The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Help Choosing a Round Diamond for a Classic Solitaire Setting With a $3,000 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.

Hello,

I have been looking at diamonds from James Allen and have found one that I feel is a good value. It’s right in my price range and I was looking for an opinion on weather or not it is actually a quality diamond for the price:

www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.71-carat-j-color-vvs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-5484870?a_aid=dmnd1357

It’s the cut what makes the diamond’s “sparkle” or, as we call it, brilliant. The cut is the most important of the 4C’s (https://www.diamonds.pro/education/4cs-diamonds/). Around 95% of all GIA diamonds get an “Excellent” cut (~80%) or a Very Good cut, so a Very Good cut is usually very poorly cut. That’s why I would suggest sticking with an Excellent cut. Also, we like to keep the depth under 62.5% and the table in the range of 55-58% to maximize the brilliance (https://www.diamonds.pro/education/round-cut/). 63.3% depth means that most of the diamond’s weight is in its depth, not at the top which leads to a smaller diamond and the light won’t refract as it should. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend going with that diamond.

If you want me to make some specific recommendations, can you please tell me what setting style (solitaire/pave/side stones/halo) and metal (white gold/rose gold/yellow gold/platinum) you’re planning to go with? Different colors suit different setting styles better (https://www.diamonds.pro/education/color/). Also, do you have a ballpark budget in mind?

Thank you for the advice. I wasnt sure about depth/table numbers. I’d like to find a setting/diamond combination somewhere under $3,000 dollars. Im looking for a solitaire setting in white gold. So I’d like to find a diamond that looks as colorless as possible.

For white gold solitaire settings, we recommend going with J+ colored diamonds. They look colorless when set (https://www.diamonds.pro/education/color/).

Here are my recommendations:
Blue Nile LD09411502

www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.80-carat-h-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5654886?a_aid=dmnd1357 (The inclusion could be covered with a prong)
www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.79-carat-j-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5415156?a_aid=dmnd1357
All these diamonds are well-cut, eye-clean and brilliant.

They look great. Although I was hoping to get a nice diamond maybe under $2,000. The setting I think she’ll like is $600 in 14k and $660 for 18k. So a $2,000 and under diamond would be a nice find to keep it on the lower end of my budget.

Would you mind giving me your opinion on this diamond? www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.71-carat-j-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5335012?a_aid=dmnd1357

Also this is the setting I have picked out at the moment. 14K WHITE GOLD PETITE FLOWER SOLITAIRE ENGAGEMENT RING

No problem, here are some cheaper options:
www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.74-carat-j-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5309825?a_aid=dmnd1357
www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.70-carat-j-color-si2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5643056?a_aid=dmnd1357

As for the diamond you found, I wouldn’t recommend going with that one. It’s beautifully cut and has great specs, however, it’s not eye-clean. One prong could cover only one of the feathers and the second feather would be visible to the naked eye.

If you wouldn’t mind though giving me a little insight into why you picked these diamonds? Particularly I’m interested in the comparison between the 3rd one in the first group you suggested and the first one of the two cheaper options you provided.

I always try to choose the best, eye-clean, reasonably priced diamonds available. I also try to provide options with various clarity and color grades as everyone has their own, different preferences. The 0.79ct VS stone is superbly cut and bigger in size than the 0.74ct (but more expensive). I found this stone (www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.71-carat-j-color-si1-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-5430946?a_aid=dmnd1357) that is a little bit smaller than the 0.74ct one but it has a better cut.

Do you prefer some diamonds over the others?

Thank you. I would personally rather propose with a diamond that looks amazing and really sparkles that may be a little bit smaller than pay more just to say it has more carat weight. I feel that 5.5+ as far as length and width is sufficient in physical size. I have just had a hard time picking a diamond that is the right price that I can be confident will impress my girlfriend.

Well, the last option I sent you seems to be a good compromise (if you are okay with the price). As I said, it’s superbly cut, therefore, it will refract light perfectly.

Yes I believe it is. As long as it’s eye clean and as you said, refracts light perfectly. It seems to be the right choice.

Yes, it’s eye-clean. 95% of all twinning wisps are not visible to the naked eye.

Let me know how you decided.

So I went ahead with that diamond. Thank you so much for your help. You really helped me understand more about what to consider when buying a diamond. As well as all the information on your website. Thank you.

That’s wonderful news! Thank you for your kind words!

Please let me know how you like the ring when it arrives.

Hello. I just wanted to let you know that I recieved the ring today. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to propose with it. I wanted to thank you again for your help with choosing the diamond. I very much appreciate it.

Top Recommended Vendors
Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. (Pick Up a Blue Nile Coupon Here for $50 off)
What we love about them:
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  • Lifetime Warranty
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  • 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
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  • 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 at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well.
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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