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A diamond is forever, or so they say. But no one wants to pay off a diamond forever. With engagement season in full swing, many are looking for a special sparkler. To get the most for your money, Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter shares his secrets to saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when shopping for a diamond.
Buy right below the half-carat marks
Diamond prices increase disproportionately at the carat and half-carat marks, so Kanter advises that shoppers try to buy just shy of these critical weights. For example, instead of a one carat diamond, look for a .95. That will save a significant amount of money, and the slight size difference won’t be noticed.
Can you guess which diamond is worth more?
The diamond on the left is a 0.95-carat, Signature Ideal-cut, G-color, VVS1-clarity diamond in a classic six-prong platinum solitaire setting, worth $9,654.
And the diamond on the right is a 1.02, Signature Ideal-cut, D-color, IF-clarity diamond in a classic six-prong platinum solitaire setting, worth $20,357.
Of the 4 C’s, don’t sacrifice on the “cut”
The famous 4 C’s of a diamond include carat, cut, color, and clarity. Of the four, most experts, including Kanter, say cut is critical because it determines a diamond's brilliance, or sparkle. “The greater the cut, the bigger the stone looks,” says Kanter. Even if a diamond has perfect color and clarity, if it has a poor cut, it will appear dull.
Find the “sweet spot” with color and clarity
A diamond’s color grading scale goes from D to Z. “D” is colorless and the best color grade a stone can have, while Z is the worst, with a yellow stain. For the best value, go for a near-colorless stone (graded G or H) instead of the most expensive diamond grades: D, E, and F.
The more inclusions or imperfections a stone has can decrease the clarity of a diamond. But at a certain point the human eye cannot detect the difference in grades. Instead of going for a flawless diamond, shop for an eye-clean stone graded with very slight inclusions “VS1” or “VS2.”
Ignore absurd spending rules
Buying a diamond is just the beginning of what can be a very expensive wedding process, so know what you can comfortably afford to spend. Spending three month’s salary on a ring is all marketing, says Kanter. Shoppers should set a budget and do whatever it takes to stick to it.
Use your phone to comparison shop
Don’t be afraid to take your phone out while you’re shopping. Smart consumers research what they want, ask for certifications from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and compare what they see in a store to prices online.
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Want to share your secret to saving on diamonds? Share them with us YFmoneymailbag@yahoo.com.
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