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To buy or not to buy online? – Why purchasing a stone in person is always the best option.

Wednesday November 4th, 2015
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Are you thinking about buying the world’s most coveted and precious stone, a diamond? Diamonds as well as being a girl’s best friend, symbolise eternity and are used for many pieces of jewellery including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and rings. All diamonds are unique and most are expensive, so browsing online for them as if shopping online for household products, not only eradicates the romance of buying a diamond for your loved one, but it is also very ill-advised. Buying the perfect diamond can be a complicated process if you do not know the factors that really make a difference in terms of how a diamond looks and it’s price. Going to a reputable jeweler such as Haywards where you have the opportunity to look at numerous stones and talk through your options is paramount to making an informed decision and getting the perfect diamond for you.

Established in 1931, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is a non-profit institute and the world’s leading authority on diamonds, gemstones and pearls. To describe diamonds GIA created the 4C’s, which is now a universal standard that all diamonds are graded against. The GIA provide a certificate for each diamond certifying the 4C’s: a diamond’s colour, clarity, cut and carat. Online diamond retailers will provide these certificates along with the diamond, however the certificate was not designed to be a substitute for seeing the stone in person. Rather the certificate was intended as a supplement to inform you about a diamond’s quality and as a guarantee that it has been sourced ethically. In other words, buying a diamond online having only seen its certificate is equivalent to buying a car having only looked at its service record – you don’t really know how smooth the car will drive or how sparkly the diamond will look on your fiancé’s finger.

One of the 4C’s is ‘clarity’ and therefore a GIA certificate states whether a diamond has any inclusions, yet this should always be checked in person. A diamond may be graded as SI1 clarity and therefore technically it has a better clarity than an SI2 clarity diamond. Despite this, in some cases an SI2 diamond can look more pleasing to the eye. This occurs when an SI2 has more inclusions but they are white and when an SI1 has fewer inclusions but they are black and therefore more visible. Although online diamond retailers provide photographs it is still very difficult to see other than in person, this important factor that can so drastically change the price of a diamond and how it looks.

Other characteristics that are difficult to gage when limited to a GIA certificate and photographs include a diamond’s luster. This is impossible to capture other than in person because it changes with different angles and light. Moreover another factor that is only visible in person is whether a diamond is milky or slightly green. This is something that can be present in some but not all diamonds that have fluorescence. Although a GIA certificate states whether a diamond has fluorescence, it does not confirm whether this affects the diamond visibly, so seeing the diamond in person to check this is essential.

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GIA certificates can give you an idea on paper of what you are purchasing but realistically a diamond’s size, colour, clarity or luster can only be fully appreciated when seen in person and when compared with other diamonds. The price of diamonds can differ significantly often due to factors that are undetectable to the naked eye. Other times a higher graded diamond may not necessarily look better than a lower graded diamond and therefore it is unwise to spend more money on a diamond with a higher grade unless you can confirm it looks better. Viewing various diamonds with the help of a Haywards’ diamond specialist, who will explain the flaws or brilliance of each diamond, ensures that you are truly informed about your options. It is impossible to replicate how a diamond truly looks other than when seeing it live. This is how you will see the diamond thereafter, so it is important to choose the diamond this way.

Make an appointment by calling 2545 4400 or emailing bespoke@haywards.com.hk and with the help of Haywards’ diamond specialists, find the perfect diamond for you.