The Ultimate Guide to Buying Affordable Diamond Jewelry

As you probably already know, for the last 12 years we specialize in affordable diamond jewelry.  After over 30 years in the diamond industry and the fact that diamond jewelry has become a product that almost every 2nd person in the US had purchased at some point, we’ve decided to focus on this market.

My name is Tom, I am a certified gemologist and one of the managers here at Brillianteers.com.  I will do my best to be objective and provide you with the best advice to purchasing your next diamond ring or any other piece of diamond jewelry.

Purchase online or offline

My first advice, maybe an obvious one, would be to purchase your diamond jewelry online. Diamond jewelry is not a product that is sold in high quantities.  Jewelry stores only sell a few items per day, occasionally a few a week and in order to cover their high cost of rent, displays and sales staff, they have to mark up the products.  Only online stores with little overhead have the ability to make a minimal margin on their products and still be profitable in small quantities.  Of course online stores have a much bigger market so often their sales volume is equivalent to hundreds of local stores.

Come up with a budget and set expectations

Diamonds come in every price range, you can get a 1ct diamond for $400 and you can get one for $20,000.  My advice to you would be to set your budget in advance, then do some research and understand what size diamond you can buy in this budget.  Take into account that the smaller the diamond the better its quality will be for the same budget.

For example:

  • If my budget is $500 I can get a decent looking 0.10-0.30 ct diamond.
  • If the budget is $1,000 I can get a 0.40-0.60ct diamond
  • At $2,000 a 0.90-1.00ct diamond
  • At $4,000 a 1.5-2.00ct diamond

If you try to look for a 2 carat diamond with no budget in mind, you will often waste your time looking at either poor looking diamonds or expensive ones which is why setting your expectations is important.

The average engagement ring that we sell is approximately $1,500 and that would be the perfect budget for a beautiful 0.75ct center stone.  Combine that with a halo setting and you get a beautiful, super impressive ring for a price most people can afford.

New Aurora 0.80ct diamond
0.80ct Halo Diamond Ring

I realize these prices sound very low, these are affordable but nice looking diamonds and that is what we offer and I will explain exactly how.

What are affordable diamonds ?

Affordable diamonds are basically diamonds that are beautiful, sparkling and brilliant but not perfect when looked at under magnification.  When finding such a diamond, you are often required to make a compromise, either a lower clarity grade or a lower color grade or a poor cut.

I would never recommend a poor cut but of course you also do not have to get an excellent cut.  Anything “good” or above will look beautiful when set in a ring.

If you are getting a Yellow Gold or Rose gold setting, certainly color would be the compromise to make.  You can even get an I-J colored diamond and this color will hardly be visible in the Yellow or Rose Gold setting.

If your setting is White, you will have to compromise on clarity and that is where the tricky part is, most low clarity diamond do not look as nice as you would want them to be.  Fortunately, there are clarity enhanced diamonds which basically take a relatively low clarity diamond and renders its imperfections invisible resulting in a beautiful diamond and still costing just the same.

Beautiful Clarity Enhanced Diamond3.5 Carat Clarity Enhanced Diamond
The above are examples of beautiful clarity enhanced diamonds.

You can certainly get affordable diamonds that are not clarity enhanced, many such rings are sold on Amazon, Walmart and other marketplaces but take into account that when doing so your compromise on quality will be far far greater as for that same budget, a non enhanced diamond would be of poor quality and certainly not give you the value you want to get from this investment.

Clarity Enhanced Diamonds

What Is The Clarity Enhancement Process? 
It is the proprietary process that takes a diamond with a visible imperfection and makes the imperfection invisible to the naked eye. The imperfection remains in the diamond but it can no longer be seen.

You are probably certain my opinion is biased so I am only going to give you facts and leave the decision with you:

  1. My wife’s ring is set with a clarity enhanced diamond. In fact, I don’t think we have even a single employee that his wife wears a non-enhanced diamond.
  2. Clarity enhanced diamonds are totally natural and come from the same diamond mines as all other diamonds.
  3. The amount of material used to fill the imperfection is so microscopic that even the world’s greatest diamond laboratory, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has reported that the clarity enhancement process adds ZERO WEIGHT to a diamond.
  4. The Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A), after extensive research, has determined that normal wear and tear cannot harm the enhancement. Only if the clarity enhanced diamond is exposed to extremely high heat or strong acids and bases, the enhancement may be reversed.
  5. The clarity enhancement process is not visible to the naked eye. Only your trained jeweler will ever know that you own a natural clarity enhanced diamond.

A Beautiful Clarity Enhanced Diamond Under Magnification
A Beautiful Clarity Enhanced Diamond Under Magnification

Read more about CE diamonds.

Certification

Many people want and are looking for a GIA certified diamond, but they are also looking for an affordable and these 2 are very hard to combine.

There are many different gemological laboratories: GIA, EGL, IGI, DGC, HRD, IGL, GCI and the list goes on. Each lab has their own grading methods and standards. The same exact diamond will be graded differently by each lab.
Most jewelers grade diamonds according to GIA standards, they have no reason not to grade the diamonds using the strictest possible methods.

The fact is that people today do not want to buy GIA graded diamonds because they have become so extremely strict on their grading standards making GIA diamonds so expensive and unappetizing for most consumers.  Also, GIA charge a high price for their certificate which is then added to the price of your ring an often also multiplied. Our customers have been very happy with the realistic grading standards and consistency of the DGC but frankly there are many other gemological laboratories that, like DGC, are far more adequate for affordable diamond.

DGC Certificate

The setting (Ring, Pendant or Earrings)

There are a few things to take under consideration when you select your perfect ring. Obviously you first have to find a design you like but when you do, know that suttle changes can make a big difference in price.

For example, in many cases there are multiple side-stones set below the diamond or on the side of the band. These are less visible when the ring is on a finder but add a lot to the price.  Almost all diamond jewelry are hand made and setting small diamonds is very labor intensive.  Some of our rings have up to 100 side-stones and this can take 4 hours or work to make.

Another consideration is the thickness.  The price of gold at the time of writing this is ~$45/gram and therefore heavy rings will be pricey.

Many people choose to get a custom designed ring or make changes to an existing design.  You should know that 3D designers are expensive and this would usually add a significant amount to the cost of your ring.

So my advice to you, choose an existing design, look for variations of that design that are slightly thinner and have less diamonds (You can also request less diamonds and in many cases it is possible without a custom model). Also consider Halo designs to make your center diamond look bigger.

Brillianteers top sellers

How we do it?

So lets tick a few boxes here:

  1. We are an online company.
  2. We specialize in clarity enhanced diamonds.
  3. We are a global company and do not rely on dealers coming in to the US to sell, we buy our diamonds from the source in India, Israel and Belgium.  No middle-man.

The 4 C’s

I am not going to leave you without some education and useful knowledge.  Even when buying diamond jewelry on a budget, you should have some minimal knowledge of the basic parameters of grading a diamond.

A diamond is graded by 4 parameters, referred to as the 4 C’s, let me briefly explain each one:

Carat – The weight, which also implies the size of the diamond.  Diamonds prices are increased exponentially by weight , meaning a 2ct diamond costs x4 x6 or x8 times as a 1ct diamond since larger diamonds are harder to come by.

Diamond Carat

Cut – How well the stone is cut to perfect proportions.  An excellent cut stone will reflect the light the best and look nicer.  This is actually quite significant and affects the appearance of your diamond very much.

Diamond Shape

Color – Graded from D to Z but more commonly D to M where D is a perfectly white color-less diamond and M is quite yellow.  F-G will appear colorless and H will have a very slight yellow or brown tint.

Diamond Color

Clarity – Describes the amount of imperfections a diamond has VVS (Very slighly included), VS (Very Slighly) SI (Slightly) and I (Included).  SI1 or SI2 are the best clarity grades for affordable diamond (SI1 being better).  If you can slightly reduce the size of the diamond to get a VS2 clarity, that would be well recommend as there is a big jump in quality and appearance between SI and VS diamonds.

Diamond Clarity

Useful Resources

Diamond Grading Chart
Click the image to download the full chart

Download the Diamond the Grading Chart in PDF Format

What we try avoid and you should too?

We try to avoid diamonds that are cloudy, very poor cut or have surface marks. These diamonds may look nice at a first glance but will not be as nice when set in a ring.

No-Risk online purchase and financing

When purchasing your jewelry online, take into consideration that you are always protected by PayPal and the credit card providers.  You don’t have to take my word for it or anyone else’s, if you ever want to return your diamond, you an and if any issues, Paypal or the credit card company will protect you.

We offer a 30 day no questions asked return policy and we also offer a lifetime warranty.  Check with your jewelry what they offer and how they help you sleep well at night with this special once in a lifetime purchase.

Sometimes, its worth putting the ring on layaway or financing to a few monthly payments in order to get a better value for your money and a slightly better quality diamond.  I would certainly consider that and check with your selected jeweler what they offer.

  • Some general online tips for online purchasing:
    Buy from companies that have been around for a while.  A company that does not offer a good service and a good product cannot last.
  • Look for a company with a physical presence in the US.  Its always good to have an address you can go to or send a friend to if anything goes wrong.
  • Read some reviews online, try to locate the longer ones, both negative and positive and get a feel of what people think about this company.
  • Buy from a brand, one that has presence in Instagram and Facebook , one that is well known and sells in multiple places so you can be sure they are a reputable company to buy from.

Please feel free to comment here on the article if you have questions, I promise to personally address them in a timely manner.

Its an exciting purchase, enjoy it!

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