A Guide to Browsing Diamond Rings

Shopping for new jewelry can be a pretty expensive endeavor. However, you can usually find jewelry of similar quality at used or antique stores. To help you find quality jewelry at a fraction of the cost, here are some tips you should keep in mind when looking at diamond rings.

General Tips

If you are browsing antique jewelry, then you might get lucky and find a high quality diamond at a low price. On the other hand, you might end up with a low quality diamond that cost a lot more than it should have. It's important to learn how to distinguish between the two. If you are specifically looking at diamond rings, then you should focus more of your attention on the gem than the ring itself. In many cases, the diamond can be worth a lot more than the ring. An ornate ring might tempt you into buying a diamond that is of poor quality. Conversely, an unassuming band might dissuade you from looking at the high quality diamond on the ring.

Quantitative Quality

In general, you can look at four separate methods of measuring the quality of a diamond, conveniently known as the four C's.

  • Carat: put simply, this is the mass of the diamond in question. For reference, one carat is 200 mg. That may seem pretty small, but one carat is fairly average. If you want a cheaper ring, you might want to find something that is half a carat or less. 
  • Clarity: this is a specific way of measuring flaws (under 10x magnification) on the inside and the outside of the diamond. Internal flaws (cavities and cracks) are known as inclusions, while external flaws (chips and scratches) are called blemishes. Inclusions are rated on a scale, with flawless being the best possible rating and inclusions being the worst rating. A diamond with inclusions will have internal flaws that are actually visible to the naked eye.
  • Color: some colors are much more valuable than others when it comes to diamonds. Red diamonds rank among the most valuable, then pinks and blues, and then yellows. If the diamond does not have color, then it is graded on a scale of clarity. Cloudy is bad and clear is good. If a diamond is tinted brown or yellow, then it is not particularly valuable. In essence, if you want a colored diamond, then price will increase as the purity of color increases. However, if you are looking for a clear, white diamond, then any color will detract from the value.
  • Cut: the last and most subjective category is the cut of the diamond. There isn't a readily available scale to easily check which diamonds are of good cut and which are not. Instead, you will likely need to hire a professional to inspect the diamond. They will look at how polished it is, the level of symmetry, and the balance of proportions.

Diamonds have several specific criteria by which they are judged. You won't be able to assess these attributes as well as an expert, but you don't necessarily need to. As long as you can tell a general difference in color quality and notice any imperfections, you can sniff out an excellent deal. If you do end up buying a diamond ring that you think was a fair deal, then it's a good idea to take it to an expert like Morgan Sonsthagen Jewelry Design. They can verify its value and it might end up being worth a lot more than you anticipated.