10 questions to ask when buying a diamond

Whether you're a first-time diamond buyer or you've bought this precious gemstone before, diamond shopping isn't something that should be done on a whim. In fact, when most people buy diamond jewellery, it's usually to mark a significant occasion, such as an engagement or anniversary, so taking time to consider all your options is crucial. To be sure that you're picking the perfect diamond, here are 10 questions to ask when jewellery shopping.

What is the diamond's quality?

Easily the most important question you should ask when shopping for any type of diamond relates to its individual quality and characteristics. To the untrained eye, diamonds might look pretty similar, but they actually vary significantly according to their cut, colour, clarity and carat weight (the 4Cs). The different gradings of these 4Cs can influence price and quality, so it's vital to know what type of diamond you are getting for your available budget.

How does the diamond compare to others?

Sometimes, knowing a diamond's 4Cs are may not be sufficient for you to understand and appreciate the fine differences in the grading, so ask if you can compare the diamond to others to get a feel for these variations, and to see what options are available to you. By looking at your different options, you can weigh up the various combinations of the 4Cs, to reflect your particular budget. It's not always easy to see the subtle differences in diamonds with the naked eye, so ask to have a look at the diamond under a scope.

What kind of mounting does it have?

Of course, understanding everything you need to know about the diamond is a priority, but don't forget to ask about its mount or setting. The purpose of the mount is to keep the diamond securely in place, as well as project the diamond in the best light, so it's essential that the mount can achieve these two main purposes to perfection. Find out about the metal, too, and the different features or qualities of different mountings and metals.

Does the diamond have a grading certification?

When jewellery shopping, don't just take the retailer's word for it regarding a diamond's 4Cs. Ask to see independent certification of the grading as proof. This is a good idea so that you can be certain of the exact quality of the diamond you are getting, but also to prove that it actually is a diamond, and not a fake. If you decide to sell the diamond in the future, it can be easier to achieve this when you have its grading certification from an independent gemmological institute.

What is the best way to care for the diamond?

A diamond can last a lifetime if it is well cared for, so to protect the longevity potential of your diamond purchase, make sure you are fully informed on how best to care for it. Diamonds are incredibly tough, but they can be sensitive souls when it comes to care, cleaning and maintenance, so don't leave the shop until you are armed with information on the safest and most effective ways to maintain your diamond's brilliance.

Can I safeguard my diamond investment?

A good-quality diamond can cost several hundred pounds or even more, and some of the top end jewels can command a similar price tag to purchasing a car. When you're spending a significant sum of money on jewellery, it's a canny decision to find out how you can safeguard this investment, in the best way possible.

Naturally, your first step is to make sure that the diamond you are buying is authentic and has its own independent grading certification, but you should also look into getting it insured, in case it gets damaged, lost or stolen. Don't rely on your home contents insurance for this, as there may be limitations in place. Find out about getting specific insurance cover for jewellery, which can give you peace of mind in a wide range of scenarios.

Does it come with a warranty?

Before you make a purchase, find out if the diamond comes with any warranty, and what the conditions of this entail. It's important to read the small print so that you are aware of the warranty stipulations. For instance, some warranties may be void if you don't follow a specific service plan. A lifetime warranty may sound like an attractive proposition, but don't see this as a substitute for not taking out adequate insurance on your diamond, as the warranty may not have as much scope.

What if the diamond needs repairing?

Thinking about repairs might not be the most obvious deliberation when buying diamond jewellery, but it's worth asking about. As well as finding out how easy the jewellery would be to repair, if necessary, and how much this might cost, find out if repairs can be done on-site, or whether the item would need to be sent away to a specialist.

Can I return the diamond if necessary?

Hopefully, once you've bought your diamond you'll be the proud owner for a long time, but in some cases, especially if you're buying diamonds for someone else, there's a small chance that you may need to return it. Find out what the returns policy includes when buying a diamond, so that you get a fair deal if you need to bring it back, for whatever reason.

Do you offer any payment plans?

A top-of-the-range diamond will command an equally high price tag, so being clued up about your payment options is a priority when diamond shopping. Even if you don't have the funds to pay for the diamond up front, there may still be options open to you. Ask your jewellery retailer if they have any finance or payment plans in place, that can allow you to make repayments for the diamond over a period of time. Get all the details clarified in writing, and ask for payment receipts so you have proof of purchase.