The Diamond Pro

Q&A: $8000 for Ideal Cut Round Diamond in a Platinum Nouveau Setting. Needs Quick Turnaround for Paris Proposal.

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.

Hello, I have been dating my girlfriend for 8 and a half years ever since the beginning of high school, and now that we are both graduated and working, it’s time to propose. On top of that, we are taking a trip to europe in the first week of February, and I would love to have a ring to propose with in Paris!

I think I have decided to buy online. The lack of tax on most of the online retailers is a big price advantage over local jewelers, and I would love to spend that extra cash on a better diamond. I am looking to spend about 8000 dollars or less on a round diamond, with an absolute max around 8500.

I am a scientist, so I love reading about the specs of a diamond, but I am still unsure how important each is. After all the reading, I think I would like something with VS1 clarity, G color, and ideal cut or better, but from reading your wonderful website it seems I could get away with less in the color and clarity categories. I looked at James Allen’s Diamond Color Tool, and the jump from G to H color seemed more noticeable than the other jumps.

After looking at so many rings, I really like the Nouveau Diamond Ring in Platinum at Since I like this setting the most, it feels like I am limited only to the diamond selection of Blue Nile. What do you think? It doesn’t seem possible to order just the setting from Blue Nile. If Blue Nile’s diamond selection isn’t good, do you know of any close alternatives where I might get a similar setting and a better deal on a diamond?  What’s your opinion of Blue Nile’s diamond collection? They have a 1.20 carat, VS1, G color, with strong blue flourescence for $7795. Is this a good deal?

I know your website says that the strong blue will make the G color actually look worse. Is that why this diamond is much lower priced than other 1.20 carats? I also like the color blue so I keep wondering if a strong blue flourescence is really a bad thing? I think I’d like to maximize the size of the diamond within my price range, but I also don’t want to sacrifice on the color or clarity too much.

Yesterday Blue Nile also had a 1.38 carat, VS2, H color for just 50 dollars more than the 1.20 I mentioned above. Which one do you think is the better deal? Sadly, the 1.38 seems to have sold today so that is no longer an option. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated! I am in somewhat of a rush since I leave for Europe on Feb 27th. Is this cutting it too close? I have really enjoyed reading your website, and I will recommend your site to anyone looking at diamonds in the future.

First of all, thanks for the kind words about the site. I’m glad you’ve found it useful.

Now let me hit some of your more specific questions:

1) Color – You really can’t use JA’s color tool to give you any real sense of what diamond color looks like. When you match diamonds for pairs, it’s an accepted rule that you can be off by one color grade and still have two diamonds match perfectly. The differential between any two adjacent color grades is so slight that it’s not detectable to the human eye – especially in a face-up ideal cut round brilliant stone. So you can DEFINITELY, without any concern whatsoever, go for an H color. I often advise people to buy Is or even Js. In an ideal cut round, a J color will still look white.

2) Fluorescence – Strong blue fluorescence in a G color is the kind of thing that most of the time, it doesn’t make a difference, but there are times on certain stones, where it’s very noticeable and makes the stone look milky and dull. If you’re buying online from BN and not JA, then I would say to stay away. BN doesn’t have physical access to the diamonds they sell. They are all over the world in vendors’ vaults. JA, on the other hand, only works with vendors within walking distance to their NY office, so they have access to any stone listed on their site at any time. So you could always have the people at JA check a stone physically to see if it has any negative effects from strong fluorescence.

3) BN vs JA – I don’t like recommending stones from BN because I can’t see them. JA has real magnified photos of their diamonds, so when I recommend a stone from there, I can be confident that what I’m recommending is a great stone, free of any eye visible inclusions. I can’t do that with BN. Would you mind taking another quick look at the following settings? They are very similar to the one you picked on BN:

If you like any of those, you can use the TAD0611 coupon to get 10% off the setting. So that should save you another 300 or so compared to BN. If you put that towards the diamond, take a look at what you can get: – it’s a GIA triple excellent. Medium Blue fluorescence on an H color makes the stone look slightly whiter, so it will probably be somewhere between a G and an H. I checked the picture, and it’s a very nice VS2. Completely clean to the naked eye.

Take a look at those rings and let me know what you think. If you still want the ring on BN, I’d be happy to look through the selections on BN and give you my recommendations.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Thank you very much for the advice. That Nouveau ring from James Allen looks very close to the one at Blue Nile.  However, I have a Blue Nile 10% off setting coupon so your coupon at James Allen is just evening the playing field for settings.

This diamond is also on the very high end of my budget. I like that diamond you chose and am strongly considering it, but I’d also like to get the spread of options available. Do you see any good value diamonds around 8000 or less? How is this one:


I’m away from my computer, but I recall that the neavu ring on JA was a few hundred dollars cheaper than the ring on BN.  You have a 10% coupon both at JA and BN, so you still gain the difference in price by buying the setting from JA.


Now I’m back at my computer. I realized that the stone I suggested was out of your budget, I just thought it was such a great find, I wanted to suggest it anyway. 1.40-1.49ct stones are VERY rare. I justified showing it to you because I was saving you some money on the setting, and you told me your max budget was 8500 for the stone. So I thought you might be able to squeeze out a little more.

But anyway, I love the stone you suggested. It’s triple excellent. Guarantee eye clean. A really great stone. Lets analyze this more closely.


Blue Nile: 1650*0.9 = 1485

James Allen: 1450*0.9 = 1305


BN: 1.38 H VS2 8045 (no idea what the VS2 looks like. Could be ugly black inclusion in the center. Stone also isn’t available anymore)

JA: 1.36 H VS2 8090 (confirmed eye clean. Great VS2. Stone is available)

BN Total: 9530 (theoretical)

JA Total: 9395 (actual)

In the end, you’re basically getting the same level of product from either JA or BN. But JA always has the edge in my book because they have physical access to the stones and offer the pictures.


I have a question about the Nouveau setting on James Allen. How come there are settings with holes on the inside of the band behind the diamonds? Are these holes noticeable to the person wearing the ring?


Honestly, I’m not really sure why there are holes there.  But they for sure wouldn’t be noticeable to the person wearing the ring.


I guess I was a bit late to jump the gun as that 1.46 sold before I was able to get it. Are there any other comparable diamonds available? I found the following:

But the pictures/GIA report are not online yet. I sent in an info request for the picture. How quickly do they normally respond?


within a day or two.  But you should call them today and ask them to put it on hold for you until the pictures arrive.  Btw, the cert is already online.


James Allen has been lagging on the photos of that last diamond and another that I requested. Can you please take a look at the one linked below and tell me if you think that inclusion in the middle will be eye-visible?


I only saw two stones linked. One is the 1.44 that doesn’t yet have the photos. The other is the 1.36. THe 1.36 is 100% eye clean, but the page says the stone is no longer available.

Were you referring to something else?


Got it.  That stone, too, will be clean to the naked eye.  That center inclusion is rather small.

Let me know what you go with in the end!


Can you please explain to me what “Additional Inscription: H&A” means on the GIA report? There’s one here:


It means the stone has the letters “H&A” inscribed on the girdle.  It doesn’t mean anything really.  When vendors have stones that they consider to be “hearts & arrows” sometimes they’ll pay a little extra to have GIA inscribe the letters H&A on the girdle in addition to the cert #.


I’m still waiting for those James Allen pictures to be posted, but in the meantime I’ve had a back down to earth moment and am looking at lower budgets for some more bang for my buck. Can you please tell me what your opinion is of the value of the following diamond?


Another great stone.  Also totally eye clean.  I guess it will come down to how much you want to spend.  The extra cash will get you a slightly larger stone.  So it’s just a matter of whether you want to spend that or not.  In terms of quality, they’re pretty much identical.


James Allen finally posted one of the pictures for those diamonds I requested. I really like this one. Can you please take a look and give me your seal of approval before I order?


I went ahead and ordered diamond 1284509 on the nouveau setting from James Allen. Thank you so much for all of your help, and I never would have been able to find such a great ring without you and your website. Now I just have to hope that the ring gets to me before I leave for Europe on the 27th. Thanks again.


I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get back to you sooner. The stone looks great. That little black inclusion won’t be noticeable as it’s very very small. I’m sure you’re going to be VERY please with this stone.

Please drop me a line and let me know how it looks when it arrives!

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