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Best Diamond For the Money -- Diamond Buying Tips

Updated on June 24, 2013

Best Diamond For the Money

As a certified gemologist, I often get asked the question, what's the best diamond for the money? How do you maximize your money when buying a diamond? When asking a question like this, the first thing you need to understand is that value is not the same thing as beauty, and knowing what to look for when buying a diamond can save you a bunch of money. A VVS clarity diamond (Very Very Slightly included) is not going to be more beautiful to the naked eye than a VS diamond (Very Slightly included), but it will be quite a bit more expensive. The reason why it's more expensive is that it's more rare, not necessarily because it's more beautiful. To the naked eye, neither a VVS or a VS diamond will have inclusions that are visible. The inclusions present can only be seen under magnification. So a VVS diamond isn't any more beautiful than a VS diamond, but it's much more expensive. If you're looking to get the largest, most beautiful best diamond for the money, what I always recommend for people is an F color SI2 clarity diamond and I'll show you why. Have a look at the chart below that I got from the professional price guide that I use as a certified gemologist. I also included a picture of my gemological certificate, so you can know I'm not just pulling your chain.

Why SI2 Clarity?

If you're asking the question, what clarity diamond should I buy, I almost always recommend SI2 (Slightly Included). The reason why I recommend SI2 clarity for diamonds is because they're the cheapest Diamond you can buy that's still just as beautiful as the most expensive VVS diamond on the market. According to industry standards, SI clarity diamonds should not have visible inclusions. That means that the only way to differentiate between a VVS diamond and an SI clarity diamond is by viewing it under magnification. An SI2 diamond should still be as beautiful to the naked eye as a VVS, IF, or FL clarity diamond. But the price difference is huge. As you can see from the above chart, the clarity coefficient for SI2 diamonds is .223. What does that mean? Here's how to do the math:

  • 1 carat FL (Flawless) F color diamond retails for $19,500 x 1.0 = $19,500
  • 1 carat SI2, F color diamond retails for $19,500 x 0.223 = $4,350

That's quite a difference in price. The clarity coefficient is what you multiple by to get the retail price. For a flawless 1 carat colorless diamond, the coefficient it 1.0, which gives you the same number. $19,500 per carat is out of the price range of just about anyone. But a diamond that's just as beautiful to the naked eye for less than 25% of the retail price is somewhat more reasonable.

The reason why the price difference is so big is because SI clarity diamonds are the most common diamonds in jewelry. Above 90% of the diamonds in jewelry are in the SI clarity range. I'm talking about center stones, not small accent stones. Those are often in the I1-I3 range. Even though SI diamonds are not at all less beautiful, they're a lot less rare and therefore less expensive. When buying a diamond, looking at diamonds in the SI clarity range is the best way to get the best diamond for the money. Period.

What's the Difference Between SI1 and SI2?

The difference between an SI1 diamond and an SI2 diamond is the position of the inclusion in the stone. An SI1 diamond, or a VS1 or VVS1 for that matter has inclusions that are located near the outside or the edges of the stone. They're not in the middle of the stone. The inclusion/inclusions in an SI2 stone are not more severe generally than an SI1 stones, but they're located in a place within the diamond where they're easier to see under magnification. So when comparing diamonds, if there's a big difference in price between SI1 and SI2 stones that you're comparing, I go with the SI2 stone every time.

Why F Color?

I often get asked the question, what color diamond should I buy. The reason why I recommend F color for diamonds is because they're still considered colorless. D-F color for Diamonds are all considered colorless, and the visible difference between them is negligible, especially when set into a piece of jewelry. Once a Diamond is set into a piece of jewelry, it takes on part of the color of the metal that surrounds it. Most jewelers won't even grade a diamond for color that's set into a piece of jewelry. Unless they get permission from the owner to remove the diamond and grade it for color apart from the piece of jewelry, they usually won't do it. So buying a D color diamond and paying top dollar for a stone is not generally the best way to maximize your money. As you can see from the chart, an F color diamond is about $5,000 cheaper for a perfectly flawless 1 carat diamond. That's a pretty big discount for not much visible difference. If you're looking to get the most for your money, find the best diamond, SI2 clarity, F color is probably the best way to do. That will let you get the largest diamond at the cheapest price. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.

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    • Benjimester profile imageAUTHOR

      Benji Mester 

      5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Awesome. Thanks for the link!

    • rrkumble profile image

      rrkumble 

      5 years ago

      I am a Diamond Jeweller from India and this exactly what i tell my clients too. - www.rcdiamonds.com

    • Benjimester profile imageAUTHOR

      Benji Mester 

      5 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks! Hopefully it'll help a few people make a good buying decision.

    • rrkumble profile image

      rrkumble 

      5 years ago

      You nailed it. :) Awesome post.

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