Buying a diamond engagement ring is an exciting experience--but it can also feel overwhelming for those new to the process. Fine jewelry has its own language and, at first glance, understanding how to speak it might seem impossible. The good news is that it’s not that complicated, if you have an expert to learn from.
The key to properly evaluating a jeweler and choosing the perfect engagement ring all comes down to knowing the right questions to ask. Make sure to discuss the following 10 questions with a jeweler when buying a diamond engagement ring and you’ll walk away confident in your purchase.
What Are The 4 Cs of Diamonds?
All diamonds are graded on the four Cs. This is a universal, 4-part system that helps identify a diamond’s best qualities. A good jeweler will be able to guide you through the process and provide you with the tools you need to see the beauty of the stone you’re about to purchase.
You’ve probably heard of a “carat” before, but what is it exactly? It’s a unit of weight that’s equal to 0.2 grams (about the weight of a coffee bean). Carats are made up of “points” (like how pounds are made up of ounces).
100 points equals 1 carat. Therefore, a 50-point diamond is 0.50 carats, a 75-point diamond is .75 carats, and so on.
Keep in mind that every diamond shows its weight in a unique way. Online shoppers who choose their diamond based only on carat specifications may be disappointed when it finally arrives. The best way to understand a diamond is to see it in-person.
When it comes to your diamond engagement ring, the less color the diamond has, the higher its value. The Gemological Institute of America’s color-grading scale is the industry standard for diamonds. The scale starts with the letter D, which represents “colorless,” and continues with increasing color all the way to the letter Z.
You can expect most of the diamonds that you’ll look at to run from colorless to near-colorless with hints of light yellow color.
Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions (internal marks) and blemishes (external marks).
Keep in mind that a diamond without any markings is very rare and so the value of this type of ring will be significantly higher. Often, you won’t be able to see a big difference between a “perfect” diamond and one that’s nearly perfect!
The GIA International Diamond Grading System assigns diamonds a clarity grade that ranges from Flawless to Included. The complete scale is as follows:
- Flawless (FL)
- Internally Flawless (IF)
- Very, Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)
- Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2)
- Included (I1, I2, and I3)
The cut of a diamond is perhaps the most important factor to consider when evaluating a stone’s 4Cs. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult factors to analyze or quantify.
There are three factors to consider when evaluating the cut of your ring:
- Brilliance (light reflected from your diamond)
- Fire (dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum)
- Scintillations (flashes of light when the diamond is moved)
Your jeweler can show you a few different cuts (it’s much easier to see the difference in person) and see which catches your eye!
How Do You Handle Diamond Certification And Appraisal?
Your jeweler should be able to prove that the stone is natural or describe any treatments that have been made on the diamond. While trust in your jeweler is important, there’s nothing wrong with asking for a 3rd-party diamond certificate from an independent source, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
At Malka Diamonds, our staff includes GIA certified gemologists who provide certifications and appraisals for all diamonds in our Portland store!
Can You Verify The Ring’s Precious Metal Content?
Keep in mind that metal matters, too. Ask your jeweler to see the stamp verifying the precious metal content of your ring. For example, 14K, 18K for gold, or PLT for platinum.
Additionally, make sure that you’re comfortable with the durability of the metal. If your ring is made of a softer metal, it will be more likely to show wear more quickly.
Can The Ring Be Modified?
Talk to your jeweler about how easy it is to resize, repair, or upgrade the ring. Don’t overlook this question as it’s likely that you’ll need to have the ring you buy resized to ensure a perfect fit!
These questions may also help you choose a style of ring that’s right for your lifestyle. For example, if you and your loved one are highly active, you may want to choose a design that’s not difficult to repair.
Similarly, if you plan on choosing a modest engagement ring with the intention of upgrading in the future, you’ll want the jeweler to give you information about how difficult it will be to swap in a larger stone.
Do You Have An On-Site Jeweler?
Surprisingly, many stores don’t house an on-site jeweler. When it comes time to set your diamond, stores without a jeweler will send your ring to another shop. Instead, look for a jeweler that can provide all services onsite. You’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly who is handling your ring and won’t have to worry about it getting lost or displaced.
You should also ensure that the jeweler has modern, state-of-the-art equipment that is capable of making quality repairs. For example, when sizing your ring, a laser welder is the best tool for making seamless adjustments to keep your diamond engagement ring looking flawless.
How Difficult Is It To Clean The Ring?
No matter what ring you purchase, regular cleanings are always a good idea. However, some rings may be more difficult to clean, so make sure you know about this upfront.
What Are Your Credentials?
Before choosing a jeweler, gather some information about who they are and the credentials they hold.
How long has the jeweler been in business and what is their reputation in the community? An established and trusted jeweler should have great references and reviews. Additionally, find out what type of certifications the business has.
For instance, is the jeweler GIA certified like those on staff here at Malka Diamonds?
What Are Your Warranties and Exchange Policies?
Make sure you cover all your bases by asking your jeweler to explain their warranty and return policy. This is particularly important for those who are buying the ring for their significant other without their knowledge as there’s always the possibility that your significant other doesn’t think the ring is “the one.”
Additionally, find out what’s included in the jeweler’s warranty and if there are any circumstances of loss or damage that aren’t covered. A good jeweler will take care of your ring for its entire lifetime, providing regular cleanings, inspections, and any repairs.
What Are My Payment Options?
Purchasing a diamond engagement ring is a significant investment. Some jewelers may offer special financing for engagement rings. Whether or not you plan on taking advantage of these types of offers, it’s a good idea to ask and know what your options might be.
Can You Provide A Ring Appraisal For Insurance?
It’s a smart idea to insure your diamond engagement ring. To do so, you’ll need to have your ring appraised. In order to evaluate the quality and value of your diamond, appraisers and insurers will need diamond grading and identification reports.
At Malka Diamonds, we’ll include an appraisal with your diamond engagement ring at no extra cost.
Ready To Buy A Diamond Engagement Ring?
Purchasing a diamond engagement ring is an investment. At Malka Diamonds, we want you to walk away with confidence.
We are GIA certified and experts in diamonds, gems, and exquisite jewelry. We are dedicated to working with our customers to make sure the diamond engagement rings they purchase are an expression of themselves and their style.
Visit our store today or contact us with questions--we would love to hear from you.