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).

Online Scams When Buying Jewellery

As with all purchases, there are a large number of unethical people waiting to prey on unsuspecting consumers. The problem with buying a diamond engagement ring, is that it is a particularly big purchase usually, which means the potential loss is even greater. When you throw in the emotional context, it can be especially disruptive or even financially damaging to your life.

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The number one rule that you should follow in order to avoid being scammed online when buying a diamond engagement ring is, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".

I cannot overemphasise how important this rule is.

The rule becomes more and more true the more research you do. For example, if you have checked out the price of a one carat, H colour, ideal cut diamond at James Allen.com and BlueNile.com, it is unlikely that you are going to be able to find an equivalent diamond for half the price in another online store.

If you do, then almost certainly there is a catch. For example, the diamond may not be certified using the same system. For example, what is rated at H colour in one system may be rated well below a J colour in another system. Or, even worse, the diamond may not even be certified. In this situation, you run the risk of buying a diamond which doesn't have the characteristics you expect, and possibly even open yourself to the risk of buying a conflict diamond.

Another source of online scams is stolen jewellery. In this situation, you may actually get the type of diamond described online. Except, a week later, the police may turn up at your door and take it back, or even worse, possibly arrest you.

There are a number of general warning signs that should set off alarm bells in your head.

Look for high-quality photos of the diamond. This is an enough by itself of course – the photos may not be of the diamond you actually purchasing.

Check what payment methods are offered – if your only option is cash, odds are you are not going to have a good experience. Paying by PayPal or credit card leaves the financial trail which may help you in resolving possible problems in future.

Check the missing information – the diamond may have a perfect cut and a great colour rating, but what may not be mentioned is that it has a huge crack in it. This type of scam is more unethical than the illegal, depending on where you are located.

Another possible scam is selling fake or artificially created diamonds as natural diamonds. There is almost no way you could tell the difference from a low quality photo posted online.

Ways to avoid being scammed but still buy online include buying from a large reputable company such as James Allen or Blue Nile. These companies have been around for a relatively long time online and have feedback from thousands of customers.

Checking feedback is another way of verifying that the seller is a legitimate one. But make sure that the feedback is on a reputable site and hasn't been faked.

With all the possible problems in buying online, some people may be scared off. This is a shame, as there are huge benefits to buying online, first and foremost being that if you're careful, you can often get much more value for your dollar. So the moral of the story is – be especially careful, do your research, and go for it!