You may start out looking at diamond jewelry at another traditional jewelry store, a pawn shop or online, but don’t forget to come to E.D. Marshall Jewelers. You will be glad you did. As you are shopping around we don’t want to you to make mistakes so we are going to cover the important ones in this article.
Color and clarity issues
Whenever possible you need to know what the clarity and color of a stone was prior to it being placed in a setting. The setting can help hide flaws such as inclusions or nicks in the surface. Technically speaking, the color and clarity of a diamond cannot be accurately judged once a diamond is set so don’t let yourself be fooled.
Color grading is difficult. The GIA goes through much effort to create standardized environments in which to grade stones in their facilities and when training people. Do not accept a jeweler’s opinion of what color grade a stone is even if they state they are GIA trained. It is not the same as a GIA graded diamond.
If a jeweler is giving the color or clarity grade as a range of numbers or letters, e.g. the diamond is color grade F-G, you can be sure that the diamond has not been graded by GIA or any other reputable lab. The jeweler is really telling you that he does not know much about the diamond he is trying to sell you when he gives ranges. You won’t find any range grading at E.D. Marshall Jewelers. We will gladly give you the GIA certifications of any stone we are selling.
If you doubt the color grade of a diamond, suggest to the diamond merchant making a comparison to his master color set. A master color set is a standardized set of cubic zirconia stones that show the exact color grades. You can compare the diamond in question with these cubic zirconia master stones to see where it stands on the GIA color spectrum. If the merchant does not have a master color set be very careful about the stated color of the diamond. A jeweler can use invalid comparisons to sell a customer a lower color stone masquerading as a better color grade.
Be extra careful about trying to make color comparisons on your own. You may be shown 2 different stones described as grade G and grade H. If you do not have a master color set to compare to or a GIA certification you do not really know if the grading is correct and could end up buying a lower grade diamond than you really wanted to.
When trying to compare two differently shaped diamonds you must remember that stone body color will show more readily in certain shapes. This means that you cannot really compare diamond color visually when the shapes are different. Cut quality also changes perceived color. The quality of the cut affects the brightness of the stone which in turn changes the color you see.
Guidelines from the FTC state that any seller-stated clarity or color grade must be within 1 grade of what a qualified independent appraiser would state. This provides some security for buyers but the sellers can still inflate color and clarity grades by one level. This means that if you choose to have the stone appraised it may not come back with the exact same color and clarity you were told when you purchased it.
Jewelry store lighting is designed to make diamonds look great. Specialized lighting that emits a spectrum that is shifted toward the blue end will make a yellow diamond appear much whiter than it really is. Be sure to evaluate a stone in normal lighting, out from under the spotlights. If possible, look at the diamond in natural light from a window or skylight away from indoor lights. You may also want to look at the diamond in more normal office lighting since this is much closer to the usual conditions you will be in once you own the diamond. At E.D. Marshall Jewelers we will try to accommodate you so that you can see the diamond in lighting as close to your normal lighting as possible.
Is a carat always a carat?
You may assume that whatever is stated as the diamond’s carat weight is absolutely correct, but you could be very wrong. Many times the diamond carat weights are rounded up. Look for stores and online websites that give you the exact carat weight. As an example, a 0.69 carat diamond could be described as a 3/4 carat diamond. You may still decide to say the diamond is a three-quarters carat diamond when asked, but you will know the real carat weight when needed. A carat weight difference of less than 10% is very difficult, if not impossible, to detect visually so your friends will never know.
Stick with a quality cut
One of the main errors made by a diamond purchaser is to end up misled on the quality of the stone’s cut. The definition of cut qualities is not as well regulated as clarity and color. The actual definition of a specific cut grade is determined by the jeweler, not by an independent organization like the GIA. This means that cut grade is not easily compared between different stores or stores versus online. Overall diamond merchants tend to use the same terms to describe the cut, but there can still be small but important differences from one merchant to another. Be sure to have a definition of what each cut grade means from each store, and try to find one on line as well at any websites you visit. At E.D. Marshall Jewelers our staff will gladly help you understand exactly what cut quality you are looking at.
Many stores will not sell poor cut grade stones so be sure you know what the policy is at each store or online outlet. It will help you to understand what you are looking at if you know what the lowest grade cut is that a store handles.
It is important that a stone looks good to you, but be sure to find out what the cut quality is. Something that looks great may not have been cut so well. This can bring down the value of the stone and jewelry, which is not in your best interest.
Keep in mind that all stores can only carry a limited amount of stock. You will be shown two or three (or more) items in an effort to make a sale but these may not be the best available. You can only look at what the store has in stock so you could be missing out in seeing the true best. Because well cut diamonds are expensive to purchase and are harder to sell most stores will have a very limited number of them on hand. To round out your investigation, and better understand cut quality, you may wish to look at online websites before going to stores such as E.D. Marshall Jewelers.
Jewelry store guarantees and warranties
You may be attracted to a specific jewelry store because of warranties or guarantees that store offers. Look carefully. Return and trade-in guarantees are valuable (but read the fine print to be sure). Keep in mind that most warranties cannot replace true insurance because they do not cover theft, damage or loss.
If you plan on taking advantage of warranties or guarantees be sure you know the rules. Many warranties are voided if another jeweler works on a piece, or even just cleans the piece. And while those free cleanings and inspections are great, missing one may void the warranty.
Protecting your diamond
A diamond can be inscribed with a GIA or other laboratory certificate number. Be sure you know where the inscription is located on your stone. This fact can be a reassurance if you need to have a ring resized, repaired or cleaned. Just let the jeweler know that the diamond is inscribed and they will know that you have ‘insurance’ against switching your diamond for one of lesser value.
Ask your jeweler to show you any inclusions in the diamond with a magnifier. The staff at E.D. Marshall Jewelers will gladly help you. If your certificate does not have a description of inclusions ask the jeweler to draw a sketch of the position of inclusions and make brief notes as to the types of inclusions. This can be used to help reliably identify your diamond in the future.
Be sure to keep your GIA certificate and plot of inclusions in a safe place. This information can be used to identify your diamond if it is stolen and recovered. Without this type of information you cannot prove that a diamond is yours.
Many home owner’s or renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for jewelry. Insurance purchased from a reputable company tends to be much more comprehensive and safer than coverage or a warranty offered by a retailer. If you own a large amount of precious stones you may need to purchase a separate policy or rider to your current policy in order to have full coverage in case of theft or loss. Be sure to investigate this shortly after purchasing your jewelry.
Hopefully you have found a few helpful hints about Diamond Buying Mistakes. E.D. Marshall Jewelers will always offer the best jewelry available so stop in soon to see what we have.