HANDPICKED STONES 10/02/2020

All Diamonds selected are hand-picked by me. All excellent to Ideal Cuts and clarity will be eye-clean.  Clarity grades will not affect the beauty of the diamond.  Please click on your diamond shape in the table of contents to be forwarded to the right section. 

Table of Contents

Round Cut Diamond

Round Diamond under 1 carat 

Cushion Cut Diamond

CUSHION Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Pear Cut Diamond

PEAR Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

HAND PICKED STONES 8/16/2020

All Diamonds selected are hand-picked by me, all excellent to Ideal Cuts and will be eye-clean. Please click on your diamond shape in the table of contents to be forwarded to the right section. 

Table of Contents

Round Cut Diamond

Round Diamond under 1 carat 

Cushion Cut Diamond

CUSHION Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Pear Cut Diamond

PEAR Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

HAND PICKED STONES 7/09/2020

All Diamonds selected are hand-picked by me, all excellent to Ideal Cuts and will be eye-clean. Please click on your diamond shape in the table of contents to be forwarded to the right section. 

Table of Contents

Cushion Cut Diamond

CUSHION Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Pear Cut Diamond

PEAR Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

HAND PICKED STONES 5/27

All Diamonds selected are hand-picked by me, all excellent to Ideal Cuts and will be eye-clean. Please click on your diamond shape in the table of contents to be forwarded to the right section. 

Table of Contents

Round Cut Diamond

Round Diamond under 1 carat 

Round Diamond  1 carat – 1.49

Round Diamond  1.50 carat – 2.25

Princess Cut Diamond

Princess Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Princess Cut Diamond  1.50 – 2.25

Oval Cut Diamond

OVAL Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Cushion Cut Diamond

CUSHION Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Pear Cut Diamond

PEAR Cut Diamond  1.00 – 1.49

Oval Diamond Buying Guide

The Nitty Gritty

Oval-Cut Diamonds give a beautiful sparkle and style.  It’s recommended you choose an H color to be on the safe side and Si1 clarity.  Occasionally you can find an SI2 that looks great but it’s not too common.  The length to width ratio is equally important to ensure you have a classic oval shape.

One must evaluate an Oval diamond closely as it’s not as simple as a round.  GIA doesn’t classify cut grades for any shape other than round.  You will have to analyze the stone with other criteria.

Take a look and click on this link to view an oval diamond that has the same 4 C’s but has a drastic difference in cut and look.  Stone A    vs  Stone B   You can see the shape of the diamond is the most important feature, not the traditional 4C’s. 

Click The Photo To Inspect The Diamond

By clicking on the diamonds, you can see the price differences. This is a perfect example of how shape/cut is valued.  Another important diamond lesson is sometimes when a diamond is discounted heavily there is a reason.  ALways!  

 

Study your diamond closely or contact me to review your selection before purchase.

The Oval Cut Diamond Buying Guide 

As mentioned above, the shape is critical in buying your oval diamond.  Lets analyze the photo samples from above a little more closely.   A key factor in shape is the length to width ratio. 

Lenght To Width Ratio

Oval diamonds are considered ideal in the 1.35- 1.50 length to width ratio. Most sites do the calculation for you but it’s achieved by dividing the length of the diamond with the width.  View the photo sample below for a detailed break down of its l/w ratio.

oval diamond buying guide

 

As you can see, even though the carat weight is the same, you gain over 1 millimeter in size by having an ideal L/W ratio.  As an example, you would have to increase your carat size by over .60 to gain another 1 millimeter.  Don’t go to far above the 1.50 ratio or you will have a skinny looking stone that will affect the brilliance.  Also, avoid stones under the 1.35 L/W ration, it will look stubby. 

This comes down to personal preference if one prefers a rounder or longer look.  Here is a link to show you examples of finished rings. Use this to compare what a rounder or longer Oval Diamond looks like mounted. 

OVAL DIAMOND INSPIRATION EXAMPLES

CLICK IMAGE

Oval Diamond engagement rings

Oval Diamond cut grade 

As I have stated in previous articles, the “Cut” is king and there is no exception here. Oval diamond presents a problem because GIA does not give it a cut grade.   Due to the oval shapes complicated structure, there is no ideal standard.  Too many variables are at play between various length, width and depth combinations, getting an ideal table and crown angle is difficult. 

With that said, there is no ideal combinations so you must take this advice as a general rule of thumb.  Below are guidelines to follow that leads you in the right direction. 

Oval Cut Diamond Cut Guidelines 

OVAL EXCELLENT VERY GOOD GOOD
Table % 53-63 52 or 64-65 51 or 66-68
Depth % 58-62 56-58 or 62-66 53-56 or 66-71
Girdle Very Thin - Slightly Thick​ Very Thin - Slightly Thick​ Very Thin - Thick​
None Very Small Click Here to view Ideal Pear Small
Lenght To Width Ratio 1.35-1.50 1.30-1.35 or 1.50-1.55 1.25-1.30 or 1.55-1.60

CLICK BUTTON FOR PRE-SELECTED CRITERIA

Bowtie Effect 

A big tip in this Oval Diamond Buying Guide is understanding the bowtie effect.  All Ovals will have it with degrees of variance.  With a strong bowtie, You will see a dark effect sketching from the top to the bottom middle. It can be very visible or barely noticeable.  You want to avoid the strong effect as it will affect the brilliance of the diamond.   Feel free to reach out to me if you need any advice with a selection of yours.  

Below you will see a photo example of a bad and great bowtie.  

Oval Bowtie effect

Click on the buttons to show diamond bowtie examples

Color 

The color scale by GIA starts at the letter D to Z.  D represents colorless and Z means there is a very noticeable brown and yellow color.  Color originates from the bottom tip of the diamond typically making it harder from the top view to see color.  

 

It’s very difficult to see the difference between 2 neighboring color grades and generally recommend to stick to H color or better for Oval Diamonds.   This is a perfect balance between quality and price and ensures that you have a diamond that radiates white.  If you set your diamond in yellow or rose gold feel free to lower your diamond color to a J or K color to save money or increase carat size.  

As an example, look at this J color diamond on a yellow gold ring.  

If you want to ensure you have found the right diamond, reach out to me and I will be happy to help. 

Clarity

There are many grades given to diamonds. Below is a chart outlines them

Diamond Clarity

 

Most diamonds sold fall under the I1 grade and vvs1.  I consider this the least important C.  A diamond that is flawless and a diamond that’s an eye clean SI1 is indistinguishable to the human eye. SO WHY pay such a high premium for a flawless. 

 

Here is an example of an incredible SI1 that is almost perfectly clean magnified online and will be eye-clean to the human eye.  IS it easy for you to see a flaw?

Is it worth spending an additional $2,400 by buying This VVS1 diamond?   I try my hardest to have my clients avoid overspending and using that money to upgrade carat size, color, or engagement ring.  That’s money better spent where your eye can actually see a difference. 

 

James Allen Review – Learn what to expect, how to navigate the site and save

Bottom line recommendation:  James Allen often provides the most value and options for my clients and is my first option when shopping for my clients. 

Why James Allen

James Allen is one of the companies that revolutionized online diamond buying.  They set the standard for photography and video allowing the consumer to truly see a diamond before they purchase.  They have the largest conflict-free inventory available.  I believe over 300,000 diamonds which improves your chance of finding the best diamond available.  They have amazing ring designs, money-back guarantees among many other factors below making them my favorite place to recommend my clients. 

When I worked in the diamond business after 2006, clients always came to me with options from James Allen and honestly, I could not compete.  Recently I decided to do a secret shopper video and order to show my readers what the experience is like.  I was blown away by the packaging, details and custumer service.  The return process was a no questions asked, easy as a push of a button breeze!  

Revolutionized Diamond Viewing

As noted, they were the first company to offer 360-degree high definition photographs to every diamond they offer.  Uncertainty was the biggest issue of buying diamonds online in the past. 

DIAMOND GRADING ONLINE NOT ANYMORE!  This gives the consumer the power to buy confidently. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck clarity grade, this is the ideal way to view and search. SI1\SI2 are the ideal value clarity grades.  Please note that these images are so crispy, they can intimidate you. As long as the inclusion isnt massive in size and directly on the center, they are relatively safe. 

BlueNile and other competitors have tried to compete with the diamond viewing technology but have fallen short.  This viewing technology is imperative for clarity and needed for fancy shapes as well as they are more difficult to grade. Fancy shapes are any shape other than round. EX. Princess cut, Emerald Cut, Radiant cut, etc. 

Diamond Inspiration Gallery

james allen reviewI love this section on their site. It allows my clients to view recently purchased rings which give them the ability to view carat size, shape, color and ring combinations.  Once again giving you comfort in knowing what you are buying is incredible.  It’s helpful that you can filter the shape, style of ring, carat size, budget, and metal type to truly narrow down your search.

 

Hearts & Arrows Collection

James Allen ReviewFor any of my readers looking for the best cut possible, James Allen has their Hearts and Arrows True Hearts Collection.  Just visually stunning, at 20x magnified, the lines are sharp and show perfection when it comes to symmetry. 

Seen from above, a Hearts and Arrows diamond shows an arrow pattern. When displayed on its pavilion side, the diamond presents the eye with 8 hearts with tiny ‘v’ shapes. Genuine Hearts and Arrows have these patterns visible at a single glance, indicating that the diamond has perfect optical symmetry.

These diamonds have a small premium on them but ensure the best possible cut. 

James Allen ReviewJames Allen true hearts Review

 

OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SUPPORT

I know that most of my clients see price as the main reason to buy.  But these factors below should also play a role when comparing stones from different vendors.  James Allen offers: 

30 Day Hassle-Free Returns

I tested this myself and it couldn’t be truer or easier.  With a simple click of a button, your return is processed!  They even paid for the return shipping(USA only).  How awesome that there is zero risk.  This is helpful when buying a lower clarity or high fluorescence stone.  Great to know you can always buy and if unsatisfied it’s an easy upgrade or return away. 

24/7 Customer support 

They are always there if you need a hand with product knowledge or technical issues. 

Free Shipping

You never have to worry as they offer shipping to the US and around the globe. Every shipment is insured giving the buyer peace of mind. 

My Personal Secret Shopper Experience

I created a video for my readers to see first hand the experience, hope you enjoy it.  

 

Conclusion

I have shopped many years using James Allen’s website and can say with certainty that its the most well rounded, value and selection site for online diamond shopping today.  I know this site is written with so much healful information.  But please reach out to me and I will help you navigate the site and help you narrow down a selection. 

How To Buy Diamonds | Diamond Buying Guide

How To Buy Diamonds |  A Diamond Buying Guide

Are you hesitant in your purchase?  Afraid of being misleading or ripped off? Contact us for help.

James Allen has launched a great 25% off sale on all engagement rings  Click Here to Browse Deals.

Blue Nile is one of our favorite vendors and they have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to get $50 off). 

Who This Article Is For

This article is made to help my readers gain clarity and confidence in their purchase. Whether it’s buying a loose diamond or a set engagement ring, you will learn how to choose with confidence.  Get ready to save money as well by avoiding unnecessary overspending. Buying a diamond can be tricky. And walking into a jewelry store with no education can be costly.  Follow along with my Diamond Buying Guide and learn How To Buy Diamonds with confidence.

1. Set a budget:

The first rule of this Diamond Buying Guide.  Let’s get rid of the old rule of 2 months of salary.  No rule applies to everyone and their situation.   This is a symbol of love and commitment not going above your means.  With that said, it’s important to know your significant other expectations. Do they prefer dainty like this classic .96 engagement ring solitaire ring?  Or do they like more flair and dazzle like this 1.54 carat on a stunning Cambridge Halo Platinum Ring?  But learning you can adjust your search with small changes.  As a start get a baseline.

My advice, compare pricing using these two top vendors to see what diamonds they offer and compare.

Click Here for the starting page for James Allen.

Click Here for the starting page of Blue Nile.

2. Pick a shape

The beginning of your search must be the diamond shape.  Each diamond shape has different search criteria such as clarity, symmetry and color that works best.   Each shape has a different cost so searching multiple shapes at the same time will leave you frustrated.  For example, Take a look at this 1 carat SI 1 clarity H color Princess cut diamond for $3,340 vs   this Round 1 carat SI1 clarity H color Diamond for $4,610.  Each shape has there pros and cons.

Round is the most popular and is labeled the Cut King.  If your significant other isn’t leaving hints of their favorite shape, take a look at their Pinterest or maybe ask a best friend to be sure you pick the diamond shape of their dreams.  Round is the most popular following Princess, Oval, and Emerald.

3. Learn the 4 C’s and Narrow your search:

Once you have chosen the shape, it’s time to understand how the 4 C’s  (Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut) interact with it.  The 4 C’s represent the most important definitive characteristics of a diamond.

I always recommend starting with your goal in carat weight. So when you go to search a site like James Allen, you can specify only to choose to see 1-carat diamonds.   See below a sample of what the search sliders look like.

How To Buy A Diamond | Diamond Buying Guide

click on the image above to go the their search page

Start at the goal carat weight.  You can then adjust the values to see where the prices is in conjunction with your budget. A quick tip.  Shopping for a .90 can yield a deep discount versus a 1 carat.  Typically, every .50 of a carat means a jump in price.  Sometimes you find a rare 1.85 at a great deal.

Next is Cut Grade.  If you are searching for a round diamond, I suggest you search for an ideal cut.   A fancy shape(any other diamond other than round)  does not come with a cut grade from GIA.  Too many variables at play so the cut is left for the viewer to decide.   I have two articles that I will list showing how to find the right cut grade in both sites.  Follow those guide lines if you need a fancy cut.

James Allen Cut Guide –  Bluenile Cut Guide.

Color is the next choice to make.    You do not need to pick a D or E color.  The human eye can’t typically even see the difference between a D or an H-F color.  Depending on the shape of stone you choose, a G-I color is a perfect range to shop for.  Round diamonds hide color very well and a H-I color works perfectly.

Clarity is your next option to choose.   The main criteria is to make sure the diamond is eye clean.  If I show you a Flawless diamond next to a SI1 that’s eye clean, is there a benefit to the flawless other than bragging rights?  Save money and choose an eye-clean SI1 if possible.  Diamonds like emeralds typically require a vs1.

If you are under budget, congrats! Feel free to go for heavier carat weight.  If it’s over budget, keep adjusting the parameters of clarity and color to see how close your budget is reached. Hopefully, you have found this Diamond Buying Guide helpful thus far. Reach out and email me if you need help navigating these sites.   To go deeper in this How To Buy Diamonds Guide,  Click on this article to learn more about the 4 C’s.

Once you have found some options, go even deeper and check their length to width ratios, fluorescence, table percentages, etc.   Feel free to reach out to me, A GIA trained Diamond Expert to help How To Buy Diamonds.

4. Choosing your engagement ring:

What I love about the different engagement ring options is they can help with the visual tremendously.  Let’s say you were shy about reaching a certain carat goal.  A ring choice like a Halo, Vintage style, or 3 Stone ring will give it the extra size to appear much larger. So a .80 carat diamond on a beautiful Halo diamond engagement ring setting can be a stunner.

Again personal engagement ring preference of your significant other is important.  If you are unable to find any information, you can always go by whats popular.  Click on this link or banner to see an article from Blue Nile on their Top 20 Engagement Ring Styles.  This will give you an understanding of what engagement rings are popular.   You can also go to recently purchased rings from clients, filter the shape, price, and style to see what others are doing and get inspired.  Click here to see some recent clients rings.


Here is a video I made showing how to navigate online search bars and help you narrow down your search.

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