Finding the perfect engagement ring can be an emotional roller coaster. Leading up to purchasing the ideal ring, you’ll find yourself looking for guidance on a gift that needs to be personal and timeless. It’s important to work closely with an accredited jeweler who can help guide you through the variety of diamond shapes, ring styles and questions you may have along the way.
Coffin and Trout provides the following tips for buying an engagement ring:
Do Your Research.
Get a decent understanding of style, what shape diamond might be preferred and ring size. Ask friends and family members for opinions and utilize social media.
Decide on a Budget.
Once you’ve identified the ring style, focus on buying the best cut diamond over carat weight. The cut gives the diamond brilliance and fire. While the weight may look large on paper, if the proportions are not quality it will affect how large the diamond really looks.
Find a Trustworthy Jeweler.
AGS Registered Jewelers are always a good place to start, but also visit the jeweler and ask questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the sales associates before moving forward. Talk with the sales associates about the four C’s of Diamond grading: Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat Weight and most important the fifth C: Certification.
Cut: This is actually the most important factor when it comes to diamond grading in our opinion. Cut evaluates the diamond cutter's skill in the fashioning of the diamond, which determines how much it is going to sparkle. When we say cut, we are referring not only to the proportions of the diamond, but also to the polish quality and overall symmetry. A diamond's unique ability to manipulate light efficiently can only be released and maximized by cutting and polishing the diamond to an extremely high level of accuracy. Some diamonds are cut to look bigger than they really are so they look very flat or lifeless. The opposite can occur when a diamond is cut to conserve the most amount of weight from the rough diamond and you usually end up with a very dark looking diamond. We carry diamonds that are cut with just the right proportions so they show off their most beautiful asset, sparkle and fire. The quality of the cutting can affect the price of a diamond by up to 50% so remember; there is a reason for one diamond to be less expensive than another even if the color and clarity are identical.
Color: Most diamonds possess varying degrees of yellow or brown and small, subtle differences in body color can make a substantial difference in value. The color grading scale starts at D (colorless) and goes down to Z (yellow). To accurately and consistently grade color, an American Gem Society experienced grader will utilize special lighting to compare the diamond being graded to a set of AGS Master Color Comparison Diamonds, which have met exacting standards of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. All of Coffin & Trout's diamonds have been color graded against our Master Color Set of Diamonds. We even double check the diamonds that have certificates from GIA, AGS and EGL.
Clarity: This refers to inclusions (feathers, crystals, etc.) inside or on the surface of the diamond. The fewer inclusions or blemishes a diamond has, the more valuable. To locate these tiny characteristics, our gemologist will use a binocular microscope that magnifies the diamond ten times. Then, evaluating the size, location, nature, number and color of all the inclusions and blemishes, a clarity grade will be assigned. Some key words for the amount of inclusions you would be able to see are minute (VVS), minor (VS), noticeable (SI), and obvious (I). The inclusions become eye visible at I1 and are a durability factor at I2 and I3.
Carat Weight: The standard used to measure diamond weight is the carat. Each carat is divided into points with each point representing 1/100th of a carat. So, 50 points would be equal to one-half carat just like pennies to a dollar. While weight may be the least important of the four Cs in determining value, it may be the easiest of the four Cs to gauge accurately and is the most objective. As diamonds increase in size, their cost tends to increase exponentially. Thus, a one-carat diamond may cost more than twice as much as a one-half carat stone of equal quality.
This is a quick overview of the quality characteristics of diamonds but, of course, there are infinite possibilities of different combinations. After looking at hundreds of thousands of diamonds in our careers, we know that not all G color, SI1 clarity diamonds look alike. Each diamond has it's own personality; so don't shop for a diamond certificate. Instead, let our experienced staff help you find the diamond that speaks to you.
If you’re interested in more information about Coffin and Trout’s custom approach to engagement ring shopping, visit coffinandtrout.com or call 480-763-1300 to speak to an associate.