Budgeting (The 5th C: Cost)
You may have heard suggestions about that the appropriate sum to spend on a diamond is based upon your salary. You should disregard such advice and spend what you are comfortable spending. The experience will be much more pleasurable if you set a budget and work within it. There are small compromises that can be made to fit a nice looking diamond into almost any budget. In each of the sections on the four C's we give advice on getting the best bang for the buck. They are compiled below for quick reference. In addition, compare price among different shapes. You may find that you can get the same size and quality for less money by considering a different shape.
Practical advice: color
While colorless stones are rarer and cost more, near-colorless stones will look essentially the same to the eye when set in jewelry. Choosing a GHIJ color instead of one in the DEF range will enable you to get a larger diamond for the money, without a substantial compromise in performance or beauty. If the diamond is to be set in white gold or platinum, aim a little higher on the scale than you would if setting it in yellow gold. Yellow gold disguises body color whereas white metal reveals it.
Blue fluorescence can add to eye appeal of near-colorless diamonds and therefore be a benefit. Fluorescence is not a benefit to a colorless stone and may reduce its value. Very Strong fluorescence in some cases and under certain conditions can diminish a diamond's performance and beauty
Practical advice: clarity
For jewelry purposes Si2 clarity is sufficient to allow for brilliance and performance. Even close examination with the naked eye will not reveal any flaws in most cases. For engagement purposes many buyers prefer stones with higher purity. Selecting Si1 or Si2 rather than a higher grade can enable a buyer to own a larger and/or better color diamond for the money without a substantial drop off in beauty or performance.
Practical advice: carat
Apparent diamond size varies depending on the carat weight and the proportioning of the cut. A 1.00ct stone that is cut a little too deep might actually be smaller looking than a 0.90ct stone that is well proportioned. Also, at certain carat levels, per carat prices increase substantially. It is sometimes possible to get real price savings by staying just under these so called 'magic marks'. For instance, a well cut stone of 0.45 ct might be quite a bit less expensive than the same quality 0.50ct, yet have a visual appearance virtually the same. The important magic marks are 0.50ct, 0.70ct, 1.00ct, 1.25ct, 1.50ct, 2.00ct, 3.00ct, 5.00ct.
Practical advice: cut
While a good quality round diamond with an 'ideal' cut will certainly be very beautiful, very good and premium cuts might be just as attractive without costing a premium. While no commonly accepted 'ideal' cut parameters exist for fancy shapes, good and very good cut grades will result in the best performance. Consider the length to width ratio of the diamond and the design of the mounting when selecting a fancy shape.