Confidence is key when making any significant purchase, and it is even more important when that purchase has both emotional and financial value. When choosing a diamond, you want to be sure that the information you are receiving is correct and that you are making a well-informed decision. There is a huge amount of information available nowadays, so it can be difficult to know where to start.
You will often hear people talk about ‘the four Cs’ that indicate the quality of a diamond. These are the cut, carat, colour and clarity that we have discussed in the previous blogs in this series. You may also hear ‘certificate’ given as a ‘fifth C’. We have chosen to talk about overall confidence, but a certificate is an important part of this. It is now commonplace for stones larger than around 0.30ct (and sometimes smaller than this) to have certificates or reports which independently assess their quality. This should give information about the stone’s colour, clarity and cut grades, as well as the carat weight, measurements and shape.
We tend to select stones that have been issued with a report from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). They are widely regarded as the most consistent laboratory for diamond grading, so you can be sure that the information in the report is independent, precise and accurate. There are many different bodies that issue diamond certificates and not all of them grade to the same standards, so it important to research beforehand to ensure your diamond is certificated by a qualified, independent and reputable laboratory.
A thorough certificate can only be provided for a single diamond prior to it being mounted in jewellery: once mounted, inclusions may be hidden from view by the setting and it is not possible to assess a stone from all angles. In pieces containing multiple stones there is often slight variation which cannot be accounted for by a single certificate. Therefore, reports assessing a piece of jewellery in its entirety, especially with multiple stones, cannot be as accurate as those provided for a single loose diamond, so a certificate may not be appropriate for an eternity ring or cluster piece. For pieces containing one or more diamonds of significant size, such as the centre stone of a halo style cluster or a pair of solitaire earrings, the stones may have individual reports.
Whether or not a stone is supplied with a certificate, it is important to make your purchase from a seller you can trust. If you are unsure of anything or need more detail about a stone to help you decide, then ask questions; a reputable seller will enjoy sharing their knowledge with you and telling you all about the stone.
In addition to confidence about the quality of the diamond you are buying, it is reassuring to know that it has been sourced ethically. Since 2003 the Kimberley Process has been in place to help prevent diamonds entering the trade that have been procured illegally and used to fund conflict. It works by ensuring that parcels of rough diamonds crossing the borders between member countries have a certificate stating the contents and origin of the parcel. Although this only applies to rough diamonds, the international System of Warranties created by the World Diamond Council extends the chain of guarantees and transparency through polished and set diamonds too, with invoices showing a declaration that the diamonds have been sourced legally. Although not flawless, these processes help to build confidence and create more transparency in the supply chain. We purchase from suppliers who adhere to these processes. As with quality and certification, a reputable jeweller will be able to answer your questions and reassure you on this point.
To make you feel confident in your purchase it is important that you feel comfortable and in control throughout the process. All our staff are professional jewellers with several of them qualified gemmologists and diamond graders. They have the experience and expertise to answer your questions and offer helpful advice, always willing to talk you through your options without a pressurised sales environment. When choosing diamonds we only select those that we would be happy to own ourselves, taking care to look at every aspect of a stone’s quality. We have a wide selection of diamonds available to view in our showroom, of assorted sizes and grades, with something to suit every budget. Why not browse on our website first and then pop in for a chat with one of our jewellers; there’s no need to book an appointment.