Tag Archives: diamond engagement

The most important thing in buying a diamond engagement ring -TRUST.

In everything in life, whether it be a visit to the Doctor or Dentist, or a significant purchase of one thing or another, we often face the dilemma of whether the service provider or seller is looking out for himself/herself or for the patient/customer in making their recommendation(s) for the fulfillment of the patient’s/customer’s needs or desires. This is only natural in that the seller is most often concerned with getting well compensated for his/her services while the patient/consumer is motivated by the quality of the provided service or product and receiving such service/product at a “fair” price.

I recently had an experience with regard to a needed plaster repair in my beautiful older home. The fast talking great salesman who came to me through an internet referral service quoted me $1750.00 for a job that I knew he was not going to correctly repair – since he really had no idea how to do it right! In the end, a trustworthy old timer with lots of experience in plaster repair did a remarkable job on the repair for the cost of $360.00!!

So . . . you ask, “What the heck does any of this have to do with the purchase of a diamond engagement ring?” The answer should be somewhat obvious. You need to deal with someone who has the required experience and understanding of your needs as well as of the industry and the product – in this case, a diamond.

You also need to navigate through the minefield of fast talking salespeople (Beware of the Internet!!) and find someone who you feel comfortable dealing with in terms of their personality and their knowledge and their reputation for trust and integrity. Granted, this is not an easy task!

But there are many jewelry professionals whose mission in their work is to provide you with the necessary information, and more importantly, the right advice – to assist you in making the right educated choice in your selection of the “right” engagement diamond and/or diamond engagement ring. The most important thing to remember during this process is that you should not be looking for the best price. Price is not the same as “value” – and those who think otherwise will almost always buy an inferior (read: ugly!) diamond!

When you find such a person, I urge you to give him the level of respect and trust that he deserves. In the end, that trust and respect will serve you well.

The end result should be an experience that is mutually beneficial to both sides of the transaction. The buyer will be grateful for the knowledge and advice that has been obtained. The seller, or jewelry professional, will be happy that he has provided you with something that will be worn and appreciated and admired for many years to come!!

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This above comment – “the “right” diamond engagement ring” – is even more important than one might initially think!!

A diamond is just a diamond – beautiful as it may be. A diamond engagement ring, on the other hand, is a very significant piece of jewelry that is, in addition to symbolizing that the wearer is “engaged” or “married”, a very personal statement of one’s style and/or taste and personality. It is a work of jewelry art that will be worn for many years and will be appreciated by the wearer as well as many friends, family members, associates and many others.

Just as in the process of purchasing a loose diamond, it is essential to deal with a knowledgeable and experienced and trustworthy jewelry professional in turning a diamond into the finished engagement ring.

Some diamond shapes or qualities work well in certain styles of settings and not so much in other styles. While you may have a general idea of where you would like to end up in terms of an engagement ring style, I urge you – as in the diamond buying process itself – to find that trusted jewelry professional whose knowledge of materials, diamond shapes and qualities and cuts, and sense of style will assist you in ending up with something that will be beautiful to you as well as to everyone else!

Find someone who you can and will trust. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith. But it is the most aspect of getting to where you want to be. This is true regardless of the fact that you may be purchasing a $1,000.00 or a $50,000.00 diamond ring!!


In the course of my daily business I am sometimes the buyer of diamonds from one who has previously purchased a diamond.

Today I was presented with such a diamond. The owner/seller had acquired this diamond from a retailer in Philadelphia where my office is located. The owner/seller provided me with the opportunity to look at the diamond as well as the grading report that they were given at the time of purchase.

According to the paperwork, I assume that the purchaser thought that they were getting a good deal at the time of purchase. Upon looking at the diamond and grading it to “fair” and “proper” standards, the diamond was actually six grades lower than what the buyer/seller/owner thought she had acquired. The diamond was not a GIA certified diamond and was graded by a “fraudulent” grading lab.  The diamond was, in fact, worth only 32% of the value of what they thought they were buying!!

This true story is stated here just to reiterate the subject matter of the above post. Obviously, as should be learned from this brief story, there are those in the world who think that low price is all that matters – and who later ind out that they have been cheated.  More importantly, this brief story should reiterate the necessity of dealing with someone with a reputation for trust and integrity.

A Good Deal on a Ugly Diamond is not a Good Deal.

I have written several posts over time regarding the diamond purchase process and the Internet.

Those who do not know me may think my repeated postings on the subject are a case of sour grapes in that the internet has changed the diamond business.  Though the internet has changed the diamond business in a few significant ways, my posts are my way of dealing with my frustrations of seeing the detrimental effects that the internet has on the consumer/diamond buyer.

I did a diamond appraisal this week for a Millennial.  He was obviously proud of the wonderful deal he got after I can’t even imagine how many hours or days of research. When I asked him how he got to the internet vendor company (one that I never heard of and which must take many hours or days to get to!), he proudly told me that he found this company after much research and that this company had the best prices.

As requested I evaluated his diamond and assured him that he got a great deal on his diamond with regard to the underlying GIA specifications.  He smiled as if I confirmed to him that he “beat” the system.

It is my honest professional opinion that this Millennial has just spent in excess of $10,000.00 on something that is not beautiful at all – unless, of course, one considers that specifications as set out on a piece of paper (the GIA grading report) to be the underlying beauty of a diamond.

This is a photo of the diamond that he purchased  .  . 

Though it may be somewhat difficult to see in the photo, this diamond looks somewhat dull as it severely lacking the scintillation and fire that makes a diamond beautiful.  This is despite the fact that the G/VVS2 color/clarity grade on the GIA report denotes a diamond that is truly fine.


The photo on the right is a different diamond that I photographed under the exact same lighting conditions.

This diamond jumps out at you. It draws you in as you look at the faceting and it’s scintillation and brilliance.   This is what a beautiful Cushion Cut diamond is supposed to look like.

To be honest with the reader it is the rare Cushion Cut diamond that looks like the diamond on the right.  It is also true that the cut on this diamond commands a premium price in the wholesale market when compared to the majority of Cushion Cut diamonds.

The Millennial who purchased the above diamond (in the ring) could have purchased the more beautiful diamond for a similar price to the diamond he purchased.  The reason he did not purchase the nicer diamond is twofold:  Firstly, he was only shopping for the best “deal” in terms of low price.  Secondly, he never had the opportunity to see the diamonds with his eyes as he was simply comparing the paper specifications of diamonds on the internet as opposed to actually having the opportunity to evaluate the underlying beauty of a diamond.

Most importantly, what is important for the reader to understand is that both of these two diamonds will someday be an engagement ring that someone will wear for many years.  The differences in the two diamonds, though seen somewhat significantly in these photos, will be much more apparent when the ring is worn.

One of these diamonds will be dull and somewhat lifeless, despite the fact that the buyer has a beautiful GIA grading report.  The other diamond (which also has a nice GIA grading report) will be appreciated by the owner/wearer and many others for a lifetime!

With regard to this author, I have once again temporarily relieved my frustrations that are inherent with the new age diamond buying process. More importantly, perhaps I have given a potential diamond buyer some food for thought as he contemplates making the right choices in the diamond buying process.


Neil Reiff









How to Buy an Engagement Diamond In 10 Steps

How to Buy An Engagement Diamond in 10 Steps

  1. Do I have to/want to/need to get engaged/married?
  2. Do I have to/want to/need too get an engagement ring?
  3. Do I have to/want to/need to purchase a diamond engagement ring? Or perhaps a different precious stone (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald)? Or perhaps a synthetic diamond?
  4. What shape diamond do I prefer? Round? Cushion? Princess? Radiant? Emerald Cut? Marquise? Pear?
  5. How big of a diamond do I want to/have to/need to purchase?
  6. Do I need a certified diamond? If so, GIA? AGS? ForeverMark? EGl? IGI? Or some other certification?
  7. What color and clarity diamond should I buy? Or need to buy?
  8. What about Polish and Symmetry and Cut Grade and all this other stuff?
  9. How much money will this cost?

You are most probably like everyone else in the same situation.

You know you love this woman and want to make a commitment to spend your lives together. But like everyone else you are at the WTF moment!

You do some research. You do more research. And more.

The more you think you begin to know, you realize that you don’t know much. And then, when you think that you do, I promise you that you don’t.

Perhaps you have shopped the Internet.

There are many Internet sites. On just one such site, after determining you want to buy a 1.00 carat round diamond, your search results produce 10,515 round diamonds between 1.00 carat to 1.10 carats. The prices for these diamonds range from $28,037.00 down to $3,045.00.

The lowest quality – J/SI2 – is still a good quality compared to the I2 clarity that you saw at the mall!

You do some more research. And more.

You determine (perhaps rightly so) that you should buy a 1.00 carat round diamond that is GIA certified – “H” color, “VS” clarity.

Within your newly refined criteria, the same Internet seller lists nearly 500 1.00 carat round diamonds graded  “H/VS”.  The prices range from $8,895.00 down to $4,112.00. (At this point I must add that the typical Internet shopper, unlike me, sees the prices range from $4,112.00 up to $8,895.00 – but chooses only to remember the $4,112.00 price!)

It turns out that the same Internet seller has a 1.00 carat “H/VS2” diamond for $7,692.00 and a 1.00 carat “H/VS1” for $5,633.00. A better grade – a “VS1” compared to a “VS2” for 27% less!!

Isn’t a VS1 supposed to be more expensive than a VS2?  Perhaps it is the difference in make – or the cut?  But NO, both diamonds are Ideal cut!

You say “WTF? I am really confused!”

Why is one identically graded diamond with the same certification twice as expensive as another diamond of the same grades?

How is it possible that a diamond with a lower certification grade from the same laboratory can be more expensive than a higher or better graded diamond?  Conversely, the “better” diamond is “cheaper”!


Do you know what a crown angle is?
Do you know the difference that a 32% crown angle makes compared to 36.5%?
Do you understand the difference between 58% depth and 63.5% depth?
Do you know the difference in appearance between a 56% table and a 62% table?
Do you know the millimeter diameter of the diamond with a 58% depth may be considerably larger in size than a 62.5% depth – even though both are excellent cut grade?
Is the inclusion minor or major?
Are there multiple inclusions?
Are the inclusions black carbon or white? Pinpoints? Or Feathers? Or Crystals?
Are the inclusions in the Table? Or the Crown facets? Or the Star facets? Or visible only through the Pavilion facets?
Are the inclusions visible to the naked eyes or only under magnification?
Is that 10X or 20X magnification?
Is it back light magnification or top light magnification?
Is the diamond fluorescent? Strong, Very Strong, Medium, Faint or No fluorescence? Blue? Yellow? White?
Is fluorescence a good thing or is it bad? GIA studies say it is good. The Internet says it is bad.
How can a diamond have a cavity?
What is a natural?
Are there any color tinges? Gray? Brown? Green? Pink?
How is it that a SI grade inclusion can be nicer than a VS grade inclusion?
How is it that a SI clarity grade can be more expensive than a VS grade diamond of the same color?

There are perhaps a hundred of these elements that make up a diamond.

These are just a few of the things that determine the overall beauty and value and price of a diamond.

And then you ask yourself, “Am I sure she wants a Round diamond?

“Perhaps I should look at Pear Shapes or Ovals or Cushions or Emerald Cuts.”

And “Maybe I need a better color in a fancy shape because fancy shape diamonds show color differently than a round diamond?”.

And “Maybe I need a better clarity because a VS inclusion can be more easily seen in an Emerald Cut or some other shape than in a round diamond?”.

And then you get to a whole other element.  A Squarish Cushion Cut or a Rectangular Cushion Cut?  A Modified Cushion Brilliant or a Cushion Brilliant?

Or perhaps it is an Emerald Cut in which case you are asking, 1.40:1.00 ratio or 1.25:1.00 Ratio? Or perhaps 1.55:1.00?

By this time I hope that you realize that you can research all you want. The more you know the more you should understand that you really don’t know much.

Like you, I have played doctor for myself. You look up your symptoms on the Internet when you think maybe you are ill. I’ve been there and done that! I have also learned that after not healing for two or three weeks that I felt healthier in just one day after going to the doctor and getting a prescription.

The same is true with your local professional jeweler. Chances are that he or she has been at this a good bit longer than you have. Chances are that he understands that a diamond is about something special and something beautiful that cannot be accurately described and detailed on a gemological grading report.

He or she understands that a diamond is about something visual – something that must be seen with one’s eyes. It is not about a piece of paper.

When you are ready to admit that you really have no idea what this is all about, remember that if it was just about the lowest price, this would have been an easy mission – but it is about the diamond!

There are a multitude of reasons why two diamonds of seemingly the same grading characteristics are vastly different in price – sometimes by 50% to 100% even from the same seller.

I can assure you that the more expensive diamond is more expensive because it is a more beautiful diamond. Conversely, the lower priced diamond is likely to be less beautiful – even though the piece of paper says they are similar.

Put your trust in someone who has knowledge. Let this person be your guide.

Chances are that the jeweler will also be able to give you advice with regard to the next step. After all, a diamond is just the diamond!

What about the mounting?

Halo mounting? Traditional solitaire? Baguettes? Trillions? Trapezoids? Three-stone?
Platinum? White gold? Yellow Gold? 14K? 18K?

What about the ring sizing? The future safety checks? The future repairs?  The updated insurance valuation and appraisal?

I have made mistakes buying things online. I have fallen for the bad advertised deal. I have gone for the lowest price only to find out that I have been ripped-off with inferior substandard quality.

A diamond engagement ring should not be a mistake.


STEP 10.  Go to your local jewelry professional.  Ask for his or her advice.  And remember, he is not more expensive than the internet. Unlike the “Chat” person or the voice at the other end of the Internet who has no real “visual” knowledge of any of the diamonds you are referring to, the jeweler knows that a diamond must be seen and selected with your eyes and not a keypad.  He is just trying to provide you with a beautiful diamond – and that is something more than the lowest price.