When it comes to investing, few things maintain their value like diamonds. If you have a hefty tax return that you want to invest or are looking to use your windfall to purchase an engagement ring, look no further than diamonds. Good quality diamonds don’t come cheap, so what if you found a diamond at far below market value? How do you know it’s a good diamond? What distinguishes a good diamond from a poor one? Buying a diamond is a great investment, whether it’s a loose diamond or embedded in a beautiful ring as a symbol of your love. Before you open your wallet, keep these helpful tips on buying diamonds in mind.

Face-to-Face, Not FaceTime

In this digital age, it’s easy to purchase nearly anything online. Diamonds however, are best chosen in person. Make an appointment to sit down with a Diamond Broker diamond expert to help you through the process. Once you set up an appointment or walk confidently into the jewelry store, you are ready to put the four diamond characteristics to the test.

What to Look For

When assessing your diamond, it’s best to keep your budget at front of mind. With that aside, look for carat, clarity, cut and color.

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. The higher the carat weight, the higher the cost. One carat is equivalent to 100 points, so a half carat (.50) would equal 50 points. Although two diamonds may weigh the same, they can come at a different cost and this is because they vary in quality where the other three C’s are concerned.

Clarity refers to the internal inclusions like cuts/scars and external blemishes like cuts/scratches. Even though a diamond can appear to be of high clarity, it could have a variety of imperfections that may only be noticeable under a microscope or when compared to a diamond of higher quality. Grades range from internally flawless (IF), where there are no internal or external inclusions to included, meaning the diamond has a number of imperfections. SI means slightly included, and I1 to I3 are imperfect diamonds. These lower quality diamonds have so many inclusions that they tend not be very shiny, or brilliant.

Some inclusions are caused by conditions present when the diamond was formed, whereas others may be affected during the cutting process.

Cut. It’s a common misconception that cut refers to the shape of the diamond, when in fact, it refers to the proportions to which the stone was polished. A cut can range from excellent to poor. Excellent means the diamond was cut to perfect proportions and exudes brilliance. When you look at a diamond, it almost looks like it’s burning inside and this is what is referred to as brilliance.

Color. There is a difference between colored diamonds (canary yellow, pink diamonds, blue diamonds like the hope diamond) and the color of a diamond. Color in this case refers to the visible tint of a diamond. Color can range from D or colorless (a rare feature) to S, which means it has a light yellow to yellow tint when it’s seen under light. Colorless diamonds generally command the highest prices.

The colors we touched on, yellow, pink and blue are considered fancy and vivid colors.

Couple C’s to Consider

In addition to the foundational C’s, consider these:

Certified. If your diamond is certified, it means it has been submitted to either EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) or GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for quality analysis. The lab grades the color and clarity and takes detailed measurements of the diamond.

Cost. Before shopping, always have a price point in mind and ask to see the best in that price range. From here you can pick and choose based on what your taste.

Next Steps

Browse the Diamond Broker database to find the shapes and sizes within your price point that you like the most. Choosing the right diamond, and knowing you’re getting your money’s worth, can be a confusing process but with this guide in mind, you’ll be a pro!