The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Experience Shopping for a Diamond Pendant on a 5k 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.


I’m in the process of looking for a diamond for a pendant necklace to give to my fiance on our wedding day.

This is the setting I think I’ll go with (18K White Gold 4 prong basket):

I’m looking at round diamonds. I’ve been looking at only “True Hearts” cut diamonds. Which leads me to question
1). Do I gain a lot going from “Ideal” cut to “True Hearts” on James Allen website. Based on my research in the past, I know cut is at the top of importance, so I’m thinking the answer is yes, but want to make sure.

As far as Color, I’ve narrowed down to G,H,I,J based on past research for the engagement ring with the top cut quality.

For Clarity, I’m looking at anything SI2 and above. My big thing here is that I want it to be clear to the naked eye and have less noticeable inclusions. I know that clarity is based on a number of different things, and this is an area where a great value can be found with a lower clarity diamond that is clear to the naked eye.

For carat, I’m looking at rings around 1.0 Carats. Specifically, I’d like to be as close to 1 carat or slightly over, but not any lower than 0.8 carats.

I would like to keep the budget for the diamond to under 5K, and if I can get a great diamond to meet my criteria and closer to 3K or 4K, I’m all for it.

I truly appreciate your help with this, and all the help your site and your team have been.

1) You can find a great value in the TH collection, but often there are “regular” Excellent cut diamonds that are also beautifully cut and significantly cheaper than the TH ones. It depends.

2) I’d focus on a nice I-color diamond that is eye-clean (SI+).

This is what I found:
I didn’t find any recommendable eye-clean diamonds in the 1ct range. These two are beautifully cut and either of them will be very brilliant.

What do you think?

Thanks so much for your help and suggesting a few beautiful diamonds.

Quick question: Does the “TH” diamonds get labeled based on the precision of the proportions, or is it based on something else? I ask because with the diamonds that you recommended, the proportions and cut look just slightly off of the TH proportions, but still look to be in the range of “excellent” cut. So, I’m wondering if with the diamonds you recommended, do you think there would be a difference in the brilliance of the diamond than a TH? I know that might be tough to answer, but just want to make sure I’m not losing brilliance if I don’t go with TH.

Were these diamond that best eye clean that you saw in that 0.8 to 1.0 carat range? Looks like there were a few TH diamonds in a similar carat and price range, but maybe they weren’t as eye clean?

When I look at the two diamonds, here is what I notice:
1) The first has a better clarity grade and it’s much harder to see the inclusions in the 10X magnification. It has very good symmetry.
2) The second looks to have slightly better proportions, and has an excellent symmetry, but is SI1 and easier to see inclusions. It’s also 0.01 carats larger, and $40 more expensive.

Would you say the second is more expensive due to the slightly higher carat, or the slightly better cut? Seems like the first is much clearer at 10X magnification, but you think they are both eye clean?

When I look at 10X, the first looks nicer because I can’t see the inclusions. But, I know the second is cut slightly better with Excellent Symmetry. Would that be a more brilliant diamond since they are both eye clean?

Sorry for all the extra questions. I truly appreciate all the help, just want to understand the differences so I can make the best choice.

I’m glad you like them!

The TH grading is completely subjective and it’s entirely up to James Allen on what grounds they give their diamonds this mark. There won’t be any difference in brilliance between the diamonds I recommended and the True Hearts. When we search for diamonds, cut is always our priority.

Here’s some more options from the 0.8+ range: (the cut on this one is superb!)

Regarding the price difference between the two previous diamonds, it’s hard to tell. The prices always depend on the particular supplier, all aspects of the stone, fluorescence, angles and proportions, types and location of inclusions, etc. In this case, I love the I-VS1 more as it’s cleaner, cheaper and beautifully cut. The symmetry grade is not an issue, it doesn’t affect the brilliance in any negative way.

Thanks so much for the great feedback, and for the additional diamonds. All very beautiful!!!

I will let you know when I purchase the diamond and pendant.

You’re welcome.

Let me know how it goes.

Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue NileBlue 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. The Blue Nile Cyber Monday sale is now live! Click here to browse gifts at 50% off!
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
Arrow down
Arrow up

James Allen James AllenJames 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. The James Allen Cyber Monday Sale is live! This is a great opportunity to save 25%. Click here to browse Engagement Rings on sale.
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
Arrow down
Arrow up

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.

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