People want to save money on diamonds, but at the same time, they also want good quality!
It makes it tough!
Because the more affordable a Diamond becomes, the more the quality gets sacrificed!
So it’s a constant battle and balance, between what you will settle for, and how much hard earned cash you want to save.
Luckily, there are some simple guidelines that I can give you, that will get you a “good” Diamond, and still not break the bank.
It’s basically learning where the cut off points are for “good” quality… Where you can skimp, and where you shouldn’t!
These key points are of course, the 4c’s, plus some other important criteria like Shape, Setting, and Certification.
So let’s begin…
So if you want to make your Diamond purchase a little bit more affordable, maybe think about a different shape (called the cutting style), like the Princess Cut, Cushion Cut, Radiant Cut, Asscher Cut, Marquise Cut, Pear, Heart, Oval… Any Fancy shaped stone.
It really could save you THOUSANDS!
I always say the cut off point for “good” Clarity is SI1 Clarity!
Any Diamond SI1 or higher, is “good” or “great” quality. Any Diamond SI2 or lower (I1, I2, I3) is considered “ok” or even “poor” quality.
The reason for this is simple. In SI1 Diamonds or higher, all the Inclusions and Flaws are NOT visible to the eye, you’ll need a 10x Jeweler’s Microscope, or a Jeweler’s Loupe to see the imperfections.
Any Diamond SI2 or lower, will have big enough visible Flaws that you can see just by looking at the Diamond (without any magnification). And many times, these Flaws get so large, and so obvious, that they’ll often look like Black Spots, Lines, Clouds and Cracks!
So stick with SI1 or higher and you’ll never have to worry about Clarity, or having your Fiancee look at her ring and say “Why’s my Diamond look broken?” or “What’s that big black thing in my stone?”
To get “good” Color, which means “white” Color, stick with at least G, H, Color or higher! (I prefer the higher myself)
G-H is often called "off-white". They are Near Colorless and will generally face up white (especially in a White Mounting, like White Gold or Platinum). Many people can’t distinguish between a G or H Color versus a Pure White Diamond (D, E, or F).
But when you get into I-J Color or lower, then often you will see a yellowish or brownish cast to the stone.
So for a “good” Color, get G or H, and your Diamond will face up just fine.
Cut is important, and a little tricky. But if you want your Diamond to Sparkle, it’s crucial!
If you’re looking at buying a round Diamond, then ALWAYS strive for at least “Very Good” if not “Excellent” in Cut Grade. That way, you don’t sacrifice any beauty.
Do keep an eye out for Polish and Symmetry (these things are all listed on a Diamond Report, or Certificate) as well. Look for “Very Good” or “Excellent” Grades in those too.
After all, the life of a Diamond is in the way it interacts with light. And the better the Cut, Polish and Symmetry is, the better your Diamond will Sparkle like a thousand stars in the sky…
And in her eye!
Do note that Fancy Cut Diamonds are not graded with Cut Grades like round stones are. There are just way too many variables to satisfy every proportion on the market. So what I recommend is the eye test. Look at the Diamond in different types of lighting atmospheres (like inside, outside, fluorescent lights, halogen… even low light), just to see how it looks and feels. A Diamond that’s cut well, or Ideal (sometimes also called Premium Cuts), will sparkle like crazy, and that’s what you want!
Diamond Carat Weight
This is the one 4C that is totally optional!
There is no good or bad Carat Weight. It’s all in what you can afford.
What I would suggest though, is to make sure you follow all of the other guidelines FIRST, and then adjust the Carat Weight up or down so you can stay in your budget.
The average Solitaire sold for Engagement Rings is only 33 points (1/3 Carat). But the “Dream Carat Weight” (the weight that every women wants), is a full Carat, 100 Points (1.00 Carat).
Granted, the price difference between a third and a One Carat stone is about 6x the price (if not more). So that’s something to consider. :)
I would say that a “good” Carat Weight for a Solitaire (Single Diamond Ring) is probably between a 1/2 Carat (50 points) and a 3/4 Carat (75 Points) Diamond.
But, if your ring has more than one Diamond (like one stone in the center and many stones around it), then it’s quite easy to find a combined total weight (all of the stones added together) to equal One Carat.
Doing so, will not only give you the “Dream Carat Weight“, but, because the Carat Weight is broken down into smaller bite-sized pieces, then the entire ring gets cheaper! WIN WIN!
Try to make sure that the center stone (the largest of the bunch) is Certified (side stones are generally not certified).
Out of the thousands of different certification companies that exist in the world, I only suggest TWO. Either GIA (The Gemological Institute of America – what I truly recommend), or AGS (American Gem Society). I don’t advise buying any other Diamond Certificate or Report. And quite frankly, I think it’s a waste to do so… for it’s only there for “appearances“.
Buy GIA or AGS and you won’t regret it!
Keep the Mounting Simple
To keep the cost down, keep the ring simple!
The most inexpensive type of mounting there is, is the Classic Tiffany Mounting (which is a simple plain band that never goes out of style).
But, for not too much more, you could look into Halo Mountings (my 2nd choice, and probably the BEST choice for keeping your budget in check). That way you can split the Carat Weight up, still get a dainty and elegant ring, and the extra Diamonds will just add more sparkle and more beauty to the masterpiece.
You can’t lose!
Following the pointers listed above, I went to James Allen to scout for Diamond Deals (because the prices are low and you can view the actual stones before you buy them). I found some awesome Diamonds for dirt cheap prices.
Take a look...
|WEIGHT, CLARITY, COLOR, CUT, CERT||PRICE||VIEW|
|.34, SI1, H, PRINCESS, GIA||$440||VIEW|
|.42, SI1, G, CUSHION, GIA||$780||VIEW|
|.49, SI1, G, RADIANT, GIA||$990||VIEW|
|.50, SI1, H, PRINCESS, GIA||$970||VIEW|
|.56, SI1, H, PRINCESS, GIA||$1,060||VIEW|
|.60, SI1, H, CUSHION, GIA||$1,250||VIEW|
|.65, SI1, G, EMERALD, GIA||$1,280||VIEW|
|.70, SI1, H, PRINCESS, GIA||$1,770||VIEW|
|.81, SI1, H, CUSHION, GIA||$1,910||VIEW|
These Diamonds will sell FAST, so See Similar Quality Diamonds HERE!
One Last Bit Of Advice:
Don’t buy a Diamond with Fluorescence!
That is, unless you can view the stone with your own eyes just to make sure the Diamond doesn’t look Foggy, Cloudy or Hazy. Some stones will, others won’t. You won’t know until you see them!
If it doesn’t affect the overall beauty of the stone, then don’t worry about it.
But it it looks weird, or blurry, then skip it!
Now, let’s Recap…
(Plus, you can always pin this image on Pinterest!)
Good luck shopping, if you have any questions, let me know here. :)