Free Ebook.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

« America's Most Affordable Cities | Main | How to Have God Reward You »

November 13, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Generally, Pawn Shops have some great options! Go look at them at the major stores,learn a bit and then visit your friendly pawn shop. They generally will let you have it appraised to ensure value and work with you on the item. If they don't seem to be open and willing to work with you, then it isn't the place for you, find another one.

While I agree that pawn shops may have some good diamonds, I think it can largely be a risky venture.

The author of this post is right: a majority of diamond buyers have no clue what a "fair price" is for a diamond and largely cannot tell the difference between colors, cuts, or even clarity.

What the author of this post does not mention is that getting a "certified" diamond is the best measure of a diamond. Unfortunately, even certified diamonds can vary from source to source. The most reputable certified diamonds are: GIA and AGS.

If someone is considering buying a diamond, I would point them to; this is the online forum that helps beginners (and experts) with diamond questions.

I had occasion to buy a diamond last year, and went with a laboratory created one from D.NEA. These are bona-fide carbon diamonds, not cubic zirconium, and are actually somewhat more expensive than diamonds dug out of the earth. I don't normally get wrapped around the axle about "fair trade", but I couldn't conscience proposing with a stone that might have funded slavery or child warfare. What kind of symbolism is that?

Anyway, I highly recommend D.NEA. They were helpful on the phone, the stone was delivered as promised, and it's beautiful. I used to pick one with a good cut, and it really does sparkle more than most engagement diamonds I see. For fun, try shining a laser pointer into a cut diamond!

The color, clarity and cut can make a huge difference in the price. A very high quality 1 carat can cost 5-10 times as much as a lower quality 1 carat. My input is to determine priorities on the 4 c's. You may want to visit a store and decide if the color matters much to you or if the differences in clarity are even noticable. Then decide which is most important and what you minimums are for the others. e.g. you can get a 1 carat, good cut, J color, SI2 inclusion for ~$3k but if you want VS2 clarity, very good cut and F color then that same $3k may only get you a 0.7 carat.

Bluenile is one online merchant that has a wide variety and GIA certifications.

My rant is specifically about engagement rings, although I also bought some diamond earrings this year for my wife.

I shopped in the B&M stores and and bought from BlueNile. The diamond I bought would have cost (including taxes) 30% more for sure from a physical store. I also didn't like the salesmen in the stores, they were nearly sleazy- showing me cloudy, overpriced diamonds and acting like those were the best there were. Do your research online, and make sure you are happy- there is no reason to settle for sub par diamonds!

And don't buy into that "if you love them, you have to buy them a 1 carat stone", or "it should be X amount of your annual salary". Decide what you can afford and what you like. My wife is very petite, and would have looked ridiculous with a full carat stone... she also would have been offended by the price of a 1 carat had I got her one (she looked up how much hers cost!). Speaking of 1 carat, there is a huge price jump once you go over that. So if you want to get your partner a 1 carat, but are willing to not be technical about it, get a .97 or something. You'll save a lot.

I'd also recommend Blue Nile (friends have had good experience with it). An added bonus is that you can pocket some nice change using Ebates on what is typically considered a fairly large purchase.

I agree with Grant. The "2 months salary" rule was created by diamond sales/marketing. The average amount people spend is closer to 1 month salary (roughly). So don't feel pressure to spend 2x as much as everyone else based on the marketing.

And a 0.97 carat can certainly save you a good amount over a 1.00 carat. That 3% size difference can cost 20% less pretty easy.

I can't think of a worse way to spend your money than buying
ANY sort of jewelry.

Costco an option by chance??

The philosophy of buying an engagement ring is the most interesting part. If you get ripped off and never know it (i.e. it looks great, and you're not passing it around to diamond experts), does it matter...

Of the four C's, "cut" is the one least mentioned, but is arguably the most important. It determines how light bounces around the stone, and thus how sparkly it is.

I agree with jdgjdg: ideal cut all the way. You can easily shop for a diamond by the numbers. Determine what you want (get a book from the library that explains the C's and what to give/not give on), then how much you can afford, and buy. I did this for my wife's engagement ring and results were fantastic!

As a bonus, you can buy a setting at a local jewlers and still get a warranty on that portion (tarnishing, cleaning, lost paver diamonds, etc). You can then add a small rider to your homeowners policy to cover the main diamond, so there's no reason to buy into many sales tactics of "if you buy online and the diamond falls out or gets stolen, you're screwed!".

Craigslist! Diamonds there are usually 50% or less than the original price. Just meet at the jewelry store to have it checked.

I'm glad to see jdgjdg and Darrell mention it (because the post did not!). A quality cut (most basically identified as "ideal" on most certifications but there's a lot more to it than that) is really the most important factor.

Any time you talk about diamonds you are going to have people who bring up the classic "why bother" or "I can't believe you spend huge amounts of money on that" and whatever else along those lines. That's fine, diamonds may not be for everyone, but to many people they are.

If you're going to do it, do it right. Research and learn. I bought my wife's engagement ring online and had a great experience (, for the record).

I learned an INCREDIBLE amount from this site: Far and away the most valuable resource I found when I shopped. I was able to by a diamond I was proud of and that blew away my now wife. For me/us, it was worth it, and I was glad I put in the leg work to know what I was getting. If your'e going to spend several thousand dollars on something (particularly something that hopefully lasts a lifetime) I think you owe it to yourself to make sure you educate yourself and have some idea what you're doing

Borsheims. Pretty competitive with the best of the online stores but also has a physical store (albeit only in Omaha).

definitely recommend for information and they have a good search engine as well. i ended up going with id jewelry ( and the service was spectacular.

One of my favorite PF topics! We went to a trusted jeweler and looked at estate pieces. We found a diamond that was very nice, but in a setting that we didn't like at all. The ring had a "very impressive" center stone and two side stones that were decent sized as well.

We ended up buying the ring, spending $1,000 to put the diamond into a new setting and another $200 to turn the side stones into earrings. We then got the ring appraised and the ring, alone, appraised for 5 times what we paid for everything - and we still have the platinum setting and earrings! The only thing that hurts is the insurance premium...

My father is an expert on gems. He told me that there are enough diamonds in the world to provide 1 carat for each person on Earth so it isn't all that precious of a gemstone. Alexandrite, Tanzanite are much more rare and precious.

I'm not a big fan of the Debeer's monopoly and therefore am not so much of a diamond man. I did buy a diamond engagement ring and a diamond wedding ring for my wife though, both were under 1 carat and suit her hands just fine as she has very petite hands.

I'm blown away when I hear of people spending $20k on a diamond!


Phil, did you grow up in a household where the kids got punished for using contractions?


Not saying you didn't get a good deal, but insurance appraisals (especially if you are talking about one done by the store you bought the jewelry from) are one of the worst ways to judge the value of something. Anyone who appraises something higher than what you paid for it, is basically telling you that they are faking the appraisal. Because if it is truly worth 20K when you only paid 4K, why on earth would they have sold it to you for 4K. The correct question is what would it cost you to replace the item. In most cases, unless you landed on a unique opportunity, if you have done your homework and price shopped, it's probably going to be pretty much what you paid for it.

"it really does sparkle more than most engagement diamonds I see. For fun, try shining a laser pointer into a cut diamond!" yeah, laser pointers have so many uses!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Start a Blog


  • Any information shared on Free Money Finance does not constitute financial advice. The Website is intended to provide general information only and does not attempt to give you advice that relates to your specific circumstances. You are advised to discuss your specific requirements with an independent financial adviser. Per FTC guidelines, this website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise. All posts are © 2005-2012, Free Money Finance.