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Help An Amateur :-)


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Hopefully I am posting in the right section.

I am looking to buy an engagement ring. I have already proposed to my fiancé and we are now looking at various different rings.

I understand the 4 C's and we have our budget set, but we are struggling to find the ratio and balance between Colour, Clarity & Cut VS Carat (i.e - size).

We found 2 really nice rings at one particular jewellers, and they looked great in terms of Colour, Clarity & Cut to our naked amateur eyes, however I was surprised at the 3 Colour, Clarity & Cut grades... BUT maybe these are normal grades?

Does anyone have any advice on getting the ratio and balance right of 'Colour, Clarity & Cut' VS Carat, or is it purely personal choice?

Here are the 2 rings in which we are looking at, which we both thought it looked great, but maybe the grades are too low?


Ring 1 (Round)
- Colour: G
- Cut: Brilliant
- Carat: 3.34
- Clarity: Si1
- Deal Price: €52,000


Ring 2 (Emerald)
- Colour: H
- Cut: 
- Carat: 3.37
- Clarity: Si1
- Price: €37,000

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1 hour ago, simon123says said:

Here are the 2 rings in which we are looking at, which we both thought it looked great, but maybe the grades are too low?

Welcome to Diamond Review!

The grades look... like you don't have enough information to spend that amount of money. 🙂

"We have both looked at them, and we both thought they looked great" is a great place to start from - and many people would argue is all you need, but when spending 5 digit sums I think some caution is not a bad thing.

There is absolutely nothing at all wrong or unusual with G, H, SI1, and round or emerald cut stones, however, for a stone of that value I would expect - no, demand - that the vendor backs up their judgement in calling a stone "G/SI1" (or whatever else) with a report from an independent lab that verifies that the stone is indeed what is being claimed (in the first place, that "it is a natural, untreated diamond").

The lab report will also contain other information that will be useful to make your mind up, and to check that you are receiving fair value for money - starting from "which lab issued the report". Not all labs use the same standards, nor do they apply them as rigorously. GIA, AGS and HRD are generally reliable for stone identification, treatment, proportions, colour and clarity. Other labs not so much... and others still not at all! Bear in mind that a lab report costs about €250 or less, so the choice of lab for this type of stone is a strategic marketing choice (what the vendor thinks will sell best), not one dictated by cost.

The other major question is that of cut - "round" rather than "emerald" only defines the shape. Which is an important part of cut, but far from being the whole story. Many labs have developed cut-grading systems for round brilliants where they place the overall quality of the cut on a scale with 5 or 6 steps (Ideal/Excellent/Very Good/Good/Fair/Poor). Unfortunately, again, not all labs use the same standards, and in some cases the cut "grade" is not worth the paper it is printed on - if it is there at all.

The situation is even worse for non-round cuts, such as emerald cut stones, because only AGS has developed (what I would consider) a reasonably well-researched cut grading scale for some non-round shapes, and AGS has a tiny, tiny market share in lab reports for diamonds, especially for non-rounds, and even more especially in Europe.

While it is not particularly reasonable to expect a vendor to have half a dozen 3+ carat diamond readily available to show differences in cut quality across them, I think it is fair to expect them to have smaller stones with which to demonstrate what to look for, and the ability to draw your attention to the details of how one particular (large) stone is particularly well cut or otherwise. Without that, you run the risk of getting something that looks impressive for its size, but disappoints quickly in terms of liveliness, sparkle and fire once it's out of the jewellery shop's spotlights.

Final point - the ring. You seem to be looking at buying something that has already been assembled, which again is perfectly fine - however it introduces one more variable, in as much as the fair value of a "diamond ring" can vary from a few hundred € to several thousands, depending on how it's made, what it's made of, whether it contains other stones and so on. Obviously this has to be factored in when assessing the overall price of the item.

TL;DR With the information you have (or at least that you posted), I would advise you not to spend your money - yet. Not to put too fine a point on it, those prices seem suspiciously low for fairly graded stones of those characteristics, especially if they include a typical "European" VAT of about 20%. Both those rings may be lovely, and fairly priced, but we (you) don't have enough information to determine whether that is so.

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Thank you so much for your detailed reply, it is much appreciated.

I have attached the report for the ring in which my other half prefers... the Emerald.

The ring was advertised at €42k, but they have offered it for €37k. This includes the stone being set on a yellow gold band without any other stones.

Really keen to hear your further input and thoughts based on the above.


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As far as one can go from the report, all is good, and I would trust HRD to be "reasonable" with colour and clarity. The SI1 inclusions seem to a pair of feathers in the corners, which may well be invisible to the naked eye (but do ask to the vendor to point them out to you, with a loupe or a microscope - they should correspond roughly in position and size to the two red marks on the report).

A plain gold ring - even if hand made - is not super-expensive, so it doesn't distort things too much from a "price" point of view.

The only outstanding question is on cut - and here the only really valid test is for you to see and compare the diamond to others, and the only really valid criterion is whether you like this more than the others. Ask the vendor if they can organise such a comparison and point out what makes a "good emerald cut".

FWIW, my "description" of a good emerald cut is a stone that shows a fair amount of contrast ("black and white" concentric rectangles which switch to the other colour when the stone moves), and large "chunks" of coloured flashes. This video may give you an idea:

There is nothing wrong with preferring a more uniformly bright stone - which many people do. Here is an example of one:


Edited by davidelevi
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The biggest difference here, by far, is one of shape. Emerald cuts are neither better nor worse than rounds, that's a matter of taste, but they're most definitely different.  I largely agree with Davide above (I usually do) but before you get into the cut evaluation questions on an EC, it's important to decide if that's even what you want.  The right price on the wrong thing is no bargain. 

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