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).

How To Avoid Buying Conflict Diamonds

Buying a diamond, whether for an engagement ring or just as a general piece of jewellery, should be a positive, uplifting experience. You can enhance the value of this experience by taking some simple steps to be socially responsible by ensuring that you don't accidentally by a conflict diamond.

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The number one step that you can take, whether you buy online or in a physical bricks and mortar store, is to demand proof that a diamond you are looking at is conflict free and complies with the Kimberley process, a system put in place at the start of the 21st century to ensure conflict diamonds do not make it to market.

Some staff will stonewall and say they can't do that or it's completely unnecessary and that you should just trust them. This is entirely wrong and after insisting, if they do not comply, just walk out the door. There are plenty of diamond retailers where you can buy a diamond, and if you're not getting what you want just walk away.

If a store can give you a written guarantee that the diamond they are selling you is not a conflict diamond, the chances are good that you won't end up with one. But a written guarantee is more than that, because if you do end up with a conflict diamond, then you have grounds for legal recourse, and stores know this. Well established stores will not give this guarantee lightly.

There are other options however that you can use to help avoid buying a conflict diamond.

There are a number of imitation or synthetic diamonds, such as cubic zirconias and moissanite which are available on the market and becoming increasingly popular, especially among socially conscious celebrities (think Angelina). Many of the laboratories where they make these synthetic diamonds are located in Western countries and so you can be almost certain that they won't have any direct involvement with conflict diamonds.

Many people recommend buying used diamonds, since the concept of blood or conflict diamonds is a relatively recent term. Buying a diamond from several decades ago means it's unlikely that the diamond was mined under any of the circumstances publicised recently such as in Sierra Leone. However, for the socially responsible buyer, there is no guarantee that an old diamond was not obtained under dubious circumstances.

Canada has been a very proactive country in ending the trade in conflict diamonds. Canada has their own diamond certification program which proves that a diamond has been mined and processed in Canada. Even if you're not located in North America, this is still a viable option, as you can buy diamonds from Canada online.

The last choice I'll cover here is the most obvious - don't buy a diamond at all. One of the options in doing so is to buy synthetic diamonds like previously mentioned, but you can also consider other gemstones. Just don't be so naive as to believe that these other gemstones are magically free from the same problems that plague diamonds. Go through due process and ensure that any gemstone you buy is guaranteed to be conflict free, and don't believe any sales staff who imply that it simply isn't a problem with gemstones.