Diamond Guide: How to Choose the Perfect Diamond – National Rarities
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A Dazzling Introduction to Diamonds

On a clear night you'll see stars scattered across the dark sky. You might marvel at those heavenly beauties and their gorgeous light. What you might not know is that the glittering diamond in your engagement ring is probably older than some of those stars. 

The oldest diamonds are over three billion years old, formed deep beneath the earth’s crust by extreme forces of heat and pressure before being forced to the surface by volcanic activity. 

Diamonds have been treasured by humans for at least 3,000 years, when they were first mined in ancient India. The Hindus called the diamond “vajra” or “thunderbolt” because they believed the stunning gems were created when lightning struck stone. As diamonds made their way into the world through trade, they arrived in ancient Greece. The word for diamond comes from the ancient Greek word “adamas”, referring to a substance which is so hard that it's unbreakable. It also means “invincibile” and “unconquerable”. Later, Roman soldiers wore the gemstone into battle, thinking it would protect them. And during the Middle Ages in Europe, diamonds were the “miracle stone”, reputed to cure everything from stomach aches to mental illness. 

Owning and wearing a diamond has always been a very powerful personal experience. That remains true to this day, even if we don’t necessarily believe in the supernatural powers of the stone. A diamond honors our most important memories and milestones with its enduring sparkle. Buying a diamond can seem like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. At National Rarities we love educating folks about their priceless treasures. So, we’re here to help you in the process of buying your diamond. We’ll teach you everything you need to know, from the 4C’s to the basics of conflict free diamonds. So, let’s get started.

The National Rarities Guide to Buying a Diamond

The first thing that is of concern to many buyers is the cost of the diamond. Most folks want to purchase the biggest stone they can afford. When considering the price of your diamond, we recommend not looking at the size so much. There are a number of different factors which determine diamond prices, especially with loose diamonds. The primary factors are the 4C’s: cut, clarity, color and carat. 

Diamond Cut

Cut isn’t the shape of the diamond, but the way the diamond is faceted to maximize the radiance of the stone. Cut is one of the most important aspects when considering the purchase of a diamond, because it can make the difference between a dull stone or a dazzler.

Diamond Clarity

The clarity of a diamond refers to how many tiny natural imperfections it has on the inside (called inclusions) and the outside (blemishes). These imperfections usually can’t even be seen by the naked eye and must be viewed with a microscope. A diamond with very few inclusions or blemishes is very rare indeed and considered highly valuable.

Diamond Color Grades

Color refers to the diamond’s lack of color. A colorless stone glimmers like a drop of water, making it rare and very valuable. Diamond color is graded on a scale from colorless to slightly yellow. While a colorless stone might be considered very valuable, a stone with a faint hint of color might still be gorgeous and deliver more bang for your buck.

Diamond Carat Weight

Carat is a unit of weight, rather than size. 1 carat weighs roughly the same as a single paperclip. More carats doesn’t mean a better diamond, simply because you have to take into account the other 4C’s. You could find a 2 carat stone with a fair cut and it would look terrible compared to a 0.99 carat stone with an excellent cut. It will be noted, however, that the weight of the stone does have a major impact on its price.

Diamond Shape

Shape is the external appearance of the stone, such as round, pear, princess, emerald, etc. While it’s not one of the 4C’s, it still has an impact on the price of your diamond. Round diamonds are the most expensive because they are the most popular shape on the market, whereas other shapes might cost less simply because they are not in such demand.

Diamond Certification

Whenever you purchase a stone, you’ll want to have some kind of third-party certification to come with it, either from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society). This will help you evaluate the characteristics and value of the stone, so that you know exactly what you are buying.

Conflict Free Diamonds

Many people are concerned with whether or not their diamond might be ethically sourced. Well, worry not. Through the Kimberley Process, which was developed in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market, there is minimal chance of you purchasing a conflict diamond. This rigorous process snags 99.8% of the conflict diamonds that could enter the market.

Sell Your Diamond to National Rarities

Well, now that you know more about diamonds, contact a reputable jeweler and start shopping for that perfect stone.

Of course, if you have a diamond (or two) that you’d like to sell, that’s in our roundhouse. National Rarities specializes in buying diamonds, as well as gold, silver, gemstones, jewelry and other valuables. Check out our Selling Guide for a complete list. If you bring your diamond to us, you’ll get a complete evaluation of the stone in a pressure-free environment. One of our dedicated and knowledgeable Estate Specialists will guide you through your options. And if you decide to sell, we can offer you an exceedingly fair price. Plus, we can even write you a check on the spot. So, see if there’s an event happening near you, visit our office in St. Louis or contact us online.