Shopping Tips & Videos

With 625 possible diamond qualities, it’s no wonder people have such a hard time choosing which one to buy!

In our Diamond Shopping Tips section we have included some of the most helpful things to consider in each area of the Four C's. Instead of going in-depth and providing you with hundreds of diamond facts, this page is meant to provide you with practical advice on how to get the most bang for your buck.

The video below also outlines some of the ways in which retailers are able to get away with selling you lower-quality diamonds at higher-quality prices.

Cut (how well it sparkles):

Although sometimes forgotten, one could easily argue that cut is the most important aspect of a diamond. It is also much more difficult to judge for the non-professional. The quality of the cut basically refers to how good of a job a person did when polishing and placing the angles of the facets. The quality of the cut controls how much the diamond sparkles, and how bright or dull it looks overall. 

A diamond, with everything being the same except the quality of the cut being different, a price may vary 33%. For a 1 ct diamond there may very well be a $3,500 difference depending on the quality of the cut alone. As you can see, the cut of a diamond makes quite a price difference.

A cut is not a given a specific grade such as ‘G’ or ‘VS2’, mainly because there is such a wide range of factors contributing to the cut of a diamond. On GIA certificates, the overall quality of the cut is given one of five grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

The key word here is overall quality. The measurements, polish, symmetry, girdle, culet and fluorescence are all factors that affect how much the diamond sparkles. Two diamonds with an overall cut grade of “Very Good” can have dramatically different amounts of brilliance. This is why you can find a list of diamonds with the exact same certification grades in every category, but there’s a $2,000 difference between the lowest and highest priced diamond on the list. You will always pay for the quality of the cut, so don't just go for the cheaper diamond if the color and clarity grades are the same.

Carat (weight):

As you may know, a diamond’s weight is measured in carats, or points. A 1 carat stone is equal to 100 points. One way to save money on a diamond is to buy one with a carat weight that is slightly less than the next standard mark (3/4 ct, 1 ct). For example, since 1 carat diamonds are highly sought after as a marker of size, they are also marked up in price. All things being the same, you will pay a significantly less amount of money buying a diamond that is 10 points less (.90 carats) than a 1 carat, without seeing a significant difference in size. Of course, price increases with size, but you can also get stuck paying more for a particular size.

Clarity (presence of flaws/inclusions):

Determine whether you are okay with a stone that has an eye-visible inclusion. If not, we recommend you go with our SI1 clarity grade or better. A true SI1 should have no eye-visible inclusions, however, they would be fairly noticeable under a microscope. There are some SI2 or SI3 stones in which the inclusions are very hard to see with the naked eye, but as a general rule you can always be safe with an honestly graded SI1 stone.


Color (presence of yellow/gray tint):

Our recommendations on color depend on whether you are choosing to set the diamond in a yellow gold or white gold ring.  For white gold, we recommend going no lower than a true I color or better. This ensures the diamond is “technically white”, and it would be difficult to notice any yellow tint against the white gold. For yellow gold rings we recommend going no lower than K color. Although K is the first grade that becomes technically “off-white”, it still looks presentable against yellow gold if you’re looking to save money.

Keep in mind, we recommend these be the lowest color grades you choose. You don’t exactly need D color, but you can certainly tell a difference between F and I color. It is pretty hard for the untrained eye to detect a difference between two color grades next to each other (ex. G and H), unless they are comparing them side by side.

Also keep in mind that cut, clarity and color grades fall within a range. One stone might be a G color on the high end (closer to an F) whereas another stone might be a G color that is almost an H. Diamond grading is very subjective, so even the grade on a GIA certificate may be debatable.

For more information and shopping tips regarding diamonds, check out the Diamonds category in our Jewelry Wise Blog.


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