Ok so every week I attempt to put something out that assist people in buying high end gems in an informed unbiased manner.

One area I have seen many people in public get burned is with the oh so misunderstood world of Diamonds. Crazy as it may sounds the majority of people selling diamonds are also most of the time just as misinformed.

So the month of April will be the focus on diamonds as it is the birthstone for April in traditional and modern beliefs. I will keep touching on this as it is still one of the big gems sold worldwide and a lot of truth must be told mostly for the good but also for the ugly.

First focus is the well known 4C's - Cut, Clarity, Carat (weight), Colour- if you have shopped for a diamond for more than an online search or store visit you have heard about this. This is all 100% right but this is the limited view of a diamond when buying it even more so if buying it online without seeing it or comparing two similar diamonds. This is also where the "new" 5th C comes in certification i.e. the laboratory report from a gemological laboratory. A lot of people fall into this trap - buying after gaining some knowledge on the 4C's a diamond based on the certificate and without sighting and comparing the diamond with others. 

Certification and how labs certify is not a straight forward process and use technical mostly objective processes to grade a diamond. My attached image is a good example of two diamonds that received same grading. How can this be? Well all depends on the criteria used by laboratories and it differs to a degree as the grading scale everyone is told is not a fixed standard or law but a mere guideline or concept created by the famous GIA lab in fact there are numerous scales of grading a diamond. 

Here is want to give the first example of clarity as per picture. Clarity is normally graded by the amount of inclusions and size of the inclusions also taking into account the amount of relief (basically seeing the inclusions). In this case to the right hand this type of "inclusion" is called a cloud it affects the appearance but from an inclusion point of view is not taken into account to "penalize" the rating , here both diamonds were rated VS2. However these clouds will often be found in the comments or remarks area of a certificate, same for diamond florescence.

It is a big risk to just buy off a certificate even for professionals as a certificate doesn't tell the whole story. Lot of online diamond lists selling cheaply will usually try to move off inventory that has these characteristics as they couldn't sell in the normal market. Always ask what the luster is trade lingo would be excellent luster or milky, is the diamond eye clean i.e. can you see marks with the naked eye or not, although very subjective it is one step more to protect yourself from buying something you don't want and will sit with with a hefty price tag on it anyway for what it is. 

So buying from an actual jeweller in person allows you the chance to see it , compare it and get relevant information just as you would want from any qualified professional. Check the background of the jewelers are they actually qualified or just talk , same with online check and make sure you are in good hands. There is no right or wrong on buying in person or solely online however each method has it's risk and you usually get what you pay but as always there are premiums for buying from certain brands as there will always be. Note that the diamond industry has transformed in the last decade and diamonds are very much a type of commodity so if there exist a big price difference for similar item do proper research and inquiry before committing as most likely there will be a reason.

Remember if you want you can even get a qualified valuator to do a pre-purchase appraisal to support your decision especially on large purchases.   Always make informed and educated decisions besides being prudent it is a lot of fun the more you know! 

If you ever need any information or have uncertainties on diamonds and just need an extra opinion or help , please book an online meeting, call, email or come visit me I am more than happy to help regardless if you want to buy from me or not! I love what I do and want to help the public make the right decision for them.


David van Niekerk