Opinion: Buying a diamond is just as hard as the jewels are

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by Michelle Hartmann, perspectives

Maybe I have a little bit of engagement/wedding fever going on, but I went to my first Junior/Senior experience on March 3 which talked about how to buy a diamond (basically how to buy an engagement ring).

Now let me explain that my boyfriend and I have been talking about getting engaged and all of that stuff so it wasn’t a surprise to him that I wanted him to go. We were both a little nervous about going because it was a kind of signal that we are growing up and going out into the real world.

I went into this event with a grain of salt because I figured that any jeweler they brought in would just spend the whole time talking about how their store is the best and that’s the only place we should shop. I was completely wrong.

Charles Kuba from Iowa Diamond came in and talked to a group of six, but he didn’t start off with any sort of business plug. He explained how the engagement ring was started in the first place and why it’s still a custom today. To me, the best part was that he treated us like adults who were smart. Instead of dumbing things down, he explained it in the terms that jewelers use themselves.

Granted, some of the stuff he was talking about still went over my head. However, he was very good at explaining to us what jewelers looked for in a diamond and how we could do the same. Cut, clarity and carat are the big three when looking at diamonds, but Kuba spent most of the time explaining clarity.

Apparently, clarity is the most important thing to look at when buying a diamond. This is what drives the price and why we should be looking at it with the same eyes as a professional. Clarity involves how many flaws a diamond has and enables geologists and jewelers to determine the rarity of that diamond. As you can probably guess, the more rare, the more expensive. But, when a ring is already set in a band, you can’t actually tell how good of diamond it is and a jeweler could be making you pay more than you should.

For expecting someone to just show up and tell us about how awesome their store is, it was great to have Kuba come in. He was open to any questions and made it interesting rather than a boring lecture. The history lesson combined with learning more about diamonds was win-win situation.

It was intimidating to walk in there knowing it was taking a big step towards the adult world, but it was definitely worth it to hear from someone who knew what they were talking about. I learned that it takes a lot more research to buy a diamond than I would have ever guessed.  There were so many underlying factors, I don’t think I could have truly understood it without having a professional explain.