The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Best Eye Clean Round Brilliant Between $5000 and $6000

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, I’m looking for the best diamond I can get for my budget. I’m hoping I can spend $5,000 or less on an engagement ring but I am also willing to step it up to $6,000 if it is an absolute killer deal. What I’m looking for: Shape – Round diamond Ring – Platinum/White Gold Weight – 1 to 1.5 carat Color – H or higher but after reading your color article, I guess I can go lower considering the ring color and shape of diamond. Clarity – No preference as long as the flaws cannot be seen through the naked eye. Like I mention above, I would like to spend $5,000 or less but am willing to step it up to $6,000 if its a killer deal. Let me know if there is any additional information you would like to help me out in choosing a diamond.

Thanks for writing. Lets assume you get one of the simpler rings available from James Allen which will be about $300-$400 in white gold. This’ll leave us with about 4500-5500 for the diamond. Having that in mind, here’s what I found for you: – Excellent Cut. Medium blue will make the J color look slightly whiter. Definitely clean to the naked eye. – Excellent Cut. Eye clean. A little cheaper. – AGS triple zero. Eye clean. I color. – ditto

Have a look a these suggestions and let me know what you think!


Thank you for the super fast response!  I notice in your list of recommendation none of them are the “True Hearts” cut from James Allen.  Is there any significant difference you can see between “True Hearts” and Ideal cuts?

Would you say color ‘J’ with medium blue look whiter than a color ‘I’ with no blue?

What do you mean when you say “AGS Triple Zero”?

One last question, how much in price and quality would it be if I use your diamond buying service to look for a diamond?

Thank you again for your help!


My pleasure!

Here’s my answers:

1) True hearts vs regular ideal/excellent cut – generally not enough of a visual difference to justify the extra cost.

2) J + MED *MIGHT* look as white as an I, but must likely it’ll look like a high J. It almost certainly won’t look more white than an I.

3) AGS triple zero means the stone got AGS’s (a different lab on par with GIA) highest grades for polish, symmetry, and cut. Similar to a GIA triple excellent.

4) For your budget, you probably wouldn’t save much, if anything, using my buying service and you’d lose many of the benefits working with JA (generous return period, sells e-ring also, better packaging, etc)

Did you like any of my diamond suggestions?


Out of the 4, which one is your favorite?

Right now, I might be leaning towards the 3rd one but I’m not too sure because the SI2 scares me a bit.

When looking at the diamond picture, is it better to see more of the black star. How does that affect the look of it in person? Some diamonds shows a more gray/white star and some show a darker star. I guess I’m asking because I don’t really know what I’m looking for besides black marks.

Grey Star

Black Star

BTW, if this helps…I’m thinking about getting this setting:


I was browsing through some diamonds and wanted to get your opinion on these.


If you’re nervous about the SI2, you can call JA’s customer service and ask them to inspect the stone face to face to see without doubt if it’s eye clean or not. They’re completely honest and objective – they want you to be happy and they have tons of alternatives. So they gain nothing convincing you to buy a stone you’re only going to return later.

As far as grey star vs. black star goes – it’s 100% a lighting issue. JA doesn’t own their own diamonds. They work with a number of wholesale vendors within walking distance to their office. Each vendor does their own photography in their own office. So you have like 20 different photographers photographing the various stones listed on JA, and each has his/her own slightly different technique. That’s what makes the different colors/shades in the pics. I find that the pics are really only good for showing me the orientation/size/color of the inclusions.


See below in red:

Bottom line, I like the first one the best. It really looks sharp.

On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 3:39 AM, XXXXXX XXX <[email protected]> wrote:

Hi Ira,

I was browsing through some diamonds and wanted to get your opinion on these. stone. nothing negative to say at all. on the right is 90% sure eye clean, but it is rather long. So I’m not 100% sure. Other than that, it’s a beauty as well. very good cut GIA. I’d pass on this one. Also a beauty but significantly smaller than the others.


So far I’m down to these 4 diamonds and was hoping you can rate them from your favorite to least favorite.

Another question I want to ask you. Have you ever seen a traditional round with extra facets? I have a local diamond retailer that sells diamonds with extra facets. Does the extra facets actually make the diamond sparkle more or differently? Here’s a link to their site: E.E. Robbins “Elite” Diamonds


These are all really really nice. If you went with the least of these four, you’d still come away completely satisfied with your purchase. Having said that, here’s my order of preference from best to worst:

1) 1.36 J SI1 – I’m a sucker for large stones. The cut is Excellent, and the Medium blue fluorescence will whiten up the J color just a bit. All around an amazing value.

2) 1.12 H SI1 – THe picture is just so fine, it’s hard not to fall in love with this one.

3) 1.15 I SI2 – Everything’s great about this stone, except that the picture is a bit cloudy, so it’s hard to tell if the picture is just slightly out of focus, or if the diamond is cloudy. In all likelihood, it’s just the photograph.

4) 1.26 I SI2 – there’s an inclusion in the table that looks white now because light reflected off of it from the flash of the camera, but very well might be black and visible to the naked eye.

yes, I know all about extra faceted stones. I worked for Leo Schachter for 7 years. They created the “Leo Diamond” which was the first truly successful special cut diamond brand. They sell them at Kay and Jared. It’s mostly a gimmick. These stones were invented as a way to break the commoditization of diamonds.


Once again, thanks for your response. Unfortunately, the 1.36 carat is already sold. I already asked JA for some data on the 1.15 carat diamond in regards to the cloudiness.

In the meantime, I looked up a few more diamonds and would like your opinion on these.


My pleasure.

1.25 J SI1 – no picture, so can’t really comment

1.26 J SI2 – Looks great. But if you can fit a higher color stone in your budget, I think that’s a better idea. A J color will still look white, but it’s borderline.

1.16 I SI1 – Very good cut grade. So I’d pass on this one.


Thank you again for your super fast response. I guess I’m down to these last 2. (waiting on JA for cloudiness check)

How often does JA get new diamonds? I still have a little bit of time before purchasing so I don’t know if I should wait and see if anymore good diamonds show up. Let me know if there are any other diamonds you recommend.


Sounds good. I’m curious to hear what they say about cloudiness. Please let me know!

They do get new inventory fairly steadily, but in my experience helping people it’s always smart to grab a nice diamond when you find it. Just because they get new goods in doesn’t always mean they get NICE goods in.

I’ve helped numerous people who kick themselves for not buying a stone when they found it becuase it got snatched up. In general, JA customers are well educated and know what to look for. So even though JA has thousands of diamonds, there’s a large number of customers fighting over a much smaller number of really nice diamonds.


Here’s the response I got from J

“The magnified image of our 1.15ct-I-SI2 doesn’t appear cloudy to me at all. Actually, I would consider this picture to be a great example of just how clear and nice our magnified images can be at times. Have no concern regarding the SI2 either. It is an eye-clean diamond. Great choice!. : )”

I have no experience working with them so should I just take their word for it that it’s not cloudy? You think diamond is a good buy to pair up with my setting?

Diamond –

Setting (platinum) –


A: Ido have a lot of experience dealing with them and I can tell you with certainty that you can trust them. Returns cost them money, they try to avoid them at all costs. So they would never recommend a diamond to you that you would just want to return anyway.

If the diamond isn’t cloudy, then I say definitely go for it. That was the best stone left out of the group. It’ll look amazing in that setting.

Let me know if it’s still around!


I would like to get your opinion on this last diamond before I make my purchase.  The rep at JA told me this diamond is eye clean.

My question is how reliable is a diamond certificate from IGI?  As we last spoken, the 1.15ct-I-SI2 was pretty much what I was set on and is priced $4,360.  This diamond is bigger and the color is rated much higher but it cost only $600 more.  The next diamond with the same attributes is over $6,000.


That’s a very nice stone. The thing with IGI is that their a bit more lenient in color and clarity. So that stone would have probably just missed getting an SI2 from GIA. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter. The inclusion is all wisps which aren’t noticeable to the naked eye. So even if technically it’s a GIA I1, it would have been in the top 5% of all GIA I1s. And it’s priced accordingly anyway.

Also, the color is most likely a G or even a high H. But again, it’s priced accordingly, so it’s fine. And the cut on the stone is very nice as well (as you can tell from the measurements and the picture itself).

I think you made a nice find.


I just wanted to check up with you to see if you had made your decision yet.  I’d love to know what you went with!


Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner.  I ended up getting the 1.15 I SI2, the one you said the picture looks a bit cloudy but JA told me the diamond isn’t cloudy. I got the diamond and spent a lot of time looking at it. I don’t know if it’s the light but the diamond looks a bit cloudy and a faint of blue.  I compared it to the side diamonds and it looked cloudy and a bit blue.  Is there any where I can take the diamond to have someone look at it for free? I hope its just all in my mind.

Looking forward to your help.


About the blue color you see – that’s definitely not a serious thing. It’s either being reflected off of something blue in the room where you are, or it’s just the natural colored sparkle of a diamond when the light inside is refracted around. There’s no fluorescence in that stone, so any blue you see isn’t coming from anything negative in the diamond.

As far as the cloudiness is concerned – is it possible it has finger grease on it? Finger smudges can easily make a stone look cloudy.

regarding the other question of where you can get it looked at for free, it would help if I knew where you lived.


Thanks again for the fast response. I live in Seattle, Washington.  I’ll get it clean today and check it out again.


I have a few professional contacts in Seattle, but unfortunately nobody I’m close enough with that I could ask a favor from.

Maybe you should call a few independent appraisers (not ones that work in jewelry stores) and ask them what their fees are. It might be a good idea anyway to give you peace of mind about what you bought online.


What did you end up doing in the end? I’d love to hear how everything turned out!


We didn’t get the ring checked out yet but we found out that the cloudyness might have been cause by the lighting we used.  We we took a look at it with natural outside light and the diamond was very clear but we plan on getting the diamond appraised anyways to give ourselves peace of mind like you said.  Right now we’re planning to get the ring shipped back to JA to get it resized…I was off by 1.25!  I didn’t know we had to pay for shipping back to JA 🙁

But in any case, I’m truly grateful for all the help you’ve given me!  Without your help, I would have spent a lot more money for a smaller diamond.  I’ve already recommended to all my friends to never buy a diamond without checking out your site!  Not only did you save me a lot of money, you’ve also taught me a lot about diamonds.  Your service was perfect!


My pleasure!  I’m glad to hear it all worked out in the end.  Best Wishes!

Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing.

Use Promo Code DMNPROSETTINGS15 at checkout and save 15% off your setting
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)
  • Best in class fulfillment

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online.
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.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • 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
  • Best-in-class packaging

Still afraid of getting ripped off?

Before you buy a diamond, get personal buying advice from industry veterans. We'll help you get the best diamond for the money.

Ask your diamond purchase question here

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

DISCLAIMER: We don't use your email for marketing. Period.

Why we are doing this for free?

Click for Diamond Purchase Advice 100% Free

Ask your diamond purchase question here

We are a team of diamond experts who will teach you to identify scams and avoid spending money on features you can't see. Tell us as much information as possible to help us help you (ie, budget, preferences, etc)

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


DISCLAIMER: We don't use your email for marketing. Period.

Please enter your email address to receive your personal code:

Here is your coupon code: GFDSF3GF