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Cheapest source for quality lab diamonds?

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
Hi all, I’ve been shopping around for high quality lab diamonds for an engagement ring. I’m looking for:

1.3-2.2 carets
- Emerald cut
- Minimal windowing or extinction
- Color D-F
- Clarity VS1 or better. Ideally VVS2 or better
- Depth 61-68%
- Ratio 1.4-1.5

So far in my shopping I’ve noticed a few places showing up repeatedly:

- Brilliant Earth
- With Clarity
- Clean Origin
- James Allen

Are there any other places I can find the best deals on quality lab diamonds meeting these criteria? Thanks! She’s not interested in natural diamonds so I won’t go down that rabbit hole.
 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
@Gemma10, can you share how was the experience like working with D.Nea, and if they have a large inventory? Were they able to advise you on how the stone performs IRL etc?

So far from what I have seen, Brilliant Earth has the largest inventory but their customer service seems terrible. The other vendors either has small inventory, or prices are a lot more marked up.
 

Gemma10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Messages
22
Eric at DNEA Diamonds got us our 4 carat+ diamond, it was more affordable than any websites and he is low pressure....
Yes of course... I would love to help.... as analytical professionals we did our research almost memorizing the prices for cuts, clarity and color and how much they go up or down depending on specs.... Eric would send us what the market has available, which for us was very limited as we wanted 4.5+ and D or E..VS1... he wa patient and explained every option.... he made amazing Cads... no pressure and was our advocate... and the diamond we got from him was also being sold on BE and it was heavily marked up... so I would strongly suggest you reach out to Eric and see him as an option.... he is very honest and isn’t a salesperson he explains every pro and con and I appreciated that and his setting was stunning after all the revisions he never once lost patience ...we got videos, FaceTimes... I mean it was very hands on and even after we had the setting designed and diamond in hand he was wanting to sure we were happy... and he has a trade in option etc.... our ring should be ready soon...
 

Gemma10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Messages
22
Yes of course... I would love to help.... as analytical professionals we did our research almost memorizing the prices for cuts, clarity and color and how much they go up or down depending on specs.... Eric would send us what the market has available, which for us was very limited as we wanted 4.5+ and D or E..VS1... he wa patient and explained every option.... he made amazing Cads... no pressure and was our advocate... and the diamond we got from him was also being sold on BE and it was heavily marked up... so I would strongly suggest you reach out to Eric and see him as an option.... he is very honest and isn’t a salesperson he explains every pro and con and I appreciated that and his setting was stunning after all the revisions he never once lost patience ...we got videos, FaceTimes... I mean it was very hands on and even after we had the setting designed and diamond in hand he was wanting to sure we were happy... and he has a trade in option etc.... our ring should be ready soon... also yes he advises on every aspect, showed videos of diamond in testing devices... explained every detail and honestly it was educating and an informed decision... I would recommend him to everyone
 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
@pontoon, Unlike rounds, you cannot predict performance based on numbers alone.
With fancy shapes like Emerald cuts, you rneed an experienced eye to see it and determine how it performs IRL.

Request an ASET picture to determine light performance/leakage issues. Also ask the vendor if they can assess the stone for you and tell you how it performs.

Since this does require a level of knowledge on the part of the seller, I would suggest working with vendors where the individual in question has extensive diamond knowledge. I know Martin from USA certed diamonds is very competitive w pricing, and a poster recently mentioned he is working with lab diamonds as well, so might be worth it to give him a call (you can see tons of positive testimonials of him on here)


Or D.Nea given @Gemma10 's positive experience working with him. D.Nea has been in the lab business for a very long time,so I assume they would know what they are talking about.

Places like ADA diamonds and August Vintage are more expensive because they offer a premium service in selecting diamonds for you with videos etc.

Another way to go about this is, say you do find a decently priced stone that looks good on an online inventory, you can always order and have it shipped to a trusted appraiser to have them take a look and give you their honest assessment. Or have it shipped to you and bring it to an independent certified appraiser. I suggest steering clear of appraisers in jewelry stores because there's a conflict of interest there (they might diss your stone just to get you to buy a stone from their store).

If you do a search on PS there is a list of appraisers listed - you can also find certified appraisers by state on the National Associations of Jewelry Appraisers.
 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
@Gemma10, thanks very much for the reply. We are looking around the 4+ carat range as well and you are right, it's slim pickings at best. I am looking for a fancy shape so it's a lot harder to find. I found several stones on Brilliant Earth listed on other online inventories for 20% to 30% less so it doesn't seem like a good place to purchase from.

It sounds like working w Eric has been a positive experience for you! Can you share what the trade in option is? Can't wait to see what your ring looks like!
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
@Gemma10, thanks very much for the reply. We are looking around the 4+ carat range as well and you are right, it's slim pickings at best. I am looking for a fancy shape so it's a lot harder to find. I found several stones on Brilliant Earth listed on other online inventories for 20% to 30% less so it doesn't seem like a good place to purchase from.

It sounds like working w Eric has been a positive experience for you! Can you share what the trade in option is? Can't wait to see what your ring looks like!
What sites list stones cheaper than brilliant earth?
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
7,055
This is the list of vendors we've put together on here - not all are tested but it is a useful starting point :)

 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
@pontoon, I have found clean origin and great heights to be fairly good with pricing, although they have a smaller inventory than BE.

JA prices seems to be somewhat high and around BE price range, although it's been a while since I checked.

There's a lot more retailers on the list that @OoohShiny mentioned whom I have no experience with. Worth taking a look and doing the price comparison across sites. And re: what @doublegg said is true, a best price might not necessarily be a best deal since there might be issues e.g. Brown body tint which is reflected in the price . A good appraiser or seller would go a long way to help you select a good stone.
 

AprilBaby

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 17, 2008
Messages
10,449
Mia Donna has a large selection but I’m not familiar with what is a good price.
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
So far I can find options in the 4-5k range for EC meeting the criteria. I haven’t found anything cheaper yet. I’d love to find a 1.3 caret for closer to 2k if possible.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,369
Who is making the ring?

For instance, David Klass is making me a ring and he has access to lab stones, which I am using for the halo.

Perhaps the person making the ring can find and vet stones for you?
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
I was planning to get a setting with side stones already in place from an unknown seller. Still looking... It’s tough to find settings with lab stones. I imagine custom settings are more expensive? I’m trying to keep the setting under 2k with side baguettes (0.25-0.4 tcw) in platinum.
 

Gemma10

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 6, 2019
Messages
22
I will definitely post my ring once it is made, Eric designed the setting and matching bands and was very affordable.....my stone is:

Ideal
4.76 carat
E color
VS1

it was around 15,000 more on BE.....it is no longer on their website as we purchased it through ERIC

his upgrade policy is I believe he will trade in the diamond for 100% toward any diamond that is more expensive, no minimums
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
Does anyone know why high quality 1.3 caret EC is nearly impossible to find? There’s a ton of 1c and 1.5 caret but little 1.3 caret. Do the growers avoid the sizes between nice fractions?
 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
Thanks @Gemma10 - that's really good to know. So glad you found a wonderful stone at a good value too. That upgrade policy is great too - definitely will come in useful when DSS bites. Do post pics when your ring is ready!

@pontoon, traditional diamond prices has a price jump around each 0.5 carat increment. With lab diamonds they are trying to peg the market to mined diamonds so that could be why they cut it at the 1 carat / 1.5 carat mark etc.

It could also be the market - you see a lot of people looking for diamonds at such increments as well (e.g. 2, 2.5 etc) , and rarely at numbers like 1.3 etc.


I noticed you mentioned looking for baguette settings - has your girl already seen and tried equivalent sizes in person. I have a baguette setting as well (0.4ctw I.e. 0.2 each side) and at that size, the baguette diamonds look rather flat and there's not much sparkle IRL. It's not bad but it's an acquired taste.
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
Thanks @Gemma10 - that's really good to know. So glad you found a wonderful stone at a good value too. That upgrade policy is great too - definitely will come in useful when DSS bites. Do post pics when your ring is ready!

@pontoon, traditional diamond prices has a price jump around each 0.5 carat increment. With lab diamonds they are trying to peg the market to mined diamonds so that could be why they cut it at the 1 carat / 1.5 carat mark etc.

It could also be the market - you see a lot of people looking for diamonds at such increments as well (e.g. 2, 2.5 etc) , and rarely at numbers like 1.3 etc.


I noticed you mentioned looking for baguette settings - has your girl already seen and tried equivalent sizes in person. I have a baguette setting as well (0.4ctw I.e. 0.2 each side) and at that size, the baguette diamonds look rather flat and there's not much sparkle IRL. It's not bad but it's an acquired taste.
We were seeing them in the 0.3-0.4 tcw size I would guess. Her favorite was on the smaller side of that range. She likes the baguettes to be delicate and not detract from the center stone. She likes a 1.3 caret center stone.

What size baguettes do you all think is most appropriate for a 1.3 caret? The idea is that the stones would look proportionally sized, where the baguettes are obviously smaller than the center stone.

Also today she said something that hinted that she is expecting an oval center stone, so I’m officially confused! I was totally sure she prefers EC. I preferred oval myself, so maybe she took that to mean that’s what shes getting... hmm.:confused:
 

SJEsper

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2019
Messages
33
@pontoon, I personally find a 0.2 carat baguette very tiny and delicate. Ultimately the proportion depends on the measurement of the stone you purchase. The jeweler you work with can advise you on what proportions would look good with the diamond you have selected.

If there's mixed messages regarding whether or not she wants an emerald cut or oval, I strongly suggest talking to her about it, because it is such a different look. The benefit of an oval is that it looks larger than a round or an emerald cut of the same carat weight. But there's a tendency for ovals to have bowties (I.e.it goes dark across the center of the stone, so again you need a vendor with a good eye to pick some out for you.
 

pontoon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
35
I just got a 1.2 caret from with clarity! The setting I want is 7x5mm, and this stone is 7.1x4.97mm, so hopefully that will be close enough.

The stone is a 1.2 caret emerald cut, VVS2 clarity, E color. Depth is 68% so not too bad. It looks like it doesn't have issues with windowing or extinction, so I think it'll be perfect.

I'm pretty happy with the price. It was just under $2,500.

Now I just need to find some pesky lab made baguettes, or a setting that uses lab baguettes...
 
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