Buying a Wedding Ring – Part 4

There is nothing wrong with bargain shopping or shopping around for a ring or a stone because the standard markup on a diamond is 300%. Depending on where you live, it could be more. That means the jeweler may have purchased the stone for $1,000.00 but is selling the stone for $3,000.00, It is important to be aware of this fact because it gives you a little bargaining power if you decide to purchase a ring or stone from someone other than a “mall” jewelry store. Mall jewelry stores are limited by corporate policy on the amount they are able to discount their product.

You can buy a “lemon” diamond as easily as you can buy a “lemon” car. The most widely recognized system of grading and classifying diamonds in the U.S. is the system set forth by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Make sure your jeweler uses this classification system for grading diamonds. If your jeweler does not use this designation system, make sure you ask them to translate their grading system into the standards set forth by the GIA. What this means for the buyer is that there is a standard that each individual appraiser or gemologist that is GIA certified should grade the diamond by exactly the same standards as someone else. This will help you establish a baseline for comparison as to how much a particular stone within the same GIA specifications should cost when compared to a like stone with the same specifications.

Diamonds are weighed in terms of full carats and fractions of carats and are priced accordingly after all other areas are factored, for example: a diamond with a weight of .48 is slightly under 1/2 carat and a diamond weighing 1.2 carat is slightly over 1 carat. It is important to know that if a diamond is on the fringe of being a full carat, .85, .93, .97 etc. a jeweler will round the price up to the full carat weight. This can translate into more money you will have to spend. If you are buying between a one and two carat diamond, you should stay away from anything with a weight greater than 1.75, by doing so, this can save you a lot of money.

Clouds and feathers sound like soft and romantic terms but when buying a diamond they are not nice words. Professional jewelers rate the clarity of a stone by the number of these naturally occurring elements within a particular diamond. Errors when the diamond was cut, carbon spots, nitrogen bubbles, and cracks in the stone are all considered to be inclusions. The clarity scale according to the GIA begins with an “FL” meaning flawless which contains no imperfections, to “VVS” meaning very, very small spots, VSmeaning very small spots, all the way down to an “I3” rating, which means the stone has obvious inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye. If you have plenty of cash to spend on an engagement ring, you will want to go with an “FL” grade diamond. Most people can only afford “VVS1” or “VS2” graded diamonds.

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