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6 things to consider before buying jewelry for your Valentine

Les Gold: The charismatic patriarch of the Gold family, Les built American Jewelry and Loan from the ground up. Les is an old school, hard-nosed pawnbroker at heart with a passion for collecting unusual items and a nose for deals – and p...

What to know about gemstones when purchasing jewelry

It’s estimated that Americans will spend almost $20 Billion on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. Diamond jewelry is a traditional choice and it therefore makes sense to know what to look for if you should decide to invest in a diamond piece.

More: 4 Staple jewelry pieces every woman should have

Our family has been buying and selling diamonds for four generations and we recognize the Gemological Institute of America's expertise in the field as the gold standard. More than any other source, they offer training for professionals like us in the 4Cs — cut, clarity, color and carat.

Recently, we spoke with an expert from GIA on this topic. “Familiarity with the 4Cs of diamond quality is a crucial element in speaking the language of diamonds,” says Brenda Harwick, GIA Instructor. “Every diamond can be described by these attributes, which when taken together, help determine the diamond’s overall quality and value.”

When buying diamonds for a Valentine’s Day gift, consider how it will be worn by the recipient. You may be in the market for a statement piece that will be worn only on special occasions or a cornerstone piece like an engagement ring that will be worn daily. Jewelry is rarely an investment that pays high financial dividends. Rather, diamond jewelry is a beautiful expression of love that should fit your Valentine’s personal style. A good rule of thumb for buying diamond jewelry is to buy what you love, so long as you understand why you love it.

Harwick and the GIA offer six tips for helping consumers find their ideal piece of diamond jewelry.

1. Do the research

Familiarity with the 4Cs of diamond quality is a crucial element in speaking the language of diamonds. Every diamond can be described by these attributes, which when taken together, help to determine the diamond’s overall quality and value.

2. Choose a qualified jeweler

Consumers should select a jeweler as carefully as they would a doctor, lawyer or any other trained professional. Find someone who is credentialed, such as a GIA graduate gemologist. Take note of their affiliations with jewelry industry groups and professional associations.

More: Why you should be your own Valentine this year

3. Ask for an independent diamond grading report

A diamond grading report details the gemological quality of the diamond. It tells whether the stone is natural or synthetic, if it has been treated — and how — and its quality rankings in each of the 4Cs. Verification of information contained in any GIA diamond grading report can be attained by going to Report Check, GIA’s secure online database, or by accessing it directly through the GIA 4Cs app.

4. Keep the purchase secure

Have the diamond appraised and insured. A diamond grading report is the independent assessment of quality, while an appraisal gives a monetary value. A personal message or the report number can be laser-inscribed on the diamond’s outer edge, called the girdle, to help identify it if it’s ever lost or stolen.

5. Purchase the stone loose and have the ring set later

If someone is unsure what their future fiancé prefers in a ring, one option is to purchase a loose diamond and decide on the mounting together later. Make sure to have the loose stone graded.

6. Consider the alternatives

Colored gemstones and pearls make unique and memorable alternatives for celebrating special occasions. Consumers should look for independent reports for colored gemstones and pearls, also available through GIA.

More: How to negotiate like a pro

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