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Tips for buying a diamond engagement ring

July 14, 2009 /

Tips for Buying a Diamond

General Information:         Its important to obtain a GIA or EGL certificate when buying the stone.  DO NOT buy a stone without this. This is a certified report of the diamond specifications. Diamonds have increased in value over the years. Some stones are less common and there may be lower inventory available (but dont worry, keep looking).  As a result, the inventory “may possibly” be smaller, meaning you have fewer options to choose from.  You “may” want to consider shopping at other stores to find more options or allow more time (3-8 weeks) to get more options. Diamond inventory changes often for a jeweler in the diamond district.

Budget:            Determine your personal budget.  Do not tell your budget to the jeweler yet because you have the ability to negotiate. You tell him that you’re not sure of the budget and describe the type of ring you are looking for.  Let him price the stone/ring for you.  Then compare his price against the prices I will list here.  I have tried to determine price ranges to help in your search.

Diamond Specifications:    There are five specs which are very important when buying your actual diamond:  Carat (size), Clarity, Color, Cut (Depth) and Fluorescence. The larger the Carat, the more expensive the stone (i.e. 1 carat is less money than 2 carats).  The lower the clarity and color (on the spectrum in the lower section of this page), the more expensive the stone. Depth on a stone is important.  If the depth is too shallow or too deep light doesn’t reflect properly. And fluorescence should “not” exist in a stone.  It should not state blue, not light, not medium – NONE.  No fluorescence.

“Estimated” 2009 Diamond Prices
I’ve attempted to put together possible prices for diamonds “stone” based on various specifications.  Please note, I am not a jeweler and I’m not a certified appraiser.  These are my best guesstimates for diamonds to aide future couples in their diamond search.  Option 1 is the higher clarity stone, it gets lower in clarity through option 12.  The stone price is separate from the “band” price.  The band could cost $500 + depending on whether its white gold or platinum.  Whether three are small or larger diamonds.  Round stone prices below are listed in decreasing price and clarify/color.  *I’m assuming all good cut stones without fluorescence.

Options        Diamond Specs      Price (Low)        Price (High Range)
OPTION 1    2.0    VS1   F            19,000                23,000
OPTION 2    2.0    VS1   G            17,500                22,500
OPTION 3    2.0    VS1   H            16,000                22,000

OPTION 4    2.0    VS2   F            19,500                23,500
OPTION 5    2.0    VS2   G            16,500                23,000
OPTION 6    2.0    VS2   H            14,750                22,000

OPTION 7    2.0    SI1    F            15,500                22,500
OPTION 8    2.0    SI1    G            15,000                20,500
OPTION 9    2.0    SI1    H            14,500                20,500

OPTION 10    2.0    SI2    F            12,500                16,500
OPTION 11    2.0    SI2    G            10,500                16,000
OPTION 12    2.0    SI2    H            10,000                15,500
Perfect Stone   1.9    IF      D            45,000                55,000

Diamond Specifications Explained…

Below I’ve included detailed information to understand the rational in picking the diamond with specifications listed above.  As noted above, there are five specs which “I consider” very important when buying your actual diamond:  Carat (size), Clarity, Color, Cut (Depth) and Fluorescence.

1. Carat:         The size depends on your personal budget and personal taste.

2. Clarity:         Keep in mind the clarity of the stone is something “only” seen with a 10x loupe magnification.  You can not see anything with the naked eye unless its “included: I1, I2, I2”.  If you want a higher clarity stone (Vs1-2), the price could increase.  Excellent clarity below (VVS1-2) could price significantly higher.  A sample list of prices was estimated above.

GIA diamond clarity grading scale

Category Flawless Internally Flawless Very Very Slightly Included Very Slightly Included Slightly Included Included
Grade FL IF VVS1 VVS2 VS1 VS2 SI1 SI2 I1 I2 I3

3. Color:        Perfect colors are D, E, F.  Great colors are: G, H.  I might not consider colors: I, J, K, L through X.  Colors G & H are beautiful…white and more affordable.  Color F, E and D (D is best) each are increasingly more expensive because they are whiter.  Beautiful and could cost considerably more.

diamond color

4. Cut:             Depth on a stone is important.  If the depth is too shallow or too deep light doesn’t reflect properly. Trust me! You want ideal or fine cut.  Good or Very good cut.  The ideal depth varies from diamond to diamond and varies depending on the shape as well.

5. Fluorescence:         There should never been any fluorescence. It is common to find that diamonds with colorless grades (D-E-F) or near colorless grades (G-H-I-J) are lower in price when they exhibit fluorescence and faint yellow grades.  I would avoid fluorescence in a stone.  Avoid, avoid avoid!

The diamond district in nyc offers tremendous options at competitive prices!   Good luck with your engagement.

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