The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Looking for a Round or Emerald Cut Diamond for a Yellow Gold Ring With a £1,250 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.

Hi there,

I have been looking at diamond engagement rings on Blue Nile, as per your recommendation, but I am struggling to make a sensible choice.

I am looking at the classic 4 claw in 18k yellow gold, and my partner prefers the rectangular shape of an emerald cut, but I cannot really determine what is a good diamond when they all seem to have dark spots. I have been considering a rectangular radiant cuts as an alternative.

Do you have any recommendations, based on a maximum diamond value of £1,250 (GBP) with the best cut available and a good balance of other factors?

Many thanks and kind regards.

There are a couple of rules when buying an emerald cut stone (

1) The presence of dark areas is called the black windowing effect (caused by the cut). A nice emerald cut diamond shouldn’t have a significant black windowing effect.

2) The depth shouldn’t ideally exceed 74%.

3) Emeralds tend to show their inclusions more than for example rounds. It’s very important to make sure your diamond is eye-clean. Occasionally, you can even find a SI1/VS2 eye-clean emerald.

4) The crown shouldn’t be flat. It would negatively affect the light refraction.

5) Make sure your diamond comes with proper certification. We recommend buying stones with GIA/AGS certs only.

6) A diamond should have pointed culet (AGS) / none culet (GIA).

It’s better to avoid diamonds with red flags such as big knots, cavities and etch channels as they might disrupt the integrity of the diamond. We also don’t recommend stones with thick feathers, big clouds, chips or stones that have clarity based on clouds. Ideally, the inclusions shouldn’t be on the table. On the other hand, 95% of all twinning wisps are not visible to the naked eye, so those are alright.

Radiants don’t have their own official cut scale given by GIA. Some companies use their own internal grades, but we don’t put any stock in those. We just use our own guidelines and strict parameters to find the best stones possible. Therefore, I wouldn’t pay attention to the cut grades you see at all. For radiants, the depth shouldn’t ideally exceed 72%. We search for H+ radiants. You can read more info on this topic here: Emerald cut diamonds are nice as well, however, they are not as brilliant as radiants. If you’re looking for brilliance and “sparkle”, then a radiant is probably a better way to go.

What L:W ratio do you like? I suggest reading our article (links above) and then I will gladly suggest some options

I think I will go with the emerald cut, as this was originally my first choice. I’d like to aim for around 1.5 L/W ratio, but happy to deviate as long is it remains rectangular.

Thank you for the additional info and thank you for the confirmation of your email address. Let’s stick with emerald-cut diamonds only.

Here are my recommendations:
Blue Nile LD12535788

Blue Nile LD12516656

Blue Nile LD11913074

All those diamonds are high-quality stones with great specs.

Thank you for your recommendations, there are some beautiful diamonds there!

Can I ask what you think of a few I previously selected? Just to see whether I am along the right track or not.

Blue Nile LD12437818

Blue Nile LD12260673

Sure thing! Just a note – I always recommend checking the actual measurements when comparing two or more diamonds, not the carat weight.

As for the diamonds you found, here are my comments:
Blue Nile LD12437818 – The strong fluorescence might be an issue. In case of G-D stones, it’s better to avoid medium or strong fluorescence as it may cause a hazy/milky look (
Blue Nile LD12260673 – Nice stone, I don’t see any red flags.

This whole process is driving me nuts, but an engagement ring has to be perfect, right?

I think I like the 3rd in your list, and the 2nd I sent you, but can I lastly ask what you think of this diamond?

Blue Nile LD11413681

The 360 image on Blue Nile seems to show a lot of dark areas, but is that just the way the image is taken, or is it down to the cut/symmetry?

I feel like I have almost read too much information about what to look for now, I’m tripping myself up!

Blue Nile LD11413681 – This isn’t the best diamond because of the black windowing effect (caused by the cut). I’d rather stick with the options we discussed before.

Many thanks for your continued advice, it is much appreciated.

Having read most of the information and education pieces on your website, I was fairly happy I was in the right ballpark and you have been really helpful refining what I have learnt. Who knew diamonds were so complicated?

I’m very happy to hear you find the information useful. We are glad to hear that our articles help people save some money and get good diamonds.

Let me know how you decided. If there is anything else I may do for you, please, don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

So, disaster struck today, when my partner and I were looking at diamond rings in a store window! She does not like emerald cut diamonds mounted across the ring and prefers them in line. I’ve spoken with Blue Nile who have said they cannot supply the ring this way as they do not recommend it for the diamond’s safety.

Plan B! Would you mind looking for some round brilliant diamonds to the value of £1,250 GBP, preferably 0.5 carat or above.

No problem at all. I can recommend some rounds as well.

Could you please send me the link to your preferred setting? It will help me set the right search parameters.

I am looking for a simple classic 4-claw 18k yellow gold ring.
Classic Four Claw Solitaire Engagement Ring

Don’t worry about the dark spots in case of rounds, that’s caused by the cut and won’t be visible since rounds are among the most brilliant shapes.

These are the biggest options I could find:
Blue Nile LD12729589

Blue Nile LD12530479

I like the second one you have picked out, it looks bright and my untrained eye definitely can’t pick anything up.

Based on your earlier email defining the parameters you would use, I picked these two. Can you cast your eye and let me know what you think?

Blue Nile LD12222981

Blue Nile LD12275812

I wouldn’t recommend the 0.56ct stone because of the strong fluorescence – it may cause a hazy/milky look in daylight. The other stone looks perfect and is gorgeously cut (Blue Nile LD12222981). It’s up to you whether you want to pay for VVS clarity grade – we usually don’t recommend overpaying for clarity. However, if you feel you’d be more comfortable with a higher clarity and color grade, it’s alright.

Thank you again for your reply, and patience!

I will heed your advice and go with your recommendation. I like the cut of the two stones I looked at, but as you say, it probably isn’t necessary to pay more for the higher clarity grade.

I’ll probably place my order later this week.

Please accept my most grateful thanks, I doubt I could have chosen without help!

I’m very happy I could be helpful!

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