What Factors Should You Consider When Selecting a Diamond?
The 4Cs of Diamond Selection: Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat.
First, identify the diamond shape you would like. If you do not know, consider round or princess cut as these are generally the most popular.
Set a carat weight minimum based on your preferences. If you have your heart set on a one carat diamond, even the most beautiful half carat stone will be a disappointment.
Start with the highest quality diamond of the shape and carat weight minimum you identified in steps 1 and 2, and begin making concessions in the following order until you arrive at a diamond that fits your budget:
First, lower the Clarity. Go as low as VS2 before making concessions in other areas.
Next, lower the Color. Go as low as H before making concessions in other areas.
Finally, lower the Cut. Go as low as Very Good in round diamonds, and Good in fancy shapes before making concessions in other areas.
If the diamonds that match your revised criteria are close to your budget, consider shaving off some carat weight in order to close the gap. A carat weight difference of 10% or less will be very difficult to detect visually
If after following the steps above, you are still outside your budget, repeat the process with new thresholds:
First, further reduce Clarity. Go as low as SI1.
Next, reduce Color. Go as low as J. If you know the diamond will be set in yellow gold, you could safely drop to K.
Finally, reduce the Cut. Go as low as Good in round diamonds, and Fair in fancy shapes.
At this point, if you are still outside your budget, your next step will depend on your individual preferences and needs.
If the diamond you seek is under one carat, you could consider a drop to SI2 clarity.
If the diamond is both a brilliant cut and under 1.50 carats, an L-M color may be perfectly acceptable when set in yellow gold.
If size is the primary consideration, you could consider a Fair cut round or fancy shape.
If you are still well outside your budget, you may need to consider increasing your budget or reducing your minimum carat weight target.
With these steps, you should be able to find the right diamond you love while sticking within your budget.
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