When purchasing a diamond, the worst thing you can do is walk into a jewelry store and pick something they have on display.
First, you need to do your research.
Then, find a good vendor. A good jeweler will be honest with you and try their very best to find the best diamond for YOU. They will not try to push more expensive diamonds nor will they pressure you to buy. In fact, a good jeweler will call in diamonds for you if they do not have something you’re looking for in their stock.
Another important thing is their trade-up policy. Try to go with a vendor with a lifetime trade-up policy. While I’m very sentimental and I could never trade up my e-ring, some women are more than happy to do so. Some people may not have the money for a nice e-ring when they get engaged so they may upgrade for an anniversary later on.
Whatever the reason, the point is that good vendors will allow you to trade in your diamond for 100% of the initial purchase price. If you think about it, they will not do this unless they believe in their product – if they sell a sh*tty diamond now, and the person comes back years later to trade it in, it’s the jeweler’s loss.
When viewing diamonds, look at them under various types of lighting. The lights in jewelry stores are deceptive! What may look great in the store may be a dud in normal lighting.
Once you find a diamond, make sure it is certified by a lab such as GIA or AGS (EGL tends to go soft with their grading so they’re not always recommended). If it is not certified, take it to a reputable appraiser to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to look online! Online vendors usually have a lot lower prices because they don’t have to deal with the overhead costs as regular jewelry stores. There are some very reputable online vendors out there with impeccable reviews, fair prices, and great customer service. (Another plus is that if the online vendor operates from a different state, you may not need to pay sales tax.)
Whiteflash is based in Houston and they specialize in ACA, or A Cut Above diamonds, which are cut especially for them to their specifications. They also recently started carrying X-Factors, which is supposed to be a great (and some say better) alternative to princess cuts.
Good Old Gold is based in Long Island and they’re known to find some of the best diamonds out there while providing tons of documentation on each diamond they sell. They also carry a great selection of Square Hearts & Arrows, which has the performance of a round in a square shape.
Another great option is James Allen, which is based in Frederick, MD. James Allen’s website carries actual pictures of their diamonds with zoom options, so you can see exactly what you’re getting.
J purchased my diamond from Engagement Rings Direct (ERD), which is an online vendor whose office is located at the diamond district here in NY. We are very lucky to be in NY, because more than 75% of the diamonds sold in the US go through the NYC diamond district at one point or another. In other words, ERD has a great pool of resources.
ERD’s office is actually in the same building as the GIA’s NYC branch. They can just look at the GIA database of diamonds and run downstairs if they see something they like. In my online research, I could not find one bad review about them – people raved about their eye for well-cut diamonds, very fair prices, and honesty.
If you have any questions about diamonds at all, feel free to ask! I’d love to help anyone out!