This week we’ve got a special guest appearance from my (Fairy) Godmother who has a pretty admirable diamond collection…. and she’s given me her top tips on how to buy diamods second hand.
1. Make sure you look in jewellers first, then eBay, and then finally hit the antiques markets. That way you know what you want and how much the going rate is. Make sure you ask for plenty of detail on carat and cut so you can compare them. But remember – jewellers will be about 4 times the price of a second hand diamond!
2. Take a magnifying glass with you, and ideally a micrometer (to measure them with – in fact we got ours second hand at a car boot sale!) so you can check the authenticity of their claims.
3. Look with the magnifying glass for inclusions (specks of black) – of course the less of these the better, but if there’s none you can be sure it’s fake. There should also never be cracks in a real diamond.
4. You’ll probably want to come up with an approximate price rule of thumb. When I was shopping for an eternity ring I knew it was about £1000 for a carat, so when I got offered £600 I snapped it up!
5. The carat is the total size of the diamonds on the ring – e.g. bigger but fewer diamonds will have the same carat as lots of small ones. If you get it off eBay make sure you measure it to check they weren’t lying about the carat.
6. The classic things to check are the 3Cs – Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat
Cut: Brilliant cut (the circular one with a pointed base) is the most sparkly, and actually quite cheap as it’s simple to cut. Heart cut is the most expensive as it’s difficult and needs a big diamond. Modern cuts refract the light better (the older ones have a little circle on the base if you look vertically through if, because they cut them differently now – good way to check if it really is vintage)
Clarity & Colour: obviously… clearer, brighter, whiter, all better! Minimum inclusions but not none (see #3)
Carat: see above.
7. Of course there’s the ongoing ethical issues of blood diamonds. If you want to avoid this then you can buy ones from Canada, but second hand a lot of them won’t have certificates. If you buy from eBay you generally won’t be able to get a certificate, which isn’t a huge problem but does increase the risk of getting tricked.
8. Can’t resize eternity rings but otherwise it’s pretty cheap to resize so well worth going for second hand.
9. Apparently white metal makes the diamond look brighter than gold – might be worth it.
10. And it’s an investment so go for it and have fun!