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Expert Tips for Buying Diamonds on a Budget

"Ultimate checklist for end users and traders on buying the perfect diamond"

This article is for anybody looking to buy a loose diamond online - either by itself or with an engagement ring as a ‘build your own’ set (a service provided by MANEE Jewel).

We understand how difficult it is for customers to juggle all information when figuring out if something is a good price. Our team of experienced experts have put together this checklist to help you purchase the perfect diamond at the best possible price.

Expert Tip #1 :Determine Budget

Let’s talk budget. Diamonds are a luxury item, so we need to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. If you need to cut expenses somewhere, skimp on the ring, not the diamond.

​A diamond can last forever, but fashions change. If you’re tired of the ring’s look, the diamond can be removed and placed in a new setting. So focus your efforts on the diamond, which will be a constant reminder of your affection for years to come. Your partner is going to see it every day, so make it a good one!

Expert Tip #2 :Narrow Down the 4C's

Take a look at our grading criteria that will walk you through every quality with tips on what to look out for when selecting a grade for every category.

​The key is for what purpose you are purchasing the diamond:

Diamond Ring or Statement Piece

The diamond is going to make the statement. So its important for us to make sure that it sparkles bright in the light. Typically, you should search for the following:

  • Color: DEF Color (Colorless diamonds)
  • Clarity: VS2 and above
  • Cut: Excellent or Very Good
  • Carat: Get a larger diamond but scale back a fraction of a carat (10-20 points) to save money.

The shape and carat is completely up to your preference. If you need help or feedback have an expert review your choice.

Julia Griffiths, who is a gemology and diamond tutor at Gem-A, advises brides-to-be to steer clear of the lower range of clarity grades (I1, I2 and I3) and to exercise caution when shopping for diamonds in the SI2 range. “With the higher clarity grades, i.e. SI1 and above, there should be no visual difference without magnification and all of these stones will look flawless with the unaided eye, with regards to clarity.”

Jewelry designs with diamonds embellished

This can come in the form of diamond watches, rings, bracelets or necklaces. Simple, stylish and modern statement pieces normally require smaller diamonds (0.01 – 0.1 carat) that are aligned together. However, this is varies with every jewelry design setting and may be required to purchase slightly larger diamonds (0.15 – 0.4 carats).

Expert Tip #3 :Take a Closer look at the Diamond

Many factors determine the price of the diamond, but 2 key factors that everyone should be on the look out for:
(many scammers tend to take advantage of buyers and traders by not educating their customers on the following characteristics)

Identify inclusions

You do not have to be an expert to spot an obvious inclusion, these are normally found right in the middle (table) of the diamond. The position of an inclusion also affects its visibility and diamond cutters always try to cut a stone so that the internal flaws cannot be seen through the table of the polished gem.

The trick is to find diamonds with inclusions that are under the bezel facets or near the girdle where they are hardest to see without magnification. Ankur Patel, Head GIA Expert at MANEE, says: “The worst location for an inclusion is to be under the table and near the pavilion, where the facets of the pavilion will reflect multiple images of it. A large feather near the girdle could shatter a diamond if hit hard enough.”

Here is an example where 2 Diamonds with the exact same grading however the positioning of the inclusions affect their pricing significantly.

Carat: 1.50ct Clarity: VS1 Color: Dt

Carat: 1.50ct Clarity: VS1 Color: Dt

There is a slight price difference between diamonds that have the same clarity grading and different inclusion placements. The key characteristic to determine a cheap diamond from an expensive diamond is the next point you have to consider, found below.

triple EX and NO Fluorescence

What does 'Triple EX' mean?

Cut : Excellent Polish : Excellent Symmetry : Excellent

For more information, refer to MANEE's Grading Criteria.

There are many variations in the cut and fluorescence of a diamond. Ideally you want a diamond that has Excellent Cut, Polish and Symmetry with no fluorescence, but if you are on a budget some compromises can help reduce the price but also give you a good quality diamond.

The table above shows 5 diamonds of the same Clarity and Color yet their prices vary. With new buyers that are not familiar with all the gradings often pay a premium price for a diamond that doesn't have a good cut with a strong fluorescence.

It is very important to know how the pricing varies with the presence of a weaker cut or symmetry and a stronger fluorescence.

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