The Diamond Pro

Q&A: Looking for Best Round Diamond for $3500 Budget, Local Jeweler or Online?

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 searching for a diamond but have narrowed it down to a couple from talking to local jewelers. They are giving me mixed opinions though. My budget is around 3500 which they both have come very close to BUT the diamonds differ. One (We’ll call it Diamond A) is 1 ct. VS-clarity and I-color. It’s not a certified diamond but I looked through a 10x loupe and could only see 1 bubble (I’m far from experienced though).

The other jeweler is going to show me a couple diamonds later this week (had to order them). She is going to show me G and H color and SI1 clarity diamonds .90 and .91 ct.

My question is which is more important, higher color or higher clarity? I am planning on a white gold solitaire ring because she won’t see it until I pop the question. I figured this way she would have more options when picking out her wedding band (is this true?).

Thank you soooo much and you website is absolutely the best. It’s gotten me this far!

I would stay away from this jeweler completely. The ONLY reason to sell a non-certified diamond of that price is if you are hiding something. 1) There is no way the diamond is actually an I VS2 by professional standards and 2) The diamond is likely very poorly cut.

Certifying a diamond costs $50-75 dollars. The jeweler doesn’t even certify them himself. I’d say about 98% of diamonds in that quality range are certified by the diamond manufacturers before they even reach the US. The better ones get legitimate certificates (GIA and AGS), and the worse ones get certified by more dubious certificates (gemscan, IGI or the infamous EGL). The bottom 2% are horrifically cut diamonds, or diamonds with fatal flaws (like yellow fluorescence).

So the jeweler either bought one of the bottom 2% and is trying to pawn it off on you. Or he bought a diamond with a certificate, thought he can trick someone into thinking its a better grade and threw out the certificate.

An I VS2 1ct with a Very Good cut (not even excellent) costs $5,000-6,000. Does saving the $75 on the certificate seem like a good reason to sell the diamond for half its true value?

I’m sorry, but jewelers and the manufacturer (like the one I used to work for), who use illegitimate/no certification to deceive customers really makes me sick. That was a big part of why I walked away from the business originally, and why I like what we do now (helping consumers avoid the screwing) so much.

Thank you for the response!

After reading your section on color, I realize I can sacrifice a bit on color (white gold solitaire) but the jewelers I’ve talked to won’t deal anything below an H. What do you recommend? I’m a little nervous buying one online because I can’t see it before I buy it. Could you give me 5 minutes of your time to talk on the phone? I have a couple questions that would be easier to explain on the phone. My number is… You can call me anytime and I will return the call as quickly as possible. Thank you again so much!

I would recommend a pair like this:

The knife edge solitaire is very popular right now. Personally its my favorite. I love that diamond and think this is a great combo.

I am trying to keep it a little closer to $4,000. Here are a few I found but it is showing Blue in the picture, is that the Flou?

I’m not sure but but would the florescents make these look better?

Go with the third one. Its the best of the three (cut-wise). The medium blue is a nice bonus.

Thank you so much. I ordered everything this morning. Thank you again for the help. I greatly appreciate it!

Let me know how it looks when it arrives.

I will! I still had an appointment with a local jeweler. Mainly just to see how they compared. He showed me a couple EGL certified .7 & .8 ct, H&I – SI diamonds. I was generally pleased with them so I feel really good about the GIA cert, .9 I-VS I ordered. I’ll let you know how it looks when it gets here. Thank you again for the help!

Sounds great. Keep me posted.

Looks great! I am very impressed with how it looks. Compared to the other diamonds the jewelers showed me this one is by far a better buy! Thank you sooo much for your help.

I did completely miscalculate her finger size though. I ordered a 5.5, she is more like a 3.25 or 3.5. I will have to contact James Allen and try to get it resized.

Thank you again for all of your help! I’ve already told so many people about you and your website. What a life changer!

Thanks for writing and letting us know. I’m delighted that you were pleased with our help. Do you think you can do us a quick favor and write us a small review on If you could, we would be extremely grateful. Here is the link:


We wish you and your partner a life of happiness and fulfillment.


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