Monthly Archives: July 2015

The most important thing in buying a diamond engagement ring -TRUST.

In everything in life, whether it be a visit to the Doctor or Dentist, or a significant purchase of one thing or another, we often face the dilemma of whether the service provider or seller is looking out for himself/herself or for the patient/customer in making their recommendation(s) for the fulfillment of the patient’s/customer’s needs or desires. This is only natural in that the seller is most often concerned with getting well compensated for his/her services while the patient/consumer is motivated by the quality of the provided service or product and receiving such service/product at a “fair” price.

I recently had an experience with regard to a needed plaster repair in my beautiful older home. The fast talking great salesman who came to me through an internet referral service quoted me $1750.00 for a job that I knew he was not going to correctly repair – since he really had no idea how to do it right! In the end, a trustworthy old timer with lots of experience in plaster repair did a remarkable job on the repair for the cost of $360.00!!

So . . . you ask, “What the heck does any of this have to do with the purchase of a diamond engagement ring?” The answer should be somewhat obvious. You need to deal with someone who has the required experience and understanding of your needs as well as of the industry and the product – in this case, a diamond.

You also need to navigate through the minefield of fast talking salespeople (Beware of the Internet!!) and find someone who you feel comfortable dealing with in terms of their personality and their knowledge and their reputation for trust and integrity. Granted, this is not an easy task!

But there are many jewelry professionals whose mission in their work is to provide you with the necessary information, and more importantly, the right advice – to assist you in making the right educated choice in your selection of the “right” engagement diamond and/or diamond engagement ring. The most important thing to remember during this process is that you should not be looking for the best price. Price is not the same as “value” – and those who think otherwise will almost always buy an inferior (read: ugly!) diamond!

When you find such a person, I urge you to give him the level of respect and trust that he deserves. In the end, that trust and respect will serve you well.

The end result should be an experience that is mutually beneficial to both sides of the transaction. The buyer will be grateful for the knowledge and advice that has been obtained. The seller, or jewelry professional, will be happy that he has provided you with something that will be worn and appreciated and admired for many years to come!!

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This above comment – “the “right” diamond engagement ring” – is even more important than one might initially think!!

A diamond is just a diamond – beautiful as it may be. A diamond engagement ring, on the other hand, is a very significant piece of jewelry that is, in addition to symbolizing that the wearer is “engaged” or “married”, a very personal statement of one’s style and/or taste and personality. It is a work of jewelry art that will be worn for many years and will be appreciated by the wearer as well as many friends, family members, associates and many others.

Just as in the process of purchasing a loose diamond, it is essential to deal with a knowledgeable and experienced and trustworthy jewelry professional in turning a diamond into the finished engagement ring.

Some diamond shapes or qualities work well in certain styles of settings and not so much in other styles. While you may have a general idea of where you would like to end up in terms of an engagement ring style, I urge you – as in the diamond buying process itself – to find that trusted jewelry professional whose knowledge of materials, diamond shapes and qualities and cuts, and sense of style will assist you in ending up with something that will be beautiful to you as well as to everyone else!

Find someone who you can and will trust. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith. But it is the most aspect of getting to where you want to be. This is true regardless of the fact that you may be purchasing a $1,000.00 or a $50,000.00 diamond ring!!


In the course of my daily business I am sometimes the buyer of diamonds from one who has previously purchased a diamond.

Today I was presented with such a diamond. The owner/seller had acquired this diamond from a retailer in Philadelphia where my office is located. The owner/seller provided me with the opportunity to look at the diamond as well as the grading report that they were given at the time of purchase.

According to the paperwork, I assume that the purchaser thought that they were getting a good deal at the time of purchase. Upon looking at the diamond and grading it to “fair” and “proper” standards, the diamond was actually six grades lower than what the buyer/seller/owner thought she had acquired. The diamond was not a GIA certified diamond and was graded by a “fraudulent” grading lab.  The diamond was, in fact, worth only 32% of the value of what they thought they were buying!!

This true story is stated here just to reiterate the subject matter of the above post. Obviously, as should be learned from this brief story, there are those in the world who think that low price is all that matters – and who later ind out that they have been cheated.  More importantly, this brief story should reiterate the necessity of dealing with someone with a reputation for trust and integrity.

NDR Diamond Grading


NDR Diamond Grading Chart

NDR DiamondGrading Chart REV2

Investment Grade

Investment Grade consists of those diamonds typically purchased for long term investment. Diamonds within this category are typically colorless (DEF color) and Flawless or near flawless (IF to VVS).  As with most things in life, the “BEST” and “RAREST” of anything is thought to be of “investment grade” because of their future potential for appreciation.  Diamonds that fall within the DEF/IF-VVS parameters are very rare are are sought after for this reason.  And, yes, a diamond that falls with these parameters will usually be exceptionally beautiful –  (assuming it has a good cut! – See Blog posts dealing with Cut)

Fine Grade

Fine Grade consists of diamonds that are exceptionally beautiful. Typically diamonds that are within the color range of DEFGH and clarity range of VS2 and better are considered fine.   I often use Tiffany & Company as a standard when speaking of Fine Grade diamonds as Tiffany adheres to a quality level that deserves respect throughout the diamond industry.   Tiffany & Co.  sells engagement diamonds that are of color grades ranging from “D” to “I” and clarity grades ranging from “VVS” to “SI1” clarity.  A “top” SI1 clarity will often be a “Fine” grade diamond.  There are also some SI2 clarity diamonds that may be considered fine, depending on the size, type and location of the inclusion.

Nice Grade

Nice Grade is characterized as a diamond that will appear to be white and brilliant and lively when used in a diamond engagement ring. Though considerably less expensive than diamonds in either the “Investment” or “Fine” grades, to the normal human observer in “real life” conditions (as opposed to laboratory environments) there is often very little difference in the overall appearance of a “Nice” diamond when compared to one of the top categories. 

Unlike the top two grade levels, this grade level may be a sliding scale within itself. For instance, an “I/SI1” diamond is still in many cases an exceptionally beautiful diamond.  On the other hand, a “K/SI2”, which is positioned near the end on the linear chart within this grade, is going to be somewhat less beautiful – but, in many cases, may still be a “Nice” diamond.

Furthermore, with respect to all categories, it should be noted that any combination of a “higher” color grade or clarity grade is more desirable and more valuable – (Read: Nicer and More Expensive!).  For instance, an “E” color and “SI1” clarity is often exceptionally beautiful and is considered a “Fine” diamond!

Commercial Grade

Commercial Grade diamonds are primarily sold in chain stores and Mall jewelry stores.  These are usually diamonds that are sold to “unknowing” mass-market consumers who know or care little about the beauty of the diamond they are buying.  Often times it is the “store credit” or other financing terms that motivates this buyer instead of the diamond.

It should be noted that a lower color/high clarity diamond such as a M/VS2 or a high color/lower clarity such as a F/I1 may be nice and pretty diamonds.  However, for the most part, diamonds within the color and clarity ranges noted within the Commercial grade section of the chart above will, in most cases, be significantly less beautiful than those in the top three categories.

Ironically, these diamonds are often not “cheap” with regard to pricing and represent “bad value” to the consumer.  Although sold at an “attractive retail price point” by mall retailers and chain jewelry stores, these diamonds are usually not cheap for what  they are.  More importantly, regardless of price, diamonds within the Commercial grade are usually not beautiful diamonds!

Garbage Grade

Garbage Grade  – The name says it all! There is no reason to purchase on of these diamonds except a “Price Point”.   And even then, the price may be low but you are getting nothing in return for the price.  A diamond is supposed to be something that is beautiful and something that will be worn and enjoyed. This is not that!