U Magazine - - FEATURE -

Bud­get­ing The al­lure of di­a­mond shop­ping makes it easy to get swept up in the taglines and buzz­words and find your­self com­pletely out­side your ini­tial bud­get. Many jewel­ers may try to con­vince you that di­a­monds are an in­vest­ment and that they never go out of style – but that’s not a rea­son to pur­chase the first di­a­mond within reach. Do your re­search, set a bud­get (in­clud­ing re-siz­ing, in­sur­ance, etc.) and don’t budge from that price.

Color Di­a­monds come in a spec­trum of colors, with col­or­less di­a­monds be­ing the most valu­able on the cur­rent mar­ket. The color scale starts at Z (heav­ily-col­ored) and moves up to D (col­or­less). To give you an idea of the pre­ci­sion of de­ter­min­ing a di­a­mond’s shade, only a di­a­mond ex­pert will be able to see sub­tle yel­low or brown un­der­tones in an F col­ored stone, and the color may be im­per­cep­ti­ble to your eye in an I col­ored stone set in a ring or pen­dant. Ask to see green, or­ange, yel­low, red, and blue di­a­monds while shop­ping and you just might find a gor­geous rock within your bud­get!

Carat When it comes to di­a­mond shop­ping, size mat­ters – but not as much as you might think. Per­haps the most im­por­tant de­ter­mi­nant of the price of a di­a­mond jew­elry item is its carat weight, which you can com­pare most eas­ily on round-cut stones. Ask to see a few col­or­less di­a­mond rings (col­ored di­a­monds have a dif­fer­ent den­sity and carat weight) with a round cut, and de­ter­mine the size of di­a­mond that you would like to buy while wear­ing the piece. One im­por­tant note to keep in mind is that the cut of a stone may make it look dra­mat­i­cally big­ger, so bud­get-con­scious shop­pers can get more vis­ual bang for their buck by try­ing pear, mar­quis, and oval cuts in­stead of deep shapes like princess stones.

Cut This is where your per­sonal style comes into play. Di­a­mond cuts and styles have ebbed and flowed over the cen­turies, but only you know what looks and feels best for you. The sim­ple round cut is by far the most com­mer­cially-pop­u­lar di­a­mond sold, with over 70% of women pur­chas­ing round di­a­monds. How­ever, princess cuts and cush­ion cuts are ris­ing in pop­u­lar­ity (par­tic­u­larly for en­gage­ment rings). Try on a few rarer cuts and see how you like them: the mar­quise shape has a huge sur­face area for more vis­ual im­pact; emer­ald cuts show the beau­ti­ful light and dark parts of the stone, and pear-shaped di­a­monds of­fer a re­gal ef­fect.

Clar­ity There are very few truly flaw­less di­a­monds in the world; how­ever, most im­per­fec­tions in di­a­monds at your lo­cal jew­elry store are al­most im­per­cep­ti­ble to the hu­man eye. Jewel ex­perts de­ter­mine di­a­mond clar­ity by ex­am­in­ing the stone for lit­tle bits of black car­bon, tiny hair­like cracks in the stone, and other blem­ishes. Stones are ranked from FL (flaw­less un­der 10x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion) to I1-I3, where in­clu­sions are eas­ily seen by the naked eye. While a chip could be pol­ished out, a crack might make your stone more vul­ner­a­ble to break­age. Ask your jew­eler spe­cific ques­tions about your di­a­mond’s clar­ity rank­ing and the na­ture of any in­clu­sions.

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