DON'T SKIMP ON THE CUT
A diamond's cut has the biggest effect on its overall brightness and fire. Prioritize excellent and very good cuts when shopping and consider compromising on color, clarity or carat weight first if your ideal stone is out of your budget.
EVERY DIAMOND IS UNIQUE
Diamonds are very strictly graded and sorted by standardized criteria, but the overall look of the stone is still variable. Beacause of the unique layout of each stone's inclusions, one SI1 clarity stone may be significantly more attractive to you than another comparable SI1 stone. For this reason, we suggest viewing stones sideby side before making a final decision.
PRICING IS NOT LINEAR
Certain factors create exponential increases (or decreases) in price because of relative rarity: namely color, carat weight, and clarity. So a large D color IF clarity diamond will cost much, much more than a comparably sized D color VVS1 clarity diamond simply because there are far fewer of them to go around.
Don't worry, there are several strategies for getting the best value from your diamond.
SHAVE DOWN THE WEIGHT
Prices jump at major sizes, like 1.0 carat. You can save a decent amount by choosing stones just under these sizes (like 0.95 carat, above). The visual difference is indistinguishable.
DROP A COLOR GRADE
The difference between two sister color grades, like G and H (above), is almost undetectable for most people. This is expecially true when set in yellow gold.
DROP A CLARITY GRADE
The most important factor is that your diamond is eyeclean, meaning you cannot see its inclusions with the naked eye. Substantial savings can be had by dropping to another eyeclean grade, say from VS2 to SI1 (above).
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: FLUORESCENCE
It's a tricky little quirk about diamonds that causes contention among jewelers and buyers alike: some diamond glow under blacklight, from a slight tinge to a shocking glow in the dark effect. But many argue about whether this phenomenon negatively affects the appearance of the diamond under regular light. We've even heard some traders claim that a blue fluorescence (the most common color) can "cancel out" a diamond's natural yellow coloring, making a lower color diamond appear whiter.
The main contention with fluorescence ia a "milky" phenomenon. Diamonds with high fluorescence can cause an overall dulling effect that can even look greasy, dirty, or hazy. However, an official scientific study conducted by GIA in 1998 concluded that few people can distinguish a non-fluorescent stone from a high-fluorescent stone with the naked eye including jewelers and gemologists.
Since stones with fluorescence are marked at a discount, it may be worth it to compare low or medium fluorescence diamonds with your other options under a variety of light sources. You may find the fluorescent diamond just as enjoyable, but at a smaller price.