|The following are specs I recommend when buying a diamond:
Clarity: VS1 - VS2
Anything clearer than VS1 cannot be seen with the naked eye, so higher clarity is more for knowledge sake than beauty. On the other end of the spectrum, some SI diamonds look great but others don't. That's why they're priced so much lower. You would have to see it in person AND know what you're looking at to find a SI diamond that looks great. Also, the more heavily included, the more chance of breaking your diamond while setting. I do not recommend I clarity diamonds or below, ever.
Every site has different ratings for cut, which is probably the most important "C" when it comes to sparkle. When naive consumers think they are getting a "deal" on a diamond, this "C" is often at play. While I have not inspected enough diamonds from different distributors to tell the difference between their ratings, I generally recommend the higher end of the scale. As with all grading, the incremental difference between "Ideal" and "Signature Ideal" will be small.
Color: F - H
Like the clarity, there comes a point where you're paying for the letter rather than something you can see. An expensive D diamond in no longer D once she applies moisturizer to her hands. I begin to see yellow on I and lower diamonds and while they still look great, if you buy an I or J diamond expect it to be a little dark. That said, an L diamond with good cut and clarity, in the right setting, on the right woman can look spectacular.
The size of your diamond is solely a matter of your and her taste. A high quality diamond looks fantastic no matter what the size. In general, a small, high quality diamond looks better than a large crapola diamond.
If this is your first stone setting experience, keep it simple. A girdle that is thin to very thick will be difficult for you to set straight. A very thin girdle will be easier to chip. A thick girdle will add unwanted carat weight to your diamond, making it both expensive and difficult to set. Just as important as the girdle is the symmetry of the stone (which is different than the symmetry of the cut). A square or round stone whose width is significantly different from the length will be more difficult to set.
Strong fluorescence will make the diamond slightly milky and a little less sparkly.
|Buying the diamond
|As I mentioned on the previous page, my top choices for places to buy diamonds are: my shop, online, or 47th St. Please Be Careful - most people looking for a "deal" on a diamond get the opposite. For the online shoppers, try:
James Allen - click the diamond link in the upper left
use their "virtual loupe" (hi-res photos of the actual diamonds)
Diamond.com - click the diamond tab -> loose diamonds
Please note: While I do not require that customers purchase stones through me, I do not offer free advice (other than what is on this site) about purchasing through other retailers. If you need to discuss your purchase over the phone, am happy to charge my hourly rate to answer questions about stones AFTER a workshop deposit has been paid.