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).

Choosing a jewellery store

If you are planning to buy your diamond engagement ring in a physical store, you need to work out which store to buy it from. There are a number of factors which can affect which store you end up going with.

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One of the major decisions is whether you choose a mum and dad style small family store, or a large brand name store which is part of a chain of stores around the country. Small stores will tend to have a more limited range and will likely stick mostly to traditional designs. Larger stores will usually have a larger range to choose from and also be more likely to be able to deal with any special requests.

The brand name stores that you find in your local mall can often have the cheapest stones just because they’re part of a chain of stores which get wholesale discounts. Because they have stores all around the country, if you have any future issues with your jewellery, and you have moved, you may be able to go to another store and get help. This is not a guarantee of course, especially if the stores are franchisees.

Small independent stores, if they have been around for a while, are more likely to have expert staff then some brand name stores, which may have some temporary staff, perhaps even students.

Then there is the issue of warranties. If the store goes out of business, and it’s not part of a chain, then you are usually tough out of luck with regards to claiming on your warranty. Of course, there is no guarantee that an entire chain of jewelry stores will not go bust.

Ultimately, your choice of jewelry store should depend on a few factors. You should ask about the warranty offered on the jewellery, and any return policies. Check whether they have an official policy regarding conflict diamonds. Ask about what service options they offer for you after you have made your purchase. And of course, ask your friends and family if they have had any specific experiences with that jeweler.