Well I finally did it. I asked my fiance to marry me. And to do that, I had to buy her the best diamond I could find. So this is the story about how I found James Allen.
Now I have to disclose that this post contains affiliate links, which means that any sales generated from these links can help out the blog (so thanks in advance!).
Okay now back to my story.
It all started with your usual 4C’s diamond research. Basically, I learned that the 4C’s of diamond quality are carat, color, clarity and cut. I already knew a little about carat and clarity, but I knew nothing about color. And I knew even less about cut (which happened to be the most important C!). Anyways, without claiming to be a gemologist or diamond expert of any sort, here’s what a noob like myself learned from perusing the vast universe of diamond websites and forums:
Carat seems to be the most well known C. Simply put it’s just diamond weight. But carat doesn’t always determine how big a diamond looks. In other words, two diamonds with different carat weights can look similar in size (depending on their proportions). This was important to me since carat weight seemed to affect price so much. For instance, a 1.4 carat diamond might cost a lot less than a 1.5 carat diamond even though it’s hard to tell them apart. Here’s a nifty website I used to compare how diamonds with different carat weights looked side by side.
Color was simple too. Apparently, diamonds are graded on a scale from D to Z with D being the whitest (and most expensive) and Z having the strongest yellow tint. Since color (or lack thereof) also seemed to affect price tremendously, I had to find that sweet spot where a diamond appeared perfectly white yet didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately I discovered that a lot of places recommended diamonds rated J and above (i.e., that these diamonds tend to look white to most people). Here’s an example of a J diamond.
Clarity was another category where there seemed to be a perfect balance between beauty and affordable. To take a step back, diamonds are given a clarity grade based on how many inclusions (or imperfections) they have. Not all of these inclusions seem to be visible to the naked eye. Depending on the number of inclusions, diamonds are graded as internally flawless (IF), very very slightly included (VVS1 or VVS2), very slightly included (VS1 or VS2), slightly included (S1 or S2) or included (I1, I2 or I3). So where’s the sweet spot for clarity? It turns out that most websites recommended diamonds rated VS2 and above, because these diamonds had inclusions (if any) that were invisible without magnification. The cool thing about James Allen is that you get to judge a diamond’s clarity with your own eyes by watching 360 videos in 20x magnification:*
Then I came to cut and I had no idea what to look for. At first glance, I thought that as long as I bought a diamond with an “excellent” cut rating then I was good to go. But it turned out that not all “excellent” diamonds were the same, especially when it came to light performance. Luckily I found that James Allen has its own “True Hearts” rating for what they consider an ideal cut diamond. Here’s an example of a True Hearts diamond.
Why James Allen
I chose James Allen because of how simple it was to purchase a diamond from them. With their advanced search filters, I could easily find a diamond with the carat weight, color, clarity and cut that I wanted. I was also won over by their 30 day return policy and how helpful their 24/7 chat representatives were. In fact, the diamond I initially selected was two thousand dollars more than the final True Hearts diamond that I purchased. This was all thanks to the chat representatives who gave their honest opinion that a less expensive diamond was actually higher quality. And they were right because I ended up with a diamond that blinged. Here are some videos of the little guy in action:
Outdoor lighting (sunny)
Outdoor lighting (cloudy)
And here are some photos of the packaging:
High quality presentation box
Inside the presentation box
Cleaning cloth, diamond appraisal and more
And lastly, a neat little GIF of the little guy blinging!
*When I bought my fiance’s diamond, I played around with the zoom out feature to decide whether an inclusion would be visible to the naked eye.