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 Online

Buying an enagement ring online has only been possible in recent years, but it has dramatically changed the 'game' of buying rings and diamonds. In a nutshell, buying online, if done properly, has many significant benefits with very little, and arguably less risk, than buying in a store.

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Price Price Price

No rule is always correct, but in general, internet prices for rings and diamonds will be significantly cheaper than what you pay in a store. Why is this? Probably first and foremost is that per diamond sold, many online companies have much lower operating costs and hence can set their prices lower to be even more competitive. There is a lot of competition in the online diamond market which helps drive prices down. The online only sellers also have to provide something 'extra' to compete with the bricks and mortar stores, and one of the main ways they do this is by selling the same quality product at a cheaper price.

When you first look at online prices, you may think they're really really cheap - don't forget to add on the costs of taxes, customs duty and insurance if you're buying from overseas, and freight and postage and handling (postage and handling is often free for purchases over a certain amount).

Selection and Choice

Buying online, at least from the large online retailers, offers you a much larger choice of ring and diamond than you can get in any one store. For example, an average sized shopping centre jeweller might have 1 or 2 three stone rings in the 0.5 to 1 carat total diamond weight range. At an online retailer, such as BlueNile, you can create hundreds if not thousands of different custom three stone rings.

You'll be able to pick from a large range of ring designs, and then choose a diamond from their entire wholesale inventories, which may contain tens of thousands of diamonds. No such luck in a store. Some specialist stores are responding to this by giving the option to customize rings and diamonds, but the process is generally not as quick and streamlines as online.

Things to Be Careful Of

The large, reputable online sellers such as James Allen (see the banner below) and BlueNile.com are relatively safe places to buy from - they offer money back guarantees and are obviously not scams. Be careful of smaller online stores (or if you're playing safe, avoid them completely) as they may not provide proper diamond certification, may not be as reliable, or even worse may be a pure scam. One thing to check is whether they have a physical storefront presence or address listed on the site - if they don't avoid them like the plague. If they do, that doesn't necessarily mean anything good either, but it's an easy first check you can perform.

There are of course all the usual things to be careful of when shopping online - making sure that the purchasing system is secure and that your credit card details will be safe. If you purchase a ring from overseas, you may have to pay customs duty, taxes, freight and insurance so make sure you factor these into the total price.

One of the best options for buying online is James Allen - you can go visit them by clicking on the banner below:

Princess Solitaire Ring