How to Buy a Diamond on a Budget

The Sweet Spots
As color and clarity grades improve, diamond prices increase. But past a certain point, the naked eye can’t detect the difference, so “you’re paying for something that you can’t see,” Baird says. It’s kind of like paying someone to paint the bottom of your house. To get the best value, consider a near-colorless (graded G-H) instead of a colorless diamond (graded D-F), or a VS2 (Very Slightly Included) clarity grade as opposed to a Flawless clarity grade.

Whichever tips you take, remember to make sure the diamond’s certified by a reputable agency—preferably the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS)—so that you’re truly getting the quality you expect. Beyond that, “it’s not rocket science,” laughs Baird. “But it is true that the less you know, the more likely you are to overpay.” With this arsenal of tips at hand, that fate’s pretty easily avoided.

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