Everyone has at least one diamond. In 1477 A.D., Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy as a sign of their engagement. They have since become the number one symbol of love and marriage around the world.
But what do we really know about them? Outside of being shiny, hard and expensive, very few people learn much about these stones. To the rescue comes Karen Simmons. Her new book, Perfectly Clear – Buying Diamonds for Pleasure and Profit takes the mystery out of the topic. “For decades”, Karen says, “people have been taught that the value of a diamond depends on how it is graded according to the 4Cs — Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight”.
“But there’s really a 5th C and it makes all the difference. The 5th C stands for “character” which establishes and guarantees the integrity. And one of the best way to identify and establish the integrity of a diamond is to ask for proof that ensures the ownership of the diamond can be traced from its birth mine to the present owner or seller.”
Perfectly Clear offers up the fascinating history and amazing ins and outs of the diamond trade. It provides crisp advice on how to navigate the complex world of buying a diamond and how to minimize paying too much and getting taken advantage of. Karen is a fountain of knowledge who happily shares the best ways to shop and enjoy the process of investing in diamonds.
Here are some of her recommendations for anyone who is interested in protecting their investment in diamonds.
Diamond Buying Guide
Consider colored diamonds
Once deemed appropriate only for cocktail parties and esoteric celebrities colored diamonds are now the stone of choice – and extremely popular. Whether red, blue, pink or yellow your only limits are the colors of a rainbow.
Buy and grade diamonds as loose stones
Although there are many reputable online as well as “brick-and-mortar” diamond dealers your best bet to avoid any possible “cover-ups” is to be wary of pre-set stones. You can avoid more surprises by buying loose diamonds since they allow for more accurate assessment.
Identify your diamond properly
Laser-inscription is a time tested method of keeping your diamond safe. Whether by personal message, logo or report number inscription, you can make it very difficult for would be thieves to make a a clean getaway.
Get to know your local jewelry professional
In the age of quick and easy access to online info it will be advantageous for you to establish some sort of connection with a local GIA graduate gemologist. Simply start up a conversation about diamonds. Many jewelers are not only upstanding and long-time members of the local community but they are ready to assist you on your quest for a diamond.
Determine a diamond’s real value
It’s one thing to have a diamond certified and yet another to accurately determine current value. With terms such as insurance value, market value and investment value be sure to understand that price does not always equal value – quality is a key attribute.
Learn the basics about diamonds
However, you’ll always land on your feet by keeping diamond basics (the 5 “C’s”) at the forefront of your mind. Shop carefully. For the best and most complete analysis, consult with a certified gemologist when assessing diamond quality.
Broaden your diamond horizon
In addition to paying attention to world news, take the initiative and “go international” when contemplating a serious diamond purchase. This is especially true when making diamonds a part of your investment portfolio. As always, consult with an experienced diamond and financial professional.
Enjoy the variety of diamond shapes
The Pear, Marquise, Emerald, Round, Princess, Heart and of course Round diamond shapes are just a few of the many offerings you can choose from. Be passionate and make your choice of diamond shape personal.
Buy a diamond without an independent grading report
Over the years there have been tremendous changes in the diamond industry. From color treatments to laser enhanced to synthetics to ethically mined diamonds there is much to know to ensure you get what you paid for.
Ignore pitfalls of buying diamonds online
While there are certainly many reputable online diamond sources, be aware that this convenient source for diamond buying comes with many hazards for the unwary, uneducated diamond lover. “Bait-and-switch” certificates have become more prevalent with online transactions. You can avoid those risks by working locally with a known professional with a great long-standing reputation in your community.
Depend on only one source of information
In reality, a diamond certificate is only an estimate. Although appraisals and certificates are accurate in many cases, the rule “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) is of paramount importance. Get information and appraisals from more than one source or expert.
Let politics punish your diamond’s polish
From Russia to Australia to Canada to Africa, regional politics can cause ripple effects in the diamond industry supplying needed shine to your diamond or a tsunami of sour news. Make the effort to be informed, thus maximizing the positive while minimizing the rough edges.
Take treated diamonds lightly
Given all the positive perceptions about treated diamonds it is easy to forget some of the consequences.
Not all alterations to diamonds are beneficial over the long term. Many times the trade-off is overall diamond value decline in favor of immediate visual appeal.
Overlook economic trends
Cultural changes have strong influences on diamond demand. The “Millennial-Effect” for example, is driving a U.S. jewelry market and the upswing in the Chinese diamond market due to their growing middle class. Nonetheless, realize that estimated diamond mine supply of “roughs” have significant effect on future investment and retail values.
Let Hollywood “bling” blind your true feelings
It’s great news that many celebrities are embracing diamonds – specifically colored stones. Recent Hollywood engagement rings are also reviving popularity of diamond shapes popular decades ago. However, be true to yourself. Conformity can be contagious so feel free to be creative and pursue your individuality while at the same time observing trends set by your favorite Hollywood stars.
Automatically dismiss man-made stones
Whether known as synthetic, imitation or other official designation man-made or “fake” diamonds are here to stay. They have supplemented or even replaced natural diamonds with a flare of their own. Some of these “imposters” are so good they have fooled diamond graders on occasion. It’s a matter of personal taste. Be informed and make you choice wisely.
Let a “rough” diamond rub you the wrong way
“Roughs” as they’re affectionately known are a prize to possess. These special stones bypass the traditional diamond processing chain. Being “born” all natural, uncut and truly unique in shape these spectacular stones have even graced the fingers of the Hollywood elite. Going “rough” is as natural and environmentally “green” as can be.