The Internet has become a powerful tool for commerce, but some items simply don’t lend themselves well to online shopping. Take diamonds, for example. Online jewelers may be able to offer more affordable engagement rings than their brick-and-mortar competitors, but the items they sell are also more traditionally thought of as a “hands-on” buy, meaning that consumers prefer to see and touch the product before purchasing it.
The ubiquitous “Four Cs” of diamond grading can help a consumer make a more objective choice when purchasing diamonds or jewelry from online jewelers. In fact, the Four Cs were designed with objectivity and “sight-unseen” purchases in mind, long before the Internet even existed.
However, buying diamonds from online jewelers using nothing more than the Four Cs as your guide can still have repercussions you might not expect. Here are a few of the most common pitfalls to avoid for each C.
Carat and Cut. This may seem like the most objective grading possible — the stone weighs a certain amount, and nothing can change that. While that’s true, certain things can affect large a stone seems, despite its actual weight. Halo settings can make a diamond appear up to 30% larger. Conversely, two diamonds of identical weight but different cuts can look noticeably smaller or larger.
Clarity. Whether a diamond is “flawless” or not is a huge selling point. But on the clarity scale, a “lower” grading might not be all that bad. On the grading scale — flawless (IF and F); very, very slightly included (VVS1 and VVS2); very slightly included (VS1 and VS2); slightly included (SI1 and SI2); and included (I1, I2, and I3) — imperfections don’t become visible to the naked eye until around S1 or even S2. So a “lower” graded stone might still be impeccably beautiful — and cost you less.
Color. Color is graded on an alphabetical scale starting at D (practically colorless) and ending at Z (noticeably yellowish or brownish). This can seem straightforward as well, but consider the metal type in a ring. A mid-grade diamond on the color scale (say G through N) will look yellower in a white metal setting, such as white gold, platinum, or palladium. However, that same stone will look whiter when set in rose gold or yellow gold engagement rings.
However you decide on that perfect ring, just be sure the online jewelers you choose have a generous return policy. The good ones will, since they know how important it is to make sure the ring you buy is the ring of your dreams. Read more here.