Buying a diamond can be a nerve-racking experience. If you want my expert advice on buying the best diamond just drop me a note and tell me what you are looking for and how much you want to spend and I will get back to you with my personal recommendations for a beautiful stone that fits in your budget. This is a FREE service, doesn't cost you a dime extra, (in fact I am sure that it almost every case I can save you lots of money) and there is absolutely no commitment.

How to buy the best diamonds made simple

How do you choose the right diamond? There’s a lot of technical information out there about how to buy the best diamond (or best diamonds in the case of earrings). This site is a diamond guide, a short cut , that will help you narrow it down to the most important things you need to know and put it in plain English. As a very first step I highly recommend you read my Guide to Diamond Pricing for a down to earth understanding of what determines the price of a diamond and insider tips of what to watch out for when choosing a diamond.  This page will take you methodically through the 4 Cs, diamond color, diamond cut, diamond clarity, and diamond carat weight,  and explain why when it comes to diamonds “better” is not always the right choice. This is the page that your local jeweler doesn’t want you to read. I put up this website diamond guide to show you how to make the diamond buying process simple and understandable. This is the information you need to buy the most beautiful and brilliant diamond you can afford, at the right price.

 

Randy,

I am looking to get a diamond ring in the next month or so. I
found a few I liked on the James Allen site which I have listed below.
It looks like the princess cut are less expensive than the round.
Basically I’d like something that is brilliant and .99 carat or more
with good quality. Is it possible to get the brilliance I want with a
princess cut? Can you recommend one or more of my selections or a
better one that you find? Here is my list:
1) http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/princess-cut/1.04-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-sku-251843
2) http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/princess-cut/1.02-carat-g-color-vs1-clarity-sku-240384
3)http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.00-carat-g-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-276832
4) http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.99-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-236139

Thanks for your help.

Answer:

You certainly can find a princess cut with the Brilliance you are looking for – but it may be higher than the budget range you are in. If you can give me a top line budget I would be happy to give you some options. From the list you sent I like this one – beautiful stone: http://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.99-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-236139

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I recently received the following question from a reader: “I have a 14KWG ring VS2 SI1 HI 3.6G Circa 1920 could you explain the 4 c and estimate what it might be worth I was told it was worth $1,600.00 thank you”

When it comes to buying an antique engagement ring the same rules of the 4C’s apply as if it were a new one. You should separate the value of the setting and the value of the stone. Of course, if the diamond has sentimental value – there is no market price that can be placed or estimated. One distinction between the 2 would be cut- over the years newer types of cuts have been developed to maximize the brilliance of the diamond. In an antique diamond you may not have the same cut and therefore the brilliance will not be as great.

In my experience if one is not talking about an inheritance or other diamond that has sentimental value most people like the antique look of the setting rather than the diamond. Feel free to try and negotiate a price for the setting alone and place any diamond that you like in this setting.

For additional reading on this subject see this link: http://www.wikihow.com/Purchase-an-Antique-Engagement-Ring

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This coming Sunday, May 12th will mark the annual Mother’s Day celebration. Not surprisingly the millions of mothers across the country are not the only ones who look forward to this day. The Jewelry industry has seized this day as yet another excuse to market by playing on the emotions of their consumers. This year, according a recently published survey, the industry expects to see a jump of 11 percent in spending on jewelry related gifts during this mother’s day season.

Diamonds.net quotes the National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day Survey saying “The average amount shoppers expect to spend on jewelry was $100.55, up from $97.19 one year ago and the highest average so far. Those consumers who earn less than $50,000 per year expect to spend an average of $74.94 on jewelry, while those earning more than $50,000 plan to spend an average of $122.86 on their jewelry purchase for Mother’s Day.”

So if you are in the market for some nice gifts for mom check out some of these great gift ideas:

14k White Gold Fresh Water Pearl Stud Earrings – $110

14k White Gold Polished Heart Pendant – $135

Classic 1/4ctw 18K White Gold Stud Earrings – $340

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1.06 carat GIA H-SI1 Round diamond

Diamond Magnified 20x - Click for Larger View

Carat Weight: 1.06

Diamond Color: H

Diamond Clarity: SI1

Diamond Cut: Ideal

Diamond Price: $6760

Measurements: 6.64*6.67*4.03

Depth: 60.5

Table: 56

Diamond Polish: Very Good

Diamond Symmetry: Excellent

Diamond Fluorescence: None

This 1.06 carat H-SI1 Round diamond is featured on James Allen for $6760.

Click here to see this GIA1.06 carat H-SI1 Round diamond on James Allen!

 

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Randy,

Just wanted to thank you again for your assistance in my quest for the perfect diamond. After carefully reviewing both of the recommendations you sent over I selected the 1.22 carat H VS2. Both me and my fiancé were just amazed at how beautiful it was and we were thrilled with the setting as well. When I found your site I was excepting to pay at least $1000 more then I ended up paying!

You honestly took all the frustration out of the diamond buying process and made me confident that I was getting a great value for my money.  I will definitely recommend your service to my friends.

Thanks again,

Omar

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Q: Can you let me know what you think of the following diamond? My fiancé picked it out but I wanted your opinion on it before I pull the trigger.

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-SI1-Excellent-Cut-Round-Diamond-1429972.asp

Thanks

A: I believe this diamond is priced a little high – probably because of the because of the polish\symmetry.  If you look closely you will see a good number of inclusions which I am not convinced can be covered by prongs.  I would recommend you look at this one:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-SI1-Excellent-Cut-Round-Diamond-1517999.asp

It’s much cleaner and a few hundred dollars cheaper. If you are willing to go down a bit in size you can get an even better value in the 0.90 to 0.92 range. See my Guide to Diamond pricing to understand why. You can save close to $1500 by doing this.

Q: Thanks- I really like the 2nd diamond! My fiancé was happy with it to and she really didn’t want to go lower then 1 carat so this worked out great. Awesome site and thanks for the advice.

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It’s that time of year when those planning on making holiday purchases start trying to predict when the “right” time to buy is.  Here is one question that I got just yesterday.

“Randy,

I know I am going to be buying an engagement ring before Christmas and I am trying to time it right so that I don’t overpay and maybe even get a good discount. I read that diamond prices are down this year and was wondering if you thought I should buy now or hold out a little longer and see if prices drop further.

Thanks,

Mike”

My answer to Mike is important and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I never recommend trying to “play the market” on diamonds. There are so many variables that go into the pricing of diamonds that it makes it very difficult to predict where prices are headed. (see my page on diamond pricing)

What I do sometime recommend is to look at the current price of diamonds and see if they are “high” or “Low” for the season. If they are low and you know you will be needing a diamond then pull the trigger.

Rapaport is reporting that October prices for polished diamonds were down about 10% over last year. I would say anyone looking to make a purchase in the next few months is safe buying it now. Is this to say prices won’t drop further? No, of course not but with the unpredictability and fluctuation in pricing I think it’s worth the peace of mind buying your diamond when you find the right one rather than trying to gamble and save a few dollars.  If you want to save money on your diamond purchase- let me help you buy smart, by choosing the right color and clarity, this is a much more proven method then timing your purchase to market conditions.

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One of the more frequent questions I get here on the site is about the differences in cert types. I have literally been asked about dozens of different certs from just about everywhere in the world.  If you have read through my page dedicated to this top you know that I am very clear on this- the only certs you should be looking at are GIA, IGI, AGS.

Of the dozens of questions I get the most common by far is about EGL diamonds. This question is so common that I dedicated a page to it on its own. No matter how clear I try and be on this topic (for those who are in doubt let me clear – Don’t Buy EGL Diamonds!) I always find it hard to really convince people 100% on this. The fact is that without a clear understanding on how diamonds are graded and the differences between the labs it is very easy to fall trap and think that an EGL diamond is a bargain. The fact is they are more expensive. That’s right – EGL diamonds are more expensive the GIA or AGS. If that’s the case why do so many people think they are getting a bargain with EGL stones? Check out this great video that clearly explains this topic.

Check out the video below:

 

 

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Question:
Randy,

I am looking for at a couple of round diamonds on James Allen:
http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS2-Excellent-Cut-Round-Diamond-1480056.asp

and

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS2-Excellent-Cut-Round-Diamond-1471696.asp

My question is why the big price difference? The only difference I can see is that the 1.08 carat diamond has a faint fluorescence. Could this be the only reason for a $400 price difference between the two diamonds?  Can you see any reason I should be opting for the 1.07 more expensive diamond?

Thanks
M.

Answer:

Thanks for writing in. These are both very nice diamonds and will be eye-clean. As to why there is a $400 difference between them….

Fluorescence isn’t the only difference between them.  If you look closely at the details you will see there is also a difference in the girdle, measurements, and polish. Each of these can contribute somewhat to the price of the diamond. However the truth is that in this case I don’t believe the discrepancy is because of any one diamond characteristic and instead it is most likely due to the fact that the 2 diamonds are being sent to James Allen by different wholesalers and each is asking a different ask price for the diamonds.

As you can read on both my diamond pricing page and on my Blue Nile re view page many online vendors (including James Allen) are listing “virtual inventory” that is supplied by other vendors.  The pricing in this case can vary for no (good) reason whatsoever.  I have seen cases where one diamond was listed with a high price simply because the actual owner was on vacation and didn’t get a chance to adjust his pricing.

As for which diamond I prefer of these 2 – I would definitely save the $400 and go with the lower priced stone.  These are H color and the fluorescence is only faint so it really shoudln’t not have a negative impact on the look of these diamonds.

Thanks,

Randy

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Question:

Randy,

I am in the market for a 1.5 carat round diamond. Besides the usual 4C’s issues my girlfriend is insisting that we purchase an “Ethical Diamond”. She is very concerned that the diamond not in any way be a conflict diamond. After much research I found 2 companies that seem to specialize in this Brilliant Earth and Green Karat.  Are you familiar with these companies? Can they both be trusted that the diamonds are in fact conflict free? Can you recommend any other sites I can look at?

I really appreciate your site and all the amazing content on it.

Joe

Joe,

I appreciate your writing in and very happy that you enjoy the site. Your question is a great one. Before answering let me tell you that I am not a big fan of buying “Ethical Diamonds” from retailers who specialize in this – in my opinion (and this is just my opinion…) this is a form of Greenwashing that really isn’t necessary.  You can read more about this topic on the page I put up  here. I got into a lot of details about the Kimberly Process and the issues surrounding conflict (or blood) diamonds in general.  I really think you will find it informative.

As for the 2 retailers you mention – Brilliant Earth and Green Karat – both are very reputable and reliable online Jewelers. In terms of trusting either of them you shouldn’t have any worries.  On the other hand, again, please read my page on conflict diamonds and really understand the issues. I would strongly recommend that you look over the James Allen  conflict diamond policy and then compare pricing between Brilliant Earth, Green Karat and James Allen – my guess is that for a typical 1.5 carat H-SI1 diamond you will be looking at a %25-%35 savings at James Allen for a diamond that is just as “ethical” as the others.

Thanks, Randy

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