The Most Common Mistakes Made While Buying a Diamond

woman's hand wearing halo engagement ring

Diamond shopping is an exhilarating experience, well, arguably. Sure the purchase can be and is rewarding, but the decision-making process to get you to that ‘promised land’ can be a tad too frustrating. Why? Well, there are an insane number of stones from which to choose from. Couple this with the vast numbers of jewelry stores and the huge amounts of your hard earned money at stake, you suddenly start to feel the pressure. With all that is at stake, it is very easy to make a wrong choice and fall short of the best deal.So before you fork out a significant amount of your hard-earned money, check out the below diamond buying mistakes and just how you can avoid them.

Mistake 1: I know the 4 C’s so I'm good to go

Wouldn’t it be great if it was that easy? Unfortunately, it is not. There are very small differences in diamond quality that make a world of a difference with regards to the price. It is never about what you know but about what you do not know and that the diamond seller is not telling. Sure, the 4 C’s are important for the buying process. As a matter of fact, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with them. They are, however, not all you need. Three out of the 4 C’s are pretty easy and straight forward.

For the carat weight, all you need is a weighing scale. Remember here though carat is weight, not size. Measurements are size. Avoid diamonds high is depth – the weight is stored in the belly of the diamond, not the width. As for the color, this can be slightly subjective to the individual especially since it is universally accepted that men are color blind (not quite true though). However, comparing the diamond in question with a master stone can help clarify the issue. With the clarity, things start to get tricky since there are lots of different imperfections and various ways to hide them in jewelry. As such, it is advisable to work with a jeweler who can provide you with the right advice on location, type and the potential risks of every structure.

Last is the 4th C – the Cut. This is by far the most misunderstood and most important of the four. As a matter of fact, a slight difference in the cut can make a 10%+ price difference between two diamonds. A diamond that is well-cut will reflect all the light entering it through its top thus providing unmatched brilliance, sparkle, and fire. A poorly cut stone, on the other hand, allows the light to exit in any direction resulting in reduced beauty.

Note that while every diamond has a certificate containing information on the 4C’s, there are several factors that contribute to the beauty of a stone. That said, the surest way of verifying the quality of a diamond is seeing the stone in person and observing it under different lights.

Long story short; avoid making this mistake by doing your research, learning and educating yourself on the 4C’s and most importantly working with a reputable jeweler. We help people avoid this, and other diamond buying mistakes, by making expert gemologists available to you at every point of your shopping journey so you get the answers you need from someone who really knows diamonds.

Mistake 2: The GIA grading report tells me everything I need to know

Now here is one very important piece of advice – GIA grading reports are not made to be equal. As a matter of fact, diamond grading is a very subjective, human process where mistakes can occur or details be missed. A slight difference in the grading causes huge price margins. Some may have a higher clarity grade than they actually feature which needless to say, affects the price. Now in such cases, the grading may get you thinking you are getting the best deal while in actual sense you are, for the lack of a better word, getting ripped off.

Additionally, a diamond plot doesn’t really show the severity of an inclusion, merely its size. In many instances (SI1 and below clarity grades), you’ll see comments in fine print saying things like additional clouds are not shown on the report. The plot will look completely clean and the price too good to be true. What does this add up to? Well, what the report doesn’t capture is the clarity grade is based on a thick hazy cloud inclusion in the diamond that severely degrades the light performance and diamond sparkle – hence the attractive price. GIA is not trying to deceive you, it is merely too large an inclusion to plot otherwise it would cover the entire diamond visual on the grading report. Watch out for this.

Mistake 3: Where I buy the diamond does not matter

Well, believe it or not, it is just as important as choosing the right diamond. You might not want to believe it but lots of individuals in the market earn a living by taking advantage of others. On that note, many diamonds advertised online are not the real deal and you need to be wary. While the internet is a well of valuable knowledge and information, it also has a fair share of misleading information so tread carefully - work with a jewelry company that has a proven track record.

One of the biggest diamond buying mistakes we see is not researching the differences in labs that certify diamonds. Companies often sell non GIA certified diamonds. Avoid this. Diamonds graded by other labs come at a discount and there’s a reason for it. If you buy an E color diamond, then you’re going to expect a pure white, E color. Other labs have loose grading standards and so your E color may actually be a G or H color, believe it or not.

Mistake 4: Price is the most important consideration

This is one of our least favorite diamond buying mistakes here at With Clarity, because we want you to be happy with your diamond (and entire ring) for a lifetime. The initial purchase of a diamond is just the first step of owning a diamond. After making the purchase you will need to have the diamond mounted onto your jewelry, maintain it and make touch ups when need be. For all this, you will spend cash and will need an individual to hold your hand throughout the process.

Many jewelers aren’t interested in life long relationships. For this, you will again need a good jeweler, one who understands that the initial sale is just the beginning of a long relationship of taking care of the stone. After sales service is critical – make sure proper return policies, warranties and other protections are in place. Buying jewelry is similar to buying electronics in that sense – you want to be protected.

Purchasing a diamond is one huge decision especially given the large amounts of money at stake and the need to please your significant other. As such, you should definitely put come thought into it, educate yourself, take your time and most importantly, realize that the price is not always everything.

Mistake 5: Three months salary sets the budget

This theory was a marketing tactic to give an answer to a difficult, often subjective question. 3 months’ salary can be a substantial amount of money and may not be required for the perfect diamond. For some people, spending this much of their budget would be one of those diamond buying mistakes, for others it might be worth the cost and affordable. Ultimately, the decision is entirely yours – Sometimes it helps to target the factors other than price, and then back into a budget. We also recommend consider 2-3 months post-tax annual salary. Don’t get so caught up in the numbers. Ultimately, a diamond ring is a symbol of commitment. If your diamond is 0.10ct smaller, not only will no one be able to tell the difference, but she will not love you any less. The fact that you’re popping the question shows a pretty serious dedication. An extra few bucks spent on the ring isn’t going to change your commitment.

Quick tips

1. Don’t buy on the first visit or at first sight. Sellers need buyers more than buyers need sellers.

2. Only purchase certified diamonds with a laser inscription to verify the authenticity of the diamond

3. Don’t be fooled by “wholesale pricing” or deals that are too good to be true. Gia diamonds can be easily priced compared – multiple jewelers have access to the exact same diamond, most of the time

4. Request images or video of the diamond so you can verify it’s brilliance

5. Don’t be the expert – always ask jewelers for recommendations. Don’t blindly accept the recommendations, but do ask. They know what to look for to maximize your price budget