I wanted to take a moment and address some of the things that I have learned over the years as I have helped customers with this extremely important purchase. I have seen many customers fall into traps and pitfalls along the way that have led them in the wrong direction, or have made the process of purchasing a diamond a difficult and stressful one. Below you will find some pointers that I have gleaned from my experience to help avoid having this happen to you.
Be careful with your research
I have had many customers come to me with loads of misinformation that they have read from one source or another. There are lots of opinions out in the world as to what is the best, and what the customer should spend money on. The challenge for you as a consumer is how to decipher good information from bad.
My advice is to start with the experts. The experts are the people who have made it their profession to study the science of diamonds, and to provide information to the consumer about diamonds. The experts that I defer to in the diamond industry are the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gemological Society (AGS). These organizations have spent years studying diamonds and publishing their results to the public. Although there are points for which the two laboratories have published slightly different findings, and though they have even disagreed at times, they have both provided valid scientific backing for their findings, and have given the consumer the ability to make an informed decision.
Checking the research you have done against the findings of reputable laboratories, such as GIA and AGS, is always a good idea, and will help you to stay on course in a sea of bad information.
Beware the monster: Analysis Paralysis
Analysis paralysis is the most common difficulty that I watch the customer face. The saddest part of analysis paralysis is that it takes the joy out of the diamond buying process and leads to a stressful and frustrating situation. As you dig deeper into your quest for the right diamond, you will begin to gain information. Depending on the type of person you are, and how much research you do, you can find yourself in a whirlwind of teachings, opinions, technologies, software programs, etc. While many of these tools offer excellent information about diamonds, there is no "super tool". No one tool can tell you everything about a diamond. I have seen many customers place all of their faith in one technology, making this their sole criteria for purchasing a diamond, only to become extremely frustrated when they are unable to find a diamond that can match what they were hoping for.
How do you avoid analysis paralysis? Keep an open mind. Look at all of the data. Be willing to compromise. Prioritize what is important to you in a diamond, and then be willing to make adjustments to meet your criteria. Don't rely on any one technology, and don't purchase from an institution that holds one technology out to be the super technology. Balance is the key to finding the right diamond.
Be honest with yourself! There are two tools people use when they are buying a diamond, eyes and mind. Everyone uses them both, what matters is how much you use one over the other. Before you start the process, take time to sit down and honestly assess yourself to know where you stand. Will just knowing that there is an imperfection in the diamond bother you, or do you only care about imperfections you can see to the naked eye? If you find two diamonds, both with equal beauty, but a minor cutting detail, such as polish, is better on one than the other; are you going to spend the extra money for something you can't see, or take a diamond that will look exactly the same for less?
These are very important questions. Knowing what you want, and how you buy, is going to help you in making the right decision.
The Best Diamond
During your journey in the world of diamonds, you are going to run across many opinions as to what is the best diamond. Many of these opinions favor beautiful diamonds that anyone would be proud to own. Although there are definitely stones that are cut more perfectly, or reflect the most light, it is so important that you understand that there are many beautiful diamonds.
So often I have seen customers get so focused on "the best" that they begin to view everything that is not "the best" as an ugly diamond. This misconception is so dangerous, and can turn you away from a great diamond. Once again, it is important to keep an open mind, and to know what type of shopper you are. Then you will be able to find the right diamond for you, and be totally happy with it.
Enjoy your experience
Never lose sight of why you are making this purchase. Too many times I have seen it happen, and the joy and excitement of the purchase is lost to the stress and concerns of finding the world's most perfect diamond. This should be a happy time for you, and you should cherish the memories of it. This entire purchase is, after all, motivated by an expression of love to someone special in your life!