How to Measure Diamond Quality at Pawn Shops

February 07, 2020 - Jewelry & Luxury Items

Knowing what you’re looking for when it comes to buying diamonds can turn a bad purchase into a great investment.

It’s easy to get confused and believe that fake diamonds are real or that cheap diamonds are expensive. Having some diamond quality knowledge will put you ahead of the pack when it comes to purchasing diamonds at pawn shops.

If you’ve been eying some diamonds, have established they’re not synthetic, and are ready to make a purchase, hold off! Follow along and learn about diamond quality and how to make the most out of your money. Your wallet won’t regret it!

Measuring Diamond Quality

If you’re going to remember one thing from this article, remember the four C’s of diamond quality: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. All four are equally important, so don’t forget any!

1. Color

The color quality of a diamond has a huge impact on its value. A perfect diamond is colorless and a decrease in value begins to occur when a white or brown tint or hue is present in the stone. Unless the diamond is a rare color, like a canary yellow or bright red, stay away from colors.

As mentioned, the perfect diamond is colorless, and it is assigned a D-F rating on the color scale. The next best diamond is the near colorless, or G-J. Then come the K-M (faint), N-R (very light), and S-Z (light). Check this color rating in the diamond’s certification papers.

2. Clarity

Diamond clarity refers to inclusions or surface imperfections. The perfect diamond has no imperfections, whereas a cheap diamond may have dents or chips that are easily observable. Aim for FL, IF, VVS1, and VVS2 diamonds, which are flawless, internally flawless, and very very slightly included on the clarity scale.

3. Cut

The perfectly cut diamond exhibits three optical effects: brightness, fire, and scintillation. Brightness refers to the white light scattered by the diamond, fire to the flashes of color of the prismatic effect, and scintillation to the play between the light and dark parts of the diamond.

The cut quality grade ranges from ideal cut and excellent cut to fair cut and poor cut. The best way to judge a cut is to view the diamond in person. And, although the round cut is the most classic and famous, don’t neglect heart, princess, pear, oval, or emerald cuts.

4. Carat Weight

Perhaps the most fixated upon quality of diamonds is their carat weight. Although important, it’s vital to not lose sight of the other points above when looking for a diamond at a pawn shop.

People usually believe that the higher the carat, the more expensive the diamond. However, a two-carat diamond with poor cut and poor quality will be worth less than a one-carat diamond that is perfectly cut and has minor imperfections. Also, keep in mind that carat weights are often rounded, so ask for the specific number.

Wrapping Up

Measuring diamond quality is not something that only professionals can do. With a bit of research and with the four points mentioned above, you can train your eye to spot a great diamond. Of course, if you have any hesitations about the four C’s or about whether the diamond is actually cubic zirconium, it’s best to ask a professional.

If you’d like to learn more about all things diamond and pawn shops, don’t hesitate to check out our other content!

David Stiebel

David Stiebel is one of the cofounders of PawnGuru. David was educated at MIT, where he studied Math. He subsequently worked at Bain as a data scientist before starting PawnGuru in 2015. He started PawnGuru to build a better tool for pawn shops and consumers to connect.

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