Quick Guide to Engagement Diamonds

The day has come. All you’re thinking about is your engagement— engagement rings, engagement diamonds, engagement parties, announcements… You’re keenly focused on all things engagement when you realize you don’t have a clue about diamonds.

Don’t worry. Our easy-peasy engagement diamonds guide will help you figure it all out.

Girl sitting on top of a large diamond with a twinkly star background
The 4Cs are the single most important thing to understand. They determine the value and cost of a diamond—Diamond Cut, Carat, Clarity and Color.
Fancy diamond shapes displayed on shelves
There are 10 basic diamond shapes that you’ll encounter when looking at engagement diamonds, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Canary yellow diamond in a pave setting
Fancy diamonds are diamonds that are naturally colored. They’re extremely rare, very expensive, and coveted by many of the rich and famous.
Pile of imitation diamonds, CZ, Moissanite, etc.
Imitation diamonds are only imitations if they’re representing themselves as diamonds. These are legitimate stones that are worthy of considerations in their own right.
Engagement ring being held betweenfingers with pink nail polish
A diamond’s setting is more than just a question of style, it has substantial bearing on how brilliant and fiery a diamond appears.

Once you’ve read our guide and have a basic understanding of diamonds, you need to understand how to buy loose diamonds. That’s because better quality diamond rings don’t come prepackaged—you have to choose a setting AND the diamond separately.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re more expensive. Any diamond ring’s price is mostly determined by the value of the diamond itself. So an equal quality diamond that is bought separately from the setting will end up costing about the same as a prepackaged one. The only difference is that you get to pick exactly the diamond you want, and determine which of the 4Cs you want to put more money towards.

Buying Loose Diamonds

Buying loose diamonds has never been easier. You need to start somewhere and there is no better place than online…… Why?

Because they have huge inventories.  They sell worldwide and have massive inventories compared to any local jeweler which means you’ll find the perfect loose diamond that meets all your requirements.

Our go-to-store for loose diamonds, JamesAllen, has over 80,000 certified loose diamonds for your viewing pleasure. They have the coolest 360° HD views of each stone where you can see each diamond in 40x superzoom. And, you can pick some favorites to look at in real-time with a non-commissioned diamond and jewelry expert. They’ll share their screen and walk you through the diamond attributes so you can understand how certifications and grades translate into the actual stones.

You won’t find anywhere close to that number of stones at your average jeweler.  Another thing to keep in mind is that online retailers don’t have the overhead of regular stores and they pass those savings on to you. And because they sell worldwide, their customer base is huge. This means they buy and trade loose diamonds in much larger quantities than regular jewelry stores which means they get volume discounts. Think Walmart ;-)

Even if you don’t end up buying from them, or don’t want to,  why not see what’s out there and at what price so that you can be an educated consumer?

Guidelines for Buying Loose Diamonds

You need to know what to look for and how to compare loose diamonds.

1Make sure the retailer is a legitimate jeweler and business and that they have all the proper credentials. BBB ratings are a great indicator for this and so is longevity—so make sure they’ve been in business at least 10 years otherwise… move on. It’s also very important that they offer a money back guarantee and solid upgrade and exchange policies. Any legitimate diamond dealer would do so.

2Learn the basics behind the 4Cs so you can compare apples with apples. Each of the ‘Cs’ plays an important role in determining the value and cost of a loose diamond. Most of the subtle differences within the 4cs aren’t visible to the naked eye so you need to understand what each really means if you’re going to buy loose diamonds.

3Make sure the diamonds you’re buying are conflict free and come with independent certification from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gem Society), HRD Antwerp, EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) or IGI (International Gemological Institute). Without proper certification buying loose diamonds is a fool’s game and a poor investment.

4Set yourself a budget and stick to it. Compare one diamond with the next and look at what you can get in terms of quality for different diamond shapes.  For example, the princess cut (which is square) doesn’t require the removal of its corners to create the shape which means you get more carats for the same price than a round diamond whose corners need to be shaved off in order to create the shape.

If you stick to these 4 basic guidelines when buying diamonds, you should do fine. And as we said before, even if you don’t buy from an online retailer, why not take advantage and learn about loose diamonds from the comfort of your laptop?

Finally, there are a couple more things to consider. After going through the process of learning about the stones and then buying the diamonds, you must protect them.  Read our tips on insuring an engagement ring and where to get independent appraisals for your engagement diamonds.

Engagement diamonds are definitely a girl’s best friend. Understand the basics, make an informed purchase and future generations will cherish the diamond and engagement ring for years to come.