Why do it?
Quite simply, to create a ring with an individual touch. “You can design the setting around the stone and the recipient’s preferences,” Vann says. It won’t necessarily save money, however. “Bear in mind you will be charged labour and setting costs if you choose to buy a loose stone, therefore making it more cost effective to buy an already made piece.” Certain handmade settings are labour intensive—and therefore expensive.
A diamond should come with certification from one of the major gemstone laboratories: HRD, GIA, GSL or EGL. “The certificate will give information on cut, colour, clarity, carat weight and if the stone is natural or has been treated in any way,” Vann says. “Ideally, you would like a stone that has not been treated.” Diamonds under 0.50ct in size don’t always come with certification, making it authentication difficult—online purchases also can be hard to verify. “You should buy from a trusted source such as a jewellery shop, diamond dealer or an auction,” Vann says.
As beautiful as a diamond is, how it is mined can be ugly. In many countries torn by civil war, diamonds are known to be mined (often under threat of force or by children) and sold to finance insurgents and warlords—hence the term Blood Diamond or Conflict Diamond. “The Kimberly Process was established by the UN in 2003 to prevent diamond sales financing rebel movements,” Vann says. “Most of the major mines around the world are signed up to the Kimberly Process which is designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds.” If the diamond’s certificate states the country of origin, the buyer can then verify if it is from a country that is a signatory to the scheme. “The difficulty is that you cannot always get the origin of a diamond or know how long ago it was mined,” Vann says. “So it is always a good idea to go with a diamond that can be guaranteed as “conflict free” and sold by dealers, jewellery shops and at auctions.”
The best deal
The four Cs are the biggest influencers on the cost of a diamond but it helps to do some homework. “Shop around and do your research,” Vann says. “Retail is good but you pay a premium especially if it is a branded diamond.” Likewise, a buyer’s premium is paid on the hammer price at auction. “Online can be cheap but there are risks. A dealer is a good way to go but can be difficult to find if you don’t know someone in the industry.”
do your research
buy from a reputable source
seek expert advice if possible
buyer beware with online purchases