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How to Buy a Diamond, 5E: Insider Secrets for Getting Your Money's Worth Paperback – March 1, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 74 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Buying guides for gems and jewelry appear on the market with some regularity, and these two are similar in scope and content to their predecessors. Cuellar, founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, covers the standard topics of the four Cs (carat, clarity, color, cut), as well as the fifth C, cost. Various chapters focus on everything from ring settings to insurance, investment, and selling diamonds; other tidbits include carat size charts and even a list of 101 ways to be romantic. This serious yet lighthearted guide is geared to anyone looking for inside information on purchasing a diamond. Matlins's (Jewelry and Gems, LJ 5/1/94) work is equally informative yet more serious in nature. Each of the seven parts focuses on a variety of topics from the historical significance of pearls to pearl types and quality, from selection to caring for and wearing pearls. The two most important sections deal with insider tips and advice from the experts and what to ask when purchasing pearls. Other features include price guides, special charts, and a special color photograph section. Both of these books are suitable for public libraries.?Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Educate yourself before you make the big purchase." -- Money's Worth

"He's what people are talking about." -- USA Today

"Inside informtion on purchasing a diamond." -- Library Journal

"The book helps make dreams come true." -- Houston Chronicle, March 27,1997

"Whenever anybody asks me about buying a diamond, I give them this book. It's filled with a lot of common sense, practical advice. Diamond buying can be difficult, this book can help." -- Rob Bates, Editor, National Jeweler magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: How to Buy a Diamond
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; 5 edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402204094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402204098
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,301,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sarah Mc Bride on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just wanted to put in a word of warning with all the praise this book has mustered. Fred Cuellar knows his stuff and is usually correct in what he says about diamonds but he please keep in mind that he is sales person - first, last and always. After discussing all the 4Cs, he puts one last bit of advice into the chapters about un-warped stones. And that's were it all unravels; for all the importance he places on this topic, he writes only a paragraph or two about it. Incredible.

Fred puts a lot of emphasis on finding an un-warped stone and eventually points the reader to his own store for "advice." In several months of research about round cut stones, I have found that most people in the business or hobbyists do not necessarily respect his opinions.

Let me explain ...

After trying to locate a reasonably priced stone that matched Fred's guidelines for dimensions, I called his 800 number looking for guidance. I found several stones on bluenile.com that matched all of Fred's recommended dimensions (but were low in price and therefore too good to be true?) but every time I asked the guys at DCI (Diamond Cutter's International, Fred's company), they told me it was an okay stone but warped meaning that the measurements around the stone weren't symmetrical all the way around. Even though the dimensions all matched the ideals for what Fred said in his book, according to DCI, the stones all suffered from a so called tragic flaw that Fred only devotes half a page to.

Yes, this is an important point and they did assure me that bluenile's prices were fair but I was still getting a warped stone which I should avoid.
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Format: Paperback
I found & read this book along with "Diamond Ring Buying Guide" by Renee Newman. Fred Cuellar really gives you insight on how diamonds are rated "The 4 C's" and gives you suggestions on what to look for based on what type of buyer you are. I found his inside information on what goes on in the diamond buying/selling business very helpful. He also provides you with questions to ask a Jeweler to interview them and see if they are a legitimate company to deal with. I like his no-nonsense approach and recommendations of pricing for different cuts, clarity and color. One thing the book lacked was actual pictures for examples. I found Renee Newman's book "Diamond Ring Buying Guide" was excellent in providing color/B&W picture examples but Fred's book was better laid out in educating the reader. After reading Fred's book and looking at Renee's pictures, I felt very confident in going into a jeweler to look at diamonds. In fact, once I went into a jeweler for the first time and explained in detail what I was looking for, I was treated completely different than the other customer's. The sales rep brought out the manager, and both of them treated me with respect. In fact, make sure you use Fred's example of asking the manager if they would GIA certify the diamonds. This tells you alot about the jeweler you are doing business with.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fred Cueller provides some quality information. His emphasis on cut is well-placed, as it is commonly accepted that cut is the most important contributor to a diamond's appearance.

Explaining that a VVS clarity diamond is not the best choice for worn jewelry, confirmed by other sources, was helpful and saved me some money.

Recommending to "buy shy" (0.49 ct instead of 0.50 ct) is a handy tip, and saved me some money while getting the look I want.

His relationship advice, stories of crooked sellers, and anecdotes are interesting, amusing, and can be helpful.

However, there are significant problems.

His explanation of the proper cut for the Round is essentially correct, but more research shows his understanding is becoming outdated and may mislead people. The "ideal" is based on a 2D ray-trace of a diamond which ignores some aspects of dispersion. Today, full 3D models of diamonds can be performed. With that, his disagreement with GIA's new recommendations for "ideal" may well be incorrect and misleading people from good purchases.

Worse, his recommendation for choosing proper proportions of a Princess cut seem to be plain wrong. I'm still looking into this, but right now my understanding is that if had bought my Princess-cut diamond according to his proportions, I'd have a poorly cut stone.

While buying shy is a money saver, I'm not convinced it is nearly so useful today as he suggests. Prices I've seen don't jump dramatically at the round carat weights.

His recommendation on fluorescence are not universally held. My jeweler recommends some degree of fluorescence for non-colorless stones to mask the yellow and improve the perceived whiteness of the stone.
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Format: Paperback
Simply put, anyone who is in the market for a diamond, in particular for an engagement ring, must read this book. In about 200 hundred pages Mr. Cuellar explains everything you need to know to get a great stone at a great price. I was so fascinated by the book that I read it in one sitting. After reading the book, I knew more about diamonds than a number of the people who were trying to sell them to me. He exhaustively reviews the 4 C's and talks about tricks of the trade to protect yourself from getting ripped off. A great asset of the book is the price guide that is included. It gives you a good idea of how much you should expect to pay for a diamond of a given size and quality. Mr. Cuellar also provides a phone number so that you can call and talk to one of his associates about a stone that you are interested in. In fact, I got to speak with Mr. Cuellar himself this week about a stone that I just purchased. I thought I was getting a good deal; he said I got a great deal. I owe it all to his book and the fantastic jeweler I was fortunate enough to do business with. Five stars all the way!
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