You are not buying a diamond ring everyday, so it is difficult to just go in a shop and pick the best one. How do you know which one is the best one? How do you know the diamond is worth what you pay for? Do you know about diamonds at all? Most sellers know that buyers are not very well prepared to make their purchase and, unfortunately, some sellers may take advantage of this..
You should always bear in mind some general hints when deciding from whom to buy from.
Firstly, you need to know what you want in order to be able to compare prices. Be prepared by reading through the 4Cs of diamond grading and be precise when explaining it to the seller. They can propose you anything from £40,000 to £4,000 when you just say “I want a one carat ring or so” but it is more useful for them and for you if you explain that you are looking for a Princess diamond of about 0.80ct, G or H colour and VS2 and VS1 inclusions. Knowing the exact specifications makes it then possible to compare prices.
Ask to view the diamond under a magnifying glass: This is common practise and every diamond dealer should have a magnifying glass to hand. You probably don’t know what you're looking for, so here are some hints. Turn the diamond around and look from underneath into the diamond. This way your sight is not distracted by the light reflections. Watch out for white feathers in the stone or dark spots, which are inclusions. Then turn the diamond around and look for the pattern of the light reflections. If you can see a dark circle on top of the diamond and it is still there no matter how you turn the diamond, the diamond is of poor quality. Light reflections shouldn’t be dark and even if they are, they are supposed to change from dark to white by turning the the diamond.
Ask the diamond supplier if you can have a peek into the diamond certificate. They may not have it to hand straight away, which is ok but don’t accept any excuses for not receiving a certificate when buying the ring. Also make sure that the diamond certificate is not done in-house but by an independent third party, meaning a gemmological institute like GIA or the like. The certificate is your proof of buying the real thing as well as your peace of mind for not being ripped off.
Some very low profile jewellers may try to sell a mock diamond. This is another important reason to ask to see the diamond certificate. An additional feature to make sure that the diamond is a real diamond is the inscription number. Diamonds graded by gemmological institute usually have the number of their certificate laser-inscripted. Ask for this number and make sure that it is on the diamond. There are numerous hints on the web on how to spot a mock diamond but the truth is - you can’t. they can look just as sparkling as the real thing. You can only differentiate a real and a false by placing them under a microscope.
Another trick used by sellers is to place the diamond on a black background, which makes it even more difficult to compare colours. Ask for the diamonds to be placed on a white background when wanting to compare colours and also ask if they can show where the diamond is classified on a colour chart. Serious diamond traders should be able to do this and shouldn’t find anything odd about your request. If it is something that the jeweller normally doesn’t offer than there may be something to hide.
All diamonds should be priced. It is not unusual to have prices given per carat for this type of gem. Hence the seller needs to weigh the stone and calculate the price accordingly. Make sure you see the scale when the diamond is weighed. If a diamond is not priced, but only has an item code, this may be a way to make you pay more and should be avoided.
Hopefully this will help you to make the right decisions and to walk away from non-serious sellers.