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Getting the best you can afford


 - Getting the best you can afford
Pear cut with shoulders ©
Figuring out your budget, Ingram says, is the most important thing. Then you can decide what matters most to you, and what you may be more willing to compromise on.

“I know people who want the most they can get for their money, and others who just want the best they can get for their money,” says Ingram. When it comes to diamonds, he adds, “those are very different things.”

Of the four Cs, experts tend to agree that most buyers should focus primarily on color and clarity, followed by cut, and then carat. A diamond’s color is graded on a scale that runs from B-Z, with the letters nearer the beginning of the alphabet representing the clearer, whiter – and pricier – stones.

Similarly, all diamonds are given a grade for clarity. On one end of the clarity scale is F, given only to the very rare flawless stone. On the other end is I, handed out only to diamonds with serious and visible imperfections. The most important thing to know here is that nearly all diamonds have imperfections, or inclusions, but they should not be visible to the naked eye.

Both clarity and color have a significant impact on a diamond’s price. But if you care about the quality of the stone – and its sparkle – jewelers say that they should factor heavily into your decision. “To have one small sparkly diamond is actually nicer than having a larger one that’s sort of a bit dull,” Straughton says.


Samantha Fields
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