The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Choosing a Princess Cut Diamond for a Tapered Cathedral Setting With $6k Total Budget

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.

First off, THANK YOU for your site – your knowledge, references, and explanations have helped me a lot!

I’m looking for a princess cut diamond + setting in the <$6000 range. I’ve narrowed down my search to prioritizing cut above all else (AGS Ideal/JA True Hearts/BN Sig Ideal). I’m looking in the D-I color range, and shooting for something 1 carat or larger (clarity takes a back seat so long as it’s eye clean).

I can find a bunch of stones on JA and BN that fit the bill:
www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/princess-cut/1.02-carat-i-color-vs2-clarity-sku-2003479?a_aid=dmnd1357

www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/princess-cut/1.00-carat-i-color-vvs2-clarity-sku-2393524?a_aid=dmnd1357

Blue Nile LD08953976

www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.045-g-vs1-princess-diamond-ags-104075727002?a_aid=y

…and so on.

James Allen certainly has the better prices. The catch is that their inventory of solitaire cathedral settings is woefully lackluster. My girlfriend has a size 3.25 finger, so a thinner band (<2.5mm) is necessary so it doesn’t look comically large. She’s also expressed an interest in a tapering cathedral as opposed to the flat stop.

The best setting that I found through JA:
www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/18k-white-gold-pave-accented-tapered-solitiare-item-59077?a_aid=dmnd1357

is nothing in comparison to BGD:
www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/juno-18k-white-gold-5977w18?a_aid=y

www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/the-simone-18k-white-gold-6970w18?a_aid=y

www.briangavindiamonds.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/freya-18k-white-gold-5985w18?a_aid=y

or even BN:
Blue Nile Tapered Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring
Blue Nile Monique Lhuillier Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring

A couple of questions for you: If I buy a loose diamond from one online vendor and the setting from another, should I simply take the two to a local jewelry store to get it mounted? Is there anything I need to watch out for if I do this?

Regarding the diamonds, do you have any particular recommendations on how to down-select? Can you point me in the right direction for keeping things eye-clean?

Thanks again for all your help!

If you pick the diamonds somewhere and the setting somewhere else, just talk to the customer service of both companies, they’ll tell you their terms for mounting the ring.

To be perfectly honest, we’re not huge fans of the “True hearts” and “Signature Ideals” collection. The diamonds are usually more expensive with no additional bonus. The only “better” cut I would recommend would be Brian Gavin’s Hearts and Arrows. He is known as one of the world’s experts when it comes to perfectly cut diamonds.

Here’s my opinion on the diamonds you selected:
SKU2003479 – it looks good cut-wise, but I’m not a huge fan of the inclusions
SKU2393524 – it’s cut a little too deep
LD08953976 – this one’s perfect, I like it a lot
AGS104075727002 – this one is also cut a little deeper than we like, but I wouldn’t worry about it – BGD’s diamonds are always absolutely gorgeous.

Eye-cleanliness depends on the number, type and location of inclusions. There is no rule. Generally said, large and dark inclusions often are noticeable while twinning wisps are fine in most of the cases.

Alright, let’s focus on BGD. Diamonds from BGD are gorgeous and extremely brilliant, we love to recommend them. We saw them in person and were truly amazed.

I looked at the stones you selected and I love these three, they look like the best value:
www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.010-i-vs1-princess-diamond-ags-104091554005?a_aid=y

www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.108-g-si1-princess-diamond-ags-104075727001?a_aid=y

www.briangavindiamonds.com/diamonds/diamond-details/1.314-i-vs2-princess-diamond-ags-104086010001?a_aid=y

What do you think?

I was talking with them yesterday and put a hold on an order.

I’ll keep in touch with them. Thanks!

Great, I’m glad everything is going well.

Top Recommended Vendors
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

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. Blue Nile has generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to get $100 off any purchase over $1000.)
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

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