Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the process of choosing them – especially buying them loose for an engagement ring – can be fraught. London jeweller Georgina Boyce gives her take on finding the right one
Diamonds are lovely but most of us can’t see beyond the sparkle. This makes choosing the right one – especially for something as precious as an engagement ring – a tough call. It’s bad enough when you are choosing a ring, but if you are buying diamonds loose to be made into bespoke jewellery it can be hard for the novice to spot good from bad. London jeweller Georgina Boyce says: “Diamonds are valued and categorised by a number of variables which can be very technical and confusing. The process of purchasing one can seem terrifying, especially if you are entering into the realm of fine jewellery for the first time”. Here she gives her four key pointers for making the right decision.
1. Go with your instincts
Don’t feel pushed by a partner, friend or jeweller to follow a set of rules or regulations. Given a wide selection of diamonds, most shoppers will be drawn to one stone in particular. Perhaps it’s the sparkle or size. Often my clients have an unexplained attachment to one stone in particular. This innate sensation is not to sniffed at. If you feel attached to it, there is a reason.
Often, people come to me with a shopping list of criteria that they think their diamond must meet because Google or a friend told them what to look for. My advice: sometimes, it’s best to ignore this type of advice and go with your own instincts!
2. Decide what matters most to you
There are a huge number of variables we may be instructed to follow and factor into our investment. While these variables are all valid, some become more or less important depending on what you as an individual are looking for. For example, in a stone that is a brilliant cut (round, princess, oval, pear) the focus, in my personal opinion, should be on colour over clarity. Brilliant cut diamonds are specifically cut and designed to have a high return of light and have lots of facets. These facets hide all manner of sins. The internal detail of the stone can and will be hidden. This means it’s more important to have a nice white/colourless diamond.
On the other hand, in a step cut (emerald cut or baguette), there are fewer facets and the internal of the diamond is much more visible. This puts the focus on clarity. Essentially, evaluate what it is that you want most from your stone – clarity or colour.
3. Research and ruminate
It is very important that you do your homework. Everyone has a different and personal opinion, and this will become very evident once you do your research – even more so when you go shopping. Learn key technical details of what determines diamond price (cut, clarity, etc). Once you have those facts, you can ask the right questions and make an informed decision. But, most important of all – don’t feel pressured to buy immediately.
My advice is ruminate. In other words, go away and think about it. This is likely to be a very large investment in a luxury item you may wear almost every day, so you want to make sure you are entirely comfortable with your choice.
4. Set a diamonds budget, then stick to it
This is the most important part of the diamonds buying journey. It is essential that you set a price range before you start and stick to it it. You may be given the opportunity to view a number of stones that push you above your spending limit, but do not cave to the pressure. Instead, ask to see a selection that fit your price range and reject viewing stones that exceed it. You want to see what bang you get for your buck within your price point, not exceed your budget and end up with buyer’s remorse.
My advice is to ask to see stones that are small and finer quality, middle of the road stones and then larger stones of a lesser quality. This way you can see what is possible and also get a better feel for how these variables will affect the end result. Remember that, whichever stone you pick, it will look much more glamorous once it’s set. Most important of all, you will have the pleasure of knowing you picked this diamond – the right one – out from the crowd.
Georgina Boyce is a London-based fine jewellery designer specialising in everything from delicate everyday jewels to bespoke engagement rings and wedding pieces. She is also a Gem-A and GIA-trained gemologist. georginaboyce.com
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