The 4th c is color.
A good quality stone will be a clarity of at least SI or better. Clarity grades start at the bottom with Included(I), and go up to Slightly Included(SI), Very Slightly Included(VS), Very Very Slightly Included(VVS), Internally Flawless(IF) and Flawless(F)
If you’re looking for a relatively white stone, get one with a color grade of I or better. Diamond colors are graded starting with D being complete lack of color to Z being a strong brownish or yellowish.
As far as the cert goes, there will be a plot on it like a little map that shows various clarity characteristics that the jeweler should be able to show you under a microscope. GIA certs have this as well as AGL, EGL, TGL and a few others. those are the four I trust, tho.
Sometimes you can get a better deal on a stone if you buy it loose, but only if you have a bit of knowledge. But by all means, stay away from the big box stores(Kay, Ben Bridge, Robbins Bros., etc.) way overpriced. Go for the Mom and Pop operation.
Sorry if thats alot of info, I’m a jeweler and I’m a bit anal retentive about that kinda stuff.
I appreicate all the posts so far, and this one was very informative especially. As far as color…I was cofused with one of the articles I read but now it’s obvious that the closer to “D” the better. I’ve also heard that the smaller family owned stores are better.
For me, 2 months gross salary is 10k…no way in hell I’m spending that much…I’ve already discussed this with the GF and she does NOT want me to spend crazy money. If anything, I will end up spending half that and she will be very happy.
For 5k you can get a pretty solid rock. I recently got engaged myself and spent about 3500 on a really nice ring.
Also, don’t let the jewelers fool you with their bullshit. The price you end up paying is absolutely negotiable. A few people already mentioned to shop around and that is key here. At the same time, when you are serious about a purchase then make sure the jeweler you happen to be at understands very clearly that you are serious and ‘ready to buy tonight’. More than likely they do get commission on your sale (regardless of what they tell you), so they have an incentive to fleece your ass on the price.
If you tell them you’re ready to buy now, but you know in your mind that you will leave the store if you don’t like the price, then you’d be surprised at what extra ‘discounts’ the jeweler may find for you as you’re walking out of the store.
I would imagine their may be more room for negotiation at the mom and pop stores, but I got mine from Kay and was very happy with the quality I received at the price I paid.