Help deciding on a loose diamond--most important?

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Oct 30, 2002

We are in the market for a loose diamond to be set in a ring such as the picture attached (well thats my favorite so far). I have done my share of online searching, as well as visited a number of offline jewelry stores. I''ve been to upscale offline stores, and the mall jewelers (just to see what not to get!), and even started my own little spreadsheet comparing pricing, cut, table/depth, quality, etc and the online and offline findings. Some findings are very obvious, e.g. one offline store is about 20% more than another one. However, some things are a little harder to gauge.

For example, I know that it really does come down to personal satisfaction on the final decision on something such as this. However, how does one gauge the quality of a ring through an online vendor? I love the internet, in fact I''m in Internet Marketing, so I am very dedicated to purchasing online and know there are stellar deals to be had for savvy buyers. However, nothing quite beats going into the store and seeing the sparkly jewelry on my hand or seeing them open the little paper that has the loose diamond reflecting brilliance from within. What it comes down to that immediate visual effect worth an extra $1 or 2k when it comes down to plunking down the plastic? I don''t really know yet.

So I figured I''d turn to the experts. You guys have seen it all, or quite alot anyway. I''m torn between sacrificing color for clarity or vice versa. I''m torn between sacrificing clarity for size. The one thing that I do know that I want is a good cut. I know the ''ideal''cut is really a brand, but I want a sparkly diamond. I want to cause accidents when I stand on the corner of the street. It doesn''t have to be super huge (we are looking between 1.15-1.3 depending on WHAT is most important), but it has to be sparkly.

I''ve been told that color is more important than clarity..we all look with our eyes and we can SEE slight yellow in an H or an I or a J, but we can''t SEE a VS2 vs a VS1. Is this really true? Does it depend on the inclusions in that particular diamond? It would seem so, when one views the GIA or AGS certifications that online etailers put up for you to see. One SI1 could have what looks like a huge blooming flower in the middle of the stone, and another SI1 could have a tiny feather on the right side, what seems to be barely visible. How is that? How are they both considered SI1? We originally started out looking at an I/VS1. However, after the comment that we should be looking more at color than clarity, I started searching for more along the lines of a F or G/SI1. After a few GIA certs online showed what looked like alot of inclusions, I thought, well maybe VS *IS* the way to go. But then I read about people who have SI rings that are gorgeous..if it''s the right cut. This just takes me back to my original confusion. How do you make that decision online? Is it best to go into a store and pay a markup? Will stores ever make a discount concession if they know you are close to buying online?

In any case, I know I have alot of questions. I just can''t seem to clear things up in my head. Also, what makes it worse is I have a pair of gorgeous earrings, very sparkly, that are F/VS2''s..and it almost seems as though these earrings (total 1c) might end up being better quality than my ring! While it sounds silly...somehow that just goes against my grain. However, it''s not my money I am spending..its my soon-to-be-fiance''s, and so I am trying to be wise with the budget we do have. But I just don''t know what is best..and the decision rides heavily on me as he knows I love to do initial research on things such as this to find the ''best'' deal.

Anyway, what I think we are looking for now is a 1.15-1.3 carat round diamond with an ideal or close to an ideal type cut, maximum sparkle, I love the rainbow effect...and along the lines of an F or G color with a VS1 or VS2 clarity. Our budget for the diamond itself is maxed out at $7500 as the setting (attached) is somewhat pricey. Am I dreaming to find this in retail? Is my best bet just take a chance and hope for the best? I''ve found a few online vendors that have things within our range (e.g. Diamond Wholesale, DirtCheapDiamonds, Ashford), but or offline? What about trade-up/in value? Online stores don''t seem to have this, while offline..the stores we are looking at do.

Another question for the experts. What is ''dispersion'' and how does it affect the look of the diamond. The sparkle?

Lastly...what is the ideal depth/table/crown/pavilion for an ''ideal'' or very brilliant cut? I have heard a jeweler say her idea of ideal depth is around 59-62 and table is around 56-58. She''s a GIA graduate, if that helps. BlueNile.Com''s ''signature ideal'' diamonds say that depth should be 60-62 and table 55-57. This is slightly off from what the GIA graduate told me. So what is considered ''ideal'' or what would maximize the fire within the diamond.

I''ll stop now, because I could go on forever. I like to think I''m pretty educated, what with my cool spreadsheet and lots of visits to stores and all. But I have yet to make simple decisions...and its getting very frustrating!!

Any help, comments or suggestions are welcome. I''m looking for honest opinions, and I know this forum has tons of experts..who have nothing to gain but know they helped!

I appreciate it.



Nov 26, 2001
Hi Mara,

From your description, you seem to be like me - you educate yourself, you "shop" to find the "best deal", and then you're happy once you've found that "bargain" (Don't you love it?!) Anyway, here's my 2cents... (nice setting btw)...
With a budget of $7500. for the stone alone, I am sure you will find exactly what you're looking for. 1.15-1.30 is not a tremendous stone, so you should expect to find a great color & clarity combination, while also obtaining the great cut & sparkly look you want.
If you have not read any of my posts, I have a marquise that's 1.44ct, GIA graded "E", "VS2", that is FULL of fire & life, best part - I was able to stay under your max. budget. I have had 2 jewelers tell me that they felt my stone probably should have been graded an SI1, but there are no visible inclusions from the table (only 1 slight one that can be seen looking up from the side). With being a savy shopper, I'm sure you'll be able to find the same or even a D SI1.
Find an interent dealer with a good return policy - that way you won't have to worry if all of the numbers seem right but it doesn't have the brilliance you were looking for. I'd rather do it that way than "plunking down the plastic and paying a few thousand more to see it beforehand"!



Oct 26, 2002
Well, in the end I went with because they have online scans of the certs and photos of many stones. And I decided to get an AGS 000 so as never to second guess myself since I do not have enough experience to know how to balance quality. And I double checked the cut on the "Cut Advisor" software and it was 0.8. It is a VS1 and I cannot see the inclusions with a 10x loupe but can see them with my Leica stereo microscope. If the diamond was one yard wide, the inclusions might be BB sized in comparison. My guess is that F/G/H VS2 is a good place to be. But yes, an inclusion could be on the side or in the middle -- you can tell by looking at the cert. Mine are actually in the middle but still too small to see even with the loupe. Niceice shipped the same day, I had the stone the next day, it came with great packaging and documentation + insurance appraisal, and they enclosed a loupe + tweezers and a return package to send those back. It was a nice touch -- although I had just bought my own loupe and tweezers! Doh!
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