Before you shop around for a diamond at Panowicz Jewelers, or anywhere else, beef up on your facts.

Buying a diamond for an engagement ring can be daunting, emotional and definitely one of the most exciting purchases you'll ever make. We want to help you get the most diamond value for your money, so read on to be prepped with valuable knowledge under your belt.

The A. B. "C.C.C.C's" of diamond knowledge – the 4 C's.

The 4 C's are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. These are the four distinguishing characteristics that determine the grade and the price of the diamond. The cut refers to the angles and proportions of a diamond and can affect the value of the diamond by more than 50% or more. The color refers to the degree to which a diamond is colorless. Clarity grading tells you how many natural identifying internal characteristics the diamond has. Finally, the carat refers to the weight, and therefore the size, of the diamond.

Not all diamond grading's are created equal!

A diamond is graded based on its color, clarity and cut. But while this may seem pretty clear-cut, how each diamond earns its grade isn't as simple. Did you know that the cut can affect diamond price by 50% or more? To top it off, some diamond sellers are trying to cash in this new awareness of cut and representing lesser quality cuts as ideal.

Panowicz only recognizes the world's most respected grading laboratories, the American Gem Society (AGS) and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). AGS and GIA grade diamonds upon the strictest standards of diamond grading. Both groups are non-profit organizations known as the world's most accurate diamond evaluators.

The European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) USA grades diamonds on looser criteria, not as strict as the GIA, but very often pretty close. That is not the case for the EGL's outside of the US. Some differences in their color grading when compared to a GIA or AGS certificate can be up to 2 or even 3 differences in color grade i.e. an EGL certificate may grade a diamond as being a J in color when compared to a GIA grading which may grade the color as an M! This results in you paying more, but not really getting more for your hard earned cash.

Others such as cough cough the EGL lab reports out of Israel, Belgium, Hong Kong and Turkey are not highly regarded and their grading is very lax to put it mildly.

If you're better at buying diamonds, you're better at selling them, too.

At Panowicz, we personally hand pick the brightest, the most beautiful and best-valued diamonds for you, our customers, rejecting the rest. Guess those are the diamonds that other jewelers will be selling… We carry the largest selection of diamonds that the South Puget Sound area has to offer.

The true experience of diamond buying stems from the fun that comes along with being able to touch, feel and compare multiple diamonds at one time. When shopping for a diamond you may think "hey this diamond looks pretty nice" when it sits solo, but being able to compare it to another diamond lets it's true colors show and maybe that first diamond doesn't sparkle quite the same as your eye first beheld. And if you don't see exactly what you're looking for, we can get it!

Don't become victim to a "fake" sale.

At every turn you take you are bombarded with advertisements of "sales galore." Everyone loves the idea of getting a bargain and the satisfaction of knowing they got a great deal. Here's the truth. Too often, jewelry stores mark their diamonds up to inflated, unrealistic prices so they can either bring the price down during a sale, or have you negotiate the price down while shopping. We don't bother with all that hoopla, shenanigans and hoop jumping and you shouldn't have to either.

Ultimately the "sale" price you pay at other jewelry stores is the same price you would get with us at Panowicz every day. At Panowicz, you get our best price and a great value every day. That's the way it should be.

Still hungry for more knowledge?

Visit us in store at Panowicz Jewelers or read more on our "Diamond Smarts" page.