Buying a Diamond Ring on eBay?
Important Information You Must Know to Make the Right Purchase
– with practical tips & advise !!!!!
If you were buying a car you wouldn’t just buy the first car you saw – right? But people often buy the first diamond they see. This is a big purchase & deserves a little time up front to be sure you buy the diamond that is right for you!
This article is LONG !!! But it's worth researching a big purchase like a diamond - right ?
My name is Nadia from NRS-Diamonds (http://stores.ebay.com.au/NRS-GEMS-and-DIAMONDS) & time & time again I see people bidding on diamonds that are not for them & I hope that this guide can provide some really & truly practical advise on this type of purchase. I’ve read lots of jewellery web sites that tell you all the diamond “theory” but they never have any really practically advise, so I hope my practical thoughts through this article can help you through this process?
What is Diamond? Are There Different Types?
Diamond is just the element Carbon but there are two types of Carbon (chemists call these two types allotropes): the black powder called “Graphite” that mechanics use to lubricate car parts which costs a few dollars a tube or bottle & the other is the ultra hard crystal form, diamond which in nature takes millions of years of heat & pressure acting on the base carbon to produce in nature.
At the outset it’s important to know that only a small percentage of all diamonds form the clear sparkly diamond in the engagement ring that we immediately think of. This is very import as diamonds can be almost any colour & they can be very milky & solid in colour too depending on the quality of the stone in question. So don’t assume every diamond you see on eBay will be the traditional clear & sparkly engagement ring type diamond; making this assumption can lead you down the wrong path when buying diamonds on eBay.
When you check out eBay or go to the jewellery store there’s thousand of different diamonds with different colours & qualities & every jeweler with tell you there’s four critical factors (the four C’s) in determining the value of the diamond
This is probably the most important of the factors which can affect the value & the diamond industry grades diamonds on s scale like the following
- FL – Flawless -100% Perfect
- IF – Internally Flawless – Virtually 100% Perfect
- VVS1 – Very Very Small Inclusion – Tiny inclusion visible at 30 times magnification & not visible to the human eye (what is an “Inclusion”? we’ll get to that later)
- VVS2 – Very Very Small Inclusions – Multiple tiny inclusions visible at 30 times magnification & not visible to the human eye
- VS1 – Very Small Inclusion – Tiny inclusion visible at 10 times magnification & not visible to the human eye
- VS2 – Very Small Inclusions – Multiple tiny inclusions visible at 10 times magnification & not visible to the human eye
Note that prices to buy FL, IF & VVS Clarity Stones are incredibly high !!!
VS Clarity prices are fairly high too & it's the grades SI1, SI2, I1, I2 & sometimes I3 that are the most common grades in the average shopping centre jewellery store
- SI1 – Small Inclusion – Small inclusion easily notable at 10 times magnification & just visible to the human eye - this is the best grade for a bright sparkly diamond as there should be no eye visible inclusions & the price is much more reasonable than the VS stones
- SI2 – Small Inclusions – Multiple small inclusions notable at 10 times magnification & just visible to the human eye
- I1 – Included – Iinclusions visible to the human eye (but this diamond will have some sparkle)
- I2 – Included – Multiple inclusions visible to the human eye (expect only slight "sparkle")
- I3 – Included – One or more inclusions visible to the human eye (expect only slight "sparkle" at best)
- I4 (or 'Commercial Quality') – Heavily Included – One or more inclusions visible to the human eye (Opaque, dull & not sparkly as the traditional engagement ring would be)
Please note that there are a number of different scales for rating diamond clarity; for example the Rapaport Scale includes the grade SI3 which to my way of thinking almost makes I1 redundant (why would you grade your diamond I1 if it could be rated SI3 ?). Rapaport also uses grades I4 & I5 which many clarity scales do not recognise with I4 being cloudy white or silver stones (as in the picture above) & I5 being very ugly stones that are really only suitable for heating or irradiating which turns them into Black Diamonds.
Right away I’ll discount discussion of grades SI1 & higher as these are very high quality stones usually purchased for investment & they have an associated very big price tag
Most diamonds you see in the shopping centre Jewellery Store are SI1 to I3 & if you’re after the traditional sparkly clear engagement ring you should be looking at I2 or better which will provide good value for money rather than paying really big money for quality that you can only see under the microscope & nobody except an expert can really appreciate.
Note that I4 (or “Commercial” stones as they are sometimes called) are never sparkly, but a very pure white or nicely silvery coloured one can be a very attractive item, but don’t expect the traditional clear & sparkly engagement ring with this quality.
What have you been talking about: “Inclusions”?
Inclusions are natural imperfection in the diamond & it should be noted that all diamonds except the FL & IF qualities have their own imperfections. So best think of it this way: an imperfection is not necessarily a bad thing since virtually all diamonds have them, just as every human has some small imperfections; it’s like the diamonds “fingerprint” unique to itself
There are different type of completely natural “Inclusions” (or “imperfections”):
1) Pinholes – can be light or dark & are small “spots” in the diamond; typically these are pale coloured tiny crystals or black carbon spots. “Cloudy” diamonds typically have very many very small tiny pale spots creating the “cloudy” appearance.
2) Feathers - are cracks within a stone that resemble “feathers”. Small feathers do not usually affect a diamond's strength & longevity unless they penetrate the surface on the top of the stone. A feather that breaks through the surface in a vulnerable area increases the risk of breaking the stone.
3) Cleavage - is a straight crack with no feathering. A cleavage has the potential to split the diamond apart if it is hit at the correct angle.
4) Graining & Growth Lines - are created by irregular crystallization that takes place when the diamond is formed. Colourless graining lines do not usually affect diamond clarity unless they are present in large masses. White or coloured graining lines can lower a diamond's clarity grade.
Remember virtually all diamonds will have one or more of these natural imperfections (Inclusions).
Another important factor to consider:
Remember as we’ve said before Diamonds can be almost any colour:
1) The Traditional Clear Sparkly Engagement Diamond- which is graded on a scale “E” to “Z” – “E” being completely colourless through to “Z” which is very dark yellow. A few grades are very hard to detect with the human eye unless compared with another diamond or a special diamond colour grading chart. The grades go as follows:
• E,F,G – Colourless – highest quality & highest price
• G,H,I,J – Near Colourless – Good Value for money purchase & very hard to tell it’s not white unless you’re an expert
• K,L,M – Very Faint Yellow – Good Value for money purchase & very hard to tell it’s not white unless you’re an expert
• N,O,P,Q,R – Pale Yellow
• S,T,U,V – Light Yellow
• W,X,Y,Z – Yellow
3) Champagne / Cognac
5) Yellow / Golden / Canary
6) Silver / Silver Grey / Grey
9) Orange / Orange Red
10) Brown / Coffee
The colours 2) to 10) are referred to as “Fancy” colours in that they don’t fit the traditional Clear to Yellow colour scale that the clear & sparkly traditional engagement ring stone is graded against
Note also that some of the colours above are natural, but not all; some are produced artificially & colour enhanced diamonds are becoming more popular in recent times.
Carat (or Weight or Mass)
Not to be confused with Gold purity (which is Karat with a “K”)
One Carat is equal to 0.2 grams of Mass (or 0.0070584 oz)
A Round Brilliant Cut Diamond (see “Cut” in the next section to see what this is) of “Good” cut will have the following approximate diameter
2mm – 0.03 Carat
3mm – 0.10 Carat
4mm – 0.23 Carat
5mm – 0.47 Carat
6mm – 0.80 Carat
6.5mm – 1.00 Carat
7mm – 1.25 Carat
8mm – 1.90 Carat
9mm – 2.50 Carat
10mm – 3.50 Carat
11mm – 5.00 Carat
Most engagement rings these days are in the range 4mm to 7mm, with anything above 7mm being very large & anything over 9mm is really huge !!!
Also important to note is that the price of a diamond is not in proportion to the size, what I mean by that is that if a 0.5 Carat stone is $1000, then the equal quality 1.00 Carat stone will not be $2000; more likely it will be $3000 or $4000. So the price of the diamond increases more than in proportion to the size as the larger sized stones are very much rarer than small stones.
The final important factor in determining the value of the stone.
In order for the stone to be “sparkly” it must reflect the light entering to stone back at you. If the diamond is not cut correctly it will be either too flat or too tall, but this can be hard to tell when you’re not an expert.
A good very simple way to tell is to look into the stone & if you can see directly through it & see you fingers behind the stone then the cut is NOT ideal as the light should hit the back of the stone & reflect back at you in order to sparkle & this would prevent you seeing through the stone !!!
Again, don’t be too concerned about the stone being perfect in cut as a perfect cut stone will mean you’re paying very big dollars, but if it’s nice & sparkly then the cut should be sufficiently good for most purposes. Again there’s no point paying for quality that nobody can appreciate except for an expert using a microscope – right?
There are a set of mathematical ratios size of the top face to the height of the stone, diameter to height etc… which define “perfection” but again for a practical eBay purchase it’s simply being “sparkly” that counts.
Most stones you’ll see on eBay are the typically “Round Brilliant Cut” which means they have 57 standard facets (58 if you count the “Culet” which is an optional flat bottom to the diamond).
There are many types of cuts in different shapes but the same rules apply: the stone in order to be sparkly should reflect light back at you; this means you shuldn't really be able to see through the stone, you should see the back of the stone's facets from the inside on the bottom of the stone but the light should reflect back to you.
If you’re still reading by now then you’re obviously a determined diamond buyer; but you’ve got the basic background that you need now to know regarding your forthcoming eBay diamond purchase.
We have a range of items at NRS-Diamonds from SI1 to I4 & are constantly updating our stocks (http://stores.ebay.com.au/NRS-GEMS-and-DIAMONDS)
And just in case you’re not happy with your purchase we offer refunds as detailed in our eBay advertising & we’re always happy to provide advise.
We want happy customers who think so much of us that they come back time & time again!
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