How to Buy a Diamond

1. Ask for the independent laboratory report. On a half-carat or greater diamond, especially for a center stone, buy only diamonds that have an independent laboratory report. Appraisals are not the same and will not replace an independent report. At the same time, do not expect the report to tell you all you need to know about the diamond. Laboratory reports from GIA and AGS are a big step in getting good value, but only if you understand everything the report is documenting. There is more revealed than color and clarity.

2. Do not buy from someone who knows less than you do. If you are wise enough to educate yourself, you should expect the seller’s knowledge to exceed yours. Prices on diamonds are fairly universal but they are based on dozens of aspects. When sellers are buying for price without knowing why it's priced that way, they probably bought wrong. Don't buy their mistakes!

3. Understand the trade-offs. While searching for your diamond, use your time to get a better sense of what trade-offs you are likely to be facing. Understand that there are counterpoints to every decision. Size or grade aren't the only choices. Beauty, durability and rarity are considerations, too.

4. Know what a fine cut is for the shape you are buying. One of the things Beaudet customers find surprising is how difficult it is to get really fine proportions in cuts other than round. In cuts where there is no "Ideal," stones are usually cut to save material. If you are lucky enough to find a diamond in a marquise, oval or cushion shape with very good proportions, polish, and symmetry, you'll see what one in a few thousand looks like.

5. Look at your choices next to each other. There may be one you just can't take your eye off. That is the diamond that will win your heart.

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