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Help Buying Loose Diamond Online

MBB_Dude

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
4
I'm looking to buy a loose diamond online and have a few questions. I am looking for a diamond with 1.15 to 1.3 carats, VG to EX Cut, VS2 to IS1, and E or F clarity. Online it looks like I can get one for between $6K and $8K. When comparing retail in person shops to online, I see a $2K to $4K difference in price. I must have been to 4 different shops in person and when I mention the online prices being way lower for the same GIA rating, they try to convince me that store bought diamonds are of higher quality with the same GIA rating and that you don't know what you are getting unless you see it in person. Some even claimed that first the best diamonds are bought by retail locations then whatever is left over is bought by the online stores. So my questions are:

1) Is there any truth to stones with similar GIA ratings being better at retail locations than online?

2) Is it better to get the whole ring and diamond from the same place (either all online or all retail store)? I would prefer to get a setting I have seen in person. Jared's had some good looking setting and they say they can set it same day. Should I get the diamond insured before I get it set if they are different places?

3) If I do get the setting online, are there certain websites that are better at setting the diamond properly?

3) Are there any online sellers that are particularly good or terrible? I have read good things about White Flash and James Allen but I'm not sure I can trust the sites that recommended them. On the flip side I have read good and terrible things about B2C and Solomon Brothers. Any thoughts on those or any other sites that are great or should be avoided?

4) How are the return policies if I get a stone and don't like it? Does it vary greatly by website? Are there any websites that are known for making it really hard to return?

Thanks for all your help! This website is great!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
I am on my phone and can't reply to all questions. Someone will be along soon to help you through. You're in the right place.
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,171
1) Is there any truth to stones with similar GIA ratings being better at retail locations than online?
Many vendors claim their diamonds are more precision cut than the others. This can be debated
But for me, a diamond is a diamond. As long as you look for a diamond with the following proportions (assuming you are looking for an round) and confirm the diamond's appearance and light performance with the magnified image and idealscope image, you should be fine
GIA X cut or AGS ideal cut
HCA score less than 2.0 https://www.pricescope.com/tools/hca
table 54-58, pavillion 40.6-41, crown 34-35, depth 62.3 or less

2) Is it better to get the whole ring and diamond from the same place (either all online or all retail store)? I would prefer to get a setting I have seen in person. Jared's had some good looking setting and they say they can set it same day. Should I get the diamond insured before I get it set if they are different places?
Most recommend to have the whole ring done at one place. It is just a headache to ship an expensive item back and forth. Insurance is another issue. If you don't mind to be the handler and coordinator for this entire project, go ahead with multiple vendors.
Most vendors are capable of reproducing simple designs or provide other options, so I do not see any point going with multiple vendors unless you are considering an elaborate design or custom work. You are already concerned about return process and policy that different vendors offer. Why deal with more than one vendor when you can avoid it??

3) If I do get the setting online, are there certain websites that are better at setting the diamond properly?
It is true some vendors offer better settings, craftmanship and customer service than the others. Many often recommend Brian Gavin or Whiteflash.

3) Are there any online sellers that are particularly good or terrible? I have read good things about White Flash and James Allen but I'm not sure I can trust the sites that recommended them. On the flip side I have read good and terrible things about B2C and Solomon Brothers. Any thoughts on those or any other sites that are great or should be avoided?
I have not read horror stories about B2C and Solomon Brothers. Many buy diamonds from them.
Some customers have had issues with premier vendors like Whiteflash, but Whiteflash has shown that they resolve issues very professionally.
No vendors is perfect

4) How are the return policies if I get a stone and don't like it? Does it vary greatly by website? Are there any websites that are known for making it really hard to return?
My understanding is that sites like James Allen and B2C offer free return shipping. Some sites don't.
I have not read any horror story regarding return process, from B2C, Bluenile, Jame Allen to Whiteflash and Brian Gavin.
Some praised how easy the return process is with Blue Nile. Although I have not returned anything, I expect the experience is similar with other vendors.

In short, choosing a vendor depends on your budget, 4Cs of the diamond you are looking for, the shape, the setting, return and upgrade policy, and etc...

If you provide us your budget, the setting, 4Cs and the diamond shape you are considering, members here will give you a few options.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
MBB_Dude|1465258564|4040933 said:
I'm looking to buy a loose diamond online and have a few questions. I am looking for a diamond with 1.15 to 1.3 carats, VG to EX Cut, VS2 to IS1, and E or F clarity. This is a mess. You should be looking at Si1 clarity and H color or better. With the rest of the specs in the range flying pig posted for you. GIA Ex cut or AGS0 or 1 ONLY. No very good cut. Very good is BAD with diamonds. Please read tutorial I have posted for you below. Online it looks like I can get one for between $6K and $8K. When comparing retail in person shops to online, I see a $2K to $4K difference in price. I must have been to 4 different shops in person and when I mention the online prices being way lower for the same GIA rating, they try to convince me that store bought diamonds are of higher quality with the same GIA rating and that you don't know what you are getting unless you see it in person. Some even claimed that first the best diamonds are bought by retail locations then whatever is left over is bought by the online stores. So my questions are:

1) Is there any truth to stones with similar GIA ratings being better at retail locations than online? :liar: No. Complete and utter BS. In fact Infinity has it's own cutting facility because other facilities do not cut diamonds tightly enough for them. And BGD and WF get first choice among good from the VERY tightly vetted cutting houses they work with. This is a scare tactic because most BM retailers can't compete with online pricing so they have to come up with SOME lie to tell their customers. DO NOT shop OR use any store that tells you this for repairs. They are unscrupulous.

2) Is it better to get the whole ring and diamond from the same place (either all online or all retail store)? I would prefer to get a setting I have seen in person. Jared's had some good looking setting and they say they can set it same day. Should I get the diamond insured before I get it set if they are different places? Jared has crap quality for their settings. I can't tell you the nasty melee and shoddy work I've seen there. So do many BMs. If you want a good local BM to buy a setting at, we can usually refer you to one that has nicer quality goods and a dependable bench. Yes, it is EASIER to buy the ring and setting at the same place. Or if not, have the diamond vendor set the diamond as they will automatically insure it with just a minimal setting fee. But if you do take your stone to the setting vendor it is best to get it insured before hand by jewelers mutual. We can usually beat the quality on many settings you get locally online too.

3) If I do get the setting online, are there certain websites that are better at setting the diamond properly? Setting a diamond "properly" is kind of a minimum requirement. Like breathing in a spouse. Sure you NEED a spouse that breathes. But is that sufficient? No. Many places, like Jared, farm out their bench work. This is bad. For many reasons. What you WANT is a place that does their own bench work, ESPECIALLY if you are shopping in person. Make sure the bench is in house and does the work themselves. Now PRONG WORK is different. There's "safe" (minimum requirement) and then there is "attractive" prong work. You want nice prongs on a setting, you should make sure you know what nice prongs look like and which vendors have good prong work. One reason I don't love JA is their bench and prong work isn't as refined as BGD or even WF. No matter how good a setter, there is risk in setting any stone, so yes, make sure the bench is a good one and have your stone insured if you didn't buy the stone at the setting vendor.

3) Are there any online sellers that are particularly good or terrible? I have read good things about White Flash and James Allen but I'm not sure I can trust the sites that recommended them. On the flip side I have read good and terrible things about B2C and Solomon Brothers. Any thoughts on those or any other sites that are great or should be avoided?Yes, there are several less than great vendors. So stick to this list for ROUND stones: Brilliantly Engaged, James Allen, B2C, GOG, WF, and BGD. And Blue Nile, their Signature Ideal stones. Also IDJ. This will give you a great selection of vendors. I do NOT recommend all of them for settings though. So if you want one stop shopping please post the setting style you want and we can tell you what vendors, and what setting you should go for.

4) How are the return policies if I get a stone and don't like it? Does it vary greatly by website? Are there any websites that are known for making it really hard to return?None of the vendors I have listed have a bad return policy. I wouldn't recommend them if they did. But their return policies to vary from 30 days to 7 days and some pay for return shipping and some don't. So yes, you should absolutely read ALL the vendor's policies of ANY store you are buying from and ask any questions you have just before buying. Also, you will be happy to note that our vendor's return policies are MUCH better than most BM stores. In fact many BM's have MUCH worse return policies and give you a harder time than our vendors do.

Thanks for all your help! This website is great!

See above for answers and below for tutorial you need to read.

Round Diamonds 101:

The entire purpose of faceting a diamond is to reflect light.
How well or how poorly a diamond does this determines how beautiful it is.
How well a diamond performs is determined by the angles and cutting. This is why we say cut is king.
No other factor: not color, not clarity has as much of an impact on the appearance of a diamond as its cut. An ideal H will out white a poorly cut F. With round diamonds even a GIA triple Excellent is not enough. And you must stick to GIA and AGS only (HPD in Europe is good as well). EGL is a bad option: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/egl-certification-are-any-of-them-ok.142863/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/egl-certification-are-any-of-them-ok.142863/[/URL]
So how to we ensure that we have the right angles and cutting to get the light performance we want?
https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/diamond-cut
Well one method is to start with a GIA Ex, and then apply the HCA to it. YOU DO NOT USE HCA for AGS0 stones generally, though you can. In general, AGS0 trumps HCA though as one examines the actual stone and the other does not.
https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/holloway-cut-advisor
The HCA is a rejection tool. Not a selection tool. It uses 4 data points to make a rudimentary call on how the diamond may perform.
If the diamond passes then you know that you are in the right zone in terms of angles for light performance. Under 2 is a pass. Under 2.5-2.1 is a maybe. 2.6 and over is a no. No score 2 and under is better than any other.
Is that enough? Not really.

So what you need is a way to check actual light performance of your actual stone.
That's what an idealscope image does. https://www.pricescope.com/wiki/diamonds/firescope-idealscope
It shows you how and wear your diamond is reflecting light, how well it is going at it, and where you are losing light return. That is why you won't see us recommending Blue Nile, as they do not provide idealscope images for their diamonds. BGD,BE, James Allen, GOG, HPD, ERD and WF do.

The Idealscope is the 'selection tool'. Not the HCA.
So yes, with a GIA stone you need the idealscope images. Or you can buy an idealscope yourself and take it in to the jeweler you are working with to check the stones yourself. Or if you have a good return policy (full refund minimum 7 days) then you can buy the idealscope, buy the stone, and do it at home.

Now if you want to skip all that... stick to AGS0 stones and then all you have to do is pick color and clarity and you know you have a great performing diamond. Because AGS has already done the checking for you. That's why they trade at a premium. Some AGS0's are better than others though, so pay attention to any ASET or IS provided.

In general with rounds, you will want a table 60% or less. A depth between 59 and 62.4. Crown angle 33.5-35 (over 35 with idealscope and on case by case only). Pavilion Angle: 40.6-41 . And the crown and pavilion angles must be complimentary which is what the HCA checks for you.

ON COLOR:

It is important to remember is that color is graded FACE DOWN. Where there is NO light return. Not face up where there is light return and refraction. You wear diamonds set. FACE UP.

Within one color grade, even the labs can't agree on the color grades of stones and something could be a "high" H or a "low" E. So... no. Within 2 color grades it is hard to distinguish in unset stones. Not impossible. But hard. And it gets harder once set. If you are talking ideal rounds, or any stone with ideal light return and no sharp corners it gets harder still because the ideal light return masks body color.

Generally we say to be conservative stay above H in a round. But MANY people have happily bought white I or even J diamonds when trying to eek out a little more size.

This is how I think of it.

Ever gotten one of those HUGE paint fan decks? Where there are literally 100s of colors of whites? And when they are RIGHT next to each other you can TOTALLY tell that one is bluer/colder and one is a bit warmer and which one is one is TOTALLY warmer. One there's one that's slightly greener. One that's slightly pinker? But really. They are all white?

Then you pick one after agonizing over this white or that white and when it's on the walls and people are like: Oh. You painted again. And it's STILL white. Great.

And you're all... BUT it's BLUE white. Or it's a WARM white now. It used to be ____ white. It's TOTALLY different.

It's like that. You are talking about shades of white. D is colder... J is warmer. But it's all white.

YES. If you have an accurately graded F and an H THAT HAVE THE SAME PERFORMANCE you are going to be able to tell them apart when you compare them. Just like you would be able to tell if you painted your walls a warm white, but painted the crown molding a cold/straight white. But both are STILL white.


I want you notice all the qualifiers thought. I'm talking about stones with the SAME performance. An ideal H will out white an F that has compromised light performance from a poor cut.

NOTHING impacts the appearance of a diamond as much as cut. CUT is king.

You want the shinest whitest and brightest diamond out there: Cut is King. No other factor, not color or clarity or anything else impacts how white bright an shiny a stone is.

ON CLARITY:
http://www.goodoldgold.com/4Cs/Clarity/SI/ and http://www.goodoldgold.com/4Cs/Clarity/VS/ Generally we say that eyeclean SI1 and VS2 are as high as you need to go with round brilliants, have your vendor check the diamond for this. VS1 will always be eyeclean, but they do cost more and an eyeclean SI1 and a VS1 will look the same to the unaided eye. Si1 and eyeclean will look the same as IF unaided as well.
 

MBB_Dude

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
4
Thank you Gypsy and flyingpig, your responses were extremely helpful. I have been trying to respond for a while but my girlfriend is always around a snooping when I'm on my computer. Gypsy mentioned that some websites are better at settings than others. If I want to get it all from one site, which would you recommend? The type of setting she wants is below:

img_4311_0.jpg

I am a little nervous about getting a stone that is I1/H like Gypsy recommended. With a price around $8K, would I be better off going a little smaller and getting VS2/G? Thanks again you all are amazing.
 

ringo865

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
2,368
Gypsy suggested the floor be SI1 and H. Did you look at the stones she linked? Gypsy is fantastic at finding spectacular performers within budget.

Whiteflash has settings similar till the pic you posted. Price shown is for platinum and for the two-ring set.

http://m.whiteflash.com/diamond-jewelry/compare.aspx?idnos=3778,2353,1477,1467,1619,1545,3709,1628

James Allen has several as well, but they are harder to link.

This page is for sets in white gold. https://www.jamesallen.com/mobile/engagement-rings/channel-set/?IgnorePagePosition=1&MetalType=wg14&MinPrice=0&MaxPrice=4428
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Please review stones we went through the trouble to post for you. Also please read the information on color and clarity.

Then once you have actually spent some time with what we have posted for you, then we'll talk.

That setting is a cheap one. Cheap head, clunky shank. There are much nicer versions of that style. It's a popular one so we won't have any trouble finding one.
 

MBB_Dude

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
4
I had already looked at all of the diamonds Gypsy posted. I just wasn't able to respond sooner because my girlfriend was around all the time. I am just somewhat nervous about what to buy since if I buy the ring online and it doesn't look good, then I miss the window I planned to propose to her during. I reviewed the diamonds again this evening and narrowed it down.

I am leaning toward this diamond:
https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.18-carat-h-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-1766201

I would pair it with one of these settings, ordered from my favorite to least favorite:
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/platinum-thin-channel-set-princess-shaped-diamond-engagement-ring-item-246
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/platinum-channel-set-princess-shaped-diamond-engagement-ring-item-1521
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/platinum-channel-set-carre-shaped-diamond-engagement-ring-item-1346
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/platinum-channel-set-carre-and-princess-shaped-diamond-engagement-ring-item-1889

I don't know anything about the quality of a setting. Any advice would be welcome. Are any of these good settings? Does James Allen do a good job of setting the stones? Is it ok to use a 4 prong head? I have heard that 6 or 8 prongs are better. Do they let me upgrade the head when I check out?

If you recommend avoiding James Allen, my backup would be to go with this stone/setting combo from White Flash:
http://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3595892.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/diamond-settings/scarlet-diamond-engagement-ring-1615.htm

If you have any other recommendations from James Allen or White Flash that look similar but are better quality, I am open to other settings. I would like to keep the cost of the setting below $3K. Thank you so much for all of your help. This process is so overwhelming. I hear from friends to check this website out, I will tell anyone who asks me for advice to come here!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
SO here are my thoughts. Both stones are FANTASTIC there is no bad choice. JA and WF will both be very good choices for they types of settings you are looking at. So I think either/or is going to get you something you can be proud of.


I don't like any of the settings your picked for the size stone you are looking at JA. And I don't think they are going to be that flattering on the hand. So, if I may, I'd like to tweek your setting choices a bit.

At JA:
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/platinum-tapered-baguette-and-princess-engagement-ring-item-50332 (this is the one I prefer, strongly as it will very flattering on the hand and will set off the center stone the best, plus the price is great).
https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/channel-set/18k-white-gold-alternating-baguette-and-round-diamond-engagement-ring-item-49730

Just make sure they put a note IN WRITING on your order, if you order from JA, that you want "pointed, delicate prongs". They will give you some BS, but if they write it on the order the bench will follow through.


At WF, the Scarlet is a lovely setting. But I wanted to bring a few others to your attention.
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/diamond-settings/legato-sleek-line-pave-diamond-engagement-ring-422.htm this is a FANTASTIC setting. Seriously. And so well priced. First choice.
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/ritani-1rz2493-diamond-engagement-ring-3916.htm Second choice.
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/ritani-1rz2487-diamond-engagement-ring-3911.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/diamond-settings/vatche-saran-diamond-engagement-ring-2550.htm
http://www.whiteflash.com/engagement-rings/solitaire/simon-g-mr2220-duchess-diamond-engagement-ring-3528.htm

You will also want to specify "delicate pointed prongs" with WF, and they will not give you BS.

Whiteflash has much better customer service. And does have better upgrade policies.

But both vendors will get you a gorgeous ring.

And BOTH rings will be fully returnable provided you do not customize anything. 4 prongs is just fine on that size stone.
 

ringo865

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
2,368
MBBDude!!! Holy fireworks!!! Congratulations on your engagement. And great job on the ring! Please post pictures Hera and start a new thread over on Show Me The Bling with hand shots, flower shots, mirror shots … you get the idea!!

Congrats again!!
 

Michael R

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 31, 2018
Messages
14
HELP - I am torn between two diamonds and I need some expert advice:

First:
Weight: 1.70
Color: G
Clarity: VVS2
Depth: 61.1
Table: 57
Crown Angle: 34
Crown Height: 14.5
Pavillion Angle: 40.8

Second:
Weight: 1.78
Color: H
Clarity: IF
Depth: 61.1
Table: 56
Crown Angle: 34
Crown Height: 15
Pavillion Angle: 40.8
 

rockysalamander

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
5,022
HELP - I am torn between two diamonds and I need some expert advice:

First:
Weight: 1.70
Color: G
Clarity: VVS2
Depth: 61.1
Table: 57
Crown Angle: 34
Crown Height: 14.5
Pavillion Angle: 40.8

Second:
Weight: 1.78
Color: H
Clarity: IF
Depth: 61.1
Table: 56
Crown Angle: 34
Crown Height: 15
Pavillion Angle: 40.8
We are happy to help, but you should start your own thread.
 
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