How to Buy a Conflict-Free Diamond in Your Budget

Article by Linley
Linley Shepard

Buying a conflict-free diamond on your budget is less intimidating than it may seem. We asked MiaDonna’s resident lab-created diamond expert, Linley, about her top tips for buying a conflict-free diamond on any budget.

Tip#1 – The 5th C

If you are on the hunt for a diamond, then most likely at some point you have heard of or read about the 4Cs. The 4Cs refer to the color, cut, clarity and carat weight of a diamond and ultimately determine a diamond’s quality, brilliance, overall beauty and most importantly price. However, at MiaDonna we also believe in the 5th C – ‘conflict-free’ and we know the only true conflict-free diamond available is lab-grown. AND…the best part, lab-grown diamonds are offered up to 40% less than their earth-mined equivalents.

Tip #2 – Budget

Ok, so maybe this tip seems obvious, but first and foremost Linley suggests that you start by ‘nailing down’ your budget and setting a bottom line. While having a range is great, knowing what you are willing to spend on the diamond is very important and should be thought about separately from the engagement ring setting. Having a budget will dictate your choices and ultimately help you choose your perfect conflict-free diamond.

Tip #3 – Cut

The cut is considered the most important quality of a diamond, yet it is the least understood of the 4Cs. The cut of a diamond is imperative in determining how light passes through the stone – which affects the fire, brilliance, and sparkle. Not to be confused with shape, the cut includes the shape and the entire anatomy of the diamond and refers to the combined optical properties of a diamond; the proportions, symmetry, and finish.

The rule of thumb is… the better the cut the lower you can go with color and clarity without compromising the beauty of the diamond.

Learn about diamond cuts

Tip #4 – Clarity

Most people seem to think they need to purchase a diamond with a clarity grading no lower than VS2, however, we believe you can go as low as I1 depending on the diamond’s shape and where the inclusions are located. The jump in price from an SI2 to VVS1 clarity is significant but with an SI, you could still have an “eye clean” diamond on your hands without the high price tag.

Have you ever heard the term ‘prong inclusions’? Linley shared with us an insider tip when it comes to deciding on the clarity of your diamond. A prong inclusion is an inclusion that has formed around the outer edges of a diamond. The term ‘prong inclusion’ is referring to the ability to ‘cover’ these blemishes with a prong when setting the diamond into a ring. If your budget won’t allow a higher clarity diamond, no problem, just request a diamond with ‘prong inclusions’ and our personal shoppers would be happy to help.

Learn about diamond clarity

Tip#5 – Shape

If your shape of choice is the round brilliant, then you are in luck! Because of the brilliant cut of the round shape, you can actually choose a lower color grade that would typically show yellow in other shapes. This is because the brilliant cut does not show color in the same way as a fancy shape such a cushion or princess would.

Learn about diamond shape

Tip #6 – Carat Weight

Most first-time engagement ring buyers focus heavily on carat weight. They want the biggest diamond they can get and most often over 1.0ct. However, if your budget doesn’t allow Linley suggests going just under a carat. What most people don’t realize is that carat weight is purely representative of the weight of the stone; it is the measurements of the diamond that are most important. For example, the visual difference of a 0.89ct compared to a 1.0ct will be incredibly minimal, but the price (which is based in part on carat weight) will have a significant difference; sometimes over a thousand dollars!

As we see it, some traditions are meant to be broken – throw out any preconceived ideas you may have about budget. At MiaDonna we do not believe in “three months” salary, going into debt, and the overall correlation of the value of your love and relationship with the budget of your engagement ring, BECAUSE it has never been easier to find a conflict-free diamond on YOUR budget!

Learn about diamond carat weight