In my previous post, I discussed the basic elements that are considered in grading a diamond which in turn would affect its market value. This time I will discuss how the 4Cs mattered in our actual decision to buy the diamond and the setting to make the ring.
As I have said, I went window-shopping-research-crazy. I had initially wanted a Tiffany Legacy ring but when I got to see it in person (at Singapore's Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade) I must say I was disappointed. Not that it wasn't gorgeous because it was. I just felt that the ring didn't look equivalent to the price we were told. Though I can't remember the diamond specs (e.g. carat) and price, I remember the feeling of disappointment because for many, many years I thought a Tiffany was the one for me. I had checked other shops (local and abroad) but they too were to me too expensive. We were almost going to get one from Blue Nile as they had the setting design I wanted and the diamond specs I wanted within the budget Mr. J had. The only snag was that Blue Nile (as of writing) does not ship to our country, the Philippines. So I did another research and I don't remember how I found Vivo Diamonds but thank God I did. Vivo is like Blue Nile except you can arrange to view the diamond and setting of your choice in their showroom/office in Singapore. And after 2 meetings with them, here I am, finally engaged.
I am no gemologist or jeweler but as a shopper (most of the time, window-shopping), in terms of diamond appearance to the naked eye, I will say that a top-tier Cut and Color should be a priority. Based from my experience, a VS1 and VS2 Clarity is already enough particularly if you are getting a Cut with Excellent grade and either D/E/F Color grade. I have a 0.60 VS2/E ring and trust me, I cannot see any visible marks at all. No matter how much I stare at my ring. Carat dictates how big the stone you want (honestly, I think it should depend on the wearer). I'm petite so naturally I also have slim fingers and yet my engagement ring doesn't look like 0.60 at all (ring size is 5). Besides, I never really wanted a 1-carat type since I knew from the get-go that I wanted a halo setting which would make the overall look of my ring bigger already.
For round diamonds, Pricescope (I *highly* recommend checking this site especially the forums section) has a wonderful tool called HCA (or Holloway Cut Adviser). It estimates a round diamonds' appeal based on its potential Light Return, Fire, Scintillation and Spread. You'd be surprised at how diamonds even with same color, clarity, carat, and cut grade may have different total visual performance. In non-gemologist speak, I *think* this would mean how much sparkle you get from your diamond.
I'm no expert and the information I shared with you are simply observations that I learned from countless times I have checked out jewelry shops, learned from reading various information materials, and also from advices I got from my sister and Mom who both loves buying jewelries for themselves (and sometimes for me). The best advice I can give you is that nothing beats good 'ol research and seeing the actual diamonds in person. Also, make sure you check the diamonds under the scope and preferably buy only those that have been certified by a reputable gem lab like GIA or AGSLab.