How to Buy a Loose Diamond
Buying a loose diamond is a little different than buying a preset diamond. Most loose diamond purchases are for larger carat weights, such as at least a one carat diamond or greater. This is not always the case, but one that is most common. Some people find it easier to shop for a loose diamond than a diamond that has already been set, while others prefer the latter.
There are pros and cons to each. Buying a diamond that has already been set can be more affordable since the setting is often part of a store’s collection that they have purchased from the diamond manufacturer. Loose diamonds require not only the selection of the diamond for a consumer, but the setting as well. So, already you have two big decisions to make instead of one.
However, that should not deter someone from deciding to buy a loose diamond. The advantage to buying a diamond that has not yet been set is that you can truly see it in its true form. Sometimes settings are intentionally positioned to hide any flaws or blemishes in the diamond, meaning you see it in the store and then you get it home and under the right lighting, voila! Where did that spot come from?
Loose diamonds hold nothing back. It is a little more difficult to maneuver and must be handled only with tweezers by a skilled salesperson or professional jeweler, who can then show you the loose diamond under a gem scope or glass piece (loupe). A gem scope is the best way to see the innards and exterior of a loose diamond.
But that doesn’t really explain HOW to buy a loose diamond. The Diamond Buying School recommends buying a loose diamond as a 4-part process:
1. Determine your budget first
Although it might seem like buying a loose diamond is less expensive than a preset diamond, it can sometimes be more because the quality of the diamond is often greater in loose diamonds. “Plan” ahead of time so you don’t end up disappointed. Everyone has a goal of “the biggest diamond at the cheapest price” but after they do some research and shopping, they may realize their expectations of finding a large diamond within their price range is nearly impossible.
2. Consider time factors
Many jewelers do not carry a large selection of loose diamonds. They must be ordered for you to look at. Keep this in mind and don’t wait until the last minute. Some only allow you to choose one or two for viewing at a time because of security issues. This could be a couple of weeks’ long process so don’t show up expecting to find a cartful of loose diamonds to look at and take home. You’ll also need to allow extra time for the diamond to be set if you choose a loose diamond to purchase.
3. Be a smart diamond shopper
Loose diamonds have imperfections, just the same as set diamonds. Expecting a loose diamond to be flawless is a misconception. Loose diamonds are not better than set diamonds; they simply provide you with more design possibilities and empower you to choose a custom engagement ring instead of one that is prefabricated. Inspect the size, clarity, certification, and all of the details of the diamond just the same as you would for a diamond that is already mounted.
4. Get verification
Verification of a loose diamond usually comes in the form of a diamond certification, such as IGI, GIA, AGS, or EGL. But don’t just ask to look at the certification, make sure you ask to see the diamond up close and personal. Ask to see it under natural lighting, not just under the fluorescent lighting. Ask to see it in a dimly-lit setting and a brightly-lit setting.
The last part of buying a loose diamond is entirely optional, and that is choosing a setting. You may wish to give a diamond engagement ring but are not sure what type of setting your wife-to-be would really prefer wearing. Giving her a loose diamond gives her the freedom to choose a setting she will be happy wearing on her finger for the rest of her life, while making sure you get the best price possible. Remember that not every girl prefers a solitaire! Settings come in hundreds of styles and some are plain, while others have ornate features such as other smaller diamond offset stones or multi-colored metals. Do you know…?
- if she likes platinum instead of gold?
- if she prefers accent diamonds to enhance the main solitaire?
- if she wants a solitaire instead of a setting that is too ornamental in design?
- if she wants a thick band and the one you chose was too narrow?
Buying a loose diamond eliminates many uncertainties, mainly about the setting. Plus, by not overpaying for an engagement ring setting, you will get exactly the diamond you want; with nothing more, or less.