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1. Educate yourself. Understand the 4 C's and how they impact your purchase Especially the importance of the cut grade. Learn the importance of a GIA or AGS grading certificate, don't get talked into any other certification.
2. Set a budget for the diamond and for the mounting. Stay firm.
3. Decide on shape and whether size or quality is more important. NEVER GIVE UP THE CUT GRADE OR GIA CERTIFICATION The better the cut the more room you have for color and clarity.
4. Ask questions, before shopping. There are plenty of independent web sites and professionals that can help.
5. Shop locally owned business. They are invested in your community and you are a valuable customer and not just a Sale.
6. Never purchase a diamond that is already in a mounting. The grade of the diamond is 360 degrees, not just the top. You want to see all the inclusions, carbon, flaws etc.
7. Insist on walking around with the diamond looking at it under different lighting. Outside, using daylight is the best, however; not many stores will allow that for insurance reasons. Jewelers spend a lot of money purchasing lights that show the diamond in the best possible light. Seeing the diamond in standard light is critical, especially if you are looking at l-) colors.
8. Don't be pressured into purchasing a diamond that happens to be in stock. The store can easily bring in diamonds that meet your requirements. It may take a few extra days, but this is a very important purchase.
9. Compare the diamond under magnification with the GIA certificate and ask to see the GIA laser inscription to ensure that it is the correct certificate.
10. Ask about the return or exchange and upgrade policy.
Natural Diamonds are between 1-3.5 billion years old. They were formed between 93 and 155 miles in the Earth's mantle. Under high pressure and temperature Carbon material become Diamond. 10 to 100's of million years ago they were carried to the surface in volcanic eruptions and know as kimberlites and lamproites. To this day, they are still mined in the same way. Today we try to ensure that we do not deal with or sell Diamonds that are mined in certain areas. (conflict diamonds, blood diamonds) This is the Kimberly Process, that we agree to follow. The industry is working to add a certification of origin to its grading report. Natural Diamonds have a resale value.
Man Made, Lab Grown or Synthetic Diamonds are 100% chemically, physically and optically the same as natural diamonds. The difference is in the growth process and origin. CVD (chemical vapor deposition) and HPHT are the 2 main methods to grow lab grown diamonds. It takes from 6 to 10 weeks to produce the rough material. Today, all legitimate lab grown diamonds have a laser inscription starting with the letters LG on their grading certificate #. These diamonds are less expensive than Natural Diamonds, however, we do not know if there is any resale value.
Diamond Simulants: Moissanite, White Sapphire, Cubic Zirconia are stones that look like diamonds. They are not diamonds; they have a different chemical structure. Some occur naturally and others are created artificially.