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Buying a diamond in Chicago December 6, 2006

Posted by dorigo in personal, science.
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I spent most of the day yesterday attending the less-then-scientific task of completing the purchase of a brilliant-cut diamond for my brother. He instructed me on what he wanted, with excruciating precision – and I spent a long time on internet sites and on the phone with sales representatives.

Purchasing a brilliant-cut diamond in the 0.5-1.0 carat range is not an easy matter. The price is high enough to make a thorough investigation worthwhile, and the characteristics make the value vary so much there is really the need of a bit of prior knowledge if you want to avoid getting ripped off.

There are four “c”-words on which the price depends most (carat weight, color, clarity, and cut), but then there are other details. For instance, a fluorescent stone is less pricey and less valuable. The certification of authenticity also plays a role -and there are many institutions who credit themselves of providing a certification. Then, the symmetry of the cut is important, the height of the crown, the proportions, the polish, you name it.

You well understand that there are no two diamonds that are exactly equal in all characteristics. So the price is a bit of black magic, and bargaining plays a role. In the end, I was able to find a F-color (I think they call it “top wesselton”, although that naming is also applied to G-color diamonds) 0.70 carat diamond with very good symmetry, no fluorescence, and VVS2 imperfections. By looking at it with a 10x loupe, seeing the imperfections is no easy task!

Now my brother will certainly have something to argue about… He is so picky he will surely complain about the packaging, the imperfections, and what not… But I’m sure he will be happy in the end.

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