The Diamond Pro

Looking for: 80 pointer. Intended to Spend: about $5000. Ended up Spending: about $3500. My Job: Complete.

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.

Hi, First of all, I appreciate you offering a free service to all of us guys who are at the mercy of the diamond industry. I have been doing a lot of research, trying my best to get a grasp of all the different parameters and trade-offs of a diamond. I stumbled across your site today and have read through the majority of your “truth about…” section. I have primarily been shopping bluenile, as I have bought from them before and was very satisfied with their service. I have made a few trips to local stores, Jared and IDC to name a few. In general, their selection has not been very good. The diamond I am searching for is a round cut and will be set in a platinum 4-prong solitaire setting. My girlfriend’s hand is somewhat small, so I am considering sizes around 0.80 carats. The diamonds I have been looking at have been ideal cut, E-F in color, vvs1/2 in clarity, and no fluorescence; I realize this contradicts many of your suggestions. My price range is $4-5k for the diamond and ~$500 for the ring.

Hey Dave. I’m out now, but I’ll take a look for you a little later. Firstly, though – would you like me to find you a cheaper high color stone that will be just as eye-clean as the VVS? Or do you want to stick with the VVS? It sounded like from your message you don’t want to upgrade to a larger stone by going down in color or clarity. Is that correct? Even if it will look as nice?
Let me know so I can better pull some picks for you.

I am interested in your opinion on an eye-clean stone.  When I was at the jewelery stores I was able to notice the color at the H-I rating; albeit I was comparing against other stones.  Also, using the provided 10x loupe I was able to notice inclusions on the vs1/2 stones.  This is where I came up with my current criteria.  I do not want to go much larger than 0.80ct, 0.90ct would probably be the largest.  Hope this helps.

Hey Dave.  Well, thats the question I guess — will your fiance-to-be carry around a loupe?  If not, then there’s no reason to shoot for higher than naked-eye-clean (as opposed to loupe-clean).

Here’s an E SI1 0.80ct Hearts & Arrows Ideal Cut for $3458.  https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-SI1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1255562.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

I wouldn’t recommend buying anything lower than a VS1 from any vendor other than James Allen since James Allen is the only one to offer magnified photos of their inventory.    Also, I know from the inside that they run on one of the lowest profit margins in the industry.  I looked through about 15 D/E/F SI1/SI2 .80-.89 stones and this was the only one I could guarantee would be clean to the naked eye.

If you are still uncomfortable buying an SI, then I definitely wouldn’t go higher than a VS1.  Here are a few VS1s that I think are great.  They are all Hearts & Arrows ideal cuts:

0.84 D VS1 $5360 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/D-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1236909.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357
0.81 E VS1 $4900 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1236908.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357
0.80 F VS1 $4500 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1197108.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

The following two are GIA triple Excellent stones, so they are still considered “ideal” – they’re just not Hearts & Arrows Ideal.  The difference is really minimal.  So you might be able to get a better value with these:

0.81 F VS1 $3900 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1254853.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357
0.80 F VS1 $3760 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/F-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1253496.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

Anyway, have a look at these suggestions and let me know what you think.  If you like the idea of saving money and going with an SI that’s eye-clean, and are interested in sticking with regular ideals and not with hearts & arrows, let me know and I’ll find a few of those for you.  That should bring the price of the diamond down to about $3000.

I visited Jared’s today to look at some stones with more color and inclusions.  I was able to notice a slight yellowing around H.  Most of the VS stones were nice, depending on the location of the inclusion.  I did notice a difference between their regular round cut diamonds and the peerless.  I look forward to seeing your picks.

Thank you for taking the time to make these suggestions.  Sorry you have not heard from me a while, I was out of town.  I spent a good few hours looking over each of the stones you recommended.  The one I liked best was:

0.81 E VS1 $4900 – https://www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/E-VS1-Ideal-Cut-Round-Diamond-1236908.asp?a_aid=dmnd1357

I am still on the fence about the SI1 stone you suggested.  I am concerned I may change my mind after I buy it, especially if I can see the inclusions with my eye.

I was planning on setting the stone in a 2mm platinum 4-prong setting, are either stones a good match for the setting?

Hey Dave.  Most of my career was spent purely in the wholesale end of the business.  Dealing with end customers is something that’s relatively new for me – I only started this site in the early summer of this year.  But there’s one thing I’ve definitely learned so far: there are people (lots of them) who no matter how much they are able to understand that they won’t be able to see a certain SI, they still can’t bring themselves to buying it because they’ll still know the inclusion’s in there and it will always drive them crazy.  I have heard people mention the term “mind-clean” versus “eye-clean.”

You’re about to put down a lot of money on something very small – so it’s important that you’re totally comfortable with what you’re buying.  If you think you’re like the people I described, then you’re probably better off going with the VS.
As for the setting, either stones are perfect for that kind of setting.  Visually, the stones will look almost identical.
Good luck, and let me know what you decide to do in the end – I’d love to hear.

Oh, one more thing – if you buy the setting from James Allen, make sure to enter coupon code TAD0611.  They made a code for my readers to get 10% off the engagement ring setting.  Also, for either the SI1 or VS1, you can use TRUE5 code to get 5% off any stone from the “True Hearts” collection.

I am starting to lean more towards the SI route, it just seems more practical.  After comparing your suggestion to several other SI stones on james allen, I see yours has inclusions that are much less noticeable.  How do you know if the inclusions will be visible from the side of the stone as opposed to the top or bottom?  I am planning to purchase something tomorrow.

That’s a great question, and to be completely honest, I really can’t tell.  I’d need to inspect the diamond from the side (or see pictures) to be able to tell.
I don’t ever address this issue, though, since it really doesn’t matter to most people.
If you’re concerned, you can call customer service at James Allen and ask them to pull the stone and inspect it for you.  They’d be happy to help.

(a week later)

Hey Dave.  I hadn’t heard from you in a few days.  Did you ever pull the trigger and buy something?  If so, what did you go for in the end?

Thanks for checking in on me, I was going to email you later this week.  I went the SI route and placed my order last week; I should receive it Wednesday.  I will send you another email after it comes in the mail.

(a week later)

I ended up getting the 0.80 H&A, SI, E you selected in a 2.5mm knife edge platinum setting.  The stone is amazing!  I looked at it for about 5 minutes with my eye and could not identify any of the inclusions.  I am glad I decided to take your advice on the clarity.  Under the light, the brilliance of the stone is unreal.  I am going to pop the question this weekend, I will let you know her reaction as well.  I will write a review for your website in the next week or so.  Just an FYI, I was not able to use the 5% H&A discount stacked with the TAD0611 code.  Thanks again for your time and honesty.

Top Recommended Vendors
James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well. And for a limited time, take advantage of their 25% Off pre-Black Friday Sale!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
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  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.  
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
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