Diamond Buying Guide and FAQ

What is the most important of the 4 Cs? Cut, clarity, color or carat weight?

It is a combination of all the “Cs” that’s important. Some matter more to some people than others. For example, one person may like a really “clean” stone, free of inclusions. Another person may love a stone that is bright white. And another may want the biggest stone that they can afford. Overall though, a well cut stone will always have more sparkle and brilliance than a poorly cut stone. It is the interaction of light within the facets that makes a Diamond so beautiful and unique. Cut is very important to us at Colonial Jewelers. We hand pick each and every Diamond we sell, only selling those that meet our standards of proportion and light performance.

What is a “Cert”? Is it important to have a “certified Diamond”?

Diamonds are often graded by a gemological laboratory to ensure accuracy of their quality. There are around a half dozen gem labs that offer “Certs” or certificates that are recognized in the jewelry trade. The best and most reliable lab is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which has developed the current standards for Diamond Grading. Their reports are consistently the most accurate and they are regarded as the Leading Authority on Gemology. Another respectable Lab is the American Gemological Society (AGS). There are many other labs with varying degrees of accuracy. It is best to choose a jeweler who has a trained and licensed GIA and AGS Gemologist on staff to choose their Diamonds. Some companies may use the term “certified” loosely to refer to their own representation for the Diamond. If you are told a Diamond is “certified” be sure to ask which lab the certificate is from. Choosing a Certified Diamond is a personal option. If you trust the place and person with whom you are doing business it becomes less important. A certified stone does command a higher price because it must go through one more step on the way to the consumer. At Colonial Jewelers we independently grade all Diamonds that we sell, including those that are Certified.

What is the “Ideal Cut”?

A stone that is ideally cut has proportions that maximize its fire (colored light return) and brilliance (white light return). Diamond cutting is a very artistic and precise skill and not all stones are cut with the same level of perfection. A Diamond that is cut too deep or too shallow will have light lost out of the bottom or side of the stone (pavilion and girdle). An Ideal Cut is also used to describe a stone that is graded top of the line by the American Gem Society (AGS) scale of Cut. Branded “Ideal Cut” stones are always more expensive, but not necessarily always better.

What is better, White gold or Platinum?

Both White Gold and Platinum have their benefits. Platinum of course is a very strong metal. Unlike other metals it does not wear away, it merely displaces. Think about moving your hands through sand. It moves to the side but doesn’t go away. Platinum is also very rare, which is why it is more expensive than other metals. When you own a piece of platinum jewelry you own something very rare and valuable. Platinum is 100 % pure which means it is not alloyed with other metals. This feature allows platinum to always remain a cool, white color and makes it hypoallergenic. Platinum is the first choice for setting Diamonds as it will be the strongest metal. White gold is a more cost-effective way to get the “look” of platinum. White gold was first used during World War I when platinum was only available for military use. Many couples choose white gold for their bridal jewelry because it has a modern white look and it costs about a third of the price of Platinum. White gold is Gold which is alloyed with white metals (Nickel, Palladium and others) to give it a white look. Because Gold is naturally yellow and has a “memory” over time White Gold will need to be dipped in Rhodium to keep it bright white. The amount of time that a white gold ring needs to start to turn yellow completely depends on the wearer. More vigorous wear, cosmetics and lotions will all speed the discoloration process. The choice is up to the consumer. With a given budget, customers may decide they would like to spend more on the setting and therefore choose platinum. Or they may choose to spend more on the Diamonds, therefore choosing white gold. Either choice is perfectly acceptable in both fashion and integrity of the ring.

Does size matter?

When it comes to the carat weight (size) of the diamond, what matters most is that when you look at the ring you love it! It should sparkle and be a romantic, special gift. Most people like a delicate balance between clarity, color and carat weight. You can usually make a few compromises in the clarity or color if you want a larger stone. As you look at stones in person you will be able to see what you like and what you are willing to trade to get where you want to be.

How much should I spend?

There is no set amount that is acceptable or appropriate. Whatever you feel comfortable spending is what is good. We do offer financing options if you would like to spend a little more than you have available at the moment. A Diamond is a very important purchase, one you will have forever.

Why should I buy from an independent store, rather than the mall, chain store or the internet?

When you buy a Diamond you should have total confidence in your purchase. As a family owned business, Colonial Jewelers has the ability to offer you exceptional quality and service. We focus on the individual customer who has built our business over 4 generations and 60 years. All of our Diamonds are hand picked by our owner, Jeff Hurwitz. Jeff is a GIA Graduate Gemologist and specifically picks our Diamonds to keep with our high standards of quality. It is always best when making an important purchase to actually see it and touch it before you commit. Two diamonds can appear to have the same “specs” (color, clarity and carat weight) but one may look more beautiful than another. The internet is a wonderful resource for researching a Diamond purchase and gaining knowledge. It is not a place for the actual purchase. Many people fall for the internet’s low prices, but forget that a Diamond is not something that only lasts a little while. It lasts forever and through many generations. The service that comes after the purchase is very valuable. Just think about sizings, repairs and cleanings. There is a piece of mind feeling to know you can take your ring to a place you trust. Only a “bricks and mortar” store can provide their customer with a lifetime of convenient and trustworthy service.

How do I know I am getting my money’s worth?

Trust is the key here. Doing your research helps, but buying from a business that has a 60 year reputation for quality and service is ultimately the key. You know that if a business is in place to serve multiple generations that their product is what they say it is. No matter what you are shopping for, you can probably always find something “cheaper”. But like most products, you get what you pay for in fine jewelry and Diamonds.

How do I find out her ring size?

There are a few ways to figure out what size ring to present her with. If you want it to be a surprise you can always bring us another one of her rings to determine the size. This can usually get you pretty close. You can also bring her in sometime to get ideas of styles. We can take her finger size and keep it on file under your name for when the time comes. Many people choose to give their ring in “stock size” (average size) which is usually between a 6 and a 7. The fiancé can then come in and have the ring sized to her exact size once it has been presented. Colonial Jewelers sizes rings to the correct size at the time of presentation at no charge.

Can I design my own ring?

Of course you can! Bring us a picture of any ring you like and we can find it or make it for you. If you don’t know what you would like please come in and take a look at our selection. You may find something you have never seen before and absolutely love! You can also browse our extensive catalog and see what other styles are available. Please come see The Loft at Colonial Jewelers: our new bridal design and idea center. Here you can look online, at catalogs and use our ring builder programs to design the ring of your dreams! Our experienced sales staff can assist you with all of your design needs. They know how stones look in settings and what will be the best style of ring for your needs. Our two full time master goldsmiths are readily available to assist in setting questions and to create your ring on premises.

Can I have the inside of the ring engraved?

Most styles of engagement rings and wedding bands can be engraved inside. A simple inscription of around 20 characters, depending on ring size, fits best. Many couples choose to have their initials, wedding date or a nickname engraved in their bands. Colonial Jewelers will be glad to engrave rings purchased here free of charge.

What if she doesn’t like it?

We will make sure that she likes it. Making you and her happy is our number one goal.

Is the largest Diamond the most expensive one?

Not necessarily. A Diamond with less inclusions and less color in a smaller size will often command a higher price than a larger diamond lower in color and clarity. Keep in mind that Diamond prices do not go up incrementally at the same rate as the size. For example, a Diamond that is 2 carats is not just two times as expensive as a 1 carat of the same quality. A two carat is more than twice as expensive because it is much rarer.

How long have you been selling Diamonds?

Colonial Jewelers has been selling Diamonds since Will Hurwitz, Sarah’s grandfather, opened his doors in Downtown Frederick in 1948. Many generations have purchased their engagement rings and other Diamonds from Colonial Jewelers in the over 60 years we have been in business. Colonial Jewelers has always been known as Frederick’s source for fine quality Diamonds, Jewelry and Watches. We hire the most professional salespeople, buy the best Diamonds for your money and back it all up with a lifetime of excellent service. After all, we have a great reputation to protect! Our Sales staff has over 100 years of jewelry experience combined. Some of our most experienced staff have thirty years in the business. It is very important to us that all of your needs are met and your questions answered. Our staff are only authorized to show Diamonds once they are ready to serve you properly. If there is a question they don’t know they will always ask the right person to get the answer. Once you are inside our store you will know why we have been the area’s leading Diamond store for over 60 years.

I really want to buy her this one, but can only afford that one now. What should I do?

You can always take advantage of our in-house financing with approved credit. (Our options are: interest free 90 Days Same as Cash, and Monthly payment plans). Our sales staff can explain your financing options. Please also know that any Diamond you purchase at Colonial Jewelers can be traded in later at the price that you paid for it. Many couples “trade up” as they go through the years together. You can feel confident purchasing from Colonial Jewelers, knowing the value of your Diamond will be protected.

Can you dip my ring to make it white again?

Here at Colonial, we have a process called refinishing that can make an old or very worn piece of jewelry look like new. It’s not just as simple as “dipping” the jewelry. First the ring/jewelry is thoroughly cleaned and every blemish is smoothed out of the metal. From there, prongs are straightened and all stones are tightened. The last step is polishing, which makes the gold or platinum shiny and luminous. White gold jewelry goes through an extra step called Rhodium plating to make the metal bright white again. Rhodium is an element in the Platinum group of precious metals. It is a metallic silvery white in color and yields a high shine. The refinishing process here at Colonial is done entirely in house, and in as little as 3-5 days. The best part is, your jewelry will not only look new, but you will have confidence in knowing that all of your treasured stones are secure.