Virtual Purchase: Great Quality $2000 Round Diamond

Last week, I helped a friend search for a diamond.  Unfortunately, she lost her diamond from the setting, due to prongs breaking on her ring (fairly common, see my recent post about leaving rings for service).  She did have insurance on the ring, and with that reimbursement, had $2000 to spend on a new diamond.

She had an approximate .50 carat center diamond before, from a mall store.  We quickly figured out that she would get a better value shopping for a diamond online.  Some local independent jewelers may be able to come close to online pricing, but most mall jewelry chain stores cannot. 

I searched mainly on Blue Nile and Amazon.com.  I know from previous research and other loose diamond Virtual Purchases (click here for a round 1 carat virtual purchase), that these 2 sites have the best combination of selection, quality, and price.  Both have relatively intuitive search features and some customer support if you need it.

My friend wanted very nice quality (D to G color, VS1 to SI1 clarity, and Very Good to Ideal cut), but was excited to find that she could go up slightly in size even in that fine quality range.  I narrowed it down to several diamonds from each of the sites.  For all of the diamonds listed, they are GIA certified, and I liked all of the details: none had medium or higher Fluorescence, the girdles were not too thin or too thick, and I liked their relative table and depth percentages.  ANY of these diamonds would be drop-dead gorgeous.

My list of Blue Nile choices (if you click on the price, it will take you to the diamond’s detail page):

Carat:    Price:    Color: Clarity: Cut: Depth %: Table %:   Symmetry: Polish:
0.73    $ 2,029.00   G SI1 ID 61.2% 56%   VG VG
0.62    $ 1,966.00   E VS2 ID 61.3% 56%   EX VG
0.64    $ 1,831.00   F VS2 ID 62.6% 54%   VG VG

The first choice represents a larger carat weight.  Both the weight and measurements are significantly larger than what she had, without sacrificing too much on quality.  The second choice is very fine quality, with the smallest carat weight of these options while staying in her price range.  The third choice is still wonderful quality, but is very slightly larger with a great price tag.

Here are my Amazon choices (again, click on the price to go to that diamond’s detail page):

Carat:    Price:    Color: Clarity: Cut: Depth %: Table %:   Symmetry: Polish:
0.74    $ 1,920.00   G SI1 ID 60.3% 58%   VG VG
0.65    $ 2,015.00   D VS2 VG 61.1% 60%   VG G
0.62    $ 1,905.00   E VS2 ID 61.6% 57%   EX EX

I followed the same logic for these diamonds: 1st choice is larger but still great quality, 2nd is one of the finest qualities but still reasonable size and in her price range, and 3rd option is a wonderful balance between nice size and quality.

What I found is that Amazon’s prices are just a tiny bit better across the board.  Not by much: in this case maybe a difference of $50 to $100.  But that difference might cover the cost of setting the stone.  Blue Nile may be able to provide a little more guidance, so perhaps that is worth the additional cost. 

Ultimately, my friend chose the .62 E VS2 from Amazon (sorry, it’s sold!) for $1905, it was just an excellent value and a great balance of factors. 

Bottom line, for $2000 you could have a nice, no-apology quality 3/4 ct; a very nice, heirloom quality 2/3 carat; or very rare quality 1/2 carat.  I feel that for this purchase, she made an excellent, balanced decision.

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