Most probably, you’ve already read tens of articles online about how to buy diamonds, and what characteristics you should look for, even on this site, we have many articles that go over each detail for color, clarity, cut, polish, you name it!
So to make the purchase process easier for anyone who is getting a diamond, we have made this article that will go quickly over the best recommendation on what diamond color, shape, carat, cut, clarity you should look for while shopping for your precious stone.
You may wonder, what makes this diamond (left) costs $4580 on James Allen, while another one (right) with same carat & same cut costs $6420, although you can’t tell “much” difference between both?
The secret is to know how to get the most bang for your buck! And spend every dollar on what matters ONLY! And this is the reason of writing this article, just summarizing the recommended diamond charateristics you should get.
What Diamond Size Should I Buy?
The first question most people consider when thinking about how to buy a diamond is the size or carat weight. The size of the diamond is important for 2 reasons:
- A diamond’s size is the greatest influence on price. More than diamond shape, clarity, or color, shifts up or down the carat weight scale have a major impact on diamond price. Be realistic about your budget and how much to spend on your diamond.
- If you have read my Diamond Pricing Guide you will see that I am a big fan of only spending money on what the eye can see. Getting a bigger diamond will be noticed by people (and your future wife) much more than a bump in color or clarity scale!
After all, the Size or Carat Weight depends mainly on your budget.
What Diamond Cut Should I Buy?
A lot of people assume that a Diamond Cut and a Diamond Shape are the same. In that matter, there is a huge misunderstanding, because the shape of the diamond is the diamond look, while the Cut refers to the proportioning, symmetry, polishing, and the craftsmanship that was done on the diamond.
Always make sure to get a Diamond Cut with an Excellent Grade, but if your budget gets in the way, go down with the Very Good Cut (I recommend it in very rare cases) but no less.
The image below illustrates the importance of the Cut and how the light reflection travels throughout the diamond:
What Diamond Shape Should I Buy?
While there are some interesting technical considerations to the shape of the diamond, in almost all cases it comes down to a matter of preference and knowing what “she” wants. Most women will have a good idea before getting a ring what diamond shape they want and will try to drop hints.
If you are having trouble picking up on those hints consider asking a friend of hers or a relative. Again, the shape is one of those things that are clearly visible and not something you can hide like clarity or color.
If you are really stuck and have no idea what to get, go for the Round Brilliant Cut. It is by far the most popular diamond shape because of its ability to reflect the light more than other diamond shapes. Sites like James Allen and Blue Nile also offer a 30-day money-back policy so you do have some buffer as long as you are not buying too far in advance.
Read Blue Nile Vs. James Allen: Full Comparison & Detailed Review
Warning: All other of the “4 Cs” being equal, round diamonds are more expensive than other shapes so you should definitely try and pick up on hints that she may be dropping before guessing.
Check this article What Are The Most Popular Diamond Shapes.
What Diamond Color Should I Buy?
Between the diamond color and diamond clarity- it’s the color that has more of an impact on price when moving from one grade to another. For an in-depth look at what color grade you should be buying please read both my dedicated Diamond Color page as well as my Guide to Diamond Pricing.
In general, I recommend no more than an H color when you can get away with it. Going from H to G just doesn’t make sense and adds a big increase in price for no noticeable difference in color (Our Diamond Color page gets into details about the technical and in-depth understanding of diamond color).
It is important to remember that outside factors such as the color of the setting will also have an impact on the perceived color of the diamonds – don’t be oversold on a color grade that you won’t be able to notice.
What Diamond Clarity Should I Buy?
Walk into a jeweler as opposed to buying online and you are almost guaranteed to be oversold on diamond clarity! Following my rule of only paying for what the eye can see makes this one fairly easy. Buy the lowest clarity grade that is “eye clean”. I promise you that neither you, your fiancé or any friend of hers will ever take the diamond and look at it under a 10X magnification!
Again read my Guide to Diamond Pricing and the Diamond Clarity to get a full appreciation of this. When dealing with anything over an SI1 you can be assured no one will ever see the imperfections! If you are still concerned then, go to James Allen and make use of the Virtual Loupe and look for a diamond that has its imperfections on the side in a place that can be hidden with the prongs. Again, go read our full-page article on diamond clarity that will give you more info on this topic.
What Diamond Certification Should I Look For?
My advice is to stick with GIA and AGS certificates when possible. They are considered the most accurate and consistent between all the labs. Feel free to read my page on How to Read a Diamond Certificate so that you can understand what you are looking at when searching for your diamond online.
Here is also a must-read page for a Comparison Between GIA & EGL and why you should NOT get an EGL certificate diamond.