Diamond Buying Guide – Part Two

This is part two (of two) of our Diamond Buying Guide. Read Part One here.

For Diamond Connoisseurs

ASET image

ASET image of a Super Ideal Cut Round Diamond

As mentioned earlier, how well a diamond is cut will determine its light performance. At the high-end, diamond connoisseurs seek out the “Super Ideal” or “Hearts and Arrows” cut diamonds.

These diamonds are cut for maximum light performance, and during the cutting process, the cutter will sacrifice carat size for optimizing the diamond’s proportions for the best sparkle and brilliance.

So for a given carat size these diamonds can be several thousand dollars more expensive.

Reflector technology tools such as the ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Theory), introduced by the American Gem Society in 2005, can help the diamond connoisseur to objectively evaluate the cut proportions of these high-end diamonds,

Diamond Guidelines Pricing Table  

According to The Knot’s third annual Engagement & Jewelry Study, the average price of an engagement ring is $5,403. In addition, the average size of the center diamond is 1.1 carats (source). Figuring a typical breakdown of 75% spent on the center diamond and 25% spent on the setting, then on average a 1.1 carat diamond will be $4052, with a setting of $1351.

Which interestingly enough is almost exactly what our diamond guidelines pricing table (below) says should be the price for a 1.1 carat diamond when optimized for best price.

Our diamond guidelines pricing table is our best recommendations and advice for selecting Round cut, Princess cut, and Cushion cut diamonds. There are three categories for each carat range: Best Price, Balanced and Connoisseur.

“Best Price” are diamonds optimized for carat size, with a J (nearly colorless) color, SI2 clarity (which should be visually inspected to be “eye clean”), and a Very Good/Excellent cut. While these diamonds may not sparkle quite as much as a “connoisseur” diamond, they will still have a pretty nice sparkle, with the added bonus of being around half the price!

“Balanced” are diamonds selected for a balance between best price and best light performance. With a color ranging between I,H,G (nearly colorless), VS2 clarity, and Excellent cut.

“Connoisseur” are diamonds optimized for maximum light performance (brilliance and sparkle). With a color ranging between I,H,G (nearly colorless), VS2 clarity, and “Super Ideal” cut. Typically, they will be AGS certified diamonds and will have ASET images for light performance evaluation. These will be the highest quality (and most expensive) diamonds for each category (Often twice as expensive as a diamond optimized for best price).

Diamond Guidelines Pricing Table

Carats Best Price Balanced Connoisseur
  best price diamond balanced diamond connoisseur diamond
0.5 Round J/SI2/VG, $1200
Princess J/SI2/VG, $790
Cushion J/SI2, $890
Round I/VS2/EX, $1600
Princess I/VS2/EX, $1020
Cushion I/VS2, $1000
0.6 Round J/SI2/VG, $1500
Princess J/SI2/VG, $1000
Cushion J/SI2, $1100
Round I/VS2/EX, $2000
Princess I/VS2/EX, $1200
Cushion I/VS2, $1200
0.7 Round J/SI2/VG, $1650
Princess J/SI2/VG, $1500
Cushion J/SI2, $1600
Round I/VS2/EX, $2400
Princess I/VS2/EX, $1900
Cushion I/VS2, $1800
0.75 Round J/SI2/VG, $1900
Princess J/SI2/VG, $1600
Cushion J/SI2, $1700
Round I/VS2/EX, $2800
Princess H/VS2/EX, $2700
Cushion H/VS2, $2600
0.8 Round J/SI2/VG, $2400
Princess J/SI2/VG, $2000
Cushion J/SI2, $1800
Round I/VS2/EX, $3000
Princess H/VS2/EX, $2300
Cushion H/VS2, $2100
0.9 Round J/SI2/VG, $3000
Princess J/SI2/VG, $2500
Cushion J/SI2, $2200
Round I/VS2/EX, $4500
Princess H/VS2/EX, $3700
Cushion H/VS2, $3000
Round I/VS2/ID, $6400
Princess G/VS2/ID, $4600
1.0 Round J/SI2/VG, $3500
Princess J/SI2/VG, $2800
Cushion J/SI2, $2700
Round I/VS2/EX, $6000
Princess H/VS2/EX, $4400
Cushion H/VS2, $3900
Round I/VS2/ID, $7800
Princess G/VS2/ID, $6200
Cushion G/VS2, $8600
1.1 Round J/SI2/VG, $4000
Princess J/SI2/VG, $3700
Cushion J/SI2, $3000
Round I/VS2/EX, $6900
Princess H/VS2/EX, $5200
Cushion H/VS2, $5000
Round I/VS2/ID, $8700
Princess G/VS2/ID, $6600
Cushion G/VS2, $9700
1.2 Round I/VS2/EX, $7200
Princess H/VS2/EX, $6000
Cushion H/VS2, $5500
Round I/VS2/ID, $10000
Princess G/VS2/ID, $7300
Cushion G/VS2, $11000
1.5 Round I/VS2/EX, $11000
Princess H/VS2/EX, $10000
Cushion H/VS2, $9500
Round I/VS2/ID, $15000
Princess G/VS2/ID, $12000
Cushion G/VS2, $18000

While you can get a slightly cheaper diamond by going below our guidelines, it’s not recommended. We don’t recommend a cut below “Very Good” as you lose just too much sparkle. You should also avoid I1-I3 diamonds as they have too many inclusions, which can jeopardize the integrity of the stone as well as its brilliance. However, you can try a K (faint yellow) colored diamond, especially if your ring setting uses yellow gold, which will help mask the yellowish tint of the K colored diamond.

Read Part One of our Diamond Buying Guide.