How to Buy Diamonds

Buying diamonds can be intimidating if you’re new to the industry or a first-time personal buyer. And we can understand why – diamonds and diamond jewelry are expensive. So you want to make the right decisions.

That’s why in this article we’re going to tell you the few things you have to keep in mind when you’re out shopping for these beautiful gemstones.

The good news is you don’t have to be a certified gemologist to making the right buying decisions in the jewelry store. You can learn the basics and be able to make great decisions in this arena.

And buying diamonds is a lifelong skill you’ll likely put to use more than once.

The first thing to remember about buying diamonds is that, when you’re buying, shop around. Don’t just go to one diamond store. A good thing to do is check the buying guide from about the best places to buy diamonds. It is an extremely helpful guide.

Now, let’s get right into the education aspect of diamond shopping.

The Most Important Thing to Know When Buying Diamonds

The word diamond comes from the Greek word for unbreakable. But it’s not just it’s strength that makes it coveted and valuable.

It’s the way light interacts with it to produce it’s breathtaking shimmer.

Thus if there’s only one thing you take away from this guide its this – memorize and internalize “the 4 C’s” of diamond quality.

The 4 C’s

The 4 C’s of diamond quality are color, clarity, cut and carat. These are the measurements that go into telling how high quality a diamond is.

This is the bread and butter or buying diamonds.

In terms of color, diamonds can range in hue from completely colorless to all out yellow. There are also other descriptions in between.

Here’s a full list of the color spectrum of diamonds

  • Colorless
  • Near Colorless
  • Faint Yellow
  • Light Yellow
  • Yellow

That list of descriptions is then subdivided into letters. The higher up the alphabet the letter is (the closer it is to D, the first letter) the more colorless it is.

With clarity you may already be familiar with some of the terminology. If you listen to rap music you’ll likely have heard rappers talking about VVS diamonds.

Well this is actually a description of how high the degree of clarity throughout the stone is.

The scale for diamond clarity ranges from FL (flawless) to I3 (imperfections visible with eye)

Here’s the full clarity scale for diamonds

  • FL
  • IF
  • VVS1-VVS2
  • VS1-VS2
  • SI1-SI2
  • I1-I3

Diamond BlemishesThe imperfections are called “blemishes” if on the outside of a diamonds and are called “inclusions” if inside it. Sometimes when being formed diamonds take on these inclusions as characteristics of the diamond.

It doesn’t mean the diamond is low quality if it has some inclusions or blemishes.

The cut of a diamond isn’t as self-explanatory as you may think. The cut refers to proportions and symmetry of the diamond, yes, but in terms of how it interacts with light.

The cut is often the most difficult to analyze out of all the characteristics we’ve mentioned.

Here’s a list of the types of diamond cuts

  • Round
  • Princess
  • Marquis
  • Pear
  • Heart
  • Oval
  • Emerald
  • Cushion
  • Radiant
  • Asscher

Finally, carat is all about the weight and size of the diamond shown as “ct.” This ranges from 0.02 ct to 2 ct, and often determines part of the expense of the stone.

A carat is equal to 0.2 grams – the weight of a paperclip.

Diamond Types


Beyond the cut, clarity, color and carat weight of diamonds are various diamond types. There are 4 broad categories of diamond types.

They include:

  • Type 1A
  • Type 1B
  • Type 2A
  • Type 2B

Diamonds are made up of carbon that’s been compressed. The diamond types above refer to how much nitrogen is present as an “impurity” in the rock.

Famous Type 2A Diamonds

Type 1 means there is nitrogen present as an impurity, while type 2 diamonds contain no significant amounts of nitrogen as an impurity.

With the letter modifiers (a and b) you are told how the nitrogen atoms exist in the diamond. Type 1A means the nitrogen exists as pairs or small groups of atoms. Type 1B means the nitrogen atoms exists as a single atoms. Type 2A diamonds are pure while Type 2B diamonds contain Boron atoms as impurities.

So Now What?

So how do you use all this information to make an informed buying decision?

That’s a bit beyond the scope of this article but you can learn more at That is an excellent and comprehensive guide on the diamond buying process.

But now that you know about what goes into “grading” a diamond you can make better decisions. Learn more about the various aspects of grading and what makes something more expensive than something else.

In a general sense, the less impurities, the higher the clarity and the more a diamond weighs the more expensive it will be. If you’re looking at a diamond that’s not totally flawless, you’ll know not to pay a price anywhere close to that of an FL diamond.

One thing to note is that diamonds can fall into more than one of the various categories and groups we’ve outlined in this article.

Further, when it comes to color, there are “fancy” diamonds out there in various colors and they have little to do with the “color” we talk about above.

As one final note on how to buy diamonds in the best way, don’t just shop anywhere. Know you’re going to a reputable establishment. If you have a bad feeling about something, listen to your gut.

There are quite a few scams out there related to diamonds and jewelry, especially on the internet. So it’s important to be wary. But now that you know the basics of what to look for when shopping, you’ll come out the other end with a solid decision based on knowledge.

Check out this great video on how to buy diamonds correctly to increase your knowledge and education further.

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