Q&A: Looking to Spend Between $4-5K on a Princess Cut to Canada. Blue Nile or James Allen?

The following is a real email conversation between The Diamond Pro and a reader just like you who contacted us. Personal information is always removed. Learn from these posts, or contact us yourself to get free personalized help.

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Your website is very informative, and I like that you can be terse as well as candid about diamonds and the industry. Anyway I am looking for advice on purchasing an engagement ring for my girlfriend. She just loves the Tiffany Novo, and after searching for what I might propose to be better I really have to agree that it is pretty fantastic looking. What is your opinion on Tiffany’s – worth it or just paying too much for the name? I found a pretty similar style on BlueNile – the Petite Pavé-Set that I quite like. Looking through the diamond specs there are so many factors but yet how can I be sure (or close) to knowing what the ring will look like in real life? One diamond I found was this: http://www.bluenile.ca/build-your-own-diamond-ring?action=add&offer_id=9917&shape=&forceStep=DIAMONDS_STEP#diamonds_forceStep=DIAMONDS_STEP|builder=BYOR|pid=LD01648760. At $1800 CAD, this would amount to $4100 CAD with the ring and matching wedding band (is platinum worth the premium over white gold?). I’m looking at spending probably $4,000 – $5,000. I want the size to be ‘just right’ – not obviously small and not gawdy, but above all I know she wants it to be very ‘sparkly’. She likes princess cut, but would a round cut more likely sparkle more? Would I be getting a much better ring by spending a little more? I’m in Canada, so please let me know if James Allen sells to us here, since I like this virtual loupe idea. Thanks

Hi. Thanks for writing and thanks for the kind words about the site.

Would you mind sending me a link to the setting you’re considering?

ALso, have you considered the GST/PST in your budget?

Also – do you live near the border with the US? Have you considered having it shipped there so you can go in and pick it up? I’ve helped many other people do this. From what I understand, it’s not technically legal, since you’re supposed to declare it upon your return to Canada, but I also understand it’s a VERY common practice for shoppers to cross the border into the US all the time to save money on taxes.

Now that that’s all out of the way, to answer your question, yes, JA does ship to Canada. I would suggest you use them precisely because of the virtual loupe as you mentioned. Also, I think you can definitely ease up on your color requirement. You can easily go down to a G or H and the diamond would still look completely white to the eye. If you do that, you’ll be able to get a significantly larger stone. Here are some examples:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1262552.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1293397.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Or you could drop down into the 0.60s and save a few hundred dollars:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1309492.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1302010.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Anyway, have a look at these and let me know what you think!


I’ll look at the G & H colors as you suggested, probably in the VS1 & VS2 range.

Here’s a link to the setting (Petite Pave-Set): http://www.bluenile.ca/diamond-engagement-ring-platinum_9917.

I’m not close to the border (Edmonton), but anyway if I have it shipped over the border I’ll have to pay customs on it (which is a pretty fair chunk if I recall correctly).  The taxes would be 5% total since we have no provincial tax.


Well, I guess 5% isn’t so terrible. Definitely not worth driving down to MOntana to pick up the ring.

As far as that ring goes, did you notice that the band is extremely thin? It’s only 1.5mm which is really very very narrow. Is that what you wanted?

Here’s virtually the same setting on JA:

http://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/settings-with-sidestones/ring/item_58-2803_design.asp?module=setting&a_aid=dmnd1357

Except this ring is a little more reasonable 1.9mm wide. Also, it’s got 0.30cts of diamonds vs 0.15cts of diamond on the BN ring. Plus, it’s even cheaper! With the IRA10 discount code, this ring will be only about 1125 CAD.

Did you like any of the diamonds I suggested?


I like that 0.71 H VS1 you linked to below. What do you think about these?:

0.71 G VS2 – http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1293394.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

vs. http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1292760.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

64% Table – http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS2-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1174324.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

I’m thinking 0.7 ct is about the right spot, and the common prong setting is nice (I do like it very thin like the BlueNile one though but I think 1.9mm will look good).

It looks like this is the matching wedding band: http://www.jamesallen.com/wedding-and-anniversary/womens-wedding-rings/ring/item_63-2839.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

For the setting & wedding band is it true that white gold will wear off while the platinum will stay shiny? Would you recommend the platinum?


The truth is that my professional experience is 99% in the loose diamond trade and not in jewelry. But just from personal experience with my wife’s ring, it’s true that you’ll have to get a white gold ring rhodium plated every few years to whiten it up. Platinum, on the other hand will hold its color better in the long term.

I really like that E VS2 you sent with the small table. That stone so far looks like the best choice to me.

Let me know what you decide to go with in the end!


I had to go on a trip so I still haven’t bought the ring – that E-VS2 I was looking at before is still available, but I also saw this http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/I-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1309571.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357 while browsing through the categories per your site’s suggestions. It also has a small table (70% instead of 64% and similar other parameters but I color with ‘Strong’ fluorescence and is $500 cheaper). Would this one be a good idea or would I be better off spending more on the first one?


I really do like that EVS2. I would recommend that you contact JA customer support if you’re really interested in the I VS1 to make sure the strong fluorescence doesn’t make the stone look milky.

Also, keep in mind that even with the strong fluorescence, the E color stone is still going to be noticeably whiter than the I.

Also, please note that JA changed the coupon I give out to my readers from IRA10 to TAD0611.

I looked again for you, and here’s another stone to consider – maybe perhaps a compromise between the two others:

http://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/H-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Princess-Diamond-1262571.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357


I did end up going with that E-VS2 with 64% table in the platinum common prong setting and it looks great! Its shipment was delayed a few times but then did come through. It looks like I’ve paid pretty much just Canadian Tax on top of the price now so I don’t know if I’ll later be charged customs but in any case I’m happy with my purchase.

My fiancée loves her pretty ring and we are so thrilled right now. Thank you so much for your advice and website!


That’s so great to hear! I always love getting emails like these :)

Would you mind doing me a small favor? Do you think you might be able to leave me a short review on ivouch? My site is still quite young, and I find these reviews help me build credibility. If you have the time, I would greatly appreciate it. Here’s a direct link:

(LINK REMOVED – You can view his review here)

Thanks again! And congratulations!!!


Done, and happy to do so.  If only there were sites as informative as yours to help people buy cars!  I may well set up something like this for computer parts since that’s what I’m into.

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