Buying loose diamonds can be an intimidating prospect. For most men, and women as well, diamonds are pretty stones, and are very expensive but that is about the extent of what is known about these beautiful and rare creations of nature. Anyone considering the purchase of a diamond should acquaint themselves with the 4 C’s of diamonds. The 4 C’s represent the four main characteristics of a diamond that will affect the quality of the stone, and as a result, the price. [You can read more about these characteristics here on our website in our articles on these 4 C’s.]
While diamonds are indeed quite rare, there are many more diamonds found that don’t make it into jewelry than those that do. Most diamonds found are not gem quality…that is…they do not have the color or the clarity to enable them to be used in jewelry. They are too brown in color, or have too many inclusions inside, or are too fractured to be used in a ring or pendant, or anything else for that matter. Because of this, enterprising diamond dealers have devised various means of treating diamonds, to enable them to bring previously unmarketable diamonds, into the jewelry market. This has become an accepted practice in the gem trading business, and provides a source of diamonds at prices that enable some, who previously could not afford to purchase a diamond, to now afford one. This is true because treated diamonds do not have the same market value as untreated diamonds. Thus, these treated diamonds can be offered to the buying public at prices lower than were, until now, possible. This is a good thing. This is a good thing…EXCEPT…when these treated diamonds are offered to the buying public, without proper disclosure. In other words, the seller of these treated diamonds does not inform the buyer that the diamond they are about to purchase has been treated by one or more of the possible enhancement processes to which a diamond may be subjected, to artificially improve its appearance. And to make matters worse, the more unethical of these dealers will try to sell these treated diamonds at untreated-gem prices. This is why it is imperative to only deal with retailers that are honest and ethical. There are many treatments to which a diamond may be subjected: laser drilling, high-pressure/high-temperature treatment, (HPHT), and fracture filling are among the more common…and difficult to detect. These “treatments” or “enhancements” should always be disclosed by the seller, and directly affect the price you should pay for a stone.
Proper cut is one of the most neglected, most important, and least understood of the 4 C’s. Find out more about this important “C”, and how it affects the beauty and value of a diamond in our Diamond Cut section…(this is must read information). So, whether you are buying loose diamonds, or diamonds already mounted in a ring or other setting, it is imperative that you be able to trust the seller to be honest, and to accurately represent the quality of the diamond. Without proper instrumentation and the knowledge to use those instruments, the buyer is left with nothing else but to trust the seller of the stone. When buying loose diamonds, you should only purchase from a qualified diamond expert…a gemologist trained in the science of diamonds, from a known, recognized institution, such as the Gemological Institute of America, (GIA). Our section on gemology will give you further information on proper training, training institutions, and reputable gem grading labs. Buying loose diamonds or diamond jewelry does not have to be a “roll-of-the-dice”. Let Palmetto Gems & Gemological Services remove the veil of mystery about diamonds, and take the stress out of buying diamonds.