Archive for Q&A
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
I am looking for at a couple of round diamonds on James Allen:
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 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.
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.
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.
I am looking for a round diamond on a pretty small budget. I have $6,000 to spend on the diamond and another $800 for the setting. We already picked out a setting which will be a classic “Tiffany” setting in yellow gold. We have looked through so many stores and we (especially me) are totally confused as to what we should be look for. I would like the diamond to be as clean as possible but my Fiancé is also concerned that it shouldn’t look too small. After reading a number of pages on your site I think I was being misled by a number of them and have decided to try and buy online. I looked at both BlueNile and James Allen and have a couple of options I wanted to know if you can look at and give me your opinion on.
I really appreciate your time and the amazing articles you have on the site.
Thanks for the note and I am happy the site was able to help. As for the 4 you sent me.
In terms of size these are all pretty much identical. You won’t be able to see a difference between a 1.06 and a 1.01 or 1.02 anyway so you should think of all of these as a 1.00 carat diamond. You can play with the setting so that it appears larger, for example have the diamond mounted high in the prongs.
As for my preference:
My first pick is the I- SI1: http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/I-SI1-Excellent-Cut-Round-Diamond-1440491.asp
This diamond is eye clean and also has the largest table which will give it a larger appearance. My 2nd choice is the J-SI1. Since you are going with a yellow gold setting you can afford to go down to the J color without worry.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Amazing site! I have learned more in the last hour reading your articles then I have by gong to 3 different stores.
I am looking to buy a diamond over 1 carat and under 10K. I was looking through some of the one syou have listed on the side of your site and came across this one, http://www.selectingadiamond.com/1-14-carat-ags-certified-h-vs2-ideal-cut-round-diamond-for-9750/ but had a couple of questions:
Even under the magnification I can’t find why this is a VS2 and not a higher clarity grade. Also, The picture looks a little fuzzy, I read on your diamond fluorescence page that if the diamond has some fluorescence it can make the diamond look hazy (or I think you call it milky) is that the problem with this diamond? The diamond certification is AGS and not GIA – is that a problem? All in all can you give me your opinion of that diamond?
Thanks so much and again- amazing site!
Thanks so much for writing in and I am happy that you enjoyed the site.
The diamond you sent me (here is a link direct to James Allen – http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1418797.asp is a beautiful stone. As for why the diamond looks “milky” in this case has nothing to do with the fluorescence, which in this case is “negligible”, but rather poor photography! I wouldn’t worry at all about the fluorescence – you really only need to start thinking about this when you see Medium to Strong blue listed. Finally, as to why this is a VS2 and not a higher clarity grade – I suspect it is because of the faint marks at the 4:00 and 5:30 marks near the table. The cert also claims a feather in the middle of the table but to be honest I just don’t see it (even under magnification). It could be because of the quality of the photo but being a VS2 – I don’t really care as this diamond will be eye clean! It’s a great buy.
I will be buying a diamond in the next few weeks and I am comfortable with the choice of clarity that I want but I am really debating what color to go with.
I see on several of your pages that you claim that there is no difference between G diamond color and H diamond color. Given the price difference and the fact that these diamonds are certified by top labs like GIA how it can be that there is no difference. Are you saying that it’s all just marketing hype and that all diamonds are the same colors?
I went into a few local retailers and looked at the diamonds myself and in many cases I was able to see the difference between colors even in one color grade. Are you sure it’s OK to go with an H color diamond over a G? I don’t want to disappoint my fiancé.
Great questions and I appreciate your writing in so I can clear this up for you. First, you have to differentiate between what a diamond certificate ways and what is actually visible to the naked eye. Yes, there is technically a difference between a G color diamond and an H color diamond. When looking at the 2 diamonds together under ideal lighting conditions and when compared to a perfect set of reference diamonds you may – (but even here mostly likely won’t) see a slight difference between a G and H color diamond. However, under normal circumstances an untrained eye will NEVER be able to tell the difference between 1 color grade be it G to H or F to G – the difference and the amount of yellow that appears from this one step is so slight that even trained salesman will get tripped up – and again, this is under ideal circumstances. So while technically there is a difference it is one that the human eye is almost incapable of seeing – is this what you want to spend money on?
In addition, as I talk about on my diamond pricing page and diamond color page, there is an artificial bump in price between G color and H color diamonds. For some reason the Rapp list has determined that the color difference between a G and H is so great that it warrants a steep price increase (all other things equal) this is of course non-sense! So as for going with a G over H color there are 2 reasons not to: 1) You will never be able to see the added color 2) you are paying an extra premium for this jump.
As for why you were able to see the difference when you went to the local jeweler I suspect you were not looking at 2 diamonds graded by the same lab. For example if you were looking at an H color EGL diamond and a G color GIA diamond you were actually looking at diamonds that were 2-3 grades apart and not 1 grade apart. To understand why please read my EGL vs. GIA page here.
I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions I can help you out with.
I am looking for a 1 carat or larger G color Princess cut diamond for $6000-$6500 budget. What clarity and cut grades should I be looking at? Why are cut grades for Princess diamonds not listed on the certs? Can I trust the cut that James Allen lists with the diamond?
I have some good news for you. Given the size and color\clarity grade you are looking for I think your budget is too high! You should be able to find a beautiful diamond in the $5000-$5500 range. As for clarity I would stick with a VS2 if possible. In many cases you can even drop to an SI1 with a Princess cut and still find a clean diamond and a great value- as a rule of thumb I start out looking for VS2. I do think you can afford to go down in color to H (and even I ) without sacrificing and having the diamond look yellow.
As for Princess cut not being on the certification- no fancy shaped diamonds have Cut listed on the cert. There is a broad leeway given to the retailer in terms of specifying the cut grade and you do need to be careful. One thing to look at (at least in Princess) is that the ratio of the length to width be as close to 1 as possible. The closer to one you are the more perfect square the diamond is. I would not recommending going with anything over a 1.05 ratio.
Some other things to look for in a Princess are:
- A depth of 65% to 75%
- Table below 75%
- Polish and Symmetry at least Good
Given all this I would recommend this 1.00 G-VS2 diamond on James Allen. It comes in at jut over $5000 so leaves you lots of room for a really nice setting.
Your site is really a wealth of information – thanks so much for organizing and putting this up.
My girlfriend and I are getting engaged soon and have been talking about diamonds. She is convinced that since she is getting a white gold setting we need to look at F or G color diamonds but after reading your site it looks like we can go for an H color. Does the color of the setting really make a big difference? If we do go with white gold can I still get an H color and be safe? The diamonds we are looking at are between 1.15 and 1.25 carat and generally in the VS2 clarity range.
Thanks for writing in and I am thrilled that you and your girlfriend found the site useful. You should definitely be looking at H color diamonds- with a white gold setting I would probably not recommend going to a J color but I have no problem recommending H color.
I noticed that you mention color, clarity and carat size – but you left to the most important of the 4Cs! Remember always look at the cut of the diamond as well as the other 4Cs. You didn’t mention a budget range you were looking at but here is a diamond that is a 1.2 carat H-VS2 that looks great. If it’s not within your range let me know and I will help you find one that meets your budget.