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.

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

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:

$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 )

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

Click to enter in these search parameters at
Click to enter in these search parameters at

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

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

Round Diamond Buying Tips

Canadian Loose Diamonds from DiamondWave

There is something magical about seeing a diamond scintillating and sparkling. The flash and fire of a diamond is almost magical as it catches the eye and holds one’s attention like nothing else. The sparkle of a diamond has always been its greatest attraction. It stops people in their tracks as it refracts light and disperses an array of color from the entire visible spectrum. Earlier in history when diamonds could not be bought by the majority of people, ring makers would paint silver on the bottom of glass crystals to give them greater sparkle.

Since a diamond’s sparkle is its greatest attraction it would be a shame to buy a diamond and find that it does not have much sparkle.

Under what circumstances would this occur?

What kind of diamond has less sparkle? A poorly cut diamond.

Diamonds reflect the surrounding light and carry it back to the beholder’s eye. The average viewing distance has been agreed on by grading laboratories and diamond cutters to be approximately 25 cm. This distance is used when determining if a diamond looks good. An Ideal cut diamond will look good at this distance as well as at other distances and at various angles.

The quality of a diamond’s Cut will have a direct impact on its:

  • Brilliance
    This is the total amount of light which is reflected by the diamond. When light reaches the diamond’s surface, some light enters it and some light is reflected back. The most immediate light reflected back will be returned by the crown‘s angles.
  • Scintillation
    This refers to the sparkle (flashes of light) which are produced when a diamond’s viewing angle is moved around. The light that isn’t immediately reflected back enters the diamond and reflects from the inside walls toward the center of the diamond.As it bounces off the internal walls of the diamond it produces what is known as scintillation.
  • Fire
    This refers to the dispersion of light into different colored light. As light is bounced off the inside walls towards the center of the diamond, it then shoots back through the top of the diamond. Because the light is slightly bent by the diamond, a color spectrum is visible when light exits the top of the diamond.

Diamond Cuts


A diamond looks at its best when it has either no color, or has a strong vivid color. Colorless diamonds are by far the most popular for jewelry as they have that sparkle factor. However colored diamonds (called fancy colored diamonds, or just fancies) also have strong demand, though they are less readily available.

The proportions and angles at which a round ideal cut diamond has been cut give a diamond more sparkle than is the case with other styles of cuts. A  diamond cut in this way will have so much sparkle that the color of an ideal cut J diamond will not be noticeable. Remember this applies if it is a round diamond, also known as round brilliant. Other shapes do not disperse light as efficiently as round cut diamonds do and therefore color becomes noticeable even in “I” graded diamonds of other shapes (Fancy Cuts).

Check out these gorgeous super ideal cut diamonds:

Where to buy pink diamonds for less than USD15000

The specialists in colored diamonds featured on my list are among some of the best places to buy diamonds. Yes it is true that any jeweler worth his salt will be able to get you a colored stone, but there are several reasons I recommend this particular jeweler for all your fancy colors.

Note: Just to review a couple of terms. (Please skip on ahead if you already know about diamond terminology.) The word "fancy" when used in regard to diamond color means intensely or vividly colored. When used in regard to shape "fancy cut" means any shape other than the standard classic usually referred to as a round brilliant.

The diamond we have for you today actually falls in both categories:

Fancy color and fancy cut.

Pink diamonds are rare therefore they command a respectable price. But that’s not to say we can’t find you a beautiful one at a fair price.

pink-heart-diamond-leibishThis little beauty is a gorgeous fancy intense pink cut into a heart shape and not only does it have good symmetry, but good polish and has Argyle laser inscription and certification.

This one gets my “No Regrets” stamp of approval.No Regrets stamp of approval for this round diamond

Heart Brilliant

3.54 x 3.58 x 2.17 mm
Carat Weight
0.16 carat
Clarity Grade


Fancy Intense Pink


60.6 %
59 %
Slightly Thick to Very Thick, Faceted


Very Good
Very Good


Medium Blue

clarity characteristics

Clarity Characteristics
Feather, Needle, Pinpoint, Natural

The reasons I recommend Leibish for colored stones is because first of all this is their speciality. If you want good service and good quality go to the specialist. And like most of the jewelers on our list Liebish is a well established entity. Leibish and Co participates in the annual invitation only Argyle Pink Diamond Tender. Enough said.

Leibish is also a proponent of diamonds as investments so they are keen to give purchasers a chance to get in at a good price.

All in all Leibish are great to deal with and provide a wonderful service.

I asked them to send me a list of a few more pink diamonds under $15000 and they responded within the hour with the following list (which includes the stone reviewed above).


1.00 Carat I-SI1 Ideal Cut Round Diamond $4900!

Check out this beauty!

Even though it is Slightly Included, you can observe that it is eye clean in the  high resolution image. Click on the image and you’ll see the diamond in complete 360° at a magnification of 40.

That’s even higher than a jeweler would get through a standard jeweler’s loupe!

1 carat diamond

Carat weight:1.00



Shape: Round

Clarity: SI1

Cut: Ideal
Depth %:60.60

Girdle: Medium-Slightly Thick

Table %:59.00 Culet:NN


Crown ?: –


Crown %:0.00


Pavilion ?:- L/W/D (mm): 6.46 x 6.44 x 3.91

Pavilion %: 0.00

Latest Arrival at Gemvara: Diamond Ring with 2.02 ct Centerstone + 52 pavé stones

Today’s Catch of The Day is a newly arrived design at Gemvara which we think is a very nice design and we think you will like it too!

The Jillian Ring:

2 carat diamond engagement ring
Click on this image to go straight to this ring at Gemvara


Type: Certified Round Diamond (Grading Report: GIA 6127138446)
Quality Grade: G / SI2
Size: 7.97×7.92mm
Weight: 2.02cts


Type: Round Diamond
Quality Grade: G-H, SI
Size: 1.10×1.10mm
Total: 24 stones, about 0.14cts total


Type: Round Diamond
Quality Grade: G-H, SI
Size: 1.10×1.10mm
Total: 28 stones, about 0.17cts total


Metals: 18K White Gold


Ring Width (underside at widest point):3.39mm


Gemvara has been catching our attention quite a bit of late.

First I noticed that they had changed their return period from 30 days to a whopping 101 days.

The second thing I noticed is that  they now have grading reports (aka certificates) available for viewing alongside the listings of jewelry which includes diamonds.

Gemvara already ticks a lot of boxes on my list. They only use earth-friendly recycled gold, and they also offer palladium which is naturally white, comfortable to wear and hypo-allergenic.

This makes it so much easier to make an informed decision when evaluating a particular diamond.

Looking at the grading report we can see that the cut grade is Very Good, which is the within the range we recommend for good brilliance.  There are a few small inclusions, which are the birthmarks of the diamond and show that it is REAL, and not a simulant or synthetic. As Gemvara only sells eye-clean diamonds we can be guaranteed a top of the range diamond with this ring.

Gemvara’s customizable options are quite fun to play with. Prefer it to be a different metal? click. Maybe a gemstone? click. Hmmm, change my mind, let’s keep the diamond. click.

Try it.

This ring also has matching bands!

If we want something real perfect: Here is the perfect diamond.

1.01 carats, Round Diamond, with Very Good Cut, G Color, VVS1 Clarity, and certified by GIA


For some reason today it took me  a while to find something to post for our Catch Of The Day. The diamond that stood out to me was one I finally found at Diamonds-USA. These guys offer an unusual deal in that they let you receive the diamond before you pay for it.

This diamond is graded as VVS1, and I downloaded the Grading Report from GIA (see it here: )

After looking at dozens of grading reports today I noticed something unusual about this one: it’s a nearly perfect diamond.

As you can see in this screen shot of the grading report the close up on the right is the bottom of the diamond (the pavilion) and that’s where the only inclusion is, which is a pinpoint, so this is practically a perfect diamond:

Being a “G” it is perfect for not only engagement rings but this is a popular choice for anniversary rings or three stone rings.

Here is the link to it:

Best Deal For Best Looking 0.60 Carat Diamond


Here is a diamond which truly stands out amongst the other diamonds of the same size.

The reason it makes the grade as our

Catch Of The Day

is because it is just so close to perfection and its symmetry is outstanding.

Retail price on this would undoubtedly be $3100 to $3400.

All the important things are present. Its one flaw is mentioned in the Diamond Dossier: a feather. This means there is a tiny line somewhere. Look through the magnifier and you’ll see that the feather is not even visible under such intense magnification. As a matter of fact there are no flaws visible under high magnification. That’s what is called “eye-clean”, even “loupe clean”.

This definitely gets our stamp of approval.

Shape:  Round
Carat weight:  0.60
Cut:  Excellent
Color:  I
Clarity:  VS2
Certificate:  GIA
Depth:  61.9%
Table:  56.0%
Polish:  Excellent
Symmetry:  Excellent
Culet:  None
Fluorescence:  None
Measurements in mm:  5.42*5.44*3.36

Best Value Round Brilliant 0.90 ct under $4500

Shape:  Round
Carat weight:  0.90
Cut:  Very Good
Color:  I
Clarity:  SI1
Certificate:  GIA
Depth:  61.5%
Table:  59.0%
Polish:  Very Good
Symmetry:  Excellent
Culet:  None
Fluorescence:  Faint
Measurements:  6.17*6.18*3.80
Crown Angle: 34.0
Crown %: 13.50
Pavilion Angle: 41.2
Pavilion %:

Best Value 0.70 carat Round Brilliant Ideal Cut

When one of these comes along it’s a sure thing that it won’t be around for long. It’s clear from the high resolution image that it is a stunning beauty. The symmetry is mesmerising and I can guarantee that this stone is absolutely eye-clean as you can clearly see that any inclusions are not visible on the table. With any of the (very small) specks you see when looking at this stone through the virtual loupe just imagine those specks (inclusions) being one eighteenth of the size you see! That’s how you know it is eye-clean. Those specks are microscopic.

The size of this 0.70 ct round when viewed from above is 5.68 mm across. This is barely a millimeter smaller than a one carat diamond, but about $4000 cheaper!

Diamonds under 1 ct when graded by GIA receive a Diamond Dossier. This also costs less than the full grading report which 1 ct stones and greater get. The main difference is that you don’t get an actual mapping of where the inclusions are. But this is why James Allen is so great. You can look directly at the exact diamond you will be getting and see whether or not it looks perfect, or close to perfect.

What really makes this stone great is that it is an Ideal Cut. This is always one of the most important considerations when choosing a diamond.

The photo is taken in such a way to be able to view the diamond’s features, so it doesn’t show how much it sparkles, but this stone is a real sparkler.

Those arrows in the middle will of course not be black when you look at it. GIA did a study and found that the stones which show those dark arrows in photos were the ones that got the greatest positive response from consumers.

Shape:  Round
Carat weight:  0.70
Cut:  Excellent
Color:  I
Clarity:  VS2
Certificate:  GIA
 Price: $2580
Depth:  62.5%
Table:  55.0%
Polish:  Excellent
Symmetry:  Very Good
Culet:  None
Fluorescence:  None
Measurements:  5.66*5.68*3.55

What a Find! Princess Cut Diamond, GIA certified

Today’s challenge was to locate a bargain diamond from the range of Princess cut diamonds available.

I’ve located a nice one which I highly recommend as an excellent bargain.

Stock number: LD02674459
Price: AU$ 4,685
Bank wire price: AU$ 4,615
Price per carat: AU$ 4,549
Carat weight: 1.03
Cut: Very Good
Color: H
Clarity: SI1
Depth %: 70.0%
Table %: 73%
Polish: Excellent
Symmetry: Excellent
Girdle: Slightly Thick
Culet: None
Fluorescence: None
Measurements: 5.71 x 5.71 x 4.00 mm
Length/width ratio: 1

It is listed at

The reasons that this stone makes the grade as our

Catch Of The Day

is due to the following:

Princess cut diamonds are likely to show their color more than round cut diamonds. Therefore the stone chosen has an H color. Any diamond specialist will tell you to stay away from stones with a color grade of J or more when choosing a fancy cut. A fancy cut is anything other than a round brilliant. This stone being H is sufficiently removed from J to suit our requirements beautifully.

You may notice that the clarity is SI1. This may be a concern, however when looking at the grading report we see that the inclusions (internal blemishes) are listed as a feather, cloud, and crystal. They are all located near the center of the top of the diamond, but they are all rather small inclusions. While I can’t be 100% certain that it is eye-clean, I am 97.99% certain that the inclusions are not noticeable. What truly makes this diamond a bargain is that its Symmetry has been graded as Excellent, and along with a Very Good cut, this diamond will be B.E.A-utiful!

Definitely gets our “No Regrets” stamp of approval.