Where is the Best Place to Buy An Engagement Ring in 2020?

places to buy diamond rings

For many people, buying a diamond constitutes a huge financial investment and an unforgettable emotional experience. This is why it is important for you to choose the right jeweler when making the purchase of a lifetime.

Over the years, I had helped thousands of clueless people find their dream ring and personally mystery shopped at hundreds of jewelry stores. In my own shopping experience, I found that the majority of businesses had mediocre service standards, product offerings and/or business practices.

While there are some vendors that are downright terrible (literally made me run out of the door), there are also a handful of amazing vendors who would go the extra mile to make you a satisfied customer.

So, if you want to save more than 40% off retail prices while getting better quality jewelry, make sure you check out the best places to buy engagement rings below.

#1 – James Allen – The Best Place For Fancy Shaped Diamonds

james allen logo

James Allen revolutionized the way diamonds were sold online when they introduced cutting edge photography to help customers have a better idea of what they are buying.

Today, their innovative approach of utilizing video technology has taken that to a higher level. The 360° HD video for every single diamond listing in their inventory allows you to SEE exactly what you are buying and helps you shop with confidence.

multi angle inspections video for diamond

Click here to see full details and the magnified video of the diamond above…

pave platinum ring

You can even check out how their ring designs look like in real life here

What Makes James Allen The Best Online Store to Buy Diamonds:

– Actual 360° videos of diamond listings (not the generic stock photos you see at other online vendors).
– Massive inventory of more than 40,000 loose diamonds (includes fancy colored).
– Intuitive search and interactive display that enables you to scrutinize diamond details with ease.
– Only sells diamonds graded by reliable laboratories like GIA and AGS.
– Low prices to get a better bang of your buck.
– 30 days return and lifetime warranty for your jewelry.
– Free shipping that’s fully insured for your peace of mind.

Free Visual Inspection By a Professional For Up to 3 Diamonds

On the whole, James Allen’s business policies and customer service standards is exceptional. Besides the ability to view the actual diamond in a transparent manner, you can also shortlist 3 diamonds and get them visually inspected by their in-house gemologist for free.

As far as I know, no other jeweler will allow you to do this without requiring a substantial deposit.

Once the inspection process is completed, you will receive a report detailing the optical performances of the shortlisted diamonds. You will also receive indepth data like Idealscope/ASET images to help you make educated decisions on your purchase.

This fail-proof method of buying a diamond ring at James Allen is why I highly recommend them. It takes the guesswork out of buying diamonds. Experience James Allen for yourself today!

#2 – White Flash – Best For Ideal Cut Diamonds And Designer Jewelry

fine jewelry whiteflashCut is the ultimate factor with the biggest impact on a diamond’s beauty. If you are looking for top-of-the-line super ideal cut diamonds, White Flash is the retailer you should turn to.

White Flash’s signature brand of diamonds undergo an extensive series of tests and assessments before they can be labeled as A Cut Above®. This stringent selection process guarantees diamonds of the highest pedigree which are cut to extreme precision and optimal light performance.

ags certified aca listing

Super ideal cut diamond with maximum fire, brilliance and scintillation. Click here to see full details…

designer ring settings

Whiteflash.com is an authorized retailer for many big-name designer settings

What Makes White Flash a Great Vendor For Engagement Rings:

– Large inventory of certified AGS ideal cut diamonds.
Availability of indepth data like magnified images, Idealscope/ASET, hearts and arrows data and etc…
– State-of-the-art manufacturing facility for in-house jewelry fabrication.
– Extensive jewelry designs; including designer brands like Verragio, Tacori and Ritani.
– 100% lifetime trade-up policy (no requirement for minimum of 2X spending).
– BBB rating of A+ and awarded “Winner of Distinction” for 6 years in a row.
– Full 30-day money back guarantee.
– One year buy back guarantee.

White Flash is a customer oriented vendor who strives to provide customers with an impeccable shopping experience. With high quality craftsmanship and first-class customer support, White Flash is the complete package for shoppers who are looking for a beautiful engagement ring.

I’m not the only one who’s singing their praises, there are thousands of raving testimonials from satisfied customers which really speak volumes about them. Click here to visit White Flash today!

#3 – Brian Gavin – The Best Place For Custom Made Engagement Rings

brian gavin logo

With humble South African roots as a 5th generation diamond cutter, Brian Gavin built his reputation on rock-solid integrity and his world-renowned expertise in diamond selection.

Today, Brian Gavin is a name that is synonymous with diamonds cut to extreme precision and ideal optics. His signature hearts and arrows (round and cushion), ideal princess cuts and Brian Gavin Blue diamonds are all cut to a level of excellence and perfection; making them some of the most beautiful diamonds in the world.

hearts and arrows cushion cut

An example listing of Brian Gavin’s patented cushion hearts and arrows diamonds…

expert craftsmanship ring designs

Get ready for compliments from friends and relatives with a BGD engagement ring.

Reasons Why Brian Gavin Stand Out As A Vendor For Engagement Rings

– Exceptionally well-cut diamonds (round, princess and cushion) with superb visual performance.
– Availability of data like magnified videos, Idealscope/ASET and hearts and arrows patternings.
– Diamonds are pre-screened by Brian Gavin to ensure eye-cleanliness.
– Exquisite custom made jewelry.
– 100% lifetime upgrade (only pay the difference in an upgrade).
– Outstanding customer service and knowledgeable staff.
– 15-day inspection period.
– Free international shipping and insurance.
– Custom designed diamonds and cutting service.

If you are looking for a trustworthy jeweler with a proven track record of delivering the finest quality jewelry, Brian Gavin is your guy with the correct expertise. Based on my experience and feedback I received from readers, I have nothing but compliments for their customer centric business practices.

Click here to check out Brian Gavin’s handpicked diamond inventory and latest ring designs today!

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  1. Eddie-
    March 16, 2015 at 3:52 am

    Thanks for the awesome write up! I’m still a little concerned about buying diamonds over the Internet and I visited a store in the shopping mall today for some casual browsing. One jeweler offered to sell me a 1.01 carat round diamond loose with F color and VS2 clarity at $5,570.

    He told me that it is an ideal cut and that his store is the only place that offer wholesale prices for diamond rings. He was so confident of his prices (claims that it is a steal for the price he’s offering) that he told me to browsed around and make my own comparisons against other stores in the vicinity.

    Of course, I did my own verification by comparing his prices to other stores in the area. As it turns out, the store owner was right. I was told that the EGL certified diamond was as good as a GIA certified loose diamond and it was offered to me at $5,570 was cheaper than other similar diamonds I had come across. By the way, the EGL diamond was at least $2,000 cheaper than a GIA certified diamond that another jeweler quoted to me.

    I’m really tempted to buy it and am considering to make a trip to the store again later this week. What do you think about the EGL diamond? Did the dealer really gave me a great deal? I would love your honest opinion on it. Thanks!

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 16, 2015 at 8:35 am

    The only thing that your local jeweler is giving you is a giant rip-off.

    First of all, the labs that grade diamonds are not made equal. I encourage you to download my free ebook by signing up for our newsletter. The reason why the diamond is relatively “cheaper” than other diamonds (GIA or AGS) is because its qualities aren’t accurately represented. => https://beyond4cs.com/grading/difference-between-gia-ags-egl-igi/

    Secondly, even if I were to compare prices of EGL diamonds online, this vendor has quoted you a price that is about 20-30% higher than that of online prices. You can read more about comparing prices in this article. Prices aside, this vendor has some serious integrity issues and I would be wary of him/her.

    The fact that they choose to market EGL diamonds as being the same as GIA reveals plenty about his ethics. Stick with the vendors I had listed in this article if you want to get better value for money and avoid getting scammed.

  3. Ernestina-
    March 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Great write up. You seem to be advocating for buying diamonds online. Are there any physical stores that you would recommend? I live in the New York area and would greatly appreciate it if you could introduce a reliable jeweler in the area.

  4. Paul Gian-
    March 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

    When it comes to buying diamonds, the trickiest part to making educated decisions is the ability to evaluate the diamond prior to a purchase. This is the reason why shopping online is actually safer than buying a diamond in a local store.

    – You won’t get misled by a salesperson that only cares about making a commission off a sale.

    – You get to see indepth and objective information about the diamond. Don’t believe me? Try visiting your local store and see if you get this level of details (20X magnification, ASET/Idealscope images) from your jeweler.

    – No questions asked money back guarantee. In contrast, most local stores would only allow store credit in the event of a return. They do this to lock you in with doing business with them. I don’t like it because you lose your leverage (cash) in the event that the jeweler can’t fulfill your expectations.

    – Better selections and range of diamond inventory.

    In the New York area, you might want to consider giving James Allen a visit. They have a showroom where you could get diamonds called into the store for a live preview with no obligations at all.

    You can read this review to find out more: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/james-allen/

  5. Ed-
    June 8, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I have shopped online for round diamonds before, but I usually buy AGS Ideal. I’m considering an emerald cut. Are all GIA gradings equal? Or should I take the diamond to another GIA grader for verification?

  6. Paul Gian-
    June 8, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    In terms of grading accuracy, I would say that GIA reports are generally equal. I want to highlight that this report should come from the GIA lab itself and not from someone who claims to be GIA trained. There’s a huge difference here!

    Anyway, if the diamond has a report from GIA, there’s no need to subject it to another grading process or appraisal unless you need those documents for insurance purposes. For emerald cuts, the selection process is slightly more complicated and you probably want to give this section a good read: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/emerald/

  7. James-
    June 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Thanks for the great article. Where should I buy an engagement ring with antique cut diamonds as the main piece? I’ve checked all 3 sites you recommended but couldn’t find anything close to what I had in mind. Do you have any advice for unconventional ring designs with a vintage touch to them?

  8. Paul Gian-
    June 14, 2015 at 11:54 am

    If you are looking for vintage style pieces of jewelry, read this:


    If you are looking for old miner cuts or old european cuts, Victor Canera is a trusted vendor who delivers high quality stuff:


  9. Adan Alvarez-
    June 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    This is probably a dumb question, but compared to the engagement rings and diamonds sold at Kay, Zales etc and the affordable prices… Are Tiffany engagement rings and diamonds that much of a high quality or is just the brand?

  10. Paul Gian-
    June 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

    It depends. Zales and Kay sell alot of diamonds that I would never consider or recommend buying. You will find answers here:


  11. John-
    July 9, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Which vendor’s jewelry holds the most value if I were to sell the diamond ring in future?

  12. Paul Gian-
    July 12, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    If you view diamonds as an investment vehicle, my advice is; spend your money elsewhere. Diamonds are generally bad investments.

    If you are talking about upgrading and trading in your diamond ring for a larger stone or different ring design, White Flash has the most generous trade-up option.

  13. June-
    August 11, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Who would you recommend if I am looking for engagement ring settings only. I have an old loose diamond that was inherited from my parents and I’m looking to get it set. Also, which types of engagement ring settings would you recommend for an emerald cut diamond?

  14. Paul Gian-
    August 21, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    It depends on what you are looking for. All 3 vendors “specialize” in different types of diamond ring settings.

    James Allen is very budget friendly.
    White Flash has a broad selection of designer settings.
    Brian Gavin is great at customization.

    For emerald cuts, I typically recommend a simple solitaire setting to highlight the rectangular shape. Out of the 3 vendors, James Allen is the king of fancy cuts because of the videography they do and the selections they offer.

  15. Vanny-
    October 12, 2015 at 3:48 am

    Hi, looking to buy an oval solitaire diamond engagement ring online and not sure where to start and who I can trust. Anyone or place you can recommend in the California area?

  16. Lisa Baker-
    October 19, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Huge fan of your website. Have you had any experience with Diamondwave? It’s an online retailer….any info is appreciated

  17. Paul Gian-
    October 20, 2015 at 3:40 am

    No experience with them. Checked out their website and my advice is to stay away from their inhouse graded stones.

  18. Denise-
    October 22, 2015 at 8:06 am

    My fiancé has just bought me an engagement ring from shipton @ co independent jewellers. I wanted to get one online like you are suggesting. the lady was saying to me I cannot take back or get money back, saying I can wear it all the time, but on the website it is suggesting you take off even when you shower. I am finding it hard to trust and it has took the shine off the engagement itself as he has already took 2 rings back to beaver rooks with chips in the platinum. £3000 is a lot of money, it is making me feel sick.
    Do you at all recommend this company, I am so scared the diamond is going to fall out help!

  19. Paul Gian-
    October 23, 2015 at 1:53 am

    Salespeople often say whatever they can to help them close a transaction because they make money out of it at YOUR expense. When you are doing heavy work or bathing, I recommend taking off any jewelry you are wearing because these tend to snag bath accessories as well as making them susceptible to chemical damage. I’m not sure what the terms of the sale are but if you are unhappy about the purchase, try to get a refund for the ring and take your business elsewhere. If the transaction didn’t come with a return policy, I guess you would just have to treat this as a learning experience and be careful where you shop next time.

  20. Kristen-
    October 23, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Your website is fantastic… Thank you for all the research you’ve done and for all the helpful information you’ve provided!

    I have to say I am *very* disappointed with James Allen as a company. I thought their website was great and I was super excited when I thought I had finally found the setting I had been agonizingly searching for. But as soon as they found out I would not be purchasing a diamond from them, they completely changed their tune, were uncompromising, and refused to help me.

    I had also planned on purchasing our wedding bands from them in the future… But now that won’t be happening.

    I simply cannot understand this kind of customer service and I felt that this information might be helpful for some of your other readers. It sure would have saved me a lot of heartache and frustration.

    Thank you!

  21. Paul Gian-
    October 24, 2015 at 1:25 am

    As far as I know, James Allen does allow consumers to purchase loose diamonds elsewhere for mounting into their setting (an additional $100 surcharge for non JA diamonds). I’m quite surprised that they gave your problems as this wasn’t the experience I had when I approached them.

    Could you share more details about your experience?

  22. Kristen-
    October 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Paul!

    Sure! To be more specific… I wanted to take the head of one setting and the shank from another. I spoke with someone at James Allen and she said they would be happy to do that for me as long as I understood that because it would be a custom order and therefore I could not return it. I said I understood that completely and was thrilled that they would customize this piece for me! And then as soon as I inquired how it would all work since I had already purchased my diamond, she suddenly said they weren’t willing to customize a piece for me since I wouldn’t be buying my diamond from them. I was completely willing to pay more for the setting – but apparently they don’t want my money. She was very short, never apologized and didn’t provide me with any other options. Having been in customer service for over 20 years, I was very disappointed with them.

    I think it is very misleading that all these websites *claim* to have “customized engagement rings”, when all that means is you choose a setting and you choose a diamond. That’s NOT customized. Customized is when you can vary the setting (even just choosing the type of head and shank) and also the center stone. Why has no one come up with this?? I simply *cannot* find what I want because I want a very specific type of head and shank and no one I have found makes them together or is willing to put them together for me. I chose my diamond first from a local jeweler that I trust and now I’m being punished for it. It’s very frustrating.

    I hope the additional information is helpful to you and your readers. :)

  23. Paul Gian-
    October 25, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I get it now. Thanks! I’m didn’t know they would have such policies in place when it comes to customization. You may want to take your customization business elsewhere in this case. Try Victor Canera and Brian Gavin. Both are fantastic in customizing rings.


  24. Van-
    October 26, 2015 at 12:39 am

    Hi Paul!

    My girlfriend and I are graduating college in 2 months and we’re moving to Denmark where I can apply for my Fiance Visa. Now that you know that much, I would like to ask for your advice on a few things please.

    1.) Her U.S. ring size is about 6.5-7. I want to buy a ring here without her knowing and propose to her in Europe. if it was a little too big or little, could they adjust it over in Europe?

    2.) Since we are both going to be recent grads and on a budget, i found an e-store called overstock.com which has lots of rings to choose from for various prices. Do you think its sound to purchase a ring from there?

    3.) Once I purchase an engagement ring, how do I find a wedding band to match it later on? In other words, does any wedding band work with any ring if its the same size?

    Thank you so much!

  25. Paul Gian-
    October 26, 2015 at 1:06 am

    Overstock is like an alternate version of eBay. It’s not a place I would recommend buying diamond rings from.

    Read these links to find out why…

    For students on a budget, these are relevant links worth reading:

    I would recommend these vendors instead: White Flash, James Allen and Brian Gavin.

    1) Depending on what kind of rings you are buying. Pave settings (those with tiny side diamonds) and settings with engravings aren’t that easy to resize. Plain solitaire rings are designs that can easily be resized with no issues.

    2) Avoid.

    3) Wedding band designs are often up to individual preferences. If you want safe choices, select rings that have matching designs like these:


  26. Tina Hussain-
    November 3, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Hi Paul,

    I am looking to buy a 3 carat diamond for engagement purposes. Was planning to go to Singapore to buy the ring. But now apprehensive after reading your comments etc

    Where would you recommend to buy and for a decent clarity etc do you feel we can but within our budget of around £6000?

    Look forward to hearing from you,

    Kind Regards,

  27. Paul Gian-
    November 3, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Hi Tina,

    It would be best to get in touch with me in private via email. I can better tailor the advice to your needs and reply in a faster manner. Let me know what you are looking for. i.e. 4cs specifications, diamond shape etc…

  28. Jim-
    November 10, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Thanks for the wealth of information and leads, it has been very educational for me. I am currently shopping for an engagement ring and I come across so called “Simulate diamonds” what is your professional opinion to this alternative, to avoid the so called “blood diamonds”.

  29. Paul Gian-
    November 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Different strokes for different folks. Synthetic diamonds are being marketed as being “unromantic” by people who sell naturally mined diamonds. In my opinion, the biggest problem with the current market of synthetic diamonds is that they aren’t sent to the best cutting facilities. The cut quality of synthetics are pretty mediocre and also, commercially available synthetics are currently graded by IGI which is really a lab I don’t prefer.

  30. Daniel Flores-
    November 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Paul

    This is such a fantastic source of Knowledge!

    Do you know Zoara? Any feedback from them? They do look like a serious site and the information they offer it is quite complete.

    I´m based in Spain, Madrid – Any suggestion on European Sites?

    Your recommendation would be very appreciated.

  31. Paul Gian-
    November 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Zoara is a decent outfit but they aren’t the best site to shop from. European sites that operate e-commerce businesses either charge too much or have a mediocre service standard like Blue Nile. Depending on what you are looking for (shape of ring, setting design etc…), the sites above are better choices.

  32. Wadou-
    November 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Paul,

    what is your input on Bluenile? do you recommend them, my coworkers say good things about.

    By the way, Great article.

    Thank you

  33. Paul Gian-
    November 18, 2015 at 10:28 am

    BlueNile is a decent and reliable vendor. However, their business practice of expecting consumers to buy blind is really outdated. As such, I cannot recommend them in good faith when I know the vendors above all provide better service and competitive pricing compared to BlueNile.com.


  34. Janice-
    November 28, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Hi Paul,

    You’re website is very informative. I’ve been on it the last couple of hours reading your different reviews and also info in each type of cut. I know you have recommended the three online retailers, however, if I really wanted to look at diamonds in store, are there any retailers you would recommend in California?

  35. Paul Gian-
    November 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    There’s none that I know of that can offer better service, selection and prices compared to the vendors recommended here.

  36. Katie-
    December 6, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Paul,I have read your website very carefully and it is really excellent. I am based in Europe and am considering buying from https://www.baunat.com/. Just like Blue Nile they don’t let you see the diamond. If I go with them besides asking for an actual image and the certificate of “my” diamond (only GIA of course) do you have any other tips? Some websites also seem to offer unmatched prices- http://www.celinni.com/BEen/ is also a site that seems to tick all boxes. Do they seem legit to you? Also kind of in a hurry so cannot wait for the order. Thanks!

  37. Paul Gian-
    December 7, 2015 at 3:38 am

    I’m not sure what you had been reading on Beyond4cs.com.

    Those websites you listed violates some of the most significant guidelines I tell readers.

    1) NEVER buy EGL graded diamonds. You’ll get ripped off and overpay.
    2) NEVER buy uncertified diamonds. Same reason as above.
    3) Price is pretty steep for basic jewelry.

    If you are in a hurry, check out those sites I had listed above. Feel free to get in touch with me privately if you have questions or need a 2nd opinion.

  38. Paul-
    December 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for the fantastic site. I’m sold on getting the best cut possible. Based on prior searches I was fairly convinced that it doesn’t get any better than Brian Gavin Signature–then I found out about Whiteflash “A Cut Above” from this post. Considering that (as I’ve recently learned) Brian Gavin has (or had?) strong ties to Whiteflash, is there any difference between the two cuts? In your opinion is either cut better than the other? Thanks!

  39. Paul Gian-
    December 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Brian Gavin started the White Flash “A Cut Above” line back then. Later on, he moved on to start his own company. In terms of cut quality, I would say that both companies are pretty much on par. There’s some differentiation though…

    For example, Brian Gavin has a signature line that offers blue fluorescence in ideal cut diamonds. He also patented a cushion hearts and arrows diamond that isn’t available at White Flash. Here’s my tip to you: Both companies are reputable. You probably want to look at their settings and if you find one that you like, work with the particular company who offers it.

  40. Greg-
    December 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    What’s your opinion on engagement rings from Tiffany & Co.?

  41. Paul Gian-
    December 27, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Tiffany is a decent vendor with a strong brand name. They sell good (not great) diamonds at a premium.


  42. Kyle-
    January 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm


    I am proposing to the girl of my dreams in a few months, and I began the process of building my knowledge of the buying process recently. Having heard all about how much the prices can vary and an unsuspecting buyer can get fleeced, I was so pleased to stumble upon your website through Google. I am convinced that it is possible to find the best value online if only you know where to look. Your information is so incredibly helpful and it is so kind of you to offer up your expertise to help people find the perfect ring. I was wondering if you would be willing to help me find the right diamond/ring based on the following:

    Budget: around $13,000 inclusive of setting
    Style: My future wife has shown me various rings, and she definitely wants a halo setting and a most likely a cushion-cut diamond, but might be willing to deviate if another shape looks more brilliant.

    I would love to get a center stone in the neighborhood of 1.5 carats, color E-F or maybe G if it is all the same under the naked eye with an excellent cut. I am not certain on clarity, I want this ring to be as lovely as possible. In short, I will defer to your expertise in really any of the 4 C’s as long as it fits the cushion cut and halo specifications. I prefer symmetrical diamonds, so something like 1.1:1 or less would be ideal.



    This is the ring and diamond I have been looking at, any opinions?

    Thank you so much!

  43. Paul Gian-
    January 13, 2016 at 5:51 am
  44. Juan Carlos-
    January 13, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Hi Paul,

    i would love to get this ring but tiffany brand is to expensive for what it really is.
    what is the best option to buy and where can i find it the same.

    thank you

    here is the link


  45. Paul Gian-
    January 14, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    This is a pretty common looking 3 stone ring. You can probably find similar settings at all 3 retailers listed above.

  46. Shelly Jennings-
    February 1, 2016 at 2:10 am

    What do you think about Litmann Jewelers? Are they reputable to buy from.?

  47. Paul Gian-
    February 1, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Sorry, I have no prior experience with them and have no idea either.

  48. Steve-
    February 1, 2016 at 5:40 pm


    Love the website. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with everyone.

    I noticed that you purchased your ring from B2C Jewels, but don’t include them as one of your recommended vendors. Is there a reason for that?

  49. Paul Gian-
    February 2, 2016 at 1:11 am

    I have received too many complains about poor service, making last minute swaps of diamonds after transactions had been completed, lousy craftsmanship on settings and the list goes on and on… I no longer recommend them in good faith. You could roll the dice with them and hope for the best. Personally, I hate risk and would not recommend consumers to buy diamonds without a 100% assurance of quality.

  50. Matt-
    February 2, 2016 at 4:01 am

    Wanted your opinion.,, I’m looking to purchase an engagement ring and have been looking for approx. 6 months. I have one in mind, I may be purchasing later this week. I’m looking to purchase from local jewelry store with good reputation: 14 ct white gold setting 2 rows of small round diamonds underneath the single solitaire which is a 0.71 ct emerald step cut diamond, Color G, SI2 total ct weight is 1.47. It is a certified diamond (GSI). They describe the ring setting as water under the bridge because small round diamonds run underneath it, the solitaire is surrounded by round diamonds as well. Does $4,499 sound like a good deal? It does have a lot of sparkle to it and looking under a microscope only has small inclusion. Please give me your honest opinion.

  51. Paul Gian-
    February 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    You can expect to get ripped off in this transaction. GSI is not a reliable grading lab and you can expect the diamond to be severely misrepresented if it were graded by GIA. Download my ebook and you’ll learn more about the industry’s bad practices.

  52. Matt-
    February 2, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    What is your opinion on Diamond Nexus or Brilliant Earth lab grown carbon diamonds which are said to not be CV stones, and are said to have the same chemical makeup as a real diamond?

  53. Paul Gian-
    February 3, 2016 at 12:05 am

    I wrote an article on it here: https://beyond4cs.com/lab-created-diamonds/

  54. Robert-
    February 9, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Hey Paul,

    I have read through a few of your articles and really appreciate the time and effort you have put into each one. I was wondering if you have any recommendations on where to buy a nice engagement ring in Ontario. Seeing how most stores require an annual inspection, I would like to make a purchase close to home.


  55. pat-
    February 10, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I have sent in 2 previous posts regarding a online diamond ring company but it looks like my posts have been not uploaded/responded to? If there is something wrong with my post regarding naming the company in question please let me know?

  56. Paul Gian-
    February 11, 2016 at 3:23 am

    The links were caught out in the spam filter. I reviewed the listing and will say this, you can be sure of getting ripped off by the jeweler.


    Everything raises a red flag right from the suspicious looking grading report the listing has.

  57. pat-
    February 11, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Ok great thanks Paul, I though it was too good to be true.



  58. pat-
    February 11, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Can you tell me if you have heard of this company and I really appreciate your feedback? http://www.bloomingbeautyring.com/unique-engagement-rings/jewelry-stores-cant-touch-this-unique-tulip-head-wtih-wide-band-and-triple-split-engagement-ring-bbr239/

    Thanks again


  59. Paul Gian-
    February 12, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Never heard of them. The fact that their eBay listings show diamonds that are ungraded or do not have a reliable reports from GIA/AGS raise red flags. As I mentioned many times on my website, why do you want to deal with vendors on eBay?

  60. Selena-
    February 14, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    HI Paul,

    we recently bought a ring from Shane Co. the diamond is 0.37 carat with color F, SI2 clarity and very good cut. it costs about $900 for this diamond. will you consider this is a reasonable price for such small diamond?


  61. John-
    February 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    My girl is a plan Jane kind of girl who doesn’t like a lot of flash. Any suggestions on a ring? I’m looking to spend 1,000 -1,500

  62. Paul Gian-
    February 15, 2016 at 2:24 am

    Cut is my number one priority. One thing’s for sure, I won’t even spend a dollar on a diamond that isn’t well cut. Also, you can do your own comparisons here: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

  63. Paul Gian-
    February 15, 2016 at 2:24 am

    A plain 4 prong solitaire ring and a 0.4 carat diamond in the near colorless range (G) would be great.

  64. Pam-
    February 16, 2016 at 4:51 am

    Hi Paul,
    From where do you recommned to buy plain white gold wedding bands?? I saw that there are 18k, 14k and 10k did it make a big difference. What is the exact difference?
    I know you are more a diamond expert but I hope you can give some ideas.

  65. Paul Gian-
    February 16, 2016 at 9:46 am
  66. C. Rod-
    February 17, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    I appreciate the wealth of knowledge. 1. have you heard of the Coster Engagement Ring experience in Amsterdam? Do you think they are reputable?
    2.what do you think of diamond international and their 93 facet crown of light cut?
    3. Are you for hire? I don’t plan to get my ladies engagement ring until the middle of next year 2017 but I would like a qualified person to go with me so I don’t have to second guess my thoughts like in the NYC diamond district or even for personal in depth advice via email for online purchases if that is the route I go.
    Let me know!

  67. Paul Gian-
    February 18, 2016 at 1:09 am

    1) Nope.

    2) Not a fan of them. You can google reviews for Diamond International to find out more. Apparently, many consumers are up in arms with them.

    3) Nope. I do offer advice via email. There’s plenty of time to do research. I can assure you that if you read and understand at least 50% of Beyond4cs.com’s content, your knowledge will be better than 90% of the jewelers who do business in New York City.

  68. Julie D-
    February 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Paul,

    What are your views on COSTCO diamond rings?
    Also, do you have two or three recommendations for reputable jewelers who can do re-sizing of diamond rings? Fiance and I are anxious about whether you can be sure you will get back the sized ring with the diamond that you purchased. There really aren’t assurances that the stone won’t be switched unless you do a grading/valuation every time you send the ring to be cleaned or re-sized. Would love to get your take on this.

  69. Paul Gian-
    February 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Not a fan of Costco: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/costco/

    Doing an appraisal or valuation doesn’t resolve the issue that an unethical jeweler might swap out the diamond if they really wanted to.


  70. DH-
    February 29, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Hi, the info here is great. I am seeking to buy a 1.5 to 2.0 ct Emerald design, “good cut” G rated with an white gold or platinum plain setting. I am looking for something in the $12k area….is this doable in your view? Also, it seems that any certification other than GIA Lab is a risk taken by the buyer: would you agree?

  71. Paul Gian-
    March 1, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Your budget is pretty workable to get a well cut diamond. You are right about the choice of labs. Stick with GIA.

    Here’s a couple of well cut emerald diamonds:

  72. Kayla Cooper-
    March 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

    Hi Paul, I fell in love with a ring from Helzeberg diamonds today but after looking at reviews online I am feeling apprehensive. What are your thoughts on Helzeberg? Thanks so much

  73. Paul Gian-
    March 7, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Expensive and more importantly, they don’t sell the best stones.

  74. Jaime Verduzco-
    April 5, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Hi, I have a couple questions please. First, what is your opinion on buying a diamond from L.A.’s diamond district? I am specifically thinking of visiting Arka Design. Second, how do you know if the GIA report that a salesman is showing you belongs to the diamond that one is looking at? I’m so afraid of getting ripped off when making a expensive purchase. Thanks for your help!!

  75. Paul Gian-
    April 5, 2016 at 9:24 am
  76. Kaitlyn Lesage-
    April 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Paul!!

    I just recently lost the center stone out of my wedding ring from Jared. This is not the first time I have lost stones in my wedding set, so my husband and I are looking to purchase a completely new set for me and upgrade me. Ideally I would like a 3 ring set ( my engagement ring, and two bands) I want a nice size center and rings that sparkle. I felt like my vintage setting lost its sparkle. Someone told me I have more metal than diamond showing.

    Please educate me on the best cuts and clarifies for our money. Also we would like to trade in my old set. Engagement ring and ring guard.

    Lost shopper!

  77. Ray ong-
    April 23, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Hi Paul,

    My mum gifted us with a loose stone of over a carat. Would you happen to know and recommend a reliable jeweller in Singapore whom can set it please? Thanks

  78. Paul Gian-
    April 23, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Go to Yuen Tung

  79. Terrie-
    April 25, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Thanks for your insight. My husband and I are thinking about buying a 1.00-1.30 princes cut loose diamond from B2C Jewels. What do you think about this company? They have GIA certified diamonds .

  80. Paul Gian-
    April 25, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    You can read about them here: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/b2cjewels/

  81. Kevin Monreal-
    May 3, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Would you buy a ring from cosco?

  82. Paul Gian-
    May 3, 2016 at 2:59 am
  83. Oye-
    May 11, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Hello Paul –

    Thanks for the insight provided on this website. I am looking to buy a pre-set wedding set for roughly about $4000. However those you have recommended hitherto don’t have prices for the center stone include making it way out of my budget.

    Can you please direct me to somewhere i can get something fabulous for my girlfriend and within this budget


  84. Paul Gian-
    May 13, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Start with James Allen. They are great for beginners to get a feel of how diamonds look like.

  85. Henry-
    May 20, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Paul,

    My only concern about purchasing a ring online is getting maintenance. Local/chain stores always talk about lifetime warranty plans for issues such as loose prongs, rhodium plating, etc. What are your thoughts? Are those worth it? Is it something I should be worrying about? I want the best bang for my buck while knowing that the ring will also be safe/easy to get it serviced if any issues arise.

  86. Paul Gian-
    May 21, 2016 at 4:39 am

    Online stores offer these services too although it might be a little more tedious if the need arise. However, you need to ask yourself how often will you be using these services? I bought several e-rings over the years for my wife and till now, have yet to get them serviced.

    Loose prongs and rhodium plating can easily be done for $20-$50 dollars depending on where you are located. It’s really cheap and easy if the need arises. Compare that to the massive savings in the ring purchase, these costs are really insignificant in the event you do need them.

  87. Henry-
    May 22, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for the input Paul. One more question, many of the online stores seem to refer to Jeweler’s Mutual for insurance. Do you recommend them or someone else? Is jewelry insurance a necessary thing?

  88. Paul Gian-
    May 23, 2016 at 3:04 am

    It’s really up to personal preferences. Personally, if I can afford to replace the jewelry with my own money in the super unlikely event it gets lost, I won’t bother buying insurance. If you go get quotes, you will realize that jewelry insurance is pretty expensive considering the amount of “value” it protects.

  89. Nick-
    May 26, 2016 at 12:18 am


    Thanks so much for the insightful page. My only concern is the warranty. In the brick and mortar stores they typically offer a warranty where if the diamond gets lost, they replace it for free. Obviously you have to get it maintained twice a year, but the maintenance is free through them. What are your thoughts? Is it actually worth it?

  90. Paul Gian-
    May 26, 2016 at 2:51 am

    May I know which brick and mortar stores would offer to replace your diamond if you get it lost with no strings attached? All these without paying for insurance or an excessive price premium on the onset? It’s an industry first if it is.

  91. Nick-
    May 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Hey Paul,

    I went and visited a Kay and a Gordons. They claimed that as long as the ring was brought in once every 6 months for cleaning and inspection that they would replace the diamond. You would have to bring them back the setting and have record of it being maintained by their store once per 6 months.


    I could be reading that wrong. That’s what I was told in store as well. In either case the premium is crazy for their diamonds as opposed to shopping online.

    I have a couple more questions. My fiance to be is interested in an Oval shape I believe. As I understand it these shapes are not graded on cut. How would you judge the quality of cut? Does the oval shape still carry the same characteristics of a bad cut? Too shallow and light escapes through the bottom; too deep and the light escapes through the sides? I want to make sure that I am getting the best diamond for my price range and have been told over and over that cut matters the most.

    I started looking at the depth and table percentages. I found a chart here and started filtering my search parameters to stay within this chart. Do you think this chart is accurate?


    One more- I found one that I think is a good quality and good price. Can you give me your thought?


    As always thank you so much for your help!

  92. Paul Gian-
    May 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The diamond would only be replaced as the result of “normal wear”. Diamonds don’t get lost or drop out of their setting in “normal wear”. They usually get lost as a result of carelessness or heavy knocks to the setting.


    Ignore the table/depth figures or numbers when buying an oval especially if you have access to videos/images.

    https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/oval-cut/1.00-carat-e-color-vvs1-clarity-sku-938432 is not a well cut oval. The shape appeal is lacking and there’s a significant bowtie. It’s definitely not a stone I would recommend.

  93. Mariana-
    June 9, 2016 at 4:57 am

    Hi, I’m looking for a good online seller of engament rings with a black diamond… Who would be the best seller? I found front jewelers but I don’t know if it is a good option… Can you give me some options please.

  94. Paul Gian-
    June 9, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Leibish is the global leader in fancy colored diamonds: https://beyond4cs.com/go/leibish/

  95. david alfred-
    June 18, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Paul, thank you for this website, it’s very helpful. i’m looking for a heart-diamond wedding ring for my fiance and i was browsing through this online store called “brilliant earth”. i wanted to ask if you trust them or would you recommend them? also i’m on budget so is there any place to buy good valued diamond rings on sale ? thank you paul.

  96. Paul Gian-
    June 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

    You can read a review on them here: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/brilliant-earth/

    Brilliant Earth is a reputable jeweler. They are a tad pricey though.

  97. Bratislav Poljak-
    June 23, 2016 at 7:33 am

    What’s the best engagement ring store you would recommend for someone residing in UK?

  98. Paul Gian-
    June 23, 2016 at 7:35 am

    For consumers in the UK, best jewelry stores for engagement rings are actually based in US. The selections and prices are MUCH much better even after taxes. Start with the vendors above and browse through their inventory. Next, go visit some local stores and do your own comparisons.

  99. Robert-
    July 29, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I’m very picky and have a great eye. I often see imperfections in a stone without a loop…that most people don’t see.

    1) Where is the best place to buy a diamond in South Florida. (not online)
    2) What do you think about the Seybold building in Miami.
    3) I would buy online, but i’m only looking for a loose stone. We are having the setting made separately. Where would you buy online? Whiteflash?

  100. Paul Gian-
    July 30, 2016 at 2:57 am
  101. Andrea-
    August 14, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I wanted to buy a ring from Brilliant Earth but was concerned as I read some reviews on yelp about diamonds cracking or accent diamonds falling out or rings not being sized properly. They have a lifetime warranty but the reviews say they wont assume responsibility or only repair them if you sign a contract saying you won’t post a negative review of the company. This makes me concerned that there are way more bad reviews that aren’t out there. I fell in love with their contessa ring and wanted to get it set with a moissanite but i don’t want to make the investment if they wont stand behind their product

  102. Paul Gian-
    August 16, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Brilliant Earth does stand behind their products and personally haven’t heard about complains from readers that say otherwise. Of course, my sample size may be limited as Brilliant Earth is a very big company with thousands of customers. As far as I know, they are a reliable business.

  103. Eugene-
    September 6, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Hi Paul,

    i am stuck in between pear shaped ring & cushion-cut ring. I want something unique so i am not going for round. Do you have any recommendation? Thanks

  104. Paul Gian-
    September 7, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Go with the pear shaped. Cushions are very popular in the market and you will see them around very frequently. If you want something unique, definitely choose the pear.

  105. Gerald-
    September 13, 2016 at 1:10 pm


    I would like to buy an engagement ring for my dear wife. But i am in france and James Allen do not ship to France. Do you have any website or place that you consider as good as your favorite in the European space?

    Thank you for your time

  106. Paul Gian-
    September 14, 2016 at 2:56 am

    BlueNile is very established in Europe. See if you can find a ring you like here: https://www.bluenile.com

  107. Robert-
    September 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I live in south florida and was wondering if you have any recommendations for any jewelers in the area. If not, do any of your recommended online dealers offer payment plans, or do any offer reasonable deals? I am looking to buy my girlfriend an engagement ring but do not currently possess the ability to purchase it outright.

  108. Paul Gian-
    September 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    The recommended vendors on the Internet do have financing and layaway plans. The plans vary slightly from one to another though.

  109. Amalie-
    October 3, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Hi Paul

    First of all, thanks for your many great articles, it’s a great help, also for someone clueless like myself, who didn’t know where to start.
    I’ve just discovered a brand called Windfall Jewellery. I find their halo rings to be super beautiful, but the prices to be suspiciously low compared to rings with similar carats I’ve seen from other vendors. I realize that carats isn’t the only factor a diamond is judged by – of course – but I must admit that so far, it’s one of my main focuses. I would love to know if the lack of established brand name has That big a difference in the price, or if there is something fishy about it.
    Thanks for all of your help so far :)

  110. Paul Gian-
    October 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    You need to be comparing apples to apples in order to make a judgement. Start here: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

  111. benjamin-
    October 20, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Hi, I have been diligently and delightfully reading almost all your articles and you’ve definitely given me greater insight to diamond buying.

    Hope you can give me your more than 2 cents worth on this dilemma.

    I am caught between buying a 57/58 traditional ideal cut diamond and a 66 cut brilliance rose diamond. I am aware that brilliance rose cost a hefty lot more. But is it worth it? And what is your personal and professional opinions on Brilliance rose?

    Your comment will enlighten me further, since it has already done so to me for the past few days reading all your articles.

  112. Paul Gian-
    October 20, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Brilliant Rose has poor quality control in its cut quality. Some are well cut while the majority isn’t. Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/reviews/leo-diamond/

    The Leo Diamond is the rebranded name for Brilliant Rose for the Asian market.

  113. Veepee-
    December 5, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Hello Paul. Your expertise in the diamond business is highly appreciated. I am looking to buy a diamond wedding ring, for my wife, as she needs an upgrade. As christmas is around the corner – MACY’s has a huge sale on diamond rings. What are your thoughts about purchasing diamond rings from Macy’s stores?

  114. Paul Gian-
    December 6, 2016 at 6:15 am

    You’ll get mediocre quality at expensive prices.

  115. Jason-
    December 16, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the research and time you have put in. I am looking at purchasing a Emerald cut engagement ring for my girlfriend from James Allen. I want to spend anywhere from $1,500 – $2,000 on the diamond. I have chosen a couple that I believe are good quality? With your expertise I was wondering if you could take a look at them and advise on which you think is a better purchase? Also, is there anything worth noting with buying a Emerald cut diamond? I have posted the comparison link below for your review.


    Thank you,

  116. Paul Gian-
    December 18, 2016 at 3:26 am
  117. Maggie-
    February 11, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Hi Paul,

    nice, comprehensive article! I agree, the more pictures, close-ups and details available when it comes to buying diamond jewelry, the better. Unless you already know the retailer from high street, and look for the online deals on their site, you want to know as much as possible about the diamond cut, the quality and the finish. Would you say that it’s far more important to go for quality of the diamond and pay premium than to save and pick less clear diamond [if no one would notice the difference? The latter seems to have more sense to me, unless you are a collector. What is your point on this? I am looking to buy emerald and diamond earrings from Elias Allan, and while I do know the owner and trust this retailer, they don’t have the full catalogue of photos [they plan to add this feature later this year]. Let me know would you buy from their website on the random visit? https://eliasallan.com/collections/earrings

  118. Paul Gian-
    February 13, 2017 at 1:18 am

    The make (cut quality) of the diamond has a direct impact on its appearance. So, it does make sense to value cut quality and pay a correct price for it. I mentioned “correct” pricing because places like Tiffany offer decent cut quality at extremely high prices and that’s not worth it. I take on an objective view when buying diamonds and try to leave emotions out of it. If someone else is able to show me tangible data on a diamond at similar pricing, there’s no reason for me to buy a diamond from someone I know if they aren’t able to compete with another vendor that does.

  119. Peter-
    February 13, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Great website. Do you know what’s the best place to get an engagement ring in China?

  120. Paul Gian-
    February 14, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Go here: https://www.bluenile.com BlueNIle ships to China and is a reliable vendor. They have a site in the Chinese language as well.

  121. Danielle-
    March 2, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Hey Paul,
    Thanks so much for all of your helpful tips on here! I live in Chicago, IL and am hoping you can recommend some jewelry stores for engagement rings in the downtown Chicago area. I would prefer being able to go into the physical store to try on the ring, for sizing, and convenience if I have any problems down the road.

    Thank you so much!

  122. Paul Gian-
    March 3, 2017 at 12:55 am

    Sorry, I don’t know of any reliable stores I can recommend in good faith for that area. From experience with readers, I would say you should far better off with the listed businesses here compared to local vendors.

  123. Miguel-
    March 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Any good jewlery stores you recommend over here on San Diego California?

  124. Paul Gian-
    March 7, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any that I can recommend in good faith. Stick with the businesses that are listed above and you would definitely do well in your diamond jewelry search.

  125. Mia-
    March 10, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Paul,

    We have been looking for a engagement diamond for last few days. I just came across your page and I find it very helpful and knowledgeable. I like a diamond size of 1.5-2 ct. But our budget is max $6000. So it’s a bit challenge to fit that size in to the budget. But I am willing to go down on color and may be I1/I2 grade clarity. I want a good cut. We have looked all the local stores now but haven’t made any decisions on what to get. Is it possible to get a beautiful ring based on my requirement? I am okay buying online as well.

  126. Paul Gian-
    March 11, 2017 at 2:30 am

    You will need to be realistic about what you can get with that budget. I1s and I2s are mutually exclusive terms when you say you want to beautiful ring.

    I did a search for you and would recommend these diamonds:

    Both stones offer good value for money and are decently cut for light performance.

  127. Jack-
    April 2, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Hi Paul,

    Great information!
    Do you have any information about “10 arrows” cutting?
    E.g. ALLOVE and Brilliant 10
    It’s different from the normal 8 arrows as it does appear to be much more reflective.

  128. Paul Gian-
    April 2, 2017 at 11:38 am

    These brands are not as well cut as you would expect them to be when you look at tangible details and use proper tools for assessments like ASET or Idealscope.

  129. Sean-
    April 18, 2017 at 4:56 am

    Hey Paul!

    Great info, still deciding between White Flash & Brian Gavin

    What do you think of these three:


    Which seems like the best value? Thanks!

  130. Paul Gian-
    April 20, 2017 at 6:07 am
  131. Joel-
    April 26, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Paul – thanks for all this great information. I visited a local jeweler (I’d prefer to buy local when possible) and then the JA site. Prices really weren’t too far off…maybe just a $100 or so. The difference is that the local jeweler doesn’t always offer GIA graded stones….they say their in-house guy is GIA trained (or formerly certified). Here’s my questions….what stops JA from not sending you the stones you select? Also…I’ve seen feedback that their “lifetime warranty” doesn’t include repairs to things like the settings. Lastly….I’m looking to by a pair of diamond earrings (2 carats total). What do you recommend for clarity and color for diamond studs.

  132. Paul Gian-
    April 27, 2017 at 10:01 am

    You must be joking right? How are the diamonds the same when one is graded in house while the other at James Allen is graded by GIA?

    You are in for a giant rip off if you buy the non-GIA graded diamond.


    Reputation. You think a reliable business with so much skin in the game wants to destroy their reputation by scamming you for a couple of thousand of dollars? It doesn’t happen online; not with James Allen, Blue Nile, White Flash or other reputable vendors.

    For earrings, stick with H-I colors with VS2-SI1 clarity.

  133. Tiffany-
    April 30, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I have a pre-owned diamond that I am interested in buying. It is a cushion brilliant. Stone is 1.98. Color is G and clarity is I1. The lab is GSI which I see you are not very fond of. She is asking $3,400. Do you think this is a good deal? I have pictures I can send you. The total Carat weight is 2.49. Please let me know. If you have other sites for pre-owned diamond engagement rings, please share. I want to upgrade and my budget is $4,000. Thanks again, Tiffany

  134. Paul Gian-
    May 1, 2017 at 2:26 am

    With GSI certificates, you are in for a rip-off. It’s as simple as that.

  135. Jansen-
    June 18, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for this very informative site.
    This is practically my bible when choosing engagement diamonds online. :)

    After some months of searching, I have decided on Bluenile for my diamonds (due to its slightly more competitive prices).

    My specs are 1-1.01 Carat, Ideal Cut, G-H Color, SI2 Clarity, HCA below 2, GIA Triple Excellent.

    My priority is having a 1-carat diamond according to my budget, thus, I sacrificed on Clarity followed by Colour and Cut (which you did highlight should not be the case but oh well..)

    I have shorlisted 5 diamonds which I would say have very identical specs. And I am having difficulty choosing one.
    Would you, being the expert, be able to select the best out of them?

    1) https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD08113859
    2) https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD08877038
    3) https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD08736021
    4) https://www.bluenile.com/diamond-details/LD08132429


  136. Paul Gian-
    June 19, 2017 at 2:49 am

    The first listing is a terrible choice because of clarity issues. As for the other 3, there’s no tangible data to indicate anything concrete on their performance: https://beyond4cs.com/buying-diamonds-blind/. Just based on proportions alone, I would have eliminated a couple of them completely and won’t even bother wasting time on these mediocre stones.

  137. boB-
    December 4, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Great information! Quick question though. If I buy a loose diamond from Whiteflash, where would I get the ring to set it into? Or do they offer the ring(s) too?

  138. Paul Gian-
    December 5, 2017 at 4:39 am

    White Flash do offer ring settings and they have quite a range as well. My advice to consumers is to buy the setting at the place where you buy the loose diamond from. This reduces hassle and stress as it makes one entity completely responsible for the piece of jewelry.

  139. boB-
    December 5, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Thanx again for your help. I know enough about diamonds to get in trouble. So, I found a diamond of .97 carats, a cut above, Color D, VVS1 for $13K. Seems a bit high, but does that sound like a fair price for the quality to you?

    Thanx again!

  140. Paul Gian-
    December 6, 2017 at 6:08 am

    I would need to see a direct url link to the diamond. You probably want to email me for faster and better communication.

  141. Grace-
    January 24, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Hi Paul,

    I live in Hong Kong and as you mentioned the top places to buy engagement rings in Hong Kong are generally not familiar with Idealscope/ASET. However, I’m a bit hesitant to make online purchase from the US based jewelers you recommend (James Allen, Whiteflash) as I live overseas. Have you had any experience in buying from them abroad? What would you recommend I do give my situation? Thanks!


  142. Paul Gian-
    January 24, 2018 at 1:20 am

    I have plenty and purchased a number of rings with no issues. Here’s a small subset of stuff I had previously purchased.


    Going online ensures better TRANSPARENCY, QUALITY and prices. Better prices is just a by product of e-commerce. You may be interested to read this as well: https://beyond4cs.com/jewelry-guide/hong-kong-diamond-shopping/

  143. Daniel-
    June 21, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hi Paul

    This truly is a fantastic website, a huge knowledge resource for those like me who have 0 idea about lumps of crystalline carbon.

    What advice would you have a for a European buyer, UK based, trying to buy from Whiteflash. The whole tariffs and duties side is very confusing. I saw some other international buyers in your comments so I am hoping you can point in the direction for some other good resources or places where I can get info.


  144. Paul Gian-
    June 22, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Actually the tariffs and duties are straightforward. In local purchases (i.e. in brick and mortar stores), the businesses would have factored in the price of the duties and applicable taxes in the final prices. Basically, they collect it from you on purchase and hand them over to the government.

    For online purchases overseas, the courier will collect the taxes from you and hand it to the government. In White Flash’s cases, they use FEDEX as their shipper. And FEDEX, acting as broker, would contact you with any amounts due. Payments can be made via cheque/internet banking. Once paid, your purchase would clear customs and be available for delivery to your doorstep.

    It’s actually really convenient. Does that make sense?

  145. Jessica-
    July 24, 2018 at 2:18 am

    I just wanted to thank you for all of the information you’ve provided. I was able to get a triple ex 1.5 ct I color SI2 (clear colored inclusions) GIA certified all with good depth/angle/table proportions and excellent HCA rating, med fluorescence, as well as a great idealscope image, for 7k (2-3k less than brick and mortar stores were offering us for lesser quality and size diamonds) . I really wanted a true hearts or super ideal diamond, but it was out of our budget, and I couldn’t be happier with the diamond we chose. Without your site and the help of others I found online, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to look for.

    Also, James Allen was amazing and in my opinion, the top place to buy engagement rings online. I am super picky and always second guess things, and they were so helpful and even let me put 3 diamonds on hold while waiting for idealscope images and would let me compare 5 diamonds at a time with the gemologist sharing their screen with me and circling different aspects of the diamond to show me what to lookout for. Can’t say enough good things about their customer service.

  146. Nicolas-
    July 24, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Paul,

    First of all, thank you for your work and these articles. This is truly interesting and usefull information.
    I have checked many websites and especially the ones you recommand above but I do have a few questions:

    – My girlfriend loves pink gold settings and I found one I like a lot on Allurez.com. Would you even consider purchasing a diamond ring from this place?

    – What diamond colour grade would you consider for a Pink Gold setting ?

    Thank you very much for your help and advices you might provide !


  147. Paul Gian-
    July 24, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    The setting does look pretty decent. I would tell you one thing I am very sure of. Any dealer who sells EGL diamonds is simply out to take advantage of a consumer’s naivety and they instantly get blacklisted by me because of integrity issues.

  148. Skip-
    January 3, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Hey Paul. I’m curious if you still recommend James Allen as the #1 site when they sell diamonds that are certified by IGI. I’m looking at a diamond on their site right now that is only certified by IGI, and James Allen states:

    “All of our diamonds are graded by the 3 most reputable diamond grading laboratories in the world: GIA, AGS & IGI.”

    Do you still recommend James Allen?

  149. Paul Gian-
    January 4, 2019 at 3:17 am

    I still recommend James Allen and for the record, I don’t like IGI reports at all. It’s true that IGI is the 3rd best grading laboratory but their standards vary from the consistency of the top 2.

    The way forward is really simple, why do you want to select an IGI diamond when there are hundreds of other reliably graded diamonds available by GIA and AGS? Don’t get suckered in by the seemingly lower prices of IGI diamonds.

  150. CC-
    July 1, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Hi Paul, thanks for the great articles! What’s your opinion on Antwerp? My bf is from Europe and most of his siblings and friends have been seeking jewelers there since it is the largest diamond trading center. I am wondering about the value between Antwerp and online and would really appreciate your input.

  151. Paul Gian-
    July 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Antwerp is a trap for consumers to buy diamonds. Not only are diamonds excessively expensive there in the local stores, it is also hard to find well cut diamonds.

    Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/jewelry-guide/diamond-engagement-rings-eu/

  152. Wn-
    February 17, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Paul, thanks for your knowledge sharing! Your website is exceptionally helpful and technical.

    As I am based in Malaysia, I have visited many retail stores but still I did not manage to find the ideal cut heart and arrows diamond. I am considering to go for whiteflash; the cut is really stunning and I just can’t find similar diamond with such superb cut elsewhere in physical store. However, the idea of shipping overseas pulls me back a bit. I read the t&c, but there is no clear indication on the handling process if my diamond happen to get lost during shipping process. I saw a lot of people here asking for physical store suggestion, guess they might share the same concern as me :)

    On the other hand, what do you think about love&co lovemarque and diamond platinum estrella series?

  153. Paul Gian-
    February 18, 2020 at 6:41 am

    White Flash ships by FedEx and the parcel is FULLY INSURED so there’s zero risk on your side. If it does get lost during shipping (which hasn’t happened before to any of my Malaysian readers), both White Flash and you have recourse. On your side, there’s nothing you need to do. Just let White Flash know and they will handle it with FedEx. Contrary to what you think and wrongly assume, it’s much safer to buy from White Flash.

  154. Asmita Panjwani-
    May 31, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    All this information is amazing, I’m looking at a pear diamond 4.32 D I1 which the jeweler says it suppose to be a si2 and argued his point but GIA graded it with I1. Is 47000 a fair price. It does have two baguette on the side? Thank you for your help and advice.

  155. Paul Gian-
    June 1, 2020 at 6:23 am

    Well, without images, videos and tangible data, there’s nothing I can tell you objectively. Price wise, you can do your own comparisons here. It’s not that hard and it would be the ideal way to convince yourself whether you are getting a dud or not: https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

  156. Tim Mitchell-
    September 29, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    I WAS taught when it comes to a valuation of a diamond for resell a appraisal is virtually worthless because the cost of the diamond or the appraisal have nothing to do with what the stone is worth now .yet people still inflate the true value of their diamonds due to these unethical sales pitches when they first purchase their diamond on the secondary market for resell value how do you explain what is true value and what is not

  157. Paul Gian-
    September 30, 2020 at 2:48 am

    You are right about the appraisal documents and I’ve have said the same thing many times over and over again in this blog. Appraisal documents are pretty much useless pieces of paper except for insurance purposes. You should NEVER rely on the appraisal documents for making a purchase decision and you should be wary of sellers who use them to pedal their goods.


    For most consumers, “true value” don’t exist when buying at retail because retailers need to earn a profit to keep their lights on. In the secondary market, it’s a can of worms where the greater fool theory comes into play. I would say if you were buying from the secondary market, you need to have a good grasp of how things work in the industry and how much an identical diamond would cost in the first-hand market. After that, you adjust your offering price accordingly and pay zero heed to whatever prices that the appraisal document says. If the seller thinks that the diamond was indeed worth that much, they would have sold it off easily to someone else and not you.

  158. Bill-
    November 5, 2020 at 12:14 am

    When I looked at your Whiteflash 1.052 diamond, the hearts idealscope view shows marks around the perimeter at the 12,2,6, and 8 o’clock position. What am I seeing here. When observing the AGS report (the computer generated) hearts views it shows LOTS of stuff around the perimeter. What am I seeing here, and what causes it? Would there be any reason to be concerned here, or -not to worry- seeing as it’s an upside down view?

  159. Paul Gian-
    November 5, 2020 at 9:15 am

    Those are caused by the reflections of the inclusions around the facets. There’s nothing unusual about it and it is perfectly normal. What you should pay attention to is the formation of the hearts and arrows when assessing cut precision. The “marks” are a matter of clarity and NOT cut quality. These are 2 totally separate things.

  160. Bill-
    November 5, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    That why I asked. The H & A looks very nice. Then my eye saw the perimeter reflections.Those are from a stone graded as VS2?
    Now look at the AGS certificate computer generated view of the same stone, the heart view. Just disregard all that around the perimeter? That’s all from the reflection of inclusions or is that part of the girdle we are looking at?
    Just trying to educate myself when comparing different stones.

  161. Paul Gian-
    November 5, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    Sorry for the confusion as I was looking at another thing. The inclusions are the black splotches in the hearts area. The white areas at the perimeter are caused by light reflection.

  162. Justin adam Thompson-
    March 12, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    I have 600 to 700 and need to find an engagement ring i can later replace the center stone for. I spent 1600 already and got ripped off by shygems. I plan on proposing soon. But have no ring. So I hope to find a white gold princess cut with channel stones and a moissanite or sapphire center that I can replace with a real diamond one day. Please help

  163. Paul Gian-
    March 13, 2021 at 9:55 am

    $600 to $700 will get you a decent setting and that’s not factoring the cost of the center stone. I have no idea what happened with the dealer you bought from but let me tell you that trying to buy a gemstone ring and intending to “replace” the center stone with a diamond is going to be a big hassle and likely won’t work out well. The center stone replacement isn’t as straightforward as you think it is. There are measurements, suitability and other issues that need to be considered. You are far better off saving the money and getting a proper engagement ring in one go instead of trying to “upgrade” it the way you are doing it.

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