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You can choose any month for a wedding. June, September, and October are the most popular. However, tradition dictates the wedding diamond. Since April’s birthstone is the diamond, now’s a good time to know a few tricks about the diamond business.
Many of these of tricks are described in Fred Cuellar’s book How to Buy a Diamond. For example, you could “buy-shy” – i.e., shop for diamonds that weigh just under half-carat and full-carat weights. A diamond’s value jumps dramatically when it reaches true half-carat or full carat size, because the demand is higher. Instead, buy a 0.90-carat diamond instead of a full carat, or 0.45-carat instead of half-carat – a noticeable change in price, an unnoticeable change to the eye.
Everyone knows about the four Cs of gemstones – color, cut, clarity and carat. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) gives official grades for all the Cs, many which are unnoticeable to the naked eye. GIA gemologists need special equipment to make these measurements. But many jewelers frequently “bump” the grades up. Some dealers use lights with a bluish tinge, making diamonds seem more scintillating. Have any stone appraised by an independent jeweler! But beware of what Cuellar calls a “sandbagger” – an appraiser who says you were ripped off…then sends you to one of his friends.
Many gems are artificially enhanced. Victoria Finlay – author of Jewels: A Secret History – describes “a fifth C, certificate, which is becoming equally important.” These certificates tell buyers if their stone has been treated, heated, colored, coated, lasered, oiled, or sealed with epoxy resin.
Jewelers overprice their diamonds considerably. If you want your diamond to retain its value, try buying from bonded jewelers. Bonded gems cost 10-15% more, but a bonded stone gives you: lifetime breakage policy, lifetime buy-back policy, unconditional lifetime exchange policy and trade-in policy, market crash protection policy, and all bonded stones are natural and untreated.
Diamonds aren’t rare. In 1870 Erasmus Jacobs pulled a misshapen diamond out of South Africa’s Orange River. In a few years, millions of carats had been mined. The diamond market collapsed in 1882. The De Beers Consolidated Mines cartel was created in 1890. De Beers slashed diamond production by two-thirds the next year. Today, the value of diamonds is the result of an artificially maintained shortage.
Instead of a diamond, my friend bought his fiancée an amethyst engagement ring. They used the savings to help fund their wedding in Vegas. Millennials are increasingly more likely to buy alternative gemstones instead of traditional diamonds.
Diamonds are beautiful, but they’re true value is hard to ascertain. Diamonds – like love – are only worth as much as you want to give.
Cuellar, Fred. How to Buy a Diamond: Insider Secrets for Getting Your Money’s Worth. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2005. 5th ed. Print.
Finlay, Victoria. Jewels: A Secret History. New York: Ballantine, 2006. Print.
Raden, Aja. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World. New York: HarperCollins, 2015. Print
Hello! My name is Heath Shive, content manager at ScholarFox. I'll be the author of most of the blog posts. I'm a former geologist and currently a freelance writer. The world is complex and seemingly crazy. Good! Because when you love to learn, you'll never be bored.