3 Quick Tips to Avoid Paying Too Much for a Diamond Ring

Most of us are true novices when it comes to shopping for diamond rings and other jewelry. There's a lot that goes into the process of evaluating the relative worth of diamonds, primarily centered around what are called the '4 C's' (clarity, cut, color, carat-weight). Unless you've bought a number of diamonds, chances are you're more or less clueless. That's certainly a common occurrence, so don't feel bad! Here are three easily remembered tips for the next time diamond ring shopping confronts you. Print this out or jot them down and keep in your wallet or purse. Assuming you remember you did so when the moment arrives, you'll be armed with the basic knowledge necessary to avoid being taken to the cleaners by a clever jewelry shop salesperson. Tip #1 - Always Get a Guarantee This is a must. Never ever, under any circumstances, take the word of a diamond jewelry "expert" in a store on the value of a diamond (loose or in a setting). The shifty ones prey on excited customers who are novices and, thus, prone to making impulse purchases. Even if the seller offers official-looking paperwork as proof of the diamond's quality, demand an ironclad written guarantee. If they balk, leave and shop elsewhere. Tip #2 - Don't Let Size Decide If there's one enduring myth about buying diamond rings and other jewelry, it's that big diamonds are always worth more. In fact, the exact opposite is often true! Remember the '4 C's' mentioned earlier. Carat-weight is just one of four. A simple example will suffice to illustrate this point. If you have the choice between a large diamond that rates lower on clarity and color than one with the same cut that's smaller but has a higher rating on clarity and color, choose the smaller option. The overall quality of the smaller diamond almost always makes it worth more as a long-term investment than the lesser quality big one. The bottom line: only let carat-weight decide if the clarity and color of two diamonds are identical (or at least very close). Tip #3 - Ignore the Ring This one trips up a lot of impulse buyers who fall in love with the ring setting, to the point of virtually ignoring the diamond it holds. If you remember one simple fact, you might be able to keep a rein on your emotions: diamonds are forever; settings can be changed easily. Don't let the ring itself distract you from the primary concern, which is the quality and long-term value of the diamond that the ring merely holds in place. Of course, at the end of the day, you have to really love what you're buying. If you see a diamond ring you just have to have, you can ignore all of this and go for it. If you have the monetary means, why not, right? But, for the vast majority of us, following the simple tips outlined above will prevent a disaster in the making. Good luck!