Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

Buying A Diamond Ring At Auction

One of the more unorthodox methods of buying a diamond ring is to acquire one at auction. There is a great potential at an auction to pick up a bargain, but there is also more potential for making major mistakes or getting ripped off.

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As with buying a house at auction, you need to be well-informed going into the auction. So make sure you know all the details about diamond qualities and ring settings.

It is imperative when you buy a diamond ring second-hand at auction that you get some form of recognised certificate. Alternatively, you could bring a trained gemologist or jeweller with you to examine the ring or stone on the spot – but this isn't usually a very practical option.

The certificate, such as a GIA certificate, means you don't have to worry about being ripped off with a fake diamond which you can't detect with your untrained, naked eye.

Like all auctions, you need to set a firm price limit before you start the auction. You need to do this – this is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make if you don't do it.

Buying a diamond engagement ring usually has some emotional attachment and when you add the excitement of an auction to the mix, you end up in a very risky situation where you might spend a lot more money than you had planned.

When you're budgeting for how much to spend at an auction, remember that you may most likely need to spend quite a bit of money getting the ring adjusted to fit its final owner. If the ring has been discounted because it is damaged, you need to allocate even more money to getting it repaired.

Compared to buying from a store, there's really no after sales service when you buy a diamond ring from an auction. So you need to make sure that you really know what you're doing and that you are definitely going to be happy with your purchase. If you meet all those conditions, and an auction is a great way to save some money, and possibly pick up a very unique ring design which you would not be able to get in a normal shop.