Ultimate Guide to Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring in EU

engagement rings eu

Shopping practices differ from region to region and country to country. If you are based in the EU and want to find out how to buy a high quality diamond engagement ring without getting ripped off, you’ve come to the right place.

In this write up, you are going to learn how to be a smart shopper and find out where are the best places to buy a diamond at significantly lower prices. I will also address the frequently asked questions and misconceptions that European consumers have when buying an engagement ring.

You ready? Let’s get started…

What’s the Biggest Problem When Buying a Diamond Ring in the EU?

In most European countries, the diamond retail industry is far less developed than in countries like the US. In fact, calling it “less developed” is an understatement. Not only do you get limited selections of engagement rings and mediocre diamond quality, the prices are also grossly overpriced.

As a consumer, your problems don’t end there.

From experience, the huge majority of European jewelers don’t even have knowledge about cut quality and often sell diamonds with unreliable lab reports to rip off consumers.

If you are shopping for an engagement ring in EU and want to be a smart shopper, I strongly encourage you to read up on the following sections of Beyond4Cs.com:

  1. Step by Step Guide to Choosing a Diamond
  2. What Are the Ideal Proportions For a Round Diamond
  3. Common Scams And RipOffs to be Aware Of
  4. Why Are Diamond Districts and Malls Bad Places to Shop
  5. Which Are the Best Grading Labs And the Ones You Need to Stay Away From?

Once you had read up the sections above, you will be more knowledgable than 95% of the jewelers who ply their trade in the EU.

Don’t believe what I say? All you need to do is to walk into your local jewelry store and see if you can engage in any indepth conversation with a jeweler about diamond cut quality.

In fact, once you spend 1-2 hours of your time reading and understanding the content here, you will be able to see through the shady tactics employed by jewelers to overcharge you for a purchase.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring in EU?

faceup view of 1ct halo ring bluenile

1 carat halo diamond ring purchased from BlueNile.com

If you want to avoid exorbitant prices, lousy services and low quality diamonds, you need to go online. Vendors like Blue Nile, James Allen and White Flash are some of the best places to buy a diamond ring in Europe.

The reasoning behind shopping online is simple. That’s because you get complete transparency and full details of the diamond you are buying. On top of that, you also have access to better cut diamonds with reliable grading reports and MUCH lower prices!

bluenile uk 1 carat diamond

You get to see full details of the diamond away from a pressurized sales environment.

One of the biggest problem faced by shoppers is that traditional retailers only have a limited selection of diamonds in store. This is due to the massive costs of stocking up inventory. As a result, you will likely have to make compromises based on what the retailer has and NOT what’s available in the market.

In sharp contrast, the online retailers enable you to cherry pick the best diamond out of a massive inventory for any given budget. As a consumer, this is really important because the majority of polished diamonds have mediocre cut standards.

In order to find a well cut diamond that suits your specifications, you will need the volume and depth of inventory.

Besides better selections, you also get better consumer protection and risk-free purchases with online vendors (30-day no questions asked refund policy). This is something you will never get with a typical European retailer.

As the facts show in every single aspect of the shopping process, the online retailers offer far more advantages than any other traditional store in the EU! If you ask me, it’s really a no brainer where you should be buying from.

And if you are curious about the kind of quality you can expect, check out these 2 videos of diamond rings that were purchased from Blue Nile and James Allen.

There are 100s of beautiful ring designs across a range of different styles to choose from at Blue Nile and James Allen. Feel free to browse through their selections to find your perfect engagement ring!

Price Comparison of EU Jewellers vs Online Retailers

So, just how much more expensive are diamond engagement ring prices in the European Union if you buy at a physical store?

From experience, the price differences for a like-for-like diamond ring in a physical store would cost at least 30% – 50% more compared to one that is purchased online. Mind you, this is a comparison that is done after VAT and all other charges are factored in.

The phenomenon of overpriced diamonds is not isolated to large chain stores. In fact, it is prevalent across almost every European retailer! So, why is there such a big difference in prices? Well, that’s largely due to the expensive overheads in staffing costs and rental which is passed down to the consumers.

Now, when we are talking about big ticket purchases like diamond rings, a 30-50% price difference could mean hundreds to thousands of dollars. For example, a like-for-like diamond ring sold in a retail store for €10,000 would likely cost you less than €7,000 in a vendor like Blue Nile!

One other disturbing factor that I frequently come across in physical retail stores is that the jewelers will offer to help you bring in diamonds for viewing if you commit to a purchase or place a hefty non-refundable deposit.

Remember what I told you earlier about having limited options available? What is really happening here is that the jewelers are shopping blind on your behalf and putting all the risk on you!

What is really happening here is that you are leaving the diamond buying decision in the hands of someone who doesn’t know better and may not have your interests at heart. Instead, you would be far better off shopping online yourself and getting protected by risk free policies!

European Union Value Added Tax (VAT) and Import Duty

The European Union has set the minimum standard VAT rate at 15% and the 28 member countries are free to set their own VAT rates. Interestingly, ALL of the European countries have VAT higher than the minimum rate.

Depending on the country you are located or residing in, the VAT rate may differ. For your convenience, I had tabulated the most recent tax rates for the different countries in the EU below.

Country VAT (%) Country VAT (%)
Austria 20 Italy 22
Belgium 21 Latvia 21
Bulgaria 20 Lithuania 21
Cyprus 19 Luxembourg 17
Czech Republic 21 Malta 18
Denmark 25 Netherlands 21
Estonia 20 Poland 23
Finland 24 Portugal 23
France 20 Romania 19
Germany 19 Slovakia 20
Greece 24 Slovenia 22
Hungary 27 Spain 21
Ireland 23 Sweden 25

The information above is correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change depending on the individual governments. For the latest rates, go to this link here: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/national-tax-websites_en

As an example, if you are buying a diamond ring in France at the retail cost of €10,000, you would have to pay a total of €12,000 after the 20% VAT is added. So, make sure you factor the VAT payable into your budget.

Misconceptions About VAT & Import Duty When Buying Diamond Rings

confused about european vat duty fees

Right off the bat, I want you to get this point straight across to you. Whether you are a commercial business or a private individual, your country’s government will assess VAT and customs duty on ALL items you buy or import.

One of the biggest misconceptions that EU consumers have is that they only get hit with VAT when buying an engagement ring online and they wrongly assume that they don’t pay VAT or customs taxes when buying in a physical store.

If you are one of these people who think you get cheaper prices because you avoid paying value-added taxes in a retail store, you are completely delusional. The truth of the matter is, you PAY the same percentage of tax regardless of where you shop.

You see, the huge majority of polished diamonds are imported from the USA into international markets. What do you think happens when a local jeweler import their goods to do business? Do you think they are magically exempted from the rule of law?

The fact is, they are required to pay customs duty and VAT just like you and me. When you shop in a store, the price tag that you see usually encompasses the costs of VAT/customs duty in it.

Instead of breaking down the individual costs of VAT or customs duty in a transparent manner, there is an incentive to lump everything together so that these jewelers can charge you more with a rounded-up figure.

When you factor in the customs and VAT and compare final prices, you will get far better value by shopping at vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen. In fact, prices are typically 30-50% less than the traditional EU retailers and you get higher quality products!

What Does the Process of Buying a Diamond Online Look Like?

how to buy a diamond ring in eu

When it comes to buying a diamond ring, the online vendors like Blue Nile, White Flash and James Allen have tremendous advantages over the traditional retail stores. Besides having a big selection of diamonds to cherry pick from and lower prices, you also get complete transparency in what you are buying.

In my opinion, the most convenient vendor for a EU based shopper is Blue Nile.

As an EU shopper, the prices that you see on Blue Nile will be the FINAL price you pay. The VAT for the items you buy is already calculated and included into your purchase price. Additionally, no duty will be charged when shipping within the EU.

Once you checkout, your purchase will be securely shipped to your doorstep in a couple of days.

If you are buying from US based vendors like James Allen and White Flash, the shopping process would be similar to that of buying at Blue Nile with the exception of an additional step of paying VAT.

After an order is placed, the parcel is sent and arrives at your country’s customs. At this point, the VAT and customs fees will be calculated and the courier in charge (e.g. FedEx) will send an invoice detailing the taxes payable.

Once payment is settled, the parcel will be cleared for release and it will arrive securely at your doorstep in a couple of days.

  • Regardless of who you buy from, VAT is collected and payable on your diamond ring purchase. For US based vendors, the difference lies in the additional step of paying VAT to the courier before you receive the goods.

    Paul Gian


    Summary – Buying an Engagement Ring in Europe the Smart Way

    proposing to fiancee in europe with a ring

    I hope this article has offered guidance and revealed insights into shopping for diamond rings in the EU. In fact, this is the same method that is used by international readers who had successfully purchased their rings around the world.

    I’ve personally seen the ridiculous prices and mediocre diamond quality offered by EU jewelry retailers. On top of that, the use of unreliable grading reports is prevalent in the jewelry industry. It just isn’t worth it to risk shopping in a physical retail store when there are much better alternatives available.

    Online vendors like Blue Nile and James Allen are the best places to buy an engagement ring in Europe. Not only do they offer a non-pressurized sales environment, you also get to cherry pick the best diamond for your budget easily.

    Plus, you get to save a lot of money when you go online and the shopping experience is risk-free and fun!

    On a final note, shopping for a high quality diamond ring in the EU may be a little more complicated and expensive because of the VAT. However, it can still be an amazing experience if you shop the right way. You just need to plan accordingly and work towards what you want.

    All the best in your search! If you need help or have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below!

    If you want to save more than 30% off retail prices for a high quality diamond engagement ring, check out Blue Nile, James Allen and White Flash for their fantastic selection of ring designs.

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    1. Thorsten-
      May 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Great website, ebook and tons of value that you provide. It is much appreciated.

      I am looking for an engagement ring and was looking for information about the available online shops, found beyond4cs and directly got stuck with all the additional information that you provide.

      My situation is a bit tricky. Most of the online shops are US based but I would need the shipping to Germany. Since the prices are not exactly low, I’d like to not spend another 20% on VAT plus duties. Do you know if any of the good shops also ship from Europe? I’m not sure for blue nile in this regard. They seem to ship from UK which would mean no extra VAT?

      Which one would you recommend for my situation?

      Furthermore, I’m looking for a solitaire ring with a princess cut diamond. The diamond will probably only be around 0.5ct (tight budget of max 2’000, rather 1’500) but I would like a ring type that still highlights it.

      What would you recommend for these smaller stones? Most of the information out there is rather for the bigger ones.

      I wonder which parameters for the 4cs you recommend and what else to particularly take into consideration… I’d love to have a beautiful sparkling stone, eye clean and ideally cut…

      I’m really jumping back and forth and can’t make up my mind. I read many things, some state opposite things and I’m a bit lost here, since I did not find anything resembling my situation yet.

      I’d appreciate your feedback and hope I’m not asking for too much!

    2. Paul Gian-
      May 15, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Well, you are wrong about the taxes. You pay taxes with the local stores from UK too and whatever tax chargeable is the SAME regardless of where you buy the diamond from. It’s just that it has been included into the final purchase price instead of being broken down in parts. The UK store will have already paid the taxes to the government and included in hidden in the price.

      For EU shoppers, stick with BlueNile. They have operations in UK/EU and that is why they can automate the VAT payments for you. Buy, wait, receive product at your doorstep.

      With James Allen, when they ship with Fedex, Fedex will require you to settle VAT with them first before releasing the diamond ring to you as do the way other vendors work. It’s still possible to buy from James Allen but there’s an additional step in between to receive the goods.

      These are 2 diamonds I would recommend:

    3. Thorsten-
      May 16, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      thanks so much for the quick feedback. I know that I also pay the taxes in the UK but I made the experience while shopping in the US, that they charge the US VAT and then the German VAT is charged in addition. Within the European Union you only pay the VAT in the country you’re buying from.

      Thank you for that suggestion. Looking at second hand prices I think I would get around the same selling the old diamond privately as I will get in the upgrade when shipping and the loss of tax is taken into consideration. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea as then I am not locked into that one vendor.

      I was thinking about it and actually Blue Nile would be the only vendor where I wouldn’t ‘lose’ the tax on the upgrade as local tax is added to the checkout price so would be taken into account during their upgrade process. However I generally find their prices a little higher and when I first bought a few years ago there was very little stone imagery on the site hence was more tempted by JA at that time. That said if I was doing it again I’d probably start out with them this time for that sole reason. But then I prefer that you can go down to lower colour and clarity with JA now. A difficult one!

    4. Johan-
      August 25, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Would be very grateful for any help. I´m in contact with an European online store that sells diamond without me having to pay toll and VAT which would amount to roughly 35% on top of the selling price if I would use a US based online store.

      However, this store don´t have pictures online so I have e-mailed them about a whole bunch of diamonds around 1 carat and proportions within ideal cut. However, they only had picture of some of the ones I found and they were not good.

      I just got this as a suggestion though, what do you think? The price is around 5000 dollar including shipping.

      I have been concentrating on the Ideal Scope image and all I can see is that is clearly not as good as some examples you have on your website. Also it bothers me that the table is 58% and crown angle 35.5… But after e-mailing back and forth with the store it does not seems that I have so many other options so maybe I am just too picky?

      Here is the GIA certificate: https://www.gia.edu/report-check?reportno=1269141124

    5. Paul Gian-
      August 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      I believe you are wrong about the taxes. You PAY taxes toll fees with the local stores too. It’s just that they had been included into the final purchase price instead of being broken down in parts for clarity. Your description of your shopping experience in your country is very identical to the problems I highlighted above.

      I’ve looked at diamond’s grading report and based on the data, it’s a decent stone at best. Definitely not a diamond with great light performance.

      If cut quality and sparkle matters to you, this would be a much better diamond;

    6. J-
      August 26, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Well, it is because you don´t live in Sweden. Believe me, I have been buying goods from the US for years and have never ever encountered a US company who charges me for Swedish tax.

      The normal way is to order the goods from a US based shop, who also adds normal US sales tax, and then they ship it to Sweden and the goods go through Swedish customs. The Swedish customs charges toll/import duty and then they add Swedish tax on top of the value of the goods, shipping and on top of the toll. Which normally adds up to 35-40% in total depending on what you are buying. So actually 35-40% on top of what the US based store charged for it including US tax….

      This is how it always has been. I really don´t want to end up paying tax twice and/or spend my time trying to convince the Swedish customs that BlueNile already charged me for Swedish Tax although they are in the US.

      So, before I can buy from a US shop I really need proof that they pay Swedish Tax and, more importantly, that it is acknowledged buy the Swedish customs. I will need to try searching for this.

    7. Paul Gian-
      August 26, 2017 at 7:02 pm

      If you had been paying local US taxes to US companies when they are exporting a purchase to Sweden, you had likely been scammed by the business you bought from.

      I know this doesn’t happen with the online retailers with diamonds. I will reiterate, NONE of the recommend vendors charge sales tax or US based tax on exports. There is ZERO double payment of taxes. There is a reason why they are recommended and many European shoppers like yourself had no issues.

      The bottomline is, you only pay taxes as required by your local government.

      Blue Nile is a large retailer with physical operations in the EU/UK. That is why I say they will handle it on their side just like a local jeweler does (includes it in their pricing). Basically, they are just like any other form of business that’s legally registered.

      With other online vendors like James Allen or White Flash, you don’t collect the VAT or customs taxes at the point of purchase in the shopping cart (this is why you see the purchase price as being lower). You are expected to pay for the taxes locally when the parcel arrives before the courier will release the goods for you. You can read about the process in the article and they may be some slight variations to it depending on the country you are residing in. For a Swedish, I’m pretty sure the procedure I described is the one that’s used.

    8. Johan-
      August 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I am not afraid of paying double tax in terms of Swedish and US tax but double Swedish tax.

      I hear what you are saying, – that they BlueNile pay for my Swedish tax. But since I have never heard about this before I need to verify it.

      I am sure you are right about BlueNile paying the Swedish tax and I am not saying that I don´t believe you, – it is just that you don´t know how the Swedish tax and customs work. They could easily say I need to pay Swedish tax since it has been shipped from the US and if I claim it is already paid by BlueNile they would just still charge me and tell me to prove it. Then I´m in trouble….

    9. Johan-
      August 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      As it turns out, there are no double taxes and you are right.

      If cut quality equals light performance, it really is a concern for me. I want light performance to be close to as good as it gets.

      I have checked at BrianGavin and Whiteflash and I think I’m buying this one. Not paid yet although it says it’s sold. I told them you recommended them to me and they have noted it.

      A little more expensive than planned but hey, that’s how it usually is.

      Should I go ahead?


    10. Paul Gian-
      August 28, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3833701.htm is a well cut diamond and it’s eyeclean too.

      With White Flash, they are consistently great in cut quality because they curate the stones carefully.

    11. Johan-
      August 30, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Ok I’ll go for that one. Something about G color as well…

      I think the process is exactly like you say, they ship with no US VAT and then I have to pay Swedish VAT when I receive it. Just like always before but with no duty since apparently it’s not applicable to loose stones anymore in Sweden.

      Old trick is to let the store in US write a low value on the shipment in order to pay less tax when it arrives but that’s does not seem to work anymore ;)

      But I’ll let you know if it plays out differently.

    12. Paul Gian-
      August 30, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I think you made a wise choice with the WF purchase. Now, as far as I know, most diamond vendors won’t write down the value of the shipment. It induces security risks and will screw up their insurance. In fact, I believe this it is illegal for them to do so. No reputable business would jeopardise breaking laws just to sell you a diamond. Their reputation and long term business viability are at stake here.

    13. Johan-
      September 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Got the Diamond as expected with Fedex later on invoicing me for the Swedish VAT. So, as I thought, no duty just VAT.

      There’s also no double tax since I did not pay any tax at all to or through Whiteflash.

      The point is that there are already lots of online stores that sell diamonds in Europe, we have one in Sweden for example. But the problem is that they are all the same, they sell from the same diamond exchange with a generic picture and just the GIA certificate, if that even.
      If you really want a nice diamond without doing tons of research, asking for pictures etc. etc. I can only find
      the resellers in the US, not in Europe.

    14. Aman-
      October 17, 2017 at 2:43 am

      Me and my partner are looking for an engagement ring and we just wanted to say your website has been a fantastic, informative source for us so thanks for putting so much effort into it.

      We see that you have put some US retailers on your site, however we’re from the UK and there are hefty import charges we will have to pay such as customs duty etc. For us to be importing engagement ring to the EU would significantly increase the costs.

      Can you recommend us any European websites that you have come across? It would really help us.

    15. Paul Gian-
      October 19, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Well, you are wrong about the taxes. You PAY taxes with the local stores or any online stores based in EU/UK too regardless of where you buy them. It’s just that it has been included in the final purchase price instead of being broken down in part.

      That said, European based vendors can simplify this tax paying process for you (not a hassle to begin with anyway). They include it in their final prices and you pay your taxes to these vendors and they pay it to the government.

      With online vendors, the courier will pay the tax for you when the parcel arrives (i.e. Fedex, UPS, DHL). In turn, they collect the taxes from you prior to delivery. Most governments enforce this on the couriers to facilitate tax collection on most other consumer goods.

      For a good European website, go to: https://beyond4cs.com/go/bluenile/

    16. louise-
      October 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      I really appreciate your blog Beyond the 4 Cs! I have read it during a couple of weeks now and I am trying to learn as much as possible about diamonds. I have a struggle with deciding what characteristics that are the most important to get a beautiful ring that is also a great investment.

      For example, do you think it’s a bad idea to go for VS2 to achieve a whole carat or should I choose VVS1-2 instead and lower the carat? Is it better to choose color D and a smaller carat or color G/H and a bigger carat? What is the best investment and most appreciated do you believe?

      How important is polish and the measurements in % below, such as table, depth crown angle etc?Can the cut and symmetry be graded excellent but these measurements considered as “bad” for example?

      How important is it that the girdle thickness is 3% What impact to that make?

      I read that jewelers rarely share the idealscope pictures, but can I demand it? Is there another way of grading brilliance, fire and scintillation? Can you only grasp the difference by looking at the idealscope pictures or is there any data that describes and evaluates these characteristics? How “poor”can the sparkle of an excellent cut stone look if I haven’t considered the idealscop images if I’m unlucky?

      These are my wanted characteristics but I wonder if finding a diamond with these specifications is impossible if I have a budget of about 6300 dollars? Is there anything you would change below or add that I have forgotten? For example, I’m not certain if HCA should be 0-2?

      Shape: Round brilliant
      Carat: Around 1.0
      Colour: D-F
      Clarity: IF-VS2
      HCA: 0-2
      Polish: Excellent
      Cut: Excellent
      Symmetry: Excellent
      Flourescense: No fluoro
      Table: 52.4% to 57.5%
      Depth: 56.88% to 62.92%
      Crown angle: 33.7% to 35.8%
      Pavilion angle: 40.2 to 41.25 degrees
      Lower girdles: 75% to 80%
      Star facets 50% to 55%
      Girdle thickness: 3%
      Culet size: none
      Certificate: GIA

      I would really appreciate your thoughts and knowledge. Thank you very much in advance.

    17. Paul Gian-
      October 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Things get very simple and straightforward if you have a practical mindset.

      A well cut G VS2 will look identical in a side by side comparison with a D IF diamond to the naked eyes. Do you need that symbolic or mind clean reason to go higher to D or Internally Flawless?

      Next, jewelers rarely share idealscope images;

      1) They actually have zero clue of cut grading. Trust me when I say this. If you can read and comprehend Beyond4cs.com. Your knowledge will be WAY WAY WAY higher than the 99% of jewelers in business. That’s how bad it is.
      2) Jewelers do not sell well cut diamonds. Why show you these images to highlight the mediocre stones they sell.


      AGS lab reports quantify the light performance aspects of diamonds in their grading reports by subjecting the diamonds to a ray tracing evaluation. This is one reason why the top tier diamonds get sent there instead of GIA. The girdle thickness of 3% is perfectly fine and it is OK if there are slight variances. What matters is the overall cut quality and light performance the diamond displays.

      You need to avoid looking at things on parts as it is the SUM of all the different proportions and factors that come together to determine how a diamond interacts with light.

      For a reliable jeweler who offers the indepth data and diamonds with exceptional cut standards, go to: https://beyond4cs.com/go/wf/

    18. louise-
      October 25, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Sorry I forgot to thank you som much for the help and answers. I really appreciate it! I have another question. I know that these measurements below are the most desirable, but if I have to choose between some of those. Which measurements should I prioritize, If am considering a 1 carat diamond? I want as much brilliance, scintillation and fire as possible.

      Total depth between: 59 – 61.8%
      Table diameter: between 53 – 58%
      Crown Angle: 33.7° to 35.8°
      Pavilion Angle: 40.2° to 41.25°
      Lower girdle facets between: 75 – 78%
      Star facets between: 45 – 50%
      Girdle thickness: thin and slightly thick 3-3.5 %

    19. Paul Gian-
      October 26, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      This should be the table of proportions you should be looking at: http://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/

      And FYI, the proportions are non-negotiable if you expect to get a well cut diamond for the best light performance.

    20. louise-
      October 30, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you again for your advice.

      I have learned while reading your diamond blog that you can evaluate a diamond’s light performance by the existence of “hearts and arrows pattern”. If you look at these two diamonds on the picture below, it seems like the first diamond https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.91-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-3448964 from James Allen that cost 4720 dollar is the best option, because it has a clear pattern and contrasts. But in fact the second diamond https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.90-carat-g-color-vs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-3660864 for 4770 dollars, has the right proportions and angles (34 degree crown angle and 41.4 degree pavilion angle). Why is that? What do I do in a situation like this, when I can’t trust these zoomed in images of the diamonds?

      Thank you in advance! Have a great day!

    21. Paul Gian-
      November 1, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      The video has nothing to do with causing patterning issues. CUT is the problem here. NOT videos. The first diamond is absolutely terrible. The second is slightly better but still a mediocre choice. Did you even bother to read what I wrote here?


      Dump both stones.

      If you are looking for well cut diamonds for light performance, these are 2 diamonds I would recommend instead.

      Both these diamonds are eyeclean and CUT for performance. They are much much much much much better choices than the mediocre stuff you picked out.

      Go for either of these 2.

    22. louise-
      November 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Thank you for the fast reply.
      I mean that the first picture looks more like the “ideal cut picture guide”, see attached picture in this email. Because you can easily see the hearts and arrows and the colour contrasts. The second picture doesn’t show that at all. However, the measurements/angles/proportions are according to the industry recommendations. Why is the second one a bad cut? On the paper it looks like a great choice so which flaws did I miss?

    23. Paul Gian-
      November 3, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Crown angles are too low for that diamond. I can instantly detect a badly cut diamond with experience and the video shows severe optical symmetry issues. Read this as well: https://beyond4cs.com/truth-about-gia-triple-excellent-diamonds/

      To your next point, who are the industry recommendations you are referring to? If you blindly believe what an “expert” says or the grades within GIA’s broad cut grading standards, by all means do so. You probably save yourself some headache from having to learn how to weed good diamonds from the bad ones. Just don’t expect to buy top notch quality when you shop like this.

      I’m anal about cut quality and sparkle. I personally only buy well cut diamonds and I suppose that’s your underlying reason why you are asking these questions too.

    24. louise-
      November 4, 2017 at 9:56 pm

      I dont know if I mixed up the diamonds now but I thought that a crown angle of 34 degrees and a pavillion angle of 41.4 degrees were ideal? Do you prefer 35 degrees crown angle? Can you teach me a trick of how I assess the optical performance? I have read a lot about it and looked at many Idealscope/ASET pictures and thought I knew but apparently not. Haha.

      I wonder what diamond you should choose between these two below? Both have the correct combination of crown and pavilion angles that grade them as “Hearts & Arrow diamonds” according to the attached scheme. They also have the preffered table size, pavilion depth and pretty good measures in general. I would really appreciate your proffessional opinion.

      G, VVS 2, 0.9 carat

      E, VS1, 0.9 carat

    25. Paul Gian-
      November 5, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      Well, I keep pointing you to the correct pages over and over again. Everything that I know and everything that you need to know are in these pages. If you can’t be bothered to read and keep asking the same questions, then nobody can help you.


    26. louise-
      November 8, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Thank you very much for your suggestions. I have actually read all these articles before but it’s always good to refresh the memory. I always ask for a zoomed in picture and video of the diamond as well as ASET/Idealscope pictures. As you mentioned, almost no jeweller that I have spoken to could offer me ASET/Idealscope pictures so I ordered a Idealscope online to bring to the store. :)

      I have researched and read about diamonds countless hours for almost a year now because I’m getting my first diamond ever, but I am of course still really uncertain about lot of things.

      I understand that many people email you and ask a lot of questions, but if you have time I would appreciate deeply if you could give your opinion about the video and light performance pictures of this diamond for 5000 USD. I know that it’s not perfect, but maybe it’s the “best” diamond I can get in this carat size, clarity and color:

    27. Paul Gian-
      November 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

      It’s a terrible choice of diamond. Really, ditch that. The poor proportions are already a red flag and the ASET confirms the poor light performance of the stone. You will end up running around in circles and from what I had seen thus far, you are and you are committing quite a number of issues I raised here about EU jewelers. The issue with physical stores is the lack of diamonds that are cut for cut quality.

    28. louise-
      November 11, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      Thank you so much for engaging in my case and answering my questions.

      Actually, I’m searching the diamond on the online database of jewellers in Dubai because I’m going there to buy my ring. I wouldn’t have any problem with buying the diamond at for example James Allen’s website if it weren’t for the uncertainty if it could be stolen or lost in the mail. It feels really insecure because mail gets lost all the time. Is there any insurance that will replace the diamond if it doesn’t arrive? I also have to calculate a possible 20-30% tax added when the diamond is crossing the border to Europe.

    29. Paul Gian-
      November 14, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Dubai is a shark tank. At the end of the day, the final price of the product is all that matters. Know that diamonds are traded in USD and your local jeweller has taxes included as well (whether or not they break it down separately). It is SAFER to buy a diamond online than a physical store because of sales policies. With reliable vendors, they ship with FULL insurance.

      So, let me ask a simple question. What makes you trust a Dubai jeweler more than a US jeweler when you are effectively shopping online. The Dubai jeweler clearly cannot offer you tangible data as well as consumer protection that a US jeweler will. What makes you think you don’t need to pay the 20-30% tax when you buy from Dubai? I know for a fact that the same VAT laws apply.

      Despite knowing all this and if you still decide to shop online in Dubai, I would simply you really deserve to get ripped off. It’s your money at the end of the day and you can choose how you spend it.

    30. Stian-
      April 23, 2018 at 9:41 am

      I was about to visit a local jeweler here in Norway without doing any research first when I bumped into your site and found out that I was about to make a big mistake. After reading your book I noticed that buying a complete diamond ring in Norway is about the dumbest thing you could do since they are very overpriced.

      After your recommendation, I had almost decided to buy a diamond ring from Whiteflash. Thing is that when ordering to Norway there is a 25% sales tax on it, so it would be a much better investment buying from the UK since we are already visiting there this December.

      I have no experience with buying diamonds and never thought that it would be so many different factors. I found a dealer in the UK named 77Diamonds located in London, UK. My question is if you know if they are legit or maybe you have another jeweler there that you could recommend or the James Allen eu tax is lower if we were to shop there?

      I am to buy an engagement ring and I want it to be perfect. I have my mind set on a round 0,80ct, minimum H and VS1/VS2, ideal or excellent cut, polish and symmetry and none fluor. “A cut above” if buying from whiteflash.

      I see that whiteflash operates with Ideal as the best and 77 Diamonds with excellent as their best. Is it the same or does whiteflash have better diamonds in stock?

      Thank you for all your help so far

    31. Paul Gian-
      April 24, 2018 at 9:51 pm

      Well, contrary to what you think, UK purchases are subjected to 20% VAT as well. There’s no escaping the taxes in the European Union whether you buy from James Allen, White Flash or a local jeweler. White Flash proves the cut quality of their diamonds with tangible cut data. That’s the main difference between them and other stores. If you need help with a diamond selection, let me know again.

    32. Peter-
      July 12, 2018 at 7:42 pm

      I have read many of your articles over the past months and tried to use the newly acquired knowledge in my buying process. Living in the Netherlands, I tried to find local suppliers in Europe who provide the same level of detail as eg Whiteflash or Brian Gavin, but so far haven’t succeeded.

      Hence I started looking at these suppliers and would appreciate some advice.

      Here is some background information:
      – Budget: 8 to 9 k USD including the ring.
      – We like very basic design so I think a 4 prong setting would be best, in platinum
      – We are looking for maximum sparkle and brilliance (have bought a big but bad diamond before)
      – Size should be above 1 ct. Clarity is less important. Color, given the diamond size and platinum setting, is important, but I assume H or I could be good enough.

      I have had three different suggestions from Whiteflash for the diamond.
      1.256ct I VS2 A Cut Above: https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3963067.htm
      1.115ct I VS2 A Cut Above: https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3936464.htm
      1.012ct H VS2 A Cut Above: https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3949678.htm

      I have a couple of questions:
      – The biggest diamond fits perfectly in the margins you prescribe re. size and angles. Slightly better than the other two. Do you think the additional budget will be worth spending?
      – Is a higher color grade worth investing in?
      – Do you think I can get an alternative diamond for say 5-6 K with only limited impact on light performance?
      Or is my budget necessary to get a really good performance?
      – Any advice as to the ring? I prefer the 11591 or the 1021

      Your advice would be really appreciated.

    33. Paul Gian-
      July 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      I looked at all 3 diamonds and think you did extremely well to pick these diamonds out.


      If I had to choose between a larger I or a smaller H, I can tell you that I would go with the first option. Color differences between H and I are pretty hard to see. In fact, in a side by side comparison between these 2 stones, the only differences you will see will be size differences.

      Go for the 1st stone above.

      There are plenty of poorly cut diamonds in the market which don’t sparkle as well as the ideal cuts White Flash offers. You can easily buy them anywhere and go below 6k. Personally, I will not recommend compromising performance. Sparkle and a lively diamond are priorities.

      Between 11593 and 1021, I would go with this if you have the intention of buying a matching band to fit snugly with the diamond ring:

      But really, ring designs are personal preferences and I don’t want to instill any bias here as YOUR tastes matter. Not mine.

      Hope this helps!

    34. J-
      January 2, 2019 at 1:23 am

      I really appreciate the time you put into educating. It’s fun to look for diamonds:-)

      To redeem myself just a bit, I had already read the links you posted. After the weeding with HCA for this diamond (GIA cert is 63111826166), I decided that this one could be worth it in terms of requesting ideal/ASET imagery.

      The price of the diamond is about 3.684 euro or 4,198 dollar. Is that a normal price?

      I do remark the crown angle of 33.5° is not between 34°-35° and that the pavilion angle of 40.2° is not between 40.6° and 41°.

      I read you say this is grounds for instant rejection thus not worthy to follow up on. You also point out just 0.2° degrees will have an adverse impact. However, could you please elaborate on the impact of these less than perfect angles? Is the impact really visible in non-lab conditions or mainly theoretical?

      You see, It is not very hard to find good table and depth numbers, but good crown and pavilion angles are much harder (mind you I’m from Europe so it is cost prohibitive to source diamonds from the US). I’m trying to determine for myself whether this is an acceptable compromise or not. It’s a big sum of money after all.

    35. Paul Gian-
      January 2, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Well, it’s light physics. The terrible angles cause light leakage due to the way light bends and diffract as it enters and leaves the diamond. That’s the gist of it. Get the ASET and you will know I’m right. The science doesn’t lie.

      If you would however, want to read through punishing journal papers on this (like I did), here’s one to get you started down the rabbit hole: https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/fall-2004-grading-cut-quality-brilliant-diamond-moses

      Also, you have a big misconception about buying from US stores. Buying in Europe is way more expensive. What you need to be doing is to look at final prices after taxes and make sure that you aren’t comparing a garbage tier diamond like the one you picked and comparing it against truly well cut diamonds.

      Read this as well https://beyond4cs.com/diamond-prices/

    36. J-
      January 3, 2019 at 9:55 am

      It appears I only need to pay VAT and no import fee to Belgium so the US buying option is back on the table:-). This is true for a loose diamond. Put it in a ring and suddenly they do charge import fees.

      I just ran into something that is hard to word so I’m very grateful if you could teach again. Note that I’m not focusing on cut properties for this particular question.


      If you use the super zoom you can see the 8 black spikes going nicely into the 8 black spear like shapes

      You also have an excellent picture of this here: https://beyond4cs.com/grading/polish-and-symmetry/is-symmetry-important/


      Here they are more translucent.

      What’s the deal with the black ‘colour’ or the absence of it?

    37. Paul Gian-
      January 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm

      Read this: https://beyond4cs.com/shapes/round/ideal-proportions/

      https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/0.90-carat-g-color-vvs2-clarity-excellent-cut-sku-6372346 is a well cut diamond. The other isn’t due to bad proportions which result in light leakage. And that accounts for what you are seeing in the video with the poorly defined contrast patterning.

    38. Marco-
      August 5, 2019 at 10:10 am


      I congratulate you for this site. Really helpful!

      I’m looking for a heart-shaped and 2 carat engagement ring. I have seen prices between 10-15k $ on blue nile.

      the problem is that I live in Italy and here the VAT is very high!

      I should be in New York in September and I was thinking of buying one diamond directly in America, but I read your article and I’m afraid of being scammed.

      do you know if there is a physical blue nile retailer? So I can order my diamond online and pick it up directly at the store

      How would you suggest it is better to do?

      Thank you

    39. Paul Gian-
      August 8, 2019 at 4:35 pm

      Blue Nile and James Allen both have showrooms in New York city where you can order the diamond online before you travel and arrange to pick them up. I do want to remind you that the VAT laws in EU would probably require you to declare goods purchased overseas when you are back from your travel (legally). You might want to check out details about that to avoid any trouble when clearing customs.

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