31/05/2012 09:09 BST | Updated 30/07/2012 06:12 BST

Key Things to Look for When Buying a Diamond

Whether it's for a present or as an investment there are some key things to look for when buying a diamond. Following these tips will help you choose the perfect diamond for her or for you.

*Shop everywhere you can

High street or online? The answer is both. Don't restrict yourself, the more you research the more you are bound to learn and be in a better position to make an informed purchase decision. Prices can vary significantly between different vendors therefore take your time to shop around rushing things can only lead to disappointment. You will know you are getting a good deal after you have compared the prices of different retailers, both in shops and online.

*Make sure the diamond is in stock

Beware of purchasing a diamond that not only you can't see before buying but also the jeweller has not seen before. The questions to ask are: Has the jeweller or diamond dealer actually viewed and inspected the diamond? Or are they just attempting to sell the diamond purely by certificate specifications alone? Are they able to offer any further advice or information on the diamond? How can they describe the diamond's face up appearance and beauty if it is not in stock?

*View the diamond in person where possible

Compare the quality of the diamond you like next to other diamonds before you purchase. Nothing beats seeing a diamond in person to determine the true quality visibly. Diamond appreciation is a very personal thing and different people will prefer different things about different diamonds. At the end of the day all the numbers, certificates and photos in the world mean little if you do not like the look of the diamond and it does not sparkle displaying excellent brilliance and fire. Remember that two diamonds - even with virtually identical certification - can still look very different.

*Buy from people you can trust

When you've made up your mind to shop online, call the jeweller before placing the order. Beware of pushy sales staff and special offers. Diamonds are a luxury product and those jewellers who already offer great value will not be able to provide discounts over their sale prices.

*Make sure you know where your diamond comes from

It's impossible to tell from which diamond mine a particular diamond comes from, but it's possible and essential that the diamond you purchase has been ethically sourced. As a consumer, you should feel good about your diamond purchase. Make sure that the jeweller is willing to spend time providing the information you need, and more importantly that they can provide a written guarantee stating that the diamond has been ethically sourced.

*Beware of treated diamonds

Beware of buying a diamond that may be fracture-filled to temporarily hide inclusions or laser-drilled to remove dark inclusions. While at first glance these diamonds may represent good value, they are no longer fully natural and the treatments generally wear off over time, changing the beauty and appearance of the stone.

*A money back guarantee is a must

As a consumer you are entitled to change your mind. Circumstances change from time to time, and it's the retailer's responsibility to have a money back guarantee that gives total peace of mind. Expect at least 30 days if no more to have enough time to consider your purchase, a no questions asked return process, and free return postage costs.

*Online Reputation

In the past we had to rely on asking friends, relatives and colleagues for recommendations, but those days are over. In today's world, you can find the reputation of any jeweller online, whether good or bad. As the say goes, no credit equals bad credit, no reputation equals bad reputation unless you want to be the experiment of a new retailer. You are looking for reviews on the retailer's quality of products, delivery accuracy and levels of service, and you must look on review websites which are independent to the retailer.

Finally, buying a diamond is one of the most exciting purchasing journeys you will ever come across, so remember to enjoy it. Good luck!