The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Canadian looking to Avoid Heavy Taxes. Should you Get a High Color Diamond to Match with a Yellow Gold Setting?

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! Love the site!! I’ve learned so much and thank you for so much great information. I’m not sure whether you answer questions without a service charge but i’ll ty anyway! I’m located in Canada and i’m really liking what I see on the James Allen website. I’ve read so many great reviews plus they have what i’m looking for (i’ll get to that later!). However, when I use the currency conversion calculator I notice I would be paying around $1000 in duty plus shipping. My local jewelry shop says they can create that diamond for me and all they need is a picture. I thought I was wary about ordering online but i’m even more skeptical about having a shop create a diamond just by looking at a picture. Would I really expect to get the exact same quality product? And would they most likely charge me a premium price because they had to create it specifically for me. I don’t want to end up paying more locally when I was trying to avoid duty charges. There is a James Allen in Boston which is in feasible driving distance, i’m not sure whether the duty charge would be any less by bringing it back across the border versus sending it in the air. If you could answer this i’d love to go ahead and show you what it is i’m interested in purchasing. I’d love your help and advice! Thank you so so much!!

Hi. I’m happy to help. I do not charge anything for answering questions. To understand how/why I do what I do, take a look at this article:

From what I understand, the currency converter over estimates the taxes on rings into Canada. Take a look at the comment posted on this article:

You should read the article too as it discusses some ways to try to get around the taxes.

I’m not sure what you mean when you say “there’s a James Allen” in Boston. If there is a place with that name, it’s not related to the online store. But it doesn’t matter, because James Allen can ship to any Fedex facility with the “hold at facility” service. So you can just go in and pick it up. If you’re that close to the border, then I’m sure there’s a closer fedex location you could find.

Anyway, let me know what you’re looking for, and I’ll gladly help you find it at the best price possible!

Thanks so much for the articles. Finding someone kind and knowledgeable who is willing to help a stranger is a rare find and i’m very appreciative of your assistance. Before stumbling onto your site I had this in mind:

Shape: Princess

Cut: Ideal

Color: E or F

Clarity: Vs1

Carat: 0.75 to 1.0

Depth: 65-73%

Table: Below 75% (ideally below 68%)

Budget: $5000-$6000 (Canadian Dollars…CAD)

After reading information on your site I’ve noticed that you speak highly of the value in choosing an H or I color and a Vs2 clarity for a princess cut. I am pretty flexible if this is a wise choice because I would like to get as close to a 1.0 carat as possible without sacrificing quality. A few of my best friends and colleagues have insisted that I get Vs1 clarity and E or F color but they have chosen round diamonds whereas my girlfriend definitely wants a princess cut. She has mentioned size before but talks little of cut or clarity so I do think size is important to her. Here are the links to a few I’ve had my eye on. #4 is a G color and I like what it looks like in the picture but haven’t read much on G color for a princess cut. Suggestions other than these would be greatly appreciated!!!






I forgot to mention!!…..the diamond will be placed in a solitaire setting….I just haven’t decided on one yet. She wants yellow gold even though platinum is a better metal. She likes the look of it more. She showed me a picture of the Lucida setting from the Tiffany’s website and she really liked the look of that. Perhaps you’ve got a few in a mind that look great with a princess cut but I won’t overload you with that right now!! Thanks again for all your help…this means so much to me.

Firstly, if she wants yellow gold, then there’s absolutely no reason to buy a diamond higher than a J color. Save yourself the money. The yellow in the gold is going to reflect through the diamond anyway, so it’d be a complete waste to get anything higher than a J. That’s great news for you, as you can now either get a larger stone, or save the difference.

Also good news for you is that James Allen has a perfect Lucida replica. It’s here:

It costs 525, but the TAD0611 coupon will take 10% off that.

There’s a great selection of J color 1.20s. Here’s a few I like: – great make. Nice small table – unbeatable price. – sort of in between.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thanks so much for all of this. I never thought i’d be considering a J color diamond. I don’t mind paying a little extra for a higher color and going down a little in size. Would it really make absolutely no difference to even get an H or I? Even though I trust your advice I feel like i’m sacrificing quality for size. I just want to feel sure if i’m going to give up my search for E and F color diamonds. I like the 3 picks you provided for me. I think my favourite is the 1st one with the smaller table. They all fit into my price range very nicely.I might try a few more searches for 1.0 to 1.20 carats with J color and i’ll send them along to see if you like any as much or more than the 3 picks you gave to me. So far I think the first one is the winner but i’ll see what I can come up with. I had a question about the Lucida replica setting. I’ve been told that the Lucida setting doesn’t hold the diamond up very high. I don’t think my girlfriend realized this as she’s mentioned that she wants a solitaire setting that props the diamond up nicely. She just liked the Lucida in a picture online. Is this correct information concerning the Lucida? If so…is there a design that you know of that is similar to the Lucida but that props the diamond up higher? Again it would have to be yellow gold. I’m not sure whether 14k versus 18k makes any difference in terms of reflecting light etc. If you could answer this that would be great and tomorrow i’ll send you a few more picks in the 1.0-1.2 carat range with J color and see if you like any. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!

As far as the stone’s color goes, then yes, emphatically I’m telling you that to buy a high color would be a big waste. I have people often tell me, “I bought an F (or something similar) color diamond and in some light it looks yellow!” Until I make them realize that there’s something yellow in the room that’s reflected in the stone and that’s why in “some light” it looks yellow. Imagine if the entire diamond is itself surrounded by yellow!

As far as your question about Lucida goes, I wish I could give you a more informed answer, but truthfully, I have no idea. My professional experience is 99% loose diamonds 1% jewelry. If you guys are already open about this discussing ring styles and stuff, maybe just take her to a Tiffany store and have her see the Lucida in person.

After your “emphatic yes” and re-reading your article about diamond color, I’ve decided to abandon my quest for E or F color. I decided to refine my search to I or J color. You might be shaking your head over this right now but I thought it would be a good decision if it doesn’t drive the price up much or…if she decides to switch to white gold down the road. If you still think this is a pointless decision let me know. That being said, I have a few links below with ones that I like. Actually, my search has been refined to a point that seems pretty much firm and set in stone now. If you enter the specifics listed below there are only 7 results that come up. Maybe you could tell me which one you would choose from the list. 1 or 2 of your past recommendations are featured here. Based on the search criteria below here is the link that shows the 7 diamonds that fall under this search criteria:

Shape: Princess

Color: I or J

Clarity: Vs1 or Vs2

Cut: Ideal

Carat: 0.93 to 1.30

Price: 3320-3950

1) I really got excited when I saw this one. It’s just over a carat, I color, ideal, Vs1, and the polish and symmetry are both excellent! I wish the table was under 70% but other than that I think this one seems great

2) Similar to #1…slightly bigger, but a 72% table. It’s also I color, ideal and Vs1

3) Probably my favourite of the 4 J color diamonds. This is one that you recommended last email as “nice make, good small table” Do you think any of the other J’s beat this one?

Unless you think I should radically revamp my search criteria, I feel like the one I will choose exists in this list of 7 diamonds. If for some reason any of these would not go well with a solitaire 18k yellow gold ring let me know. Thanks so much for your help!!!! I’m getting close!!!!!!!

If it’s a real concern that she might want to switch to white gold or plat in the future, then you should definitely stick with an I color. A J in white gold will look a bit tinted.

If you go with an I, then I like the 1.06 better.

If you go with a J (ie, if you’re pretty sure you’re going to stick with yellow gold), then I like this one the best:

I’m not sure why – I could be biased because the photo was taken with a bit more care in setting up the lighting and everything, but it just really looks nice in the pic.

I’ve been going over the options over and over and I think I also like the J color one the best. The 1.20 carat is a nice size over the 1.06 with the I color. I’m almost sure i’m going to go with this one but I will get back to you. I happened to stumble on one of your archived articles titles “best princess cut diamond for $3500” and I really really like the one you posted. Great price, depth and table plus excellent polish and symmetry. This was your “daily diamond” pick for Jan. 25. I pasted the link below as a refresher.

When I clicked on this diamond it showed it as being out of stock. I don’t know if you know the right people to get this back in stock or whether you even think it’s a better pick than the 1.20 Vs1 J color diamond that you liked best out of my 7. Your thoughts on this will probably help me make my final decision as I can’t seem to find anything other than this that is seriously rivaling the 1.20 Vs1 J color. Thanks again for everything.

Unfortunately, “out of stock” means it’s been sold 🙁

I think the 1.20 is a fantastic choice. It’s really taking advantage of the fact you’re using yellow gold. It’s very smart and getting the most for your money.

I really think this 1.20 is going to be the one. I’m just looking at rings now but think I will probably go with the cross prong Lucida replica. I will keep you posted. My last remaining issue is concerning the shipment (since I live in Canada). I read your article that you sent in your first email and it sounds like James Allen can ship this to a FedEx in Presque Isle, Maine which would only be a few hours drive. But how does that work…does that mean that the $1000 + duty charge that shows on the website would be subtracted? I know i’ll have to pay duty at the border but i’m assuming that would be about $500 roughly. So instead of the $1000 for duty as seen on the website, i’d probably be paying about half that at the border making it a good idea right? Let me know if i’m way off here. The second concern is that I need to have this by a specific date (April 30 we leave for a vacation). Since they will have to put my diamond and ring choice together, will there be a lengthy delay? I can’t afford the risk of cutting it close. Hopefully you can clear some of this up so that I can expect a smooth delivery. Thanks again for all of your help. I’m still blown away by this amazing service. Hope to hear from you soon!

Before I forget, you should use the TAD0611 coupon to get 10% off the setting (if you didn’t know already).

Now on to your questions:

1) I’m pretty sure the information on JA’s currency converter is not correct for Canada. It adds both customs and GST, but I’ve heard from readers that you are only charged GST, since the rings are covered by NAFTA. If you declare the ring at the border, then, in theory, there is no savings by having the ring shipped to Maine.

2) If you have JA ship you the stone, they don’t charge you customs + GST. Fedex does that on behalf of the Canadian government. They just show you the amount on the website so you’re prepared for what you’ll have to pay Fedex.

3) You should have no problem whatsoever getting the ring by April 30th. I think it only takes 2-3 weeks.

Thanks again. I will definitely put the TAD0611 coupon to good use. I’m going to go with the cross-prong lucida replica you sent. I’m 90% sure i’m going to go with the 1.20 J color Vs1 but i’ve been making one last effort checking bluenile and a few others just to make sure there isn’t something else out there that i’ve been missing out on. If you would take a peek at these last few it would really help me to make my final decision. Thank you, thank you!!!

1) from bluenile…it’s less carat 1.05, also J color, an increase from vs1 to vvs2 but very good cut instead of ideal also excellent polish and semettry, and a decent table.

Blue Nile LD01461571

2) from adiamor with the price listed in Canadian dollars…1.00 carat J color IF clarity!!, premium cut…not ideal 71% table…seems too good for the price? what’s up with this?

3) from adiamor as well. Again smaller size, J color, VVs1 clarity, premium cut..decent table

Mostly, i’m wondering if the upgrades in clarity are worth the trade off for premium cut versus ideal, and a smaller size. I’m comparing these 3 against this:

To be fair, I’m definitely biased against Adiamor, as I don’t have an affiliate agreement with them. But I do have an agreement with Blue Nile, so you can at least be 100% confident in my comparison with that stone.

Just like I steered you away from E/F colors because they would be wasted on the yellow setting, I’m also going to steer you away from VVS and IF clarity since they’ll be wasted on your human eye balls. The VS1 on the J color itself is overkill, there’s certain no reason to go any higher than that. And what do you get in return? A smaller, less brilliant stone. So there’s really no reason whatsoever to go with these other options.

You know my outlook on diamonds – all that matters is what your eye can see and appreciate. In that vein, the JA stone is far superior to these others.

I appreciate your honest opinion. I feel confident with my choice and will choose the JA stone! I just didn’t want to have that awful feeling of wishing i’d have gone with something else after I made the purchase. You have been such a tremendous help in this overwhelming yet important decision in my life. I will recommend your help to everyone I know going through this process. I will be placing my order soon and want to make sure that you get credit for your help. Just wondering how I go about making sure they know that your assistance helped me in my choice.

Thanks very much for your concern. If you order from the same computer from which you’ve been communicating with me, it will take care of itself. Also, if you use the coupon, it’s like a fail-safe measure.


I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to follow up with you. Did you buy anything yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you went with in the end!

Thanks for checking in! I’ve decided to go with this diamond and ring:

I’ve been checking around other sites and I feel confident about this choice. It was one of the original suggestions you gave me and I haven’t found anything else that I really like better. I’ve had a few banking issues I had to work out but I’m going to go ahead and order this in the next few days. If you have any last comments or concerns about either the ring or the diamond please let me know!! Thanks so much!

That’s really a fantastic combination. Let me know when you order!


Hey. I see the stone you wanted is out of stock. I hope that means it was you who ordered it! Did you get the ring yet? I’d love to hear how it looks!

Haha yeah it was me who ordered it and it’s on the way!! I will surely email you when I have it in my hands. Thanks again for all the help. This experience has been so smooth and so much less daunting than I had originally thought it’d be. I’ll be in touch soon!!

Great news! I look forward to your email!

I’ve received my order and it’s perfect. I’m extremely happy with it. I can’t thank you enough for all your help. The appraisal that came with it listed it as $1000 more than what i paid which seems like a nice bonus! I just posted a review for my sales rep on iVouch and I couldn’t help but give you a special mention….I pasted my review below….

My experience with James Allen was amazing. Their website is the best i’ve seen, their products and prices were better than other top competitors such as Blue Nile and the service from the sales representatives couldn’t have been better. I was fortunate enough to have Tammy as my rep and the service I received was world class. I did most of my correspondence through e-mail and her kind and informative replies came back to me so fast that it really felt as if she was working exclusively for me. My order was being shipped to Canada so I had lots of questions concerning shipping, customs duties and taxes etc etc and all of my concerns were addressed by Tammy without ever being put on hold or passed from one agent to another like i’ve experienced with so many other companies. Months ago I thought ordering an engagement ring would be a daunting task but this was a walk in the park. I highly recommend James Allen to everyone. As a side note: I would have never made it to this point without the extraordinary help I received from Ira Weissman at

This informative website provided me with an education about diamonds and allowed me to correspond with Ira and ask questions that would help me to make the best possible choice. Like the service reps at James Allen, Ira made me feel as if he was working exclusively for me….at no cost!!! You don’t get service like this anywhere. Mr. Weissman answered every question I sent to him and helped to point me in the direction of James Allen and i’m eternally grateful that he did.

That’s great news!!! Thanks so much for the email to let me know, and thanks for that great nod in your ivouch review. Could you help me out with something? I’m trying to figure out the tax situation for Canadians who contact me. How much tax did you end up paying in the end? Just GST/PST? Or did you pay a certain amount of duties as well?

Thanks again and CONGRATULATIONS!!!

No problem, i’ll leave a review for sure! and you might hear from me again when it comes time to shop for wedding bands. I will also recommend you to anyone I know who is on the hunt for diamonds. The tax situation ended up being much better than I originally thought it’d be. Each province in Canada has their own GST/PST rate. Here in New Brunswick we have a single tax rate called HST (harmonized sales tax) which is essentially just a combination of GST/PST. Our HST rate is 13%. Since the ring and diamond were MANUFACTURED and SHIPPED from the United States I only paid HST (13%) tax on the grand total of the purchase. Because of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) I was exempt from duties or VAT taxes because the product was manufactured and shipped from the United States. I believe this would have also been the case if it was manufactured and shipped from either Canada or Mexico. Had the product been manufactured outside of either the US, Canada, or Mexico, I would have had to pay 6.5% duty and THEN my 13% HST on top of that. James Allen emailed me a “north american free trade agreement certificate of origin” form which clearly indicated what I ordered and where it was manufactured and shipped from which would indicate to customs to not include any duties or additional taxes. I also chose to have it shipped to a Fedex hold-it location so James Allen emailed me a Power of Attorney form which I filled out and emailed back to them. This allowed Fedex to pick up my parcel and pay the outstanding taxes on my behalf. When the fedex agent picked up my parcel he called me and I gave him my credit card number and the amount I owed for the taxes was immediately billed to my credit card. When I arrived at the Fedex hold-it location I was just handed my order as there was nothing else to pay. I’m assuming all of James Allen’s products are manufactured and shipped from the US but the customer might want to ask first. Hope this helps!!!

I appreciate all the info about Canadian taxes. It makes things a lot clearer for me.

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