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San Francisco Jeweler Brilliant Earth

How to Buy Diamonds Online

Circa Ring


If you’re shopping for diamond jewelry on the internet, you’ll need this priceless advice from Brilliant Earth jewelry specialist Jessica Anand on how to buy diamonds online. Her tips will definitely save you stress, and can even save you money. Here’s what she has to say on the subject:

D or J color?  Good or super ideal cut?  Round or princess shape?  SI2 or FL clarity?  At first glance, all of these questions can seem quite daunting!  But I promise you, the hardest part is over. You have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  From here on out, it’s easy. Not only am I going to show you how easy it can be to buy diamonds online, I am going to show you how to have fun with the process.  So, take a deep breath and relax.  You are in good hands!

Choosing a Diamond Shape

Let’s discuss shape first.  Now, I am a firm believer in individual personalities and I really do think that a diamond should reflect one’s personality. Each diamond shape is very unique, just like the woman who will be wearing it. Take a minute and think about the love of your life.  Are there certain shapes she loves to wear?  Certain shapes she gravitates towards when you look at everyday items such as furniture or flowers?  Is her style classic or would she love something a bit more trendy?

If your first thought is “Classic,” then I would recommend picking a round, cushion, or oval shaped diamond.  For someone who loves modern angles and defined lines, I would look at princess, asscher, and emerald shaped pieces (I am a total princess cut diamond fan, so let’s chat if you are too).  And, if she is all about the antique feel, then you should definitely look at cushions, asschers, and radiants.  Obviously, you can’t go wrong with any of these options, but just take a minute and think about her natural inclinations – picking the shape will come more easily then!

Deciphering the Four C’s

Now that you have given shape a thought, let’s move forward to the four Cs!  Where to begin, you may ask?  Well, before you even start, I want to emphasize just how vital it is to find the perfect balance between the different diamond characteristics of cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. You do NOT need to “go big” with every aspect of a diamond.  Instead, you want to think about each aspect and how it will affect the whole piece!

Diamond Cut

I am going to break down the four Cs for you in order of importance to me.   First, let’s talk about cut.  I ALWAYS stress the importance of cut on a diamond.  The cut measures symmetry, polish and proportion and it is really what affects the visual brilliance of the diamond.  With a great cut, your diamond can look a lot larger and will sparkle that much more!  Let’s just say, when you are standing 10 feet away in a room and a diamond catches your eye, it’s usually because it is an exceptional cut.

For round diamonds, as long as you stay in the very good, ideal and super ideal range, you are going to have a stunning diamond. For fancy shaped diamonds (anything but a round), there is a bit more flexibility, so as long as you stay in the Good + range, you will be just fine!  Stay within these parameters and your diamond will give the “wow” effect you’re after!

Diamond Color

The next aspect of a diamond that I pay attention to is the color. Color is very much about preference. Have fun with it!  D, E, and F colored diamonds are the highest on the rarity scale and have a very icy white appearance. G, H, I, and J colored diamonds will have a slightly warmer hue.  Personally, I think G is a total sweet spot. You can get great G color diamonds that look very much like F color diamonds, but which have lower prices. When it comes to picking the perfect color, think about the ring you are hoping to set the diamond in. Are you picking a ring with side stones?  Are you picking a halo setting?  Or, are you going with our fabulous six-prong classic?  Also, were you hoping for platinum, 18K white gold or 18K yellow gold?

If you are gravitating towards our gorgeous yellow or rose gold options, you really have a wide color spectrum to choose from. All diamonds in a yellow gold engagement ring tend to look very white in color. However, if you are set on white gold or platinum and would like a three stone ring, look to stay within the D-H range, as I and J colored diamonds may be a bit too warm in color compared to the side diamonds. Once again, color is ALL about preference. I love warm colored diamonds, so don’t rule them out automatically!

Diamond Clarity

When buying a diamond online, clarity is the last characteristic I look at because Brilliant Earth always inspects our diamonds for durability and inclusion pattern, taking care to ensure that inclusions are hard to detect with the unaided eye when looking from the top down. This is known as “eye clean”.

Since some SI1 and SI2 diamonds may have inclusions visible to the unaided eye, our expert gemologists screen these diamonds carefully to flag stones with more obviously visible inclusions or durability risks. If they find a questionable inclusion, we will contact you to discuss the gemologist findings and will try to offer alternative options. Many diamonds with clarity grades of SI1 and SI2 are very attractive and with inclusions that are hard to detect. Selecting SI1 or SI2 diamonds allows a buyer to maximize more visible characteristics such as the carat size, color, or cut within a given budget. I do not discriminate based on clarity grades and I definitely don’t think you should either!

What Carat Really Means

Carat weight is the diamond characteristic that people are usually most familiar with, but you may not realize that carat is a measure of weight, not size. So when you’re looking at two one-carat diamonds, one diamond may be bigger than the other. If you’re looking to buy the biggest diamond within your budget, you should know that certain diamond shapes (emerald cut, for example) distribute a diamond’s carat weight in a way that maximizes its size. Similarly, certain types of settings play up the size of a diamond. To buy a diamond online that maximizes carat weight within your budget, while balancing cut, color, and clarity, browse our Recommended Collection. These diamonds have been hand-selected to offer beauty and value.

Final Thoughts

CONGRATULATIONS!  You are now well equipped to buy the perfect diamond.  I want to leave you with one parting thought: You are asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you, and that  is the biggest present you can give her. The ring is an added bonus that will make her feel extra special. So, when picking a diamond, always remember that the emotion and pledge that it represents virtually guarantee that it will look absolutely perfect to her.

Have more questions?  Just contact us for the answers!



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