how to buy a diamond
Review

How to Buy a Diamond Ring Online

 

Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend!

Well, no they are not. A girl’s best friend – or friends – are her real friends, her family and those who stick by her and support her whenever she needs them. Sparkles are perhaps not really my best friends, but they are not bad to have around. They lift my spirits and give me a small thrill. In this post, I will share my experience of how to buy a diamond online. 

how to buy a diamond
Pic: James Allen

Last year, my husband and I decided to splurge on a diamond ring. Not having bought a diamond ring since our engagement many years ago, we had no idea where to start. After looking in the jewellers in Geneva, we were in need of a stiff drink. Let me tell you, having a ring that was worth CHF 20 000 (about £13 000) on my finger was a thrill but we knew for sure that we were not going to spend that much.

The problem with buying diamonds is that most people only know what they have heard from jewellery salespeople or perhaps read online. The general advice is to check out the characteristics – the Four Cs –

Cut
Clarity
Colour
Carat

Cut – the cut is the most important of the 4 Cs. The cut of the diamond determines if it sparkles. A well proportioned diamond will catch and reflect the light, a poorly cut diamond will look bland and dull.

 

how to buy a diamond

 

 

Clarity – refers to the inclusions and blemishes in the diamonds – the imperfections that may or may not be visible to the naked eye.


The scale of diamond clarity goes (from best to worst): Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Small Inclusions 1 (VVS1), Very Very Small Inclusions 2 (VVS2), Very Small Inclusions 1 (VS1), Very Small Inclusions 2 (VS2), Small Inclusions 1 (SI1), Small Inclusions 2 (SI2), Inclusions 1 (I1), Inclusions 2 (I2).

Colour – which refers to the colour of the diamond.

 

how to buy a diamond

 



Carat – refers to the weight of the diamond – one metric carat weighs 200mg. 




All this info is perhaps nothing new to you, it is available all over the internet. If you go into a shop and ask about a diamond ring, the sales person will try to sell you the diamond with the highest rating of the 4 Cs. The ring that I had tried on in Geneva was top of the range in all the 4 Cs. 


Brought slightly down to earth, I came home and started googling. I came across this website – The Truth About Diamonds. Ira Weissman set up the website in 2008 after working for some years as a diamond salesman. He set up the website to inform those looking to buy diamonds, as so many are persuaded to pay more than they really need to by the clever marketing strategies of jewellers. 


When we look at the 4 Cs, we can see that the cut of the diamond is very important. A badly cut stone will not reflect the light, will not sparkle. So that is the first thing to look for. 


Then consider the size – the carat – of the diamond. This is really a personal choice, and depends on how much money you have to spend, and how big you want the diamond to be.


Next look at the clarity. This is where consumers often spend more than necessary. Many inclusions are not actually visible with the naked eye – even with a loupe it can be difficult for the untrained eye to spot them. You do not have to buy a VVS1 graded diamond to get an eye clean diamond. Ira recommends looking for a diamond that is “eye clean”, which means that although the diamond may have inclusions that lower the clarity grade, you will not be able to see it.   


The colour of the diamond is also less important that we are lead to believe. Particularly in round diamonds, it is incredibly difficult for a non-trained person to see the difference between the colours. If you are going for a platinum setting then you should go for a slightly better graded diamond. The reflections off a yellow gold ring makes it less important – here you can go as “low” as K or M colour grade.


Ira particularly recommends James Allen as they have photos of the actual diamonds online. This means that you can look at the diamond and see if it is “eye clean”.  I had a look on James Allen but could not tell which diamonds were truly eye clean. Not for nothing do diamond traders train for years – it is more difficult that it seems. 


Luckily Ira offers a service – you can email him and ask him to assist you with your purchase. Either with James Allen or with one of the other companies that he is affiliated with, such as Blue Nile,  Zoara or Diamond Wave.


He is very honest about why he is doing this. He has an arrangement that he gets a commission from these companies. At the same time, you get an independent opinion and help to buy the best diamond for your money. 


Whether your aim is to buy the biggest and best diamond for your budget, or the cheapest price for your given parameters, Ira will help you. 


I contacted Ira about a year ago and told him what I was looking for. He phoned me a day or two later and we chatted for a while. He recommended several diamonds, one of which I chose. It was a diamond from James Allen. 


Buying a diamond ring online is not for everyone. I did my homework, googled James Allen and found plenty of good reviews. 


Once I had ordered the ring, I received a friendly email from Tammy, who was to be my contact person until the ring was delivered. The service from James Allen was first class. The ring arrived from the US within a short time. I was thrilled to follow the package as it winged it’s way towards me with UPS. The ring was well packaged in a pretty box. 


All in all, it was a very positive experience. I can highly recommend both Ira and James Allen if you are looking to buy diamond jewellery. 



  

Pic from James Allen