Question: Where can I find the nicest diamond engagement ring for $10,000?

In this article:

How to set parameters at JamesAllen to guarantee your finding a beautiful diamond.

But first: what not to do.

It is easy to assume that spending $10,000 would mean that you’re guaranteed to get the best diamond at the more than ideal engagement ring size of 1+ ct.

This is not necessarily so. If you focus only on size you could neglect other very important attributes which actually make the diamond look good.

For example here is a 1.56 Carat K-VS2 Very Good Cut Round Diamond.

https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.56-carat-k-color-vs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-579691

It fits the budget, and has been given a “very good” cut grade by GIA.

There are, however a number of problems with this stone.

Let’s take a close look at why it’s not a good deal.

First of all it is a shallow cut.

diagram profile of diamond
Any round cut diamond with a depth less than 61% is generally going to be a shallow cut diamond. Its face up appearance will be dull. Light leaks out the sides and bottom rather than being reflected back to the eye. Click to view larger size.

 

With a depth of 59.40% this diamond is simply not going to return light through the table as would be the case with an diamond that has a depth ratio of 61%. It may seem like nothing, but light travels in very specific and predictable ways. A small variation in angle and everything goes awry. Most excellent or ideal cut diamonds have a depth of between 61% and 62%. You won’t want to get anything that varies too far from these depth percentages. This applies only to round cut diamonds or oval cut diamonds.

The table of this diamond is also fairly small, sitting at 55.2%. To get a decent of light return you really want something with a table that is around 57%,  58% or at the most 59%.

Here is what the diamond in question looks like when viewed face up. It looks extremely dark as very little light is being returned through the table and crown.

Also this diamond’s color is K, so it’s getting a bit on the pale yellowish side. Any round brilliant diamond whose color is past J will have noticeable color with very few exceptions. Occasionally you’ll find a super ideal cut diamond that sparkles so brightly that the K color is masked by its sheer brilliance. But this is extremely rare and usually people opt for G or H if they want to make sure that no color is noticeable.

It is also possible to set the diamond in a yellow gold ring if the diamond color is J or K or even more. The idea is that the optical illusion of the yellowish color of the gold doesn’t make the yellow of the diamond quite as noticeable. This has only limited results.

A colorless diamond will always be a better choice whether set in a yellow gold ring or in a platinum or palladium setting.

The setting’s color influences how the eye perceives the color by providing some contrast.

k color diamond's color is obvious.
The diamond is far from colorless once seen from a different angle. Click for enlargement.

All that to say that the diamond in question https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.56-carat-k-color-vs2-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-579691

would not be my first choice. Yes it’s a decent size, but the drawbacks are far too many to make up for them.

Finding the Nicest Diamond

It’s probably not a bad idea for me to start out by defining what I mean by “nicest.”

“Nicest” will mean different things to different people. I am going to go through the steps to get what I consider to be the nicest round brilliant diamond engagement ring for ten thousand dollars (US$10,000). I find that most diamond experts recommend similar options to the ones I will delineate below.

Round cut diamonds look best when they have less color and no visible inclusions. But they must be cut to excellent proportions or they will look dull as in the above example.

So you may think that if this stone costs so much that you don’t stand a chance of finding a real good looking stone. But if you tweak a few of the search parameters you can still find a fantastic stone.

The $10,000 Diamond Ring

Here we go.

Let’s narrow down the search to find you the best stone leaving a decent amount for the setting.

The setting

With a budget of $10,000 total for both the diamond and the setting you will have plenty of diamonds and settings to choose from. Most importantly you’ll be guaranteed to find a diamond over one carat, even if it’s not quite the 1.5 carats we had in the above example. And you will still have enough to cover a platinum ring with sidestones as well.

Here is a fine choice: https://www.jamesallen.com/engagement-rings/settings-with-sidestones/platinum-graduated-pave-swirl-engagement-ring-17871p.html

$1500 setting for $10000 engagement ring.
Platinum Graduated Pave Swirl setting for engagement ring. Budget: $10,000 total.

Platinum is the king of metals when it comes to diamond rings. It is stronger than gold so there’s less chance of any stones falling out.

In regards to the size of the diamond, the advantages of getting a diamond over one carat is that the diamond certificate (grading report) is more detailed. The grading report which GIA issues will include a diagram detailing exactly where any inclusions are found in the diamond.

Ok, so here’s how to go about finding the best and most beautiful diamond with this budget of $10,000.

The ring setting which I have chosen for this example is priced today at $1,480*, leaving over $8500 for the diamond itself.

*Precious metals prices change frequently.

Settings are chosen according to personal tastes, so I won’t go into too much more detail on the setting.

The Diamond

What Parameters To Use

(Pssst: You can skip my instructions and have all these parameters entered in for you!

Click here to automatically enter in all these parameters at Jamesallen.com )

Here are the parameters I recommend to use when searching for round cut diamonds in order to get the most brilliance and largest size at the best value:

  • Shape: round
  • Color: I – H
  • Clarity: SI1 – VVS1
  • Cut: TrueHearts
  • Carat: 1.15 -1.xx
  • Price: xxx-$8500
  • Polish: Excellent
  • Symmetry: Excellent
  • Lab: ALL
  • Depth: 60.8%-62.8% (or leave unchecked)
  • Table: 56% – 60.1%
  • Fluorescence: none

For this example we will choose Round. We do this because then we will be shown diamonds which have a cut grade mentioned on the grading report. This makes it possible to just select the Ideal cut option without having to worry about having to enter in the depth and table percentage values.

James Allen offer their own estimation of cut grade and categorize their fancy shapes such as Princess, Emerald, Square, Heart, Marquise, Pear, Oval, and Cushion according to what they deem to be Ideal, Very Good, and Good. GIA, the grading lab, does not offer this information for fancy cuts therefore cut grade won’t be mentioned on the GIA grading reports for fancy cut diamonds.

In the past GIA or AGS were the only labs I recommended. IGI is now producing far more consistent grading reports and therefore you’ll be fine getting a diamond with a grading report from any one of those laboratories.

Here is a sample search.

Conducting the search while only including TrueHearts is my first choice, as it eliminates a huge number of underperforming diamonds that might have some good proportions but still have something about them which is not quite right.

You’ll find that tweaking the settings like as per the afore mentioned criteria makes it so much easier to find the better stones.

Click here to automatically enter in all these parameters at Jamesallen.com

Click to enter in these search parameters at JamesAllen.com
Click to enter in these search parameters at JamesAllen.com

This search turned up a couple of very nice stones for me and I know it will for you too.

25% off your setting with a TrueHearts purchase.
You actually save on the setting with your TrueHearts purchase. Click here to search for TrueHearts diamonds at jamesallen.com

Why TrueHeartsTM

The cut of a diamond not only refers to the diamond’s shape, it also refers to how effectively the diamond returns light back to the viewer’s eye. A well-cut diamond will appear very brilliant and fiery, while a poorly cut diamond can appear dark and lifeless as shown in the first example above. While the example used a K stone, you can see that its dullness is due to the poor cut regardless of its color or clarity.

But an interesting thing happens when you get a well cut diamond: Not only do well-cut diamonds appear more brilliant than their poorly cut counterparts they also tend to appear larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight. When compared to deeply cut diamonds this is not just an optical illusion. An ideal cut diamond has both increased brilliance and increased diameter relative to more deeply-cut diamonds. Make sense? Less of the diamond’s weight is hidden in its pavilion.

Ideal cut diamonds

An Ideal Cut Diamond is a round, brilliant, or princess cut diamond that is cut to ideal proportions and angles, and has excellent polish and symmetry ratings. An Ideal Cut Diamond is perfectly proportioned to refract light, producing that fire and brilliance up through to the table and crown. James Allen offers a nice selection of Ideal Cut Diamonds known as True HeartsTM

Hearts and Arrows True HeartsTM

Seen from above, a Hearts and Arrows diamond shows an arrow pattern. When displayed on its pavilion side, the diamond presents the eye with 8 hearts with tiny ‘v’ shapes. Genuine Hearts and Arrows have these patterns visible at a single glance, indicating that the diamond has perfect optical symmetry.

The Hearts and Arrows collection are the perfect symbol of true love – that’s why they named them TrueHeartsTM. Every diamond from the TrueHeartsTM collection is a lasting masterpiece, a  diamond that has been carefully crafted to get as close to perfection as possible.

Hearts and Arrows diamonds are sold under many names – Hearts on Fire and Leo Diamonds are two popular examples. James Allen takes pride in presenting some of the finest Hearts and Arrows diamonds money can buy – every single TrueHeartsTM diamond they sell is cut and polished at 100X magnification. Furthermore, the exclusive Diamond Display TechnologyTM lets you see any True HeartsTM diamond magnified in 360° so you can see exactly what you are getting.

Understanding Brilliance, Dispersion & Scintillation

A well-cut diamonds exhibit three different properties: brilliance, dispersion and scintillation. As light strikes a diamond’s surface, it will either reflect off the table of a polished stone or enter the diamond. The light that is reflected off the diamond is known as the diamond’s brilliance. As light travels through a stone, some of the light rays are separated into flashes of color. This is known as dispersion. The result of dispersion—the separation of white light into its spectral colors— is known as fire. Scintillation is flashes of color that are viewable as an observer moves a diamond back and forth.

25% off your setting with a TrueHearts purchase.
You actually save on the setting with your TrueHearts purchase. Click here to search for TrueHearts diamonds at jamesallen.com

New Feature at James Allen: Fancy Color Diamonds

Great news for all you diamond connoisseurs! James Allen has now added fancy colors to their inventory. They even have pink diamonds. Not many, but enough to give you an idea of how much they are worth.

Fancy color diamonds are becoming increasingly popular, but remain extremely difficult to source but James Allen has recognised the popular demand and done the leg work for you in sourcing a huge variety. It’s huge because the worldwide supply of fancy color diamonds is relatively small, when compared to colorless diamonds.

www.jamesallen.com/#!/loose-diamonds/fancy-color
www.jamesallen.com/#!/loose-diamonds/fancy-color

Cheat codes: How to get a 1 carat diamond for less than $5000

If you’ve shopped around at the local jewelry stores you’ll know that it is virtually impossible to find a good looking 1 carat diamond for less than $5000. When you include $500 to $1200 for the gold or platinum ring you certainly can’t get a 1 carat diamond ring for $5000. This is why so many people are surprised that this is actually possible when they start looking online for their diamond.

Sometimes you can find a very good deal on a 1 carat diamond it is a fancy cut. This is any shape that is other than a round brilliant.

I found a pear shape diamond today which is very reasonably priced.

Here’s the real secret. I managed to narrow the search to include diamonds with an SI2 clarity grading. I don’t dare do this on any other site because no other site lets us see all the diamonds at such high resolution. Many diamond vendors do post a link to the diamond grading report, which I would have to look at if I couldn’t see an image of the diamond.

If choosing a diamond with an SI1 clarity grade, or lower, we must look closely at the diamond to see if the diamond has any inclusion which hampers its ability to sparkle. JamesAllen has such clear photos of the diamonds they make available through their website that we know exactly what we are getting.

Here is our Catch of the Day:

It is a 1.01 ct Pear cut diamond.

You may be aware that another kind of fancy cut, the Marquise cut diamonds, require a very specific length to breadth ratio for there not to be a bow-tie effect. That’s where the light does not reflect through facets in the middle of the Marquise and cause the middle to show a bow-tie shaped dark patch.

Pear cut diamonds do not suffer from this problem. As a matter of fact there is no preferred ratio for pear cut diamonds. It is a matter of personal preference.

The ratio of this particular diamond actually contains a very eye pleasing ratio.

With a length of 8.18mm, this is exactly 69% longer than the width of 5.65mm.

1.01 Carat G-SI2 Ideal Cut Pear Diamond

When setting the parameters to find a diamond like this I made sure the diamond search would only list diamonds with an Ideal/Excellent cut. GIA reports do not include the cut grade for fancy cuts, however they are still sorted according to cut quality by JamesAllen, fortunately for us.

Shape: 	Pear Carat Weight: 	1.01 Cut: 	Excellent Color: 	G Clarity: 	SI2 Certificate: 	GIA Depth: 	63.0% Table: 	53.0% Polish: 	Very Good Symmetry: 	Very Good Girdle: 		 Culet: 	None Fluorescence: 	None Measurements: 	8.18x5.65x3.56 Ratio: 	1.45

Since $3770 is quite a low price for a 1.01 carat diamond I looked very closely at the grading report.

The majority of the inclusions are on the pavilion side of the diamond (the bottom). This is a good thing as this means they can hardly be seen. One long inclusion, identified as a “feather” on the grading report shows through the top ever so slightly as I point out in this photo:

Feather can be barely seen here in this pear cut diamond

Remember this is a magnified view of the diamond. The entire diamond’s actual size is 8mm long. That feather is going to be nearly impossible to see, if not completely impossible to see in reality without a loupe.

Anyway, that’s my catch of the day for today. It has a lot of things going for it. The color is “G”, which is great, far enough removed from the minimum acceptable color for fancies, which would be an “I” color.

I’ve just been looking at diamonds, real diamonds, that is, not diamonds on the computer screen, and I can tell you that even though lots of people go for the lowest color grade they can get away with (J for round cut, and I for fancy cut) in order to get a bigger diamond, the higher color grades are just unbelievably beautiful. You’ll be very happy you got this “G” diamond.

This one is a great choice. It is going to look fantastic on some lucky girl’s finger. There’s only one of these, so if you think it’s the one, grab it.

Here it is: www.jamesallen.com/diamonds/G-SI2-Ideal-Cut-Pear-Diamond-1130166.asp