Many years ago buying some diamond jewelry was kind of simple. You know... if you wanted to buy some diamond earrings, a diamond bracelet, or a diamond engagement ring, you would go down to your favorite local diamond jewelry store, you would sit down, and then you would choose your favorite piece of diamond jewelry from your trusted family jewelry. Well some of that scenario has changed a bit in the past 30 years and now it is up to you, the diamond jewelry shopper, to play a more active part in this process and so you will need to do your homework before you make your purchase.

The 4 basic elements that make up the pricing of diamonds are pretty straightforward. But like most things, once you get past the basics, the information overload starts to become more than many consumers need to know. The first 3 components of a diamond's pricing; Clarity, Color, and Carat Weight are pretty easy to understand. The heavier the diamond (a greater Carat weight), the more it will cost. The less "stuff" inside of the diamond (a higher Clarity), the more it will cost. The more it looks like "ice" (a higher Color, more colorless), the more it will cost. There are charts you can use for reference so it is kind of easy to comprehend.

The one "C" that gives you the most trouble

The "Cut" of a diamond is the biggest factor in how beautiful a diamond will be... meaning that if a diamond is cut to exacting angles and proportions, the diamond's potential beauty will be realized. It is this one factor that can account for nearly 50% of a diamond's value! When it comes to the Cut of a diamond, there are many people who can become confused as to what all those numbers and terms mean. Over the years, diamond cutters have been improving their methods and the quality of their finished product. There are a couple of things that have been driving these improvements. The first would be the greater number of Gemologists that are working in the jewelry business and they can quickly and accurately tell the difference between well cut and poorly cut diamonds.

The other big change has been the wide spread use of diamond grading reports, which have become a "must have" part of the diamond transaction. Even with these changes in the diamond buying process, a diamond's Cut can still be a minefield of misinformation and confusion. Just because a diamond has a grading report it does not guarantee that the diamond will be beautiful. When considering a diamond that comes with a grading report, it is best if you only accept diamond grading reports that come from GIA, AGSL, or GCAL. These diamond grading reports do have a Cut grade that can be trusted and that can be used to compare with other diamonds. The topic of diamond grading reports can be pretty involved and there are times that you can depart from this general rule.

What's a consumer to do?

Information will be an important part of any diamond buying process but there is also another element that must not be overlooked. That element? Trust. Just imagine the process everyone should go through when considering buying some diamond jewelry from a local jewelry store. You would want to consider a local jeweler who others have recommended, who has experience, who is a Gemologist, who is located in proper jewelry store, who will spend time with you, and who will freely give you the information that you will need to make an informed decision.

This same type of criteria should also apply to anything you encounter in the online world of diamonds. I am amazed by the amount of incorrect information about diamonds that exists on the Internet.

Would you buy a diamond from somebody who has set up a tent at the corner next to the gas station? This is the same tent that just last week had big banners stating "Information On How To Save $$ on Cell Phones" but now those banners say "Information On How To Save $$ on Diamonds!". If you enter the tent, they don't bother telling you any reason why you should believe anything that they have to say. There are probably some pretty pictures and some bright lights in there. If you can find their "About Us" button and you click on it... up pops "We are committed to bringing you the best diamond buying information". OK, that's nice... but what does it mean? Who is "we"?, what experience does "we" have in the jewelry business?, does "we" have any experience in actually buying and selling diamonds, why should you believe a single word that "we" has to say?, and do you have any reason to trust "we"?

Don't stray too far off the path!

In the search for the right diamond or piece of diamond jewelry it is always best not to be distracted by the siren's song of low prices. You generally get what you pay for. Your local retail diamond jewelry store might have higher diamond prices (maybe they might be able to match online diamond prices!) but they also have diamonds that you can see before you buy, they might have a good trade up program, they might offer a free appraisal, they might offer free checkups / cleanings, they might offer free ring sizings, they might offer lifetime damage or loss guarantees, and a diamond purchased from them could have the added cachet of being a piece of diamond jewelry from Tiffany verses a piece of diamond jewelry from ksdiamondsdmcc.com.

The online doctor diamonds retailers do offer an attractive alternative to traditional diamond retail jewelry stores. Online diamond retailers do offer quality diamonds at good prices along with being able to set the diamond into a basic mounting but it will require more work on your part along with making a purchase of a product sight unseen. Because this type of purchase will be a blind transaction... trust in your basic diamond knowledge along with trust in the company you are dealing with will be essential.

Start and stick with the basics! The 4Cs and trust

Khuram Shahzad has been in the jewelry business for 15 years and has done everything from watchmaking, diamond setting, jewelry making, and has been a Gemologist for nearly years. He has taught about diamonds to hundreds of students from all around the world.