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).

The Diamond Buying Experience - Part 1

In this two piece articles, the trials and tribulations of a prospective diamond engagement ring buyer are shared in a frank, honest format.

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When I recently bought a diamond, I really had no idea what I was getting into. I read up on all that I supposedly needed to know about buying diamonds and selected a diamond dealer which is considered reputable and reliable.

I look like about the last guy who'd ever buy a diamond and even though I have less than zero trouble understanding how to use my latest Android smartphone right out of the box, directions be damned, I couldn't seem to grasp the 4 C's past carats. I understand carats; a clear-cut measurement of weight just like GHz is a clear measurement of computer processor speed. But I left cut, clarity and color to Ginette, the dealer's representative who was helping me, which left me very nervous because I'm usually the kind of guy who makes decisions on my own.

Since I was buying this diamond ahead of time, a couple of months before I am ready to have the diamond set by my friend who is a silver jewelry artist so I can propose to my girlfriend, I took a chance and stretched my budget a little bit.

I'm one of those lucky guys who didn't go wild before the credit crunch and I still have a zero per cent APR credit card. That's why I decided to go past the two months salary rule and buy a diamond that just might take me two extra months to pay off.

But I wouldn't want to give Ashleigh a diamond ring that I'm still paying for, so I told the dealer's rep exactly how much I was willing to spend and we went from there. Even though Ginette was so helpful and tried to explain it all, I had no idea what she was asking me and why. "How wide are Ashleigh's fingers?" Well, I'm a big guy with hands like bear paws who manages to go through five computer keyboards a year, and she doesn't weigh even close to half of what I do, so I said - and my girl would kill me for comparing any part of her to my fishing rods - kind of like the middle of my new lightweight fishing rod.

Continue to part 2 of the Diamond Buying Experience