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26k budget - Help needed with diamond recommendations

miko0308

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
3
Hi Everyone! I am new to PS and there is soooo much information on here that I am quite overwhelmed, literally my anxiety is through the roof! After 10 years of dating, my boyfriend and I are ready to buy a ring :clap:. My boyfriend shared his budget with me and has left it up to me to pick the diamond I want. I initially thought that I could get away with just learning about the 4 C's and that it would be enough but boy was I wrong. Just from my research the last couple of days on this website, I have learned that "Cut is King". What I don't quite understand yet is how to analyze a diamond cut and what specs I should be looking for. I also read that depending on the cut and color a smaller diamond can appear bigger. What should I be looking for if I want to consider this option? What is the difference between fire, sparkle, and brilliance?

I am hoping that you guys can give me guidance on what criteria (measurements, depth, table, crown angle, pavilion angle, crown %, girdle, symmetry, polish, crown, pavilion - am i missing anything?) I should be using to find my diamond of preference. I am not familiar with how to read and look at images for ASET Scope and Idea Scope (it's super confusing and intimidating:doh:). Any recommendations on diamonds I should consider would be greatly appreciated! Here is what I am looking for:

  • Budget: $26k
  • Shape: Round Brilliant
  • Carat Weight: 2 cts ++ ( Ideally ~2.2)
  • Clarity: VVS2 - VS1
  • Color: E-F (should I consider G?)
  • Cut: Excellent - Very Good
  • fluorescence: What should I aim for?
  • HCA: I read that I should find one with a range between 1.0 - 2.0
  • Lab: GIA,AGS (Is one better than the other?)
Ultimately I am looking for a diamond with a cut that will produce the most optimal fire, sparkle, and brilliance (can a girl have all 3 :mrgreen2:?) that is around ~2.2 carats. Is this realistic with the parameters I have listed above? Do I need to re-adjust to fit within my budget? If so, what should I give up? Again, any recommendations on diamonds I should consider looking at would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!!
 

Kaycee2018

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 14, 2018
Messages
758
You have a healthy budget and will probably get lots of suggestions to go lower in color and/or clarity with a “super ideal” in your budget. Those are not necessarily bad suggestions. Super ideal vendors offer diamonds that are “sure things” with optimal performance based on advanced imaging and usually come with generous upgrade policies. But if you are willing to do the research you can find something within your budget and at the color and clarity grades you prefer without paying that “super ideal” premium. Just an FYI, color is very subjective. My GIA graded G color 2.73ct is plenty white for me. But some won’t go below DEF due to color sensitivity or for cultural reasons, while others don’t see tint in lower colors and are perfectly happy with HIJ colors . Same thing for clarity, but most will go for any clarity grade as long as it’s “eye clean” (even though there is no universal standard for “eye clean”). I’d recommend seeing GIA graded diamonds in the 2ct range in varying color and clarity grades IRL (and not under jewelry store lighting, which is designed to make all diamonds look good). Ask to see them under the display case, in the bathroom or office, by the window, outside in natural light, etc. to get a real feel for your tolerance. Also, the HCA is a rejection tool and anything scoring 2 or less is worth considering (even up to 2.5 in some cases), so I wouldn’t limit your search to between 1 and 2. Of course if you want a sure thing without any guesswork, a super ideal ven like whiteflash, Brian Gavin of Crafted by Infinity Is the as to go. GL
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 22, 2020
Messages
826
Firstly - don’t be anxious, be excited! Congratulations on your upcoming engagement!! What a wonderful time!

I think it would be really really helpful if you could see some diamonds in real life, but I recognise that that is not always possible (especially now with the pandemic). So I’ll give you some opinions of mine that will hopefully help you figure out what you like:

- I personally believe cut is king, but how persnickety you want to be about cut is up to you - do you want a diamond in the top 10% of cut? Probably anything with an HCA of 2-2.5 or below will get you there. Top 5% of cut? Will have to do some research into complementary angles, maybe this post will help. Top 1% of cut? Stick with a “super ideal” vendor like WF, HPD, BG etc (this is presuming you prefer the small table / fiery (fire meaning lots of coloured flashes) combo that super ideals present). Also, you might NOT like the look of a super ideal (some people don’t!) - maybe you prefer something like a 60-60 style which faces up slightly spreadier and is great for white light return / brilliance, at the expense of fire (they’ll still have some fire, but not like ideal cuts). No one can answer that question for you. You’ll have to answer it for yourself. Maybe try and find videos on YT that show you different types of stones... or pictures here on PS. I’ve seen some videos before, can maybe help you narrow down what you like.

- Lab: GIA and AGS are considered comparable in the US I believe. Outside of the US, GIA dominates. If you’re spending some time evaluating the diamond on the basis of advanced images and proportions, I don’t know how relevant the choice of lab would be for you as long as you stick to these 2. Purely personally, I would go for GIA, because I don’t live in the US.

- colour: such a purely personal opinion! I will say that G&H are considered “nearly colourless” in that a lot of people wont be able to visually distinguish or won’t care about the difference and it will appear “colourless” to them, especially once set and in real life and not in comparison to something else, but that’s a personal call. You should ideally be seeing them in person (or maybe the GOG colour videos on YT) to figure out your personal comfort. Colour sensitive people can tell the difference. Cultural considerations could play a role. It might not be “mind clean” for you (would it bug you if it was an H, as long as it appeared white to your eyes? If not, then H is mind clean for you. If yes, don’t get the H!) You might find that G is the cut off for colour for you, or that you really want to stick to EF and that’s absolutely fine!

- clarity: similarly with clarity, as long as there are no transparency or durability concerns (quite unlikely with a VS2, and maybe even with SI1) I don’t personally see the point in paying the VVS premium. Anything “eye clean” works for me. But defining eye clean is important - is it just no visible inclusions when looking at the top, or do you also not want visible inclusions in the sides? As before - cultural and mind clean considerations are super important. Better to spend a little more now than regret later, so you’ll have to answer for yourself. I do think VS2 should be safe 90% of the time (or more) for 2-2.5ct size, so you could broaden your search to VS2 to see if it brings more into your purview.

Have fun shopping!
 

Snowdrop13

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
2,137
Might be a stretch to get to 2.2ct with those colour and clarity requirements,

Here‘s one from James Allan (although you’d need to ask them for the certificate, which is one thing that puts me off them). Has strong fluorescence which will help keep the price down,


or this,


if you want to go the superideal route you’d be just under 2cts,


Lowering the colour to H will increase the options, example,


And lowering clarity to eye clean Si1 even more!


Everyone has their own “sweet spot” when it comes to colour and clarity. Do you know if you are colour sensitive or not? It might be good for you to see different diamonds in person to determine this, as you might be surprised! I have an I superideal cut which faces up very white. If it were me buying with this budget then this stone would be my choice,

https://www.hpdiamonds.com/en-us/diamonddetail/HPD10400

:kiss2:

PS do not even consider “very good” cut. Excellent cut only with GIA.
 
Last edited:

LLJsmom

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
9,989
Ok. So if you want super ideal, WF, CBI, BGD, Canera, you will not be able to reach 2.0, E or F, VS1 or above with a $26k budget. Just do the search in their website with those criteria and you will see what I mean. Your budget would need to be at $32k or thereabouts at least. However it doesn’t mean you can find a very beautiful stone at $26K. You can go down in color, size, some combo of both or go hunting on your own. I’ve never bought from James Allen but I understand they’re very competitive in price. I’ve done a lot of blue Nile searches on my own and their prices although slightly below WF AND CBI, to me not worth the uncertainty and not worth sacrificing the AWESOME upgrade policy of either WF or CBI. I will say from personal experience that I found an AGS stone through a Blue Nile search that I have found to be as beautiful as WF stones I’ve seen. That is only my opinion. And it was a hard search. I suggest trying to see what you really like and want. It may mean ordering a stone from WF or CBI and just wearing it for a while and seeing what you like and don’t like over the course of a week. Then you can figure out YOUR criteria and can choose the best stone to fit your budget, or adjust your budget if need be. As an example I had a chance to wear an H AGS for a while and while it was a stunning stone I found it too warm in very specific environments and lighting. That itself told me I could not live with an H long term. But you have to test out the stone for longer periods of time to figure that out. Or maybe you don’t and you know for sure. Some people do. It took me a while to figure it out. Or maybe you discover that you don’t mind or notice. Then you can max out on size or clarity. Whatever you need. Let us know how it goes.
 

miko0308

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
3
You have a healthy budget and will probably get lots of suggestions to go lower in color and/or clarity with a “super ideal” in your budget. Those are not necessarily bad suggestions. Super ideal vendors offer diamonds that are “sure things” with optimal performance based on advanced imaging and usually come with generous upgrade policies. But if you are willing to do the research you can find something within your budget and at the color and clarity grades you prefer without paying that “super ideal” premium. Just an FYI, color is very subjective. My GIA graded G color 2.73ct is plenty white for me. But some won’t go below DEF due to color sensitivity or for cultural reasons, while others don’t see tint in lower colors and are perfectly happy with HIJ colors . Same thing for clarity, but most will go for any clarity grade as long as it’s “eye clean” (even though there is no universal standard for “eye clean”). I’d recommend seeing GIA graded diamonds in the 2ct range in varying color and clarity grades IRL (and not under jewelry store lighting, which is designed to make all diamonds look good). Ask to see them under the display case, in the bathroom or office, by the window, outside in natural light, etc. to get a real feel for your tolerance. Also, the HCA is a rejection tool and anything scoring 2 or less is worth considering (even up to 2.5 in some cases), so I wouldn’t limit your search to between 1 and 2. Of course if you want a sure thing without any guesswork, a super ideal ven like whiteflash, Brian Gavin of Crafted by Infinity Is the as to go. GL
Thank you so much for your response! I am going to make a few appointments to go see more diamonds in person to get an idea of how much color affects the diamond and what my preference is. I will share updates soon!
 

krazikera

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Messages
8
I’d just like to add that you should try viewing the diamonds in different lighting- store lighting vs normal lighting are totally different. Have fun!
 

miko0308

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 29, 2020
Messages
3
Hi everyone! I am back :) After much thought and a few trips to the diamond shops I've decided that I am OK with going down in color and clarity to get the size that I would be happy with. That being said the new range I am looking at is a 2.2-2.3 carat diamond VVS2-SI1 color EFGH execellent cut. Optimally, I am looking for a diamond that has excellent fire and brilliance. I am still pretty new and have minimal knowledge of how to vet a diamond. I would appreciate anyones help to source a diamond that fits the criteria above within a budget of $28,000. To get started, are any of the ones I have listed below a match?



https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...olor-vvs2-clarity-true-hearts-cut-sku-8824984 (this one is a bit out of my budget but if it is a good ring I would consider it)

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-di...ferral&utm_campaign=earthdiamonds-ps&a_aid=ps (this one is a bit out of my budget but if it is a good ring I would consider it)


 
Last edited:

tyty333

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
22,662
If you are looking for the best sparkle/fire/brilliance I would definitely go with a Super Ideal. Any chance you might want
to go bigger(or higher color like D/E) in the future? Super Ideal vendors have the best trade-up policies.

I would ask for a picture of the G and H together Face up and pavilion up.

FYI...Stones from the Super IDeal vendors we recommend are AGS000 (Ideal Light return), H&A with all the images so you
know they are good (actually Ideal) performers.
 

Mavimaui

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 14, 2019
Messages
27
I like the cut of the Whiteflash G; and would reach out to HPD to see what the status is of a few in their inventory close to your budget such as the one recommended by @LLJsmom or this one..


For HPD stones, the H will face up just as white as the G from my experience, but you may see the smallest of tint when compared to a G against a white background if looking from the side.
 
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