Ah, diamonds: A girl’s best friend – or her husband or fiance’s worst nightmare? Finding a gem that will rock her socks off without shredding your wallet can be a challenge. But, with a little education and smart shopping, it can be done!  The friendly, non-commissioned jewelry consultants at Worthington Jewelers are here to  show you how.

Whether you are looking for an engagement ring, wedding band or a piece of fashion jewelry, follow these tips on how to get a bigger, better diamond for less.

Start With the 4 Cs

Carat

Diamonds are priced per carat – a measure of the gemstone’s weight, not its size. Of course, size affects the weight, but you measure carats with scales, not calipers. Expect diamond prices per carat to increase as you jump up to higher weight categories, such as 0.50 carat, 1.00 carat, 1.50 carat, etc.

Clarity

Clarity refers to inclusions and blemishes. Nearly all diamonds include these small birthmarks. Inclusions are elements within the diamond acquired while it was forming in tremendous heat and under extreme pressure. One example of an inclusion is a speck of another element besides carbon trapped within the diamond. A blemish, on the other hand, appears on the diamond’s surface.

Diamonds are graded for clarity using the 11-point diamond clarity scale created by the GIA. The higher the clarity, the higher the price. Rarest – and most expensive – are flawless (FL) and internally flawless (IF) diamonds, free (or nearly free) of inclusions and blemishes. Next in clarity are VVS1 and VVS2, diamonds with very, very slight inclusions. Inclusions in VS1 and VS2 (very slight inclusions) diamonds are slightly larger, and they’re bigger still in diamonds graded SI1 and SI2 (slight inclusions). Most inclusions and blemishes in diamonds rated SI2 and above are invisible without using a jeweler’s loupe or microscope. Included diamonds (I1, I2 and I3) have imperfections that are visible to the naked eye.

Color

Color, or the lack thereof, is just what it sounds like. When evaluating white diamonds, completely colorless diamonds are more highly valued than those with some degree of color. The GIA grades diamonds on a scale of D (colorless) through Z (light color). All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of color.

Cut

Cut affects how the surfaces interact with light. The better the cut, the more it traps and reflects light through the crown. A well-cut diamond generally costs a bit more – but the difference in sparkle is worth it.

Weighing the Differences

Proclaiming a diamond to be 1 carat garners a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs.” However, it usually takes trained jeweler to tell the difference between a .90 carat and a full-carat gemstone. The price per carat can increase by as much as 20 percent when you hit the 1-carat mark. The same principle holds true whatever weight you are considering:  a .50-carat stone will cost significantly more than a .40-carat, and a full two-carat diamond will cost more than one that weighs 1.9 carats.

Of course, the right setting can make a smaller diamond look significantly larger. Halo and pave settings especially can amp up the bling factor.

Colorful Savings Tips

If you’re looking for a bigger diamond than your budget allows, consider one with slightly more color. Diamonds in the colorless range (D-F) carry the highest prices. Those in the near colorless range (G – J) cost less – and the variations in color can be difficult to see unless you’re comparing diamonds side by side. Diamonds graded K through Z will show increasing amounts of color.

Of course, with fancy colored diamonds, the opposite holds true. When you want a pink diamond, for instance, the more vivid the pink, the higher the price.

Monthly Diamond Deals

Every month, Worthington Jewelers searches our inventory to bring you the absolute best deals on certified loose diamonds in Columbus, Ohio. Check out this month’s diamond deals.

Your Diamond Education Experts

Here at Worthington Jewelers, we’re quite happy to discuss diamond facts so you can be confident in your jewelry purchases. We are family-owned and operated and have been serving the Worthington and Columbus metro area since 2000.

No matter what kind of jewelry purchase you have in mind, we can help. Contact us or come in today! And remember, Worthington Jewelers is always happy to offer FREE jewelry inspections and offers on-site repair services, too.

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