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 2

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

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Go back to part 1 of the Diamond Buying Experience

Ginette couldn't stop laughing, and I wasn't about to check the Internet to see how wide my new rod is at the middle, so I said, well, she has long, thin hands. I take a men's glove size that's off the charts and I can cup both of her hands in mine easily...and she still kept laughing.

I was squirming, though. Here I was buying a precious stone, spending a lot of hard-earned money for something that I knew would mean so much to my Ashleigh - and I had no idea what I was talking about.

Finally, after a lot of questions that left me stumped, I realized I was in good hands. Ginette explained to me that all of the diamonds she was offering were fully certified - and that I did not have to worry about anything. I looked on the dealer's site again and picked out what I wanted.

I finally understood that a diamond was not like a bottle of vodka where I pay less per ounce when I buy a bigger jug. I realized that I was buying a true natural work of art improved upon by a master craftsman, so I had to pay more for a larger one than for a smaller one. Still, I was shaking when Ginette asked me if I wanted to give her my card number over the phone or online. I instinctively trusted her and since I was sitting alone in my office I read the numbers with a sense of both victory and trepidation.

And a couple of days later, my diamond arrived by courier. Ashleigh doesn't know I have a safe in my office - and that is where it sits until a few weeks before the big day, when I will have it set in an originally designed ring.

I think I'll feel more confident proposing to Ashleigh in a couple of months than I did buying this diamond. But when I buy her another one for her first anniversary I'll give Ginette a call and this time I'll at least be able to pretend that I remember what she told me last time.