How to Choose a Diamond

vatche felicity pave diamond engagement ring in 18k white gold 4000 dollars

A diamond ring I recently purchased from White Flash. More details below…

Choosing a diamond has been likened to choosing a life partner: one must tread with care. It’s true that most guys sweat over the task of selecting a perfect proposal ring. However, it can be a fun and enjoyable process if you take the correct approach.

First and foremost, getting educated is the key to choosing diamonds rationally. Now, I am sure most people have heard of the 4 Cs while doing their research or during a casual visit to a jewelry store.

Sadly, the majority of the people who think they fully understand the 4 Cs after an hour’s research or via a 5 minutes presentation in a jewelry store are WRONG. Likewise, if you think that you are able to choose a great looking diamond online just by looking at a GIA or AGS certificate, you better keep your fingers crossed when the package arrives.

You see, buying diamonds is easy. Anybody can buy diamonds as long as they have the money to afford it. However, if you want to select the best diamond possible for a given budget, you need to go beyond the 4Cs and start looking at tangible data to make assessments.

To get the best value out of your engagement ring purchase, I highly recommend online vendors like James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin. Not only do they offer an impeccable shopping experience, they also provide in-depth details of their listings to help you make educated decisions.

A Short Intro of Myself And Why I’m Qualified to Offer You Advice

how to choose a diamond with best value and optics

I’ll show you how to pick the best diamond within your budget!

Hi, my name is Paul. I used to be to a research officer in a top government manufacturing research institute. During my 2 years stint of being a researcher, I developed scientific and analytic skills that enable me to examine any given data with a critical viewpoint.

While I wasn’t a professional jeweler by trade, I became an avid gem collector by accident. The passion for diamonds ignited when I had to purchase a proposal ring for my girlfriend. And like most guys shopping for an engagement ring, I started out with zero knowledge. I began my diamond buying journey at the local stores and did my own research online.

Very quickly, the desire for knowledge grew. Before long, I found myself immersed in gemological textbooks purchased from GIA and even took up professional courses to enhance my knowledge.

In early 2013, I completed GIA’s Graduate Diamonds diploma program and topped the class in the practical examination module. This came as a surprise to many people since the course was attended by professionals who had years of experience in the trade.

Now, I’m not telling you all this to brag about my accomplishments. Instead, the point I want to bring across is that I have the credentials and background knowledge to offer advice from both gemological and consumer perspectives.

Buying a Beautiful Diamond Engagement Ring Isn’t Hard

Over the years, I’ve bought a number of diamond rings for my wife and also helped several close friends/relatives with their engagement ring purchases. If you are interested to see the details of the rings up close, check out the videos below.

Whenever I examine diamonds, my analytical skills would be put to use by questioning and dissecting the information that is presented to me. There is really so much more that jewelers never reveal to you when it comes to making such an important purchase.

It doesn’t matter if you had never stepped foot into a jewelry store before or whether you had some prior experience in purchasing jewelry. The information that I am going to share with you on the following pages will definitely be an eye opener.

The rings above are purchased at White Flash and James Allen respectively. If you are looking for high quality GIA/AGS certified diamonds and well crafted ring settings, check them out for yourself.

The Essential 4Cs – How to Choose a Diamond

your guide to picking the perfect diamond

Before I continue, you will first need to have a basic grasp of the 4Cs in order to understand some concepts found on later pages. If you have no idea what the 4Cs are, click on the links below and read up on the corresponding topics before returning here.


While the basic definitions of the 4 Cs are pretty straightforward and clearly indicated in a diamond’s grading report, most consumers fail to realize one thing:

The grading report alone Does Not tell you the full story of a diamond’s physical beauty without performing further analysis using tangible data. So, how do you bring all of these factors together and utilize them when choosing a diamond?

The good news is that it isn’t rocket science. I’m going to arm you with the necessary knowledge to help you make the best of your diamond ring shopping experience.

Next Page >>

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  1. Peter-
    March 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for this post. It is very useful and taught me a lot of pointers to take not of when choosing a engagement ring. Do you have recommendations on where I can get my diamond without getting scammed?

    Would you know anything about the diamond district? Are their pricing fair and the quality of goods decent? Do I have leeway in negotiating prices? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  2. Paul Gian-
    March 18, 2015 at 2:38 am

    Yes. You can refer to this article for a list of vendors I highly recommend:

    In terms of shopping at the NYC district, I urge you to exercise extreme caution and do your research first before heading out. It’s a shark tank there and a place where many consumers get ripped off. In fact, I wrote an article about this last month:

  3. Robert-
    March 19, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you for this detailed page about the 5 c’s of diamonds. I was on the Internet for almost the entire day and doing intensive research on what is a good quality diamond. The info here has enlightened me and an easier time in understanding diamonds quickly and easily.

  4. Ash-
    March 23, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Do you know where is the best place to get a lab grown diamond at affordable prices? Any tips on what to look for when buying a diamond that is lab grown instead of naturally mined?

  5. Paul Gian-
    March 27, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Yes, I do. Read this:

    *comment updated to reflect newly published content in our blog.

    To give you a concise answer to your other question on what to look out for in a diamond ring with a lab created diamond, the selection process is pretty much the same. One key difference is that the grading labs would be different because GIA and AGS do not grade synthetic diamonds on a commercial scale. The reliable labs for synthetic diamonds would be IGI and GCAL.

  6. Lisa-
    April 8, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I think a mix of shopping online and also visiting a few stores when buying a ring is a pretty good way to shop. You get the best of both worlds by seeing and trying some rings as we did with my partner. It’s nice to try a few rings and look at the diamonds close up. We were quite new to all this so we studied up online first about diamonds and the properties, features to look out for, the free eBook was a helpful guide to diamonds for learning the ins and outs the industry.

  7. Zack-
    May 19, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I’m not looking for the best diamond clarity for my engagement ring but one of the jewelers I visited showed me an SI3 diamond that looked stunning to me. This is my first time buying an item that is so expensive and I am getting the jitters.

    Is there any red flags or tips on what to look for in a diamond? I value your opinions and comments and I want to learn how to buy a diamond ring without getting duped.

  8. Alex-
    June 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks for writing this “diamond 101” article, Paul! I’ve been searching for an engagement ring, so I can propose to my girlfriend. Do you think it’s a good idea to take her shopping with me and get her to pick the diamond?? I just want to make sure that I’m getting something that she likes.

  9. Estelle Mainard-
    July 30, 2015 at 7:19 pm contains what you need to know about diamonds! Picking an engagement ring can be so overwhelming but you made it so much easier. Thanks!

    My boyfriend and I have been talking about getting engaged, so obviously we’ve gone ring shopping quite a bit. I just want to make sure he picks one that’ll fit my hand perfectly.

    I’ll have him follow your tip about making sure he follows the “4Cs”; color is especially important to me.

  10. jeff shingre-
    August 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Thank you for sharing these useful guidelines. This is ‘Diamond 101’ at its best contains everything you need to know about how to choose the right diamond. Before I read your site, I thought carat the only C that mattered and didn’t know about the importance of cut. A big kudos on helping guys like us to learn what to look for when buying a diamond.

  11. Joel-
    January 13, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I like your analogy of the 4 C’s. Cut, carat, color and clarity are bound to be the important things to watch for in a diamond. My wife has a diamond ring. Do you know how to tell if it’s a real diamond or if it’s a knockoff?

  12. Paul Gian-
    January 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    The safest and most straightforward way is to bring it to your local jeweler.

  13. Monica-
    April 1, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I found your website extremely helpful, and it’s also made me more comfortable with the idea of shopping for a diamond online. I’ve visited quite a few website, and have found that Ritani has great diamonds (GIA certified), as well as competitive prices. I’m looking for a 2 carat diamond, and the prices on Ritani actually seem too good to be true.

    The carat and cut are exactly what I’m looking for, but the clarity and color and on the opposite spectrum. I’d be interested to see what your thoughts are on this one in particular.


  14. Paul Gian-
    April 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm
  15. kiyel williams-
    April 14, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I know about the 4 C’s but i did not know what they were. I feel like now after reading the article I can better determine the diamond i want. I will pass this on to my friends as well so they can choose for themselves. Thank you for the information!

  16. Ricky-
    April 15, 2016 at 1:56 am

    Great information on your site! Given just these numbers, do you think a 41.0 degree pavillion is too far on the steep side? I’m looking at a diamond with these measures.

    table 58.0
    depth 61.3
    crown 34.0
    pavillion 42.0

  17. Paul Gian-
    April 15, 2016 at 3:30 am

    41 is OK. 42.0 is a sure fire recipe for light leakage.

    That said, numbers don’t reveal everything.

  18. Kyle-
    April 19, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Hey Paul. First off, you are a wizard and have made my diamond buying experience a lot less stressful than I could have ever imagined.

    However, I’m in a dilemma. I have abided by your strict proportions guidelines for buying round brilliant cut diamonds and have narrowed down my selection to the 3 diamonds in the link below.

    I have two questions…

    1. Which clarity characteristics are the most detrimental and should be avoided?

    2. Which of these 3 would you say has the best VALUE?


  19. Paul Gian-
    April 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    It would be better for you to email me in private and include the direct urls of the diamonds in it.

  20. Judy Wilson-
    May 23, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for these tips for choosing a diamond for my engagement ring. My boyfriend proposed yesterday, so we’re going to choose my engagement ring really soon. You’re right about how I should look into the cut, carat, color, and clarity of a diamond. Usually, I look for cut and carat for diamond rings, but I’ll also pay attention to color and clarity to choose a quality ring. Thanks for the tips!

  21. Rob-
    May 30, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Paul, I know you don’t care for Bluenile, but I wonder if you could have a look at this diamond please and tell me what you think. The HCA score is solid, the price seems competitive, and the GCAL looks good to my untrained eye…


  22. Paul Gian-
    May 31, 2016 at 8:15 am

    It’s a decent stone. Not the best and not one that passes my standards to be purchase worthy though.

  23. Annecatherine-
    August 19, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Thank you for your for all the information you’ve provided, I need to choose a diamond of 8.3 mm, that’s about 2.3 ct to replace a lost diamond from a platinum ring. I have checked James Allen, can you recommend a diamond from JA ? A quality diamond that really sparkles and cost no more than $20,000, less would be better ! This is the most expensive purchase I am going make and I’m very nervous.

  24. dan-
    September 11, 2016 at 12:56 am
  25. Paul Gian-
    September 11, 2016 at 2:35 am

    You did well!

  26. Kate Hansen-
    September 16, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I am helping my brother pick out an engagement ring for his girlfriend, but we both don’t know what we’re looking for in diamonds. Remembering your advice on the 4 C’s will help us in knowing what’s important and what to ask the jeweler. I wonder if this is the case for other stones as well besides diamonds. Thanks for your help!

  27. Paul Gian-
    September 17, 2016 at 4:57 am

    For other types of gemstones, there are other things to take note of. So, it isn’t exactly the same.

  28. trini-
    October 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    If you don’t mind could you please tell me what were the 4c’s you had chosen for your proposal?

  29. Paul Gian-
    October 9, 2016 at 2:03 am
  30. Vinay-
    October 29, 2016 at 3:26 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for this website. I almost decided to go to Tiffany’s and buy a piece of stone when I told myself a little research into diamonds wouldn’t do any harm.

    It was then a little research turned into hours thanks to your website. I have a little more information about diamonds now but I am still a newbie.

    Per your recommendation I have been comparing diamonds relentlessly on whiteflash.

    I have narrowed down my search to 3 diamonds (0.7,0.8 & 0.9 carat ) category. Below are their IDs if you could give me a brief review of these diamonds I would be ever grateful.

    My budget for a diamond is upto $5.5k

    AGS-104089443010( My personal favorite )

    Thank you eagerly waiting for your response

  31. Paul Gian-
    October 29, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Do you have the direct url links to the diamonds?

  32. Vinay-
    October 29, 2016 at 6:18 am
  33. Paul Gian-
    October 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Cutwise, all 3 diamonds are fantastic. Obviously, the price varies according to clarity/color/carat ratings. You can’t go wrong with any of the diamonds here. If I were to make a selection, this would be the diamond I would buy for best value and because I do prioritize color as well.

  34. Vinay-
    October 29, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Thank you so much Paul, initially I was not looking for Above cut category as I thought those would be expensive.

    What are your thoughts about above cut vs Expert selection ? Are the tradeoffs negligible or significant and not worth.

    Also since I haven’t physically seen diamonds that much, I am a bit confused on carats. Is 0.7 too small ? What are your thoughts on Carat sizes.

    Thank you again for this wonderful blog and helping me do the most important decision of my life.

  35. Paul Gian-
    October 30, 2016 at 7:03 am
  36. vinay-
    November 1, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Thank you for the link Paul. I almost decided on buying the 3rd ring from whiteflash but then I just for the sake of it decided to check james allen.

    I found a very similar diamond for about $500 less but I can’t seem to find ideal scope , ASET etc images. Below is the link for james allen diamond. Could you please review it and suggest which one to buy between james allen and whiteflash


    The only positive of James allen is their free return (In case I need to resize it).

    Thank you so much again.


  37. Paul Gian-
    November 2, 2016 at 9:09 am is a decent stone but you can see the poorer optical symmetry (h&a) with the scope images.

    This stone is the better cut diamond.

  38. Elsa Anderson-
    November 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married, so of course I’ve been doing my research on diamond rings for when we get engaged! I really appreciate you sharing the point about using the four C’s when choosing a diamond. I never realized that color was something to take into consideration when choosing the perfect diamond, so I’ll have to make sure that the ring I like follows these standards. Thanks!

  39. Dustin-
    November 28, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Hello. I have scoured your website, and the information was SO helpful. This time of year, I find that the really excellent diamonds (at least in my budget) are is shorter supply — all of the holidays proposals gearing up, I guess.

    So, I think that I’ve maintained most of the criteria that you’ve specified, with the exception of a couple of numbers.

    I realize that “perfect” is not an option, but what are your thoughts on these dimensions? Specifically, is the L/W ratio too far off, and is the depth too deep? I know that girdle affects the importance of depth, but this diamond doesn’t specify the girdle size.

    Thank you for your help! I’m ready to pull the trigger on this purchase, but I’m a bit nervous!

    SHAPE: Round
    CARAT WEIGHT: 1.40
    COLOR: H
    CUT: Excellent
    POLISH: Excellent
    SYMMETRY: Excellent
    L/W/D (MM): 7.11*7.19*4.43

    L/W RATIO: 1.01
    DEPTH %: 62.10
    TABLE %: 57.00
    CROWN %: 15.50
    PAVILION %: 42.50


  40. Paul Gian-
    November 29, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Personally, I would not even go anywhere close with an IGI graded diamond when there are so many other options available.

  41. Dustin-
    November 29, 2016 at 5:19 am

    Thank you for your quick reply. So, I am scrapping the IGI diamonds, as you’ve suggested.

    If you don’t mind, I need some more advice. I’ve read about the importance of cut above (almost) all else. I also know that I am going to have the diamond set in a Halo, so I don’t want to drop below H color. So, I’ve come up with a few options. ‘

    The two that have the best cuts have the worst flaws — at least it appears that way from looking at the photos, one of them is cloudy and one of them has a flaw right on the face of it:

    Diamond 1 – Ideal Cut but Cloudy

    Diamond 2 – True Hearts Ideal but Face Inclusion
    These also looked very good (to me) and fall within the guidelines, but I’m not sure if I’m missing overlooking some other component.

    Diamond 3 – Wavy Girdle ?

    Diamond 4 – Inclusions, but not central

    Diamond 5 – Clear but not perfect L/W ratio

    So, the big question: which are the best choices and why?

    THANK YOU! This is an amazing service that you offer!

  42. Paul Gian-
    November 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm would be the best diamond I would choose. Hands down.

    Cut quality (sparkle and brilliance) are the key factors for the decision.

  43. Zi Y. Zhang-
    February 5, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you so much for creating this website, it has been a tremendous resource to show me how to choose the right diamond.

    Could you please give your opinion on the following 3 diamonds?

    Idealscope image is only available for the 1st one, and I’ve called it in.

  44. Paul Gian-
    February 6, 2017 at 3:52 am

    These 3 are all very good options and are cut for light performance. The idealscope image for the first stone will not disappoint. So, no worries there. You did very well.

  45. Jade Brunet-
    February 6, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    It is good to know that one should look at cut, carat, color, and clarity when picking a diamond. Realizing that the grading report does not tell the entire story of the diamond is important. My aunt told me that something to consider would be to look for and learn how to read the diamond certificate.

  46. Peter-
    March 4, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Hi Paul,

    I am looking for a 1.3 carat Tiffany solitaire look-a-like. I have been looking on whiteflash because I need to get it delivered to China. I want to buy online just because I think I can get a better diamond for a cheaper price. Any chance you can help me find a good 1.3 carat diamond? I have been looking at these:,3735111,3752287
    And I have been looking at this setting as a tiffany replacement.

    I am no expert. Am I on the right track? Should I be looking on different sites?

  47. Paul Gian-
    March 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    The Vatche U-113 6-Prong ring is the closest you would ever get to a tiffany look-alike and is a fantastic choice.

    As for the choice of diamonds, all 3 diamonds are great options and are well cut. Personally, these would be the 2 diamonds I would pick for practical reasons.

    There’s no need to spend the extra cash on a higher clarity stone.

  48. Victor-
    March 23, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Hi Paul,

    Appreciate all the work you have put into this site, very useful.

    Would it be possible to know your opinion on these two:,3802001

    Thinking about using this setting:


  49. Paul Gian-
    March 27, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Both diamonds are well cut with one being the obvious better choice in terms of light performance and precision. This would be the stone I would personally pick:

  50. Gen Choi-
    April 23, 2017 at 5:51 am

    Hi Paul,

    First, I’d like to thank you for all of your efforts here for helping first time diamond shoppers, like me. I’ve spent many hours digging through the articles and they truly helped me out.

    However, here is the thing.

    After days of searching and comparing many diamonds online (Blue Nile, James Allen, Whiteflash), I’ve narrowed down to three diamonds. Here are the links:

    I’d like to ask two advice from you based on your expertise, which is seemingly better deal?
    My overall budget (loose diamond+ring) is cost no more than $12,000.

    I found that many websites would suggest buying bigger carats with lower Cs, yet myself values quality more than quantity.
    However, my fiancée has that old school of thought regarding diamonds; she wants 1 carat, and this really bothers me.
    Another question is, from your expertise and experience, is it better to take the quality or the quantity?

    Your advice are much appreciated!

  51. Paul Gian-
    April 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Hi Gen Choi,

    The James Allen diamond isn’t well cut and there’s no tangible data on the Blue Nile diamond. These are 2 diamonds I would dump off.

    With regards to the White Flash diamond, it’s an exceptional diamond.

    Given what you say about your fiancee’s preference about getting a 1 carat diamond, my advice is to try to get the 1 carat diamond because that’s what she wants and it is the most important thing. You are placing emphasis on high color and clarity and these account for the larger costs involved with the diamond. In the practical world, a F or G color diamond with VS2 clarity (that’s eyeclean) will look perfectly identical to a D/IF diamond in the face up view.

    For a $12,000 budget, you can also refer to this write up here to see what you can get for this amount of money.

    I did a search to help you out and these are diamonds I would actually recommend instead:

  52. Gen Choi-
    April 26, 2017 at 8:13 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks a lot for your advice on my diamond shopping on the other day! You’re right. I should have focused on my fiancee’s preference rather than my own.

    I appreciate for taking your own time and going steps beyond verbal suggestions.
    After days of struggling, I was finally able to make my decision on the gemstone, so for the ring. Here’s the stone I’ve chose to go and put my bets on :
    I chose this because of the alignment and symmetry were so neat and beautiful under the ideal-scope and ASET imagines. I wish I’m not throwing the extra $1,000+ for nothing in performance return.
    My overall diamond shopping journey wouldn’t able to come to an end unless all of your helpful guidance, thank you.

    My final question is, where is the best place to buy insurance for it? I had a quote from Jewelers mutual for the gemstone and ring combined annual premium at $320. But I realize they appraised the diamond at much higher value, like you said, to charge more premium. And, I think they only do replacement. Is it worth to go with the most well known, or is there any reliable IP you’d suggest?

  53. Paul Gian-
    April 27, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I’ve reviewed the diamond here:

    It’s well cut for optical performance and is eyeclean. A fantastic choice!

    If you buy from White Flash, they actually have a deal with Jewelers Mutual Insurance:

    For alternative insurance coverage, you may want to speak with your homeowner insurance provider. They may be able to do a rider to cover the item and you can compare quotes and details accordingly.

  54. Carolina-
    May 14, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Paul, Thank you SO much for providing all of this free and valuable information.

    What say you to those who are suspicious of you being paid by James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin to encourage your readers to purchase diamonds with them?

  55. Paul Gian-
    May 15, 2017 at 4:20 am

    The proof is in the pudding and I walk the talk to test them out myself with various purchase. As a consumer, you get protected by laws in the US and the generous return policies the online vendors offer. This is in stark contrast to what you will get with physical stores. And that’s not the main benefit. I tell people to go online because of the significantly better cut quality and getting exactly what is advertised. This is NOT what you will get in a typical brick and mortar store. It’s really a no brainer.

  56. Shannon-
    July 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

    I am looking at princess cut stones with a solitaire setting.
    Here are the two diamonds I have selected:
    Which one looks better in terms of the 4 c’s (better quality)?
    The princess cut diamonds on the Whiteflash site start at .5 carats, whereas James Allen starts smaller.
    Do you think going to the Whiteflash showroom would be helpful?
    Thank you!

  57. Paul Gian-
    July 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

    In terms of cut quality and light performance, I would say that both diamonds are fantastic and top notch. They will look sparkly and full of life with the differece being in visual face up size. Personally, I think women would favor a larger sized diamond more so than having an IF diamond. So, if you don’t need an internally flawless diamond for symbolism purposes, there’s no need to pay for a feature that your eyes can’t see.

  58. Michael-
    August 23, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for creating and maintaining this website, it has been an extremely source of reference for me.

    Similar to your experience, I am planning to purchase a proposal ring by the end of 2017. After doing quite a bit of desk research over the past few months, I have shortlisted the following 3 diamonds:

    I believe they are optically superior based on my knowledge, but it would be great if you could help with taking a look and let me know your opinions on my picks:
    1) Would you say all 3 are of similar optical quality?
    2) If so, which one has the best balance between brilliance and fire based on the GIA report figures (I am going to request for ASET images for further comparison if you think these 3 are good selections)
    3) Would you say it is worth paying for the price difference between the 1st vs. 2nd & 3rd stones given the IF vs. VVS1 clarity gradings? Or IF is just something nice to have and the differences are minimal unless we examine them very closely like a gemologist would? (all 3 stones are within my budget and I am sort of a perfectionist… So the IF grading is somewhat is peace of mind to me, but still I would very much like to know your comment on this).

    Look forward to your feedback soon!

    Kind regards,

  59. Paul Gian-
    August 24, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Hey Michael,

    Even if you examine the diamonds closely under 20X, you would have an extremely tough time differentiating an IF diamond from a VVS1 diamond. Personally, I would either buy an IF diamond (for symbolic reasons) or go all the way down to VS1-VS2 as they offer better value for money.

    I would say the 1st and 3rd stone would be better selections. And if I had to choose strictly between these 2, this would be the stone I would buy:

  60. Mike N-
    November 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Good afternoon Paul,
    Thanks for all the insight and expert advice on this site!

    If you could take a minute to please give me some advice on a diamond I would greatly appreciate it.

    I’m currently fixing to make a decision on buying a ring.
    A jeweler has located me the following and I would like to know if it’s a good buy.

    1.13 carat, GIA certified
    (6.63 – 6.66 x 4.14) It’s graded excellent on cut, polish and symmetry.
    Color J
    *Fluorescence – medium blue (which I’ve been told is helping this diamond appear a lot more whiter than it’s graded).

    My budget is $7000 – $7500. The entire ring has been priced at $7500 including 0.40 carat on the setting.

    Is this a good buy ? Should I steer away from a J in color or a blue fluorescent?

    Thanks Paul, appreciate any advice!

  61. Paul Gian-
    November 15, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    J color and a diamond being fluorescent is up to individual preferences.

    You better read every single word in this write up:

  62. Callum Palmer-
    December 15, 2017 at 1:19 am

    I didn’t realize that there was actually criteria you could look at when choosing a diamond. Although, now that I’ve seen and read about them, a lot of them do make sense in context. After all, if you’re picking out the perfect diamond for a loved one then you’d definitely want to make sure it has the right color and clarity.

  63. Alexander Karastoyanov-
    January 13, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Hi Paul,

    I came across a deal that (to me) seems great, but I really wanted to ask for your expert opinion.

    Its a 1.7 carat, round cut, excellent cut, S1, H colored diamond. Its got a lot of fire and brilliance in natural and low lighting, priced at 8000 Euro. To the naked eye, the inclusions arent noticeable unless you are looking to spot them, and there is pretty much no color tinting from what I can tell (again, visible to the naked eye).

    Based on the comments of my vendor, as well as the certificate and my own unexperienced opinion, the diamond is of excellent cut, proportions and good size. I intend on placing it on a platinum Cartier 1895 Solitaire-style ring.

    Do believe that this is a good price? Good diamond to purchase for the setting?

    Your feedback will be really appreciated!

    Many thanks,


  64. Paul Gian-
    January 13, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Read every single word here:

    Who graded the diamond? You are giving me Zero tangible data to help you make any informed analysis.

  65. Ben Webman-
    February 6, 2018 at 11:19 pm

    If you are looking for a Diamond you have come to the right site. Paul has a wealth of information and his expertise is invaluable and unbiased!

  66. Lawson-
    May 3, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    Hello Paul, I am from Malaysia. I was never interested in buying diamond until nearing my 30th wedding anniversary. So I let my wife go buying some small pieces of jewelry and she end with with two bracelets, with melee diamonds of sizes 0.10 to to 0.020 carat (tcw 1.52) for first and 0.025 to 0.03 carat (tcw 1.59) for second. Cost about a shade over USD4000 – not some small sum considering monthly average income here is still under USD2500. Since I never bought her diamond before you just imagine her Cheshire grin ear to ear! After going browsing in the store, when with her to collect her 2nd diamond bracelet after shortening, I couldn’t help noticing a counter with GIA diamond and they are darn sparkling compared to what she had on her hand. So I dig deeper in the budget and get her a 0.57 carat; a K with triple E GIA cert. Since then, I visited the web many times and had saved up all your articles and GIA & AGS chart. The diamond I picked fall in EX in GIA chart and ideal in AGS chart. My understanding for now is that girdle thickness has no impact on crown angle vs pavilion angle as crown table, crown height and star length are same. Is this correct? It is because next year I will get her another 0.57 carat K to make it into a twin diamond pendant in rose gold. The next diamond I could be buying online. Pls comment. Also good if you could do an article on buying jewelry set with melee diamonds. In the web, melee diamonds are quote in range of USD10 to USD20 per piece for those 0.03 carat and smaller. So, are they worth it? They need to be clustered in order to get enough sparkles even if you are looking it at just 10ft away. Thanks.

  67. Paul Gian-
    May 4, 2018 at 2:41 am

    You are fussing over the wrong things. Girdle thickness is completely unrelated to crown height and pavilion angle as these are measured separately in the laboratory. What you should be concerned about is getting tangible data and whether the diamond is well cut. A triple ex diamond means nothing and most of these goods are not truly well cut.

    Melee diamonds are dirt cheap compared to larger stones. The big issue with someone like you who isn’t in the trade and is trying to buy them loose doesn’t bode well. Again, what you typically find online in the retail scene is junk. With melees, cut and the material quality does matter if you expect them to sparkle more.

    Read this:

  68. Thomas-
    July 24, 2018 at 3:05 am

    Hi Paul,

    Appreciate all your thorough write-ups! After spending countless hours on the topic and thinking I’m confident enough to go thru the 4Cs, I find myself lost in the sea of inventory on the james allen site. ~_~…

    I have many questions but I’ll start with this one:

    If I have a budget of about $7k-$8k for the center piece alone, and I prioritize with the following:

    -shape = round
    -cut = excellent and above
    -carat = 0.95 – 1.1

    what would be the minimum color and clarity you would recommend?

    I understand that is a bit general to go by, but I’m hoping you can provide some guidance to help me narrow down the perfect diamond.

  69. Paul Gian-
    July 24, 2018 at 5:57 am

    It depends on what your goals are and what the personal preferences of your recipient are. As a general guideline and for practicality purposes, I would say; go for G color and eyeclean SI1/VS2 clarity.

  70. Thomas-
    July 24, 2018 at 6:41 am

    ah yes, in my haste, I left out the reason!

    It will be for an engagement ring as I “plan” to propose in the next few months, assuming I work up the nerves…

  71. Paul Gian-
    July 24, 2018 at 7:21 am

    I will restate, for people who are unsure of what they want, an icy white G color and eyeclean SI/VS diamond will be the best way to maximize your budget and save some money in the process.

  72. LEE-
    May 9, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Hi Paul, I am huge fan of you in Korea who just started to study diamonds to trade my engagement ring to bigger one.

    After reading your guideline to buy good diamond, I selected 4C specifications that I want to buy.

    1.03-1.04ct/ F color/ VS2-Sl1/ 3EX/ fluorence: none or faint

    But in Korea, it is hard to check very specific things (20x, 360 degree video) in internet website like Bluenile or James Allen.

    We can only see a few carat diamonds by local jewelry shops and if I want some specific ones like above stated, I have to order one after I check GIA report.

    My question is, what will be the best option for me if I can only see GIA report? The most concerning things for me to choose diamond is “sparkling” and “eye-clean”.

    Any opinion of you will be grateful. Thanks so much.

  73. Paul Gian-
    May 9, 2019 at 8:45 am

    From what you are telling me, your jeweler is doing the shopping for you and putting ALL the risk on your purchase. It is exactly the problem I’m describing here:

    For a Korean shopper, you may want to consider shopping here and stick only to diamonds with tangible information:

  74. Gigi-
    August 20, 2019 at 1:51 am

    Hi Paul,

    I recently sent you a direct email seeking your advice and opinion on a 1.02 E VVS2 diamond.
    Hoping this hasn’t gone into your junk mail.

    Would you please be able to check when you have a chance and let me know your thoughts? I really appreciate your time and expertise on this as I’m feeling quite anxious!

    Thanks so much!!

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