GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If you looked at three diamonds each of a different color, clarity and cut, would you know which was more expensive? You might be surprised what you do and don't notice.
We spoke with Joel Siegel of Siegel Jewelers. His family has been running Siegel Jewelers in Grand Rapids since 1889.
"Known as the 4 c's cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Which really means the size of the diamond, how white it is, how clean it is and how bright or sparkly it is," said Siegel. "So they all boil down to beauty really. To get a diamond that truly sparkles, a diamond works like a mirror and it reflects light and makes it sparkle. To get the best cut diamond, you usually have to waste more diamond, so the cutter goes through a decision making process, 'Do I make it smaller and more sparkly, cut better or do i retain weight and not cut it as well?' And that's why most diamonds are not cut to ideal proportions as they're trying to keep the weight up. Can a person visibly see the difference in diamond qualities? And my answer is, if you in simplistic terms think of diamonds going from 1 to 10 in quality and if you look at a 1 and look at a 10 it's night and day. Lets say a 2 and a 9, it's going to be pretty obvious. Get to a 3 and 7, it's going to be a little fuzzy. You get down to a 4 versus a 5, no you can't visually see the difference."
We tried our test with Kelsey Haven of Eastown who recently got engaged. We had three different diamonds, all half carats. With a "D" being the top of the line in color we had an "F" an "I" and an "L" but we didn't tell Kelsey anything about their grading or prices. We only allowed her to look with the naked eye, and when asked which she preferred Kelsey chose the "L" colored diamond with a lower clarity and the much lower price.
"I'd say it's most sparkly clear with the most reflection," said Haven.
The diamond Haven chose was $900 at Siegel Jewelers. The middle diamond was $1,600 and the top diamond, the "F" color cost $2,400 at Siegel. That was looking at the diamonds from above. We then turned all three upside down to look at them from another angle. That's when the color difference was more obvious.
We told Haven the prices of all three and she changed her top two choices, instead now preferring the "F" colored diamond, the most expensive. Her second choice was her original favorite, the "L" colored diamond. Even after all that, she still clearly had a third or least favorite of the three, the middle graded and middle priced "I" colored diamond. "I mean they're all beautiful," said Haven but to her, picking the most expensive one wasn't worth the extra money.
We also showed her two 3/4 carat diamonds, one was an "F" color and the other an "I". I asked Haven if she noticed any differences. She said one was clearly bigger than the other, but it wasn't.
Siegel reminder Haven that carat was weight, not necessarily size. Siegel explained the smaller faced one was deeper thus the same weight.
"What you see when you see size is really the top diameter," Siegel said. Once we flipped them over the color difference was a little more apparent to Haven. "That top one looks clearer, whiter." But once we told her the price difference between the two, it was easy which she'd prefer. The "F" was for sale for $3,900 and the "I" was for sale for $1,200.
"Wow, that's quite a difference," said Kelsey.
Siegel says make sure you know everything about each before making up your mind, and then if you still prefer the cheaper one, great.
"If you don't examine each of the factors, you're not getting the whole story. The answer may be, 'Yeah, that's interesting but I'll save the money,'" Siegel said.
If Haven had bought on this day, using nothing but her two eyes, she definitely would have saved money.