Diamond Buying Guide: The 6-Step System

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In this article I will show you step by step how to find the most valuable diamond for any budget. This is the same process I follow in order to find the best diamonds for my clients. Click the green button to get into the full diamond gallery, and follow each step. Let’s start!

Table of Contents

1. Know your budget

By defining your budget from the start, you’ll know what to look for. There will always be larger diamonds with better quality. Don’t get carried away and know your limits. You should look for the nicest diamond you can afford. Your budget will have the most impact over the size of the diamond, the clarity and the color.

You need to follow the most basic rule: The bigger the better.

Most women prefer to get at least 1 carat.

If your budget is limited, I will show you how to get 1 carat for a better price.

If you do have the budget, I will show you how to get 30%-50% bigger diamond for the same cost.

Keep reading…

After knowing the price you are aiming for, you’ll have to choose:

  1. Go with an earth-created diamond, the good old natural diamond we all know.
  2. Go with lab-grown diamond, get 30%-50% larger diamond for the same budget.

Don’t know what is a lab-grown diamond?

It’s cut like a diamond, it shines like a diamond and, essentially, it actually is a diamond, but it didn’t form underground. Lab-created diamonds are being grown in highly controlled laboratory environments using advanced technological processes that duplicate the same conditions that a natural rough diamond have beneath the earth’s crust. They have an identical chemical, physical and optical characteristics.

The only difference between the two is that one is man-made and the other is made by nature.

Because it is man-made, the lab can control the growth and create the ideal hight-quality rough, which will end up with better color, clarity, cut & size, while we have ZERO control over mined rough diamonds growth.

To sum it up, lets say for example that your budget is $8,000

You have 3 options:

  1. Pay ~ $8,000 – get a 1.00 carat E VS1 natural diamond.
  2. Get almost identical lab-grown diamond for ~ $3,000 and keep $5,000 in your pocket.
  3. Get a lab-grown diamond, pay ~ $8,000 and get 30%-50% larger diamond

1.00 carat or 1.50 carat? What does she prefer?

Here is a side by side comparison for both natural and lab-created diamonds. All diamonds are E VS1 Ideal cut, Triple excellent with no fluorescence. 

(last compared on 22/09/19)

Diamond Type Natural Diamond Lab-created Diamonds % Price Gap
0.50 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut $1,480 $640 56%
1.00 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut $7,790 $2,460 68%
1.50 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut $15,040 $5,670 62%
2.00 Carat E VS1 Ideal Cut $28,160 $10,840 61%

2. Choose your carat weight

The carat weight is probably the most important choice to take in mind when choosing a diamond, mainly because it has a strong WOW effect. After following step #1 you’ll know if you have enough budget for achieving this WOW effect, but make sure to do a little spy work and try to find out what is your loved one’s minimum expectations. Remember, you don’t want to make her disappointed. Some couples decide to choose the diamond together, in this case you can ask directly. But if you want to surprise her with the ring, you can try to ask her close friends and family.

As we said before, in most cases: The bigger the better.

If you want to have a size comparison and see how it actually looks on the finger, you can enter to any diamond page on JamesAllen, and choose the image of the hand below the main diamond image. It will open a carat size preview that allows you to control the size of the diamond on the ring.

3. Choose your diamond shape

Another thing you need to find out when “spying”, is what diamond shape your loved one wants to get. This is of course, a matter of taste. Some want the classic round brilliant shape which is the most common, while others prefer different shapes (also known as Fancy Shapes) such as a beautiful princess cut, cushion, oval or others.

Note that different shapes have different pricing. Usually, round shapes cost more than fancy shapes, but not significantly.


4. Choose the ideal color grade

As you may already know, most common diamonds have colors ranging from M to D, when M is lower color grade, and D is the highest. The range includes 10 different grades and we are going to split them into 3 groups:

  1. Faint Tint: M, L, K – This group shows a yellow tint even to the naked eye.
  2. Nearly Colorless – J, I, H, G – This group shows a minimal amount of yellow tint, some will even appear as colorless to the naked eye.
  3. Colorless: F, E, D – The highest color grades in the chart, colorless diamonds.

When shopping for a diamond, make sure the diamond looks white relative to its settings. Meaning if you choose white gold or a platinum ring, you should choose a J diamond or better. The diamond should stand out as the brightest main focal point of the ring.

If you choose to go with a natural diamond, you might need to compromise on lower color for your diamond, in order to get a larger diamond.

If you choose to go with a lab-grown diamond, don’t compromise and look for the highest color grades (F/E/D). Lab diamonds are much affordable, so there is no reason for getting a lower color graded diamond.

5. Choose the optimal clarity grade

When choosing a diamond you need to keep in mind an important fact: Some of the diamond’s flaws are invisible to the naked eye while some are visible.

Depends on your budget, you can find a lower graded clarity diamond, which has flaws that a naked eye simply can’t see. By doing so, you are saving money that can be invested in a larger diamond with a higher color.

Clarity is a very tricky factor when buying a diamond. An untrained buyer won’t always see the flaws of the diamond when using a loupe in the shop. However, if you choose to buy your diamond online on JamesAllen, you can see those flaws immediately.

JamesAllen has developed a special photographic technology that allows you as the consumer to see exactly what you get. The shoot every diamond with a360HD video with a Super Zoom feature, so you can evaluate the diamond before you order it

The lowest grade I would go for is SI2. Many have flaws that any naked eye can see, but some are what we call eye-clean, meaning a naked eye cannot see their flaws.

Need help finding the best diamond for your budget? Want to make sure it is an eye-clean diamond? Contact me and let me do the hard work for you.

6. Don't compromise on the triple ex

Cut is the most complex factor. This grade gives an assessment of how well proportioned a diamond is and how well it interacts with light. An ideal cut diamond has more brightness, fire and scintillation compared to one that has a poorer cut.

There are 3 main factors that have an impact over the diamond cut quality:

  1. Proportions: The ratios and sizes of the diamond’s depth, width and table.
  2. Symmetry: The precision of a finished diamond’s shape and facet placements.
  3. Polish: The overall degree of smoothness of each facet of a diamond and how it affects the shine and glow.

When most diamond experts will give you specific ratios and measurements to look for, I’m telling you…

For round shape diamonds, save your time, don’t compromise and simply look for the triple ex: ideal cut, excellent polish, exellent symmetry, and most importantly – make sure the diamond looks great, using the Super Zoom feature.

You’ll get the best looking diamond, the kind that reflects the light, shines and flows.

For fancy shapes, look for: cut, symmetry & polish which are graded as very good or excellent. Again, most importantly – make sure the diamond looks great, using the Super Zoom feature.


Let me do the hard work for you. Find the most valuable diamond within your budget, without waisting time or money.

My blog is reader-supported; when you purchase through links on my site, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. This enables me to provide you with free content.

Some retailers understand that the diamond buying process can be overwhelming. For that reason they are willing to share a portion of their profits with me if I can make this experience more simple for you.

In this partnership, you benefit from complimentary content and personalized consultations. If all sides are happy and you decide to buy, the retailer (and not you) compensates me.

While many diamond retailers have approached me, I hold the highest standards, choosing to collaborate only with those whose services and pricing I can confidently endorse. Your satisfaction and access to quality service are my top priorities. Therefore, you can trust that I maintain an unbiased perspective, without compromising the integrity of this blog.

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Author: Yaniv Hadar

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