Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they can also cost a pretty penny. If you’re looking to splash out on a sparkler on a budget, we’re here to help.
Nothing on earth can match the glitter, the fire, or the opulent beauty of a well-cut diamond. Prized since ancient times, these precious stones have great value as an investment and offer sentimental value too.
As with most things in life, the more you spend, the better the quality. But there are ways to buy a budget diamond without looking like a cheap-skate.
Whether you want to buy stones to set in a piece of jewellery, an engagement ring based on the stone, or loose stones as an investment, the following tips can help you.
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Decide What You Want and Set a Budget
There’s much more to buying a budget diamond than purchasing the first affordable one you can find. That’s an easy way to get ripped off with a stone that’s probably riddled with flaws.
Before you start looking for a diamond, you need to make a few decisions to help clarify what it is that you want.
Next, you should set a budget.
Consider the following factors when deciding what you want in a diamond:
- The carat weight
- The cut
- The colour
- The clarity
Don’t expect to aim for the best in all those areas, because you will end up looking at stones that are definitely not budget diamonds. Instead, be prepared to make a few compromises.
The carat weight is the greatest determiner of the price, so try not to skimp on that. The brilliance and fire of a stone depend largely on the cut, so aim for the best you can get for your budget. It’s better to compromise when it comes to colour and clarity.
Choosing the Carat Weight
Although the carat weight is one of the most important factors in the pricing of diamonds, it doesn’t necessarily affect the beauty of the cut stone. In fact, depending on their shape, larger, deep stones can take on a glassy appearance when cut.
When looking for affordable diamonds to buy, pay attention to the carat weight, but beware of how it can affect the aesthetics if you plan on using the stone in jewellery.
The average weight of diamonds purchased for engagement rings at Diamonds-USA and all across the US is between 1.00 and 1.2 carats. Be prepared to look at stones that weigh between 0.95 and 1.08 carats.
Consider the Diamond Shape
The shape of the diamond you choose depends largely on your reason for purchasing the stone. With an engagement ring, you will want to choose a shape that showcases the diamond and is in keeping with your partner’s tastes.
If you’re compromising on colour and clarity in favour of other factors, but still want a stone that dazzles the eye, choose a round brilliant. On the other hand, if you prefer a unique shape that comes with slightly less brilliance, consider an oval or cushion cut.
How to Choose the Cut
As mentioned above, if you are looking for affordable diamonds of great beauty, choose the best cut in your price range. Keep in mind that while carat weight is standardised, cut grades are not. A good rule of thumb is to look at ideal or excellent cut stones, especially if the shape is round.
If you have your heart set on an unusual or unique shape, you also can look at the premium cut grade. Choosing a good quality cut is one of the best ways to buy a budget diamond without looking cheap.
Pay Attention to Clarity
The cheapest diamonds usually have the lowest carat weight and they often have visible flaws. When shopping around for an affordable stone, consider those that are eye-clean.
This means that flaws, inclusions, or blemishes are visible only under a jeweller’s loupe or magnifying glass. To the naked eye, a diamond that is eye-clean looks as good as more expensive stones.
Colour Is Important
Yellow diamonds are becoming more popular. This is likely due to their affordability and the visual interest they offer when combined with other precious stones such as emeralds. However, if you want to purchase an affordable diamond without looking cheap, opt for a stone that appears white.
Various international laboratories have different colour scales. If you use the GIA scale, you can look at stones in the G to I range, as they appear white even though they are not perfectly so. The true colourless stones are in the D to E range. When deciding on the colour, take the shape and cut into account as well, as those factors can affect the apparent colour of the stone.
Compare Similar Stones
When looking for affordable diamonds, you’re likely to find several similar stones. They may all have the same shape, but there would be differences in the carat weight, cut, colour, and clarity.
Compare every aspect of them and then choose the stone that makes the best meets your intended purpose for it.
Examine the Stones For Flaws
We mentioned flaws in the section about clarity above. Even when you find a diamond that’s eye clean, you should examine it for flaws.
The most obvious flaws you might see with the naked eye or under a loupe are marks made when the stone was cut and polished. You may even spot some impurities too. Other flaws may be microscopic, which may not affect the diamond’s beauty, but may affect its value.
Clarity enhanced diamonds can be a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers wanting to remove any flaws. Treatments such as laser drilling help eliminate discolourations or specks in a diamond, while fracture filling makes natural imperfections invisible. Due to their lower price, enhanced diamonds can save you a significant amount of money. Their lower price also means you can afford a larger diamond that’s dazzlingly beautiful and blemish-free.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when purchasing an affordable diamond. When you know what to look for, you can find a sparkler that seems far more valuable than it really is, and you can avoid looking like a scrooge.