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

What is the best metal for diamond rings?

Selecting what metal to use as a setting for your diamond is just as important as choosing the best diamond.

The following are metals that are commonly offered by most retailers:

  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Gold

Pure 24 karat gold is too soft to be used in diamond jewelry.

Silver is not used to set diamonds because of its softness.

Which metal is the best for diamond rings? Most jewelers agree that is is Platinum.

Platinum is the king of metals. Ranking the highest in durability and purity its resistance to wear makes it the most secure and protective metal. Platinum is also rare, making it just as symbolic as the rare diamond you choose for your ring.

Platinum won’t change shape even over a long period of time so the precious stones continue to be held firmly and securely. All precious metals scratch, but due to platinum’s density, when it is scratched, it is merely displaced so it will not actually be losing mass. Gold on the other hand loses very tiny amounts metal when scratched.

Another excellent choice for a diamond ring’s setting is Palladium.

National Jeweler magazine has been educating both the public and jewelry sales teams on the benefits of palladium.

Palladium has been known since 1803 when it was first discovered by William Hyde Wollaston. Palladium was named after the asteroid Pallas, which had been in the news at the time having been first sighted in 1801. Palladium began being used in jewelry around 1939 when smart jewelers realised that it was extremely durable and thereby presented excellent value for high quality jewelry. As a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal, palladium is one of a number of metals in the platinum group of metals. These include platinum, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium. Palladium being from this family of precious metals shares the strength of platinum.
Palladium has been found in Australia, Africa, Canada, South America and North America. The vast majority of palladium used in the United States is mined in North America. The Stillwater Mining Company, located in Montana, is the only source of palladium in the United States and has received awards for its green mining practices.

Palladium is strong and durable. Weighing less than platinum because of its low density allows for bigger and bolder jewelry designs to be created. Their extra size doesn’t hamper them being worn with ease. Plus, since it’s naturally white, there’s no expensive maintenance to keep it brilliant for life.

A growing number of fashion-forward jewelry designers have chosen palladium as their metal of choice. Typically less expensive than platinum or gold also makes palladium the preference for smart shoppers who want affordable luxury.

Those allergic to some other metals will love palladium’s purity. Palladium is pure because it gets its color and luster from nature. Other metals that are not naturally white are mixed with nickel to appear white – and nickel can cause allergic reactions.

If you are wondering which metal looks whiter,  pure palladium or pure platinum, consumers often say the two look identical.

Two online retailers that have beautiful diamonds and also offer palladium settings are: DiamondWave, and Diamonds-USA.

Another popular choice for diamond rings is Gold. Eighteen karat gold was considered until recent times to be too soft for diamond jewelry. Modern metallurgical techniques have made it possible to use 18 karat gold in jewelry without the risk of stones falling out. Retailers often market so-called white gold. Gold, as you know, is yellow. Anything labeled as white gold has either been mixed with other alloys and hence is usually 14k gold. This makes it stronger and as a result may look whiter. To make it even whiter gold may have been rhodium dipped, which means it has a surface coating of a whiter metal called rhodium. The rhodium plating is not permanent as rhodium is too soft to be impervious to scratches and abrasion. This means it will eventually need to be re-dipped, as the coating will wear off over time. Rhodium dipped “white gold” is usually very similar in price to palladium, so it would be my recommendation to buy palladium rather than “white gold”, if platinum is beyond the budgetary limits you have set for yourself.

Yellow gold is often the choice for anyone choosing a diamond with slightly more coloring. The contrast of the yellow gold ring when seen next to the very slight coloring of the diamond will make the diamond’s coloring less noticeable. Yellow gold is also nice with colorless diamonds. The yellow color of the gold does not make the diamond look yellow.