The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Biggest Ideal Cut Round Diamond for $3500 Including Setting. Blue Nile vs. James Allen. Looking for Biggest Stone within Tight Budget That’s Still Eye Clean and a Good Performer.

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.

Dear Ira, I hope this email finds you and your family doing well. I have really enjoyed reading about diamonds on your site and getting an unbiased perspective on diamond purchasing. I will be proposing to my girlfriend on an upcoming trip to South America. As a young guy with a non-profit career, my salary and monthly savings has not been much.

Anyways, I was planning on spending between $3-3.5K for a diamond, including the setting. I’m thinking $2.5-3K for the diamond and another $500-700 for the setting. My current search has been limited to Blue Nile and James Allen. I’ve been happy with what I’ve seen, pretty much but am worried about the inclusions.


– Round shape. It will definitely go on a white gold/platinum setting.



– CLARITY: I just want to make sure nothing is visible to the naked eye. We/she will never take it to a jeweler.

– CARAT: I would ideally like 0.97 or so, but am open to less. I want something that LOOKS big so she can be impressed. Maybe a large table size, without compromising clarity?

Basically, I want the most bang for the buck (doesn’t everyone). I want something that will look big and shiny to the common eye, not too worried about peripheral inclusions (although I would like to avoid them). Considering all of this Ira, how can you help me and what would your fees be?

This is one diamond I am looking at, for example:
Blue Nile LD01738126

Thanks for your help.

Re: the coupon, you can use the coupon TAD0611 from James Allen to receive 10% off the setting as well. So that’s not an issue.

Before I begin, please have a look at this article to understand why I do what I do:

Now just to be completely open with you, BN won’t pay me a commission if you use any coupon with your purchase. JA, on the other hand, will. They in fact offered me a coupon to give to my readers to encourage more sales. So I’m 100% biased against BN because of this. Take it for what you will, but I honestly believe regardless of commissions that JA is a better company that offers a better product. I explain why in the article I mentioned above in addition to this article:

So lets get started!

Regarding that stone you sent me a link to – there’s absolutely no reason to get such a high clarity stone. Furthermore, that stone has strong blue fluorescence which I recommend not buying. See my article about fluorescence if you’re interested in learning why.

Here’s what I think will work best for you. All of the following stones have an Excellent cut grade from GIA and are eye clean: – the pic looks very busy, but this stone will most definitely be clean to the naked eye. – great option if you want to save some money. This is only slightly smaller than the other two. And an I color will still look totally white to the naked eye.

Let me know what you think of these suggestions! I look forward to hearing from you.


Thanks for your response and congragulatory pat on the back.

I’m glad to have found your website – it is so difficult to find straight shooters nowadays. It seems like you have a solid business model too, a good way to make some extra cash. Pretty cool.

I think I like the smallest of the three diamonds you recommended, it also seems to be the cleanest. Reading the article on De Beers (I also read an article in Rolling Stones on diamond trading in Zimbabwe) makes me loathe contributing any money to the coffers of diamond trade big shots. But it is what it is, and my girlfriend is definitely expecting a rock on her finger.

Quick question about your 3rd recommendation: if I decided to instead choose a pave setting, how would I determine if the diamond would look OK? Would your recommendation change?

I’ll probably be making a purchase, per your recommendation, this week so I can have some time to exchange if necessary.


Thanks for the kind words about me and my site. I really appreciate it.

Any of those stones I suggested would still look great in a pave setting. I don’t think you’d have to alter your diamond choice.

Let me know how it goes when you order it. Stay in touch!


Its me again. I’ve decided on the solitaire setting after looking through James Allen’s options.

As I mentioned, I most like the last stone you recommended:

However, I’m a little concerned that the stone looks cloudy and has a too many inclusions. As someone who has never purchased a diamond before, I hope you understand my worry. If you had an additional $200-400 ($2,500 max for the stone), is there another stone that you would recommend?

Thanks again for your help. Just to confirm, using the promotional code TAD0611 will give you the appropriate credit right?


Going up to $2500 max didn’t really help. But I did go back over what I found before, and noticed this beauty:

Its picture is clearer than the other stone.


Im 99% ready to buy the last stone you recommend before. However, when I look at the certificate, under clarity characteristics, it says: Crystal, Feather, Cloud.

What does that mean? I don’t want to buy something and then have to return it…


I just wanted to say thanks for your help and patience. I completed my order this afternoon, and used the TAD0611 code. The total order was around $2500. I hope this is enough to get you credit for your services.

Many blessings to you and your family.


Thanks for the update! And thanks for the concern re: the commission. I really appreciate it. As for your other question, don’t worry about it. There are different types of inclusions, and those words are just describing the types of inclusions in your stone. It doesn’t matter, though, because whatever inclusions are in there, they’re not visible to the naked eye.

Please let me know how the ring looks when it arrives!


Did you receive the ring yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you think!


Thanks for following up – I have been meaning to let you know. I did get the ring last week, everything looks great. I have two friends that will be going through similar purchasing decisions over the next year and have already referred them to your website. I should get my own “the truth about diamonds” code! LOL.

Question: is there a website you know of where I can post a review (positive one, of course) of your services?


Great news!! And thanks for the referrals. There is, indeed, a site where you can leave me a review. And thank you very much for offering! It’s Here’s a direct link:


Thanks again! And I wish you and your fiance (to be?) much blessing!

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 our exclusive 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

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