessor and bears the mark of authenticity
  •           the purity grade which ranges from 23 carat to 9 carat
  •           the mark of the third party assayer approved by the BIS
  •           the year of marking as decided by BIS. A indicates it was marked in the year 2000, and so on.
  •           the identification mark of the jewellery selling the jewellery.

Check for services and policies:

Most jewellers offer a set of services and policies with the purchase of jewellery. Review the jeweller’s policies for the following:

  •          Ask the jeweller for a policy in writing.
  •          Confirm whether the services actually cover free inspection and cleanings, etc.
  •          Also, confirm the Return, Exchange and Buyback policy with your jeweller.

In Summary, while buying diamond jewellery, always insist on hallmarked gold and diamond jewellery certificate from reputed laboratories. Also, check for the Jeweller’s post sales services and policies like repair, exchange and buyback.

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