When you shop for a loose diamond, you have thousands upon thousands of diamonds to choose from. Having so many options is wonderful for you as a consumer, since it allows you to find a diamond that perfectly fits what you’re looking for in terms of aesthetic, quality, and price. Then, on the other hand, having so many options can also be a bit daunting, as it can be hard to know where to begin. But if you’re not sure how to start shopping for a loose diamond, read on. Below, we’re sharing exactly how you should buy a loose diamond in our easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to buying loose diamonds. 

Step 1: Decide on Your Budget

First, set your budget for your loose diamond. We recommend setting your budget first because it helps you narrow down your options immediately and it also ensures that you don’t overspend unnecessarily. 

Everyone’s budget is different, so remember that you don’t need to adhere to any imaginary “rules” that dictate how much you should spend on a diamond. For example, there’s a myth that you need to spend the equivalent of 2 to 3 months of your salary for your engagement ring’s center diamond. But you don’t have to spend any particular amount on a diamond, no matter what it’s for. You should simply come up with a budget that’s comfortable for you and your financial situation, whether you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring or any other type of diamond jewelry. You can spend 2 to 3 months salary on a diamond if that works for you, or you can spend more or less. Just come up with a budget that you’re happy and comfortable with, then stick to that when you shop. 

Step 2: Choose Your Shape 

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If you’re buying a loose diamond that will be worn in jewelry, your diamond shape is very important for the style of your jewelry. So, we recommend choosing your shape early in the shopping process if the loose diamond you purchase will be worn in jewelry, such as in a diamond ring or a diamond pendant. 

Diamonds come in many shapes and each shape has its own unique style. Round is by far the most popular diamond shape-- over 50% of all the diamonds sold today are round cut diamonds. Round brilliant cut diamonds are loved for their classic look and their extraordinarily high brilliance. Since round diamonds are timelessly beautiful and quite popular, round is an excellent option if you’re unsure of which diamond shape to choose. However, if you’re looking for a diamond with a more unique or stand-out look, you have many other options in the fancy shaped diamond category. 

“Fancy shaped diamond” is a jeweler and gemologist term for any diamond shape other than round. Some examples of fancy shaped diamonds include princess cut diamonds, asscher cut diamonds, cushion cut diamonds, marquise cut diamonds, oval shaped diamonds, radiant cut diamonds, pear shaped diamonds, heart shaped diamonds, emerald cut diamonds, and trillion cut diamonds. A fancy shaped diamond can instantly give a piece of jewelry a more distinctive, eye-catching look, since all fancy shaped diamonds are less commonly worn than round cut diamonds. And, on top of that, fancy shaped diamonds can help you maximize your budget, since fancy shaped diamonds are also always less expensive than round cut diamonds per carat. 

If you’re thinking of buying a loose fancy shaped diamond, take some time to look at your options and see which shape speaks to you. If you need some help getting a general idea of the styles of fancy shaped diamonds, here are some style notes on each fancy shape: 

Princess Cut Diamond: A Modern, Chic Shape With Clean Lines

Asscher Cut Diamond: A Unique, Art Deco Era Vintage-Style Shape 

Cushion Cut Diamond: A Romantic Vintage-Style Shape 

Marquise Cut Diamond: A Highly Distinctive, Elegant Shape 

Oval Shaped Diamond: A Sophisticated, Classic Shape 

Radiant Cut Diamond: A Contemporary, Highly Glamorous Shape

Pear Shaped Diamond: A Slender, Eye-Catching Shape With Antique Origins

Heart Shaped Diamond: An Incredibly Romantic Modern Shape

Emerald Cut Diamond: An Elegant, Retro Era Vintage-Style Shape 

Trillion Cut Diamond: An Enchanting and Unique Modern Shape

Step 3: Understand the 4Cs 

You don’t need to be an expert gemologist to buy a beautiful, high quality diamond. But you should understand some basic diamond education if you want to be sure you’re buying a diamond that has the qualities you want. So, before you start seriously considering purchasing any diamond, you should understand diamond quality. And the best way to get an understanding of diamond quality is to understand the 4Cs. 

The Four Cs of diamonds are diamond cut, diamond color, diamond clarity, and diamond carat weight. The 4Cs are four different qualities of a diamond, and you’ll find these qualities noted on every diamond grading report. If you understand what each of the 4Cs can tell you about a diamond, you can choose a diamond with much more confidence. Here is an overview of what each of the 4Cs can tell you about a loose diamond:

Diamond Cut: A grading of how well a diamond was cut. Diamond cut grade is ranked on a scale of Excellent to Poor.

Diamond Color: A grading of how colorless a white diamond is. Diamond color grade is ranked on a scale of D to Z. 

Diamond Clarity: A grading of how flawless a diamond is internally and externally. Diamond clarity grade is ranked on a scale of FL (Flawless) to I (Included). 

Diamond Carat: An objective weight measurement that can give you an idea of diamond size. 

While the summary above can give you a basic understanding of what each of the 4Cs means, it’s important to get a working understanding of the 4Cs before you purchase a diamond, because you’ll want to balance them according to your budget and preferences. Diamonds with the best diamond gradings in every category will be beautiful, but they’ll also be extremely expensive. And diamonds that have slightly lower gradings can be incredibly beautiful to the naked eye, but they will be much more affordable. So, you don’t necessarily need to spend more to get a beautiful diamond if you know how to balance the 4Cs to your advantage.

If you’d like to learn how you can understand the 4Cs and use them practically when you’re buying a diamond, we highly recommend viewing our Practical Guide to Understanding the 4Cs of Diamonds. This guide gives an in-depth explanation of each of the 4Cs, explains what jewelers and diamond experts recommend you prioritize when selecting a diamond, and provides helpful practical tips on how you may want to balance the 4Cs to get a diamond you love that’s within your budget. 

Step 4: Consider Diamond Certification 

Image Courtesy of GIA

If you’ve bought loose diamonds or gemstones before, you’re likely well aware that they generally come with a grading report. But if it’s your first time buying a loose diamond, you may not know much about grading reports. However, it’s very important to understand diamond grading reports before you begin the loose diamond buying process because, once you do, you’ll probably want to make sure that you only purchase a diamond that comes with one. 

A grading report is a type of diamond certification that gives you an accurate assessment of the diamond’s qualities, including its 4Cs. Grading reports are done by independent grading labs such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), not by the jeweler who is selling the diamond. So, diamond grading reports are objective assessments of diamonds, which is important, since that objectivity helps protect your interests as a consumer. 

We generally recommend that you buy a certified diamond that comes with a grading report, since that report is an official documentation of your diamond’s qualities. If your loose diamond comes with a grading report, you’ll have a better understanding of its qualities and you’ll have paper proof of them (which is important for insurance purposes or for when you want to resell a diamond). 

Step 5: Buy Your Diamond Online or in Person 

After you set your budget, decide on your diamond shape, gain an understanding of the 4Cs, and consider diamond certification, you’re armed with the knowledge you need to confidently select a diamond you’ll love. So, it’s time to purchase your loose diamond. 

In the modern era, there are two ways to shop for a diamond: online or in person. At 1-800-LooseDiamonds, we offer our customers both options, since you can shop our loose diamonds online through our convenient Diamond Search Engine or visit our Los Angeles showroom to view our loose diamonds in person. 

Whether you want to shop for a diamond online or in a physical jewelry store all comes down to personal preference. Many people love the ease of shopping for a diamond online. With tools like our Diamond Search Engine, you can quickly and easily sort through thousands of diamonds by setting your exact preferences. Then, other people prefer to shop for a diamond in a brick-and-mortar jewelry store, since they want to see a diamond’s purity and brilliance in person before they make a diamond purchase. However you like to shop, we’re always here to help you find your perfect diamond at 1-800-LooseDiamonds. You can visit our online store by clicking here or get directions to our Los Angeles showroom by clicking here