Everyone wants to get a deal on their loose diamond, especially with their reputation for being expensive. When you find a great deal, it pays to check everything out before you commit. A cheap loose diamond sounds almost too good to be true, and it just might be.
The first consideration when you find an unbelievable loose diamond price is to look at the certificate. Many times, loose diamonds with other certificates will appear to have prices that are significantly cheaper. However, the grade of the diamond may not be as accurate as you would hope. Different certifications can have different standards, even though they use the same scale. The main "other" lab that you might run into is EGL.
Another thing to watch out for is cut. Round Brilliant diamonds are the only shape with an overall cut grade on GIA certificates, making it much easier to compare them. Any other shape, however, requires a bit more work. Depth, Table, Polish, and Symmetry are all major factors in cut quality and light performance. Your jeweler can guide you in the right direction on what to look for in your favorite loose diamond shape.
It may be the case that a difference in price can be explained by differences in the quality of the cut. Color and clarity are often emphasized, and they make a quick and easy comparison. But don't forget the other numbers, and more importantly, have a good look at the diamond with the naked eye and a loupe. Upon closer inspection, you might notice that one diamond looks "duller" or seems to have less life than another. Is that cheap price really worth it?
There is one other, often controversial, "hidden" characteristic that can affect price. However, the effect it has on a diamond's appearance isn't always bad. In fact, in most cases, it has very little or no effect on the beauty of the diamond. It may even be a good thing, making the diamond appear whiter. The mystery trait is called fluorescence, and it refers to the diamonds light performance in UV (ultraviolet) light. Some diamonds, due to their chemical structure, glow when exposed to UV light. Fluorescence grades both the color and intensity of the glow, which is most often blue.
It is widely believed that diamonds with fluorescence are inferior. Basically, diamonds with fluorescence are generally priced lower than diamonds without. It is true that a very small percentage of diamonds with strong fluorescence will appear cloudy, and this may have given it its bad reputation, but this cloudiness is definitely not the norm. GIA did a study of fluorescence, and they had individuals both professional and amateur grade the "beauty" of diamonds. Their research revealed that fluorescence will rarely affect the brilliance of a diamond, and can often help lower color diamonds.
Hopefully we haven't scared you away from diamonds, fearing that there are too many variables to worry about. With the help of certificates and a patient jeweler, you will have all the tools at your disposal to make a decision and select a beautiful and affordable diamond.