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No. of Recommendations: 4
I would put the carat weight last on your list of considerations.

1. Cut, the better the job done cutting the stone, the better it will refract light. A poorly cut stone will just suck it in. A well cut stone will have no extra facets, a thin middle, and perfect proportions. Cuts are rated Excellent, Very good, good...

2. Color, a diamond is a diamond is a diamond isn't exactly true, certain colors are very rare and worth more, but generally the more colorless the stone the more it's worth. What I would actually focus on is the color compared to the setting. Certain color ratings look better in yellow gold, others look best in platinum. The low end of the color spectrum look like dull rock.

3. Clarity. You want clear enough to not see any flaws when you look at it closely, paying for absolutely flawless is a waste of money.

4. Now you are at carat weight. A poorly cut, low color grade 1 carat diamond will look like junk jewelry. But you just shelled out a small fortune for the words "1 carat"

Last words of advice:

1. Buy a stone where they list the weight in decimals, not fractions. A .75 carat weight is exactly .75 carats. A 3/4 carat weight stone could be .67. A yes that tiny difference can mean you are getting ripped off. Also, you can save money buying a .90 or .95 carat diamond, she's just going to round up when she shows her ring off, and the naked eye can't tell the difference.

2. Get a diamond with a GIA certificate, preferably where the GIA number has been laser inscribed in the stone. One, your insurance company will love having that documentation if they ever have to replace the stone. Second, if you take the ring in for any work (sizing, loose stone, etc) it takes just a few seconds with a loupe to see that laser number and make sure no one has switched out your stone.

My ring's main diamond is .75 carat weight. We paid for the cut, color, and clarity and my stone outshines many 1 carat rings. Another option, paying a little extra for side stones or channel set diamonds in the band adds extra sparkle and is cheaper than going all out for one large rock. (Seriously most girls just want pretty and shiny, they aren't pulling out scales to weigh it, they just want it to draw the eye.)

I second going to bluenile.com (that's where we bought our rings). They have excellent information and sell stones both loose and set for you (you pick the stone and setting, they set it).

Lara Amber
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