Whether you’re buying a diamond ring to propose with or just for fun, picking out the right one can be a difficult task. There are just so many options to choose from, and the process can be overwhelming once you factor in things like clarity, color, cut, and style. To make finding the perfect diamond ring a little more manageable, follow this guide.
Buyers Guide to the Perfect Diamond
Most people who ask for a diamond ring have a shape preference. If it’s for you, then you likely have a preference such as round, cushion, heart, or pear. You’ll likely want a round shaped diamond because of its versatility, but any shape can look great on most hands. If you’re not sure of what you’d like, search the shape you want and view diamonds in different length and width ratios within the shape you like to help narrow it down.
A full 1.00-carat diamond will be costly, so if you want something more affordable when you create your diamond ring, find a carat weight under the popular full carats such as ½ ct. And ¾ ct. A .90 carat will also be sold at a discounted rate. A smaller carat weight diamond may have a diameter equal to a heavier diamond, so you won’t always sacrifice on size. Marquise cuts are usually cheaper per carat than other shapes.
Imperfections are common in diamonds, but that doesn’t mean the diamond will look cheap. If you want a near-perfect diamond, choose a VVS2 or better, but VS1-VS2 diamonds appear flawless to the naked eye. SI1 diamonds have inclusions that aren’t too obvious, and many customers will choose this clarity to spend more on the cut and color. Larger diamonds should opt for a higher grade, while smaller ones can get away with the SI1-SI2 range.
A diamond’s color isn’t distinguishable with the naked eye unless it’s an entirely different color (yellow diamonds). White/clear diamonds of D grade are considered colorless, while Z is very yellow. D-F grades are priced at a premium, but if you don’t have a large diamond, you won’t be able to notice any yellow in the G-M grades. Diamonds can hide color really well, so invest in a higher cut and a lower grade as the quality of the stone will look better.
Cut grade isn’t uniformly defined, so it’s important to know what each diamond retailer considers a “Good” cut. The cut grade is the most crucial factor in determining the overall appearance of a diamond, and a poor cut can make the stone look dull or cheap. Most retailers online will use “Very Good” or “Excellent” for their cuts. It’s better to spend money on a Very Good diamond for easy cuts (round) and Good to Fair for harder cuts (heart).
What if I’m Over Budget?
You’ve finished picking out the perfect diamond, but you’re way over budget. If that’s the case, go back and reduce the clarity to about an SI1 because most imperfections on the diamond won’t be noticeable. Next, reduce the color. Don’t go any lower than J if possible unless you’re comfortable with a yellow diamond. Finally, reduce the cut. Only decrease the cut if you’re still over budget to Good for round diamond and Fair for fancier cuts.
While you may not get the desired diamond you’re looking for within your budget, there are still plenty of beautiful clarity grades, colors, and cuts available to you. Don’t get discouraged: ask your online jeweler how to get a similar look within your price range.
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