Diamond Shopping with Chicago's Own Terry Savage

Image of Chicago's own Terry Savage on Diamond Shopping

Our good friend Terry Savage recently discussed how important it is to compare one diamond to another when shopping for a fine diamond.

Speaking to WGN Morning News, financial expert and Chicago Native Terry Savage addressed some of the elements to look for to make sure you are buying a diamond that’s both a beautiful piece of jewelry and an investment piece.

Terry talked about the factors everyone should consider before purchasing a diamond, known as the 4 C’s of diamond making.

These 4 C’s are measures of quality used by jewelers all over the world, and the 5th C is a standard credited to the team here at Lester Lampert.

What are the 4 C’s of diamonds?

The 4 C’s of diamonds are:

  1. Color
  2. Carat
  3. Clarity
  4. Cut

Understanding the 4 C’s of diamond shopping before you start looking for that perfect piece is essential. When choosing an engagement ring there’s much to consider.

C 1: Diamond Color

Diamonds can come in multiple colors, including canary yellow, pink, and even black. Most people who buy a diamond will be doing so for an engagement ring, where the current fashion is for a diamond with no hue or color.

It is almost impossible to have a completely pure colorless diamond. This is because the transparency is tied to the structure of a diamond, and diamonds are naturally occurring and imperfect.

Diamond color indicates value, a ‘white diamond’ with a yellow tinge may be cheaper because is not as transparent as other white diamonds. However, a vivid yellow or diamond with a strong color may be rarer, and therefore significantly more valuable.

GIA's D-to-Z color-grading system is the universal standing for diamond color measurement. Diamonds with the least color start at D and the grading system continues through to Z for diamonds with more imperfections.

With the naked eye most people cannot see a difference in color between diamonds. However, to an expert eye, it impacts on quality and price. When buying an engagement ring you should aim for a D, E or F color grade where possible within your budget.

C2: Diamond Carat

Diamond carat is a measure of weight. Both women and experts will agree, when it comes to diamond carat, bigger is better. Large diamonds are rarer and therefore more valuable; however, the size of a diamond alone does not determine its value, the clarity, color and cut of a diamond all play a part. A diamond of around 2 carats is most common for the average engagement ring, but larger carat diamonds turn heads.

C3: Diamond Clarity

Because diamonds are naturally occurring they are all unique and imperfect. Coming from deep in the earth diamonds have exposure to tremendous heat and pressure, which changes how each diamond is formed and the clarity of an individual diamond. Different characteristics or ‘imperfections’ of diamonds affect its clarity rating. On the clarity scale, ‘flawless’ is the top rating a diamond can be given, but most diamonds will be ranked by having different levels of ‘very slight inclusions’ or imperfections.

C4: Diamond Cut

The cut of a diamond should not be confused with the shape. The shape of a diamond could be oval, square or pear, and this is a matter of fashion and personal taste, it is not a key factor of value. The cut is a measure of the skill of the diamond cutter. The symmetry, proportion and polish of a stone impact it’s brilliance and luminosity. The round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular contemporary diamond cut, however trends and fashions in cut change over time.

Popular Contemporary Diamond Cuts:

  • Round
  • Princess
  • Cushion
  • Marquise
  • Emerald
  • Radiant
  • Pear
  • Oval
  • Asscher

Lester Lampert also recommends a 5th C:

C5: Diamond Comparison

When it comes to Chicago diamond shopping, we at Lester Lampert know what to look for. Located in the in the River North neighborhood, Lester Lampert has been in the diamond business for over 100 years, and we know that looking at one diamond in isolation means you will not be able to gauge its quality. Comparison is the reason it’s so important to shop for a diamond ring or other jewelry purchase in person. While stocks and real estate are volatile, diamonds are forever, so it’s an investment worth researching.

While there is a science to diamond quality, a jewelry purchase is often an emotional and symbolic occasion. Many people feel they ‘just know’ the right diamond ring for the right person when they see it up close.

That’s why coming in-store to shop for rings is the most important stage of your diamond purchase.

If you can’t compare two stones side by side, you can’t detect the real beauty.

Lester Lampert is located at 7 E Huron St in Chicago, stop by today for an in-depth look at some of the Windy City's finest gems and jewelry.