The “What To Know Before You Go” Diamond Buying Guide

 

Not many things in life carry the emotional thrill that comes with buying the perfect piece for the one you want to spend forever with. If you’re starting to venture into this world of diamond buying, let this guide help you make educated and stress free decisions. Here are  Five Tips to consider before you go ring shopping.

Tip 1: Have a clear understanding of the 4 C’s of Diamond Buying

The 4 C’s of diamond buying include: Cut, Clarity, Carat and Color. Having a basic understanding of these 4 diamond characteristics will help you have better conversations with your jeweler and offer you the vocabulary to ask important questions with. 

Tip 2: Set a budget that works for you. 

Forget every rule of thumb you’ve heard in the past, and instead make sure you are comfortable with the amount you’re looking to spend. This number will also enable your jeweler to show you all that’s possible. Because of our customized approach, we have engagement rings that fit every budget and style. We do not work off commission so you can feel confident knowing that this will be a stress free experience. 

Tip 3: Decide which of the 4 C’s will be most important to you and your partner. 

For some, carat size is the most important, while others focus on color or clarity, but the “C” that determines the sparkle/luster and beauty of a diamond is the cut. Some other things to also consider are colored diamonds or fancy cut non-traditional diamonds.  

Tip 4: Understanding the role Table Size plays in a diamond. 

Table size or table percentages indicate the ratio of the width of the diamond's top facet (table) in relation to the width of the entire stone. When it comes to diamond tables, bigger is not always better. If the diamond table is too large, the upper facets on the crown will lack the room to disperse light. Generally, the best-looking diamonds have table sizes in the range of 55% to 60% (measured as a percentage of the diameter of the diamond). The size of the table is more important in larger diamonds, say over 1/2 ct.

Tip 5: Verify that it is a GIA certified diamond

Feel confident asking to see the diamond certificate. This is a monumental purchase so of course you want to know that what you’re buying is authentic and conflict free. GIA tests every diamond submitted to establish its authenticity as a diamond and whether it's been subjected to treatments. GIA reports provide a full description of the diamond, including color, weight, measurements, and cutting style, and will disclose any known treatments.

At La Bijouterie, our sole purpose is to help couples achieve a milestone moment in their lives any way we can. We believe in quality over quantity, and educating always. Before pulling the trigger on such an important decision, book a no stress 30 minute 1:1 appointment.

At Your Service,

Set F.

Founder, La Bijouterie

CLASS IS IN SESSION: THE 4 C’S OF DIAMOND BUYING

 

Ah yes, summer is almost here and love is in the air. This time of year is famous for intimate proposals and big celebrations. If you’re thinking of popping the big question in the coming months, make sure you do your homework to educate yourself around what to look for when it comes to buying the perfect diamond. 

If you can’t list the “4 C’s” of diamond buying off hand, that’s okay… check out our guide below and feel empowered the next time you step into a jewelry store. 

So what exactly are the 4 C’ of diamond buying?

CUT- how the diamond is essentially shaped

CLARITY - A scale that determines how clear the diamond is, vs how many imperfections or how much cloudiness exists-- aka: how sparkly the diamond is

CARAT- The weight of the diamond

COLOR- A scale which measure how closely the diamond approach colorlessness

Bonus C: COST- A lot goes into determining this amount. This is an area jewelers get certified in and should be able to explain to you in detail. 

Let’s being with CUT:

The cut of the diamond determines how well it reflects light. When a diamond is well cut, the light is reflected from one facet to another, and is then dispersed through the top of the stone, making the diamond dazzling to the eye. However, if a diamond is cut too deep some of the light escapes through the opposite side of the pavilion, brilliance is lost, and the center of the diamond will appear dark. If a diamond is cut too shallow, light escapes through the pavilion before it can be reflected, again brilliance is lost and the diamond will appear glassy and dark.

Cut is the hardest aspect for any diamond cutter or polisher to master, however modern day certificates assist you in making the right decision. GIA (gemological institute of america) is the most respected of all diamond certificates and assesses cut ranging from excellent as the best all the way down to poor as the worst. At La Bijouterie, we strictly work with excellent cut diamonds that have been hand picked to maximize brilliance. Hearts and arrows are a modern term commonly used by most industry workers as a way for the public to view and see eight hearts from the back of a diamond, and eight clearly viable arrows.

At La Bijouterie, we're Certified Diamond Graders from the Gemological Institute of America and the Diamond High Council in Antwerp. It is our duty to show you and explain to you why one diamond's cut is better than another.

CLARITY

Each and every diamond is one of a kind. No single diamond is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification (under a loupe), except for diamonds that have been graded 'flawless' by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These are extremely rare, so much so that most jewelers have never even seen one let alone sold one! The GIA clarity scale contains 11 grades, with most diamonds falling into the vs (very slightly included) or si (slightly included) categories. In determining a clarity grade, the GIA system considers the size, nature, position, color or relief, and quantity of clarity characteristics visible under 10× magnification.The grades range from flawless to included as follows:

  • Flawless (fl) - no inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.

  • Internally flawless (if) - no inclusions and only blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification.

  • Very, very slightly included (vvs1 and vvs2) – inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10× magnification.

  • Very slightly included (vs1 and vs2) – inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification.

  • Slightly included (si1 and si2) – inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader under 10x magnification.

  • Included (i1, i2, and i3) – inclusions are obvious under 10× magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance.

CARAT

Now that we’ve taken a deep dive into the first and second of the C’s, cut and clarity, let’s move on to carat weight, and no, we’re not talking about the kind you put in a salad. (wink!)

Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed in metric carats. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. A carat is divided into 100 points. For example, a 50-point diamond weighs 0.50 carats. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values depending on the other factors (clarity, color, cut and other dimensions).

COLOR

Diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colorlessness – the less color in the white diamond, then the higher the value. GIA's color grading scale for diamonds is the industry and international standard. 

The scale begins with the letter d, representing colorless, and continues with increasing color to the letter z, which is essentially light yellow or brown. Each letter grade isn't an exact color, but it is a range of color, meaning a diamond of d color at the top of the range will be whiter, while a diamond near the bottom of the range will look more like an e color. 

It takes a diamond expert to distinguish these differences. White diamond engagement rings are the most sought after. If you are considering a white diamond, g-h color diamonds are most popular as they do not display a yellow tinge. i to j color diamonds could also look white under natural daylight (sunlight), and there are multiple ways that an expert designer can set the diamond in order to make any hint of yellow undetectable.

Bonus: COST!

Although not an official C, we consider cost just as important as the rest. An experienced jeweler can help you prioritize what is most important to you and your significant other, (say diamond size perhaps), and find you the best options given your criteria and budget. Pricing a diamond is much more complicated than it seems. 

We encourage clients, especially those considering the online route, to conduct a little experiment...

  1. Go to a well-known online diamond retailer website.

  2. Enter in the a carat size, color, clarity, and cut into the provided filters (the 4 C's). If you're unsure where to begin, we recommend entering in a carat weight of 1.00, color G, clarity VVS1, and excellent cut. Press search.

  3. Notice the results they give you are vast. Even though the diamonds you are seeing have the exact same specifications, their prices range by the thousands.

  4. Decide which one you should choose and why.

Of course this is easier said than done.The idea of this exercise is to simply show you how complicated it is to choose a diamond. At La Bijouterie, we love helping our customers find the exact diamond that fits any budget and any style, and one that will impress the person on the receiving end.

When it comes to customer experience, you can rest assured that your satisfaction is our utmost concern and that your happiness is our singular focus. Curious to learn more? Book an appointment today and check out our reviews on Yelp. We can’t wait to serve you!

~ The LB Team

Opening Pandora's Box 

 

 

 

If you happen to keep a pulse on diamond industry latest news, it’s likely you heard about Pandora, a jewelry charm company’s latest announcement regarding their “honorable” venture to only use lab made diamonds for environmentally friendly reasons. 

At a first glance these headlines make this decision seem responsable, even honorable, but in further unearthing the claims Pandora makes, it’s quite evident that the only thing they have successfully done is fooled the mainstream media, lost the trust of future customers, and made a mockery of themselves. 

Are Lab Grown and Naturally Occurring  Diamonds Really The Same?

The first claim they make is that lab made diamonds have similar properties to that of a naturally occurring diamond. In actuality, a lab-grown diamond is a man-made product that shares the chemical and optical properties of natural diamonds, but whose origin and value differ greatly. 

Lab-grown diamonds are produced in factories in approximately 2-3 weeks using one of two methods originally developed in the 1960s for industrial purposes – HPHT and CVD. These methods artificially replicate natural conditions found in the Earth, forcing carbon atoms into a crystal structure. In more recent years, technology improvements have allowed factories to produce lab-grown diamonds in qualities that allow for uses beyond industrial. (Source)

Although their chemical structure is the same as a natural diamond, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a lab-created diamond cannot be called “real” because it does not come from the Earth and it is not a gemstone. (Source)

Only a natural diamond has the rarity that supports its economic and emotional value. Consumers use diamonds as a symbol of love for that very reason. We all want to feel special, unique and rare, especially in our relationships, and a diamond communicates that message.(Read more on this topic)

But people buy diamonds because they know they are literally buying a piece of the earth- a precious gem that was fostered over the course of millions of years, and then transformed by artisans and professionals into a beautifully shining stone. This is the value and the magic carried out by natural diamonds, and purchasing a diamond means respecting the way nature intended it to be formed. 

Alternatively, what value does a man made diamond carry? The rough material is made in machines and machines can transform them into polished stones like cookie cutters because not a lot of work is needed around a pattern similar to that of a waffle- and you already know what it’s composed of.

Man made diamonds carry the same value as any other machine made products, while diamonds carry an almost priceless value. Something that can be cherished for generations. (Read more about this topic)

Are Lab Grown Diamonds Better For the Environment?

Pandora wastes no time positioning lab made diamonds as an “ethical choice,” versus natural diamonds. It’s quite ironic that they should bring ethics into what could be considered the diamond industries greatest marketing ploy in quite some time, especially considering Pandora used mined diamonds in about 50,000 of the 85 million pieces it created in 2020. 

This misleading narrative has conveniently left out the fact that diamond mining is generally less harmful to the environment than other types of mining. Additionally, the orebodies used in mining are vertical not horizontal, ultimately affecting less of the surrounding area. Many companies have established protected habitats adjacent to their operations, often times larger than the mining operation itself.

The isolated nature of diamond mines means the workforce lives close by and develops a community spirit, which the diamond industry supports by investing in hospitals, schools, training and bursary programs.

For example, 33% of Botswana’s GDP comes from diamond mining, and an estimated five million people globally have access to health care thanks to diamond revenues, according to diamondfacts.org.

Today’s mining is not done by hand but is quite automated with miners moving millions of tons of rocks per year. Miners operating large earth loaders in open pits or underground would never even see a diamond. (Read more on this topic)

What About The Future of the Diamond Industry?

We’re reaching a point in our industry where lines are being drawn in the hypothetical man made versus lab made diamond sand. Customers will have no choice but to decide if they’re for or against the marketing manufactured narrative relating to lab made diamonds, and the type of impermanence they offer, or if they believe in the true value of a man made diamond. 

It will likely come down to what feels right for you as an individual and what tangible legacy you’re hoping to leave behind. A family heirloom perhaps? 

Coaching individuals through decisions such as these is what we pride ourselves on, and have been doing for the last 10 years. (Read more on this topic)

At La Bijouterie, we never work with conflict diamonds. We strictly work with ethically sourced GIA certified diamonds, and you will receive a GIA certificate and appraisal with your jewel. We’ve worked in the diamond wholesale business for generations and only work with trusted and ethical sources.

If you’re not sure where to begin in your quest for a diamond, come talk to us. What we pride ourselves on most is educating individuals and helping you make decisions in a no pressure environment. You can book an appointment today or read our client reviews on Yelp.

We’re always at your service,

Set F.

Founder of La Bijouterie

Financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. with approved credit

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