Online Jewelry Bargains and Diamond Tutorials

The Anatomy of a Diamond

The Anatomy of a Diamond

Let’s talk diamonds. Whether or not they’re a girl’s best friend, and whether or not they’re forever--notions that the diamond industry happily backs--they’re certainly an engagement tradition. If you have any doubts on what makes a quality stone (and who doesn’t, really) with an engagement or wedding set diamond purchase on the horizon, it’s time to educate yourself. Don’t go into a store unarmed; you’ll just be putting yourself into a position that only favors the salesperson. While I think anyone seriously considering a diamond purchase should spend some good hands-on time in one or more local stores with actual stones, there are great resources online to build a good understanding of what makes a quality diamond. Not to mention some fantastic bargains.

A diamond is really a remarkable fusion of art and optical science, a pursuit of mathematical and geometric perfection. Every facet of an ideally cut diamond is aligned in precisely the right way so that virtually all light entering it is redirected and reflected directly back at the viewer in a gleaming dance of brilliance known as the diamond’s “fire”.

How a diamond's cut affects it's fire: facets must be precisely to avoid light leaks.

How a diamond's cut affects its quality: facets must be aligned precisely to avoid light leaks.

So before plunking down the bucks on yours, read up on them. Diamonds, especially engagement diamonds, are personal, so find out how to look for the qualities that matter most to you and your sweetheart. I cover the the diamond selection process extensively in chapter 3 of e-Plan Your Wedding, and there’s plenty of online tutorials as well. Understanding the “four C’s”--Cut, Color, Carat weight, and Clarity--is obvious, but make sure you also understand the various type of inclusions (imperfections) that all diamonds have, and how they affect the overall quality. Familiarize yourself with polish and symmetry, and how to read the various grading reports that any reputable seller should provide.

Take the time to make sure that the jeweler you deal with, whether online or at a store, has a solid track record and is reputable. Get recommendations from those you trust. Log onto the American Gem Society’s website ( to obtain a list of recommended jewelers in your area. You can even contact your local Better Business Bureau to make sure a seller doesn’t have complaints or claims of fraud filed against them.

Here are some things to consider when selecting a jeweler, whether on or offline:

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Good businesses should NOT pressure you to buy on the spot
  • Do they charge a fee for sizing?
  • Do they charge a fee for engraving?
  • Is there a lifetime cleaning policy?
  • There should be a refund or exchange guarantee
  • Look for grading reports by the GIA, AGSL, or EGL
  • Do they offer outside appraisals?
  • Is there a licensed gemologist on staff?

Online jewelers don’t just have diamonds, either. Most have a wide selection of quality gems as well, in addition to various setting styles and bands. Even if you plan on buying ultimately from a local jeweler, browsing the online catalogs can be an invaluable educational tool and a great way to get ideas.

Other resources available on these sites are diamond tutorials, guides, and great selection tips. Anyone who sets off to diamond shop without fully investigating these resources is truly missing out on a great deal of knowledge. The following businesses all have online tutorials packed with great diamond knowledge available for you to browse at your convenience:'s Engagement Ring Section's Engagement Ring Section

Blue Nile (
Blue Nile is one of the best online jewelry stores I’ve seen. They have a large selection of quality diamonds, a step-by-step engagement ring builder, and a solid reputation. But their best asset is their diamond education section, definitely not to be missed.

Diamond Cutter's selection form

Diamond Cutter's diamond search form

Diamond Cutters (
A New York-based family-owned business that hand-selects, cuts, and certifies diamonds to sell directly online at discount prices.

Tutorial at

Tutorial at (
Formerly, the website’s design isn’t the best, but they have some great articles, tutorials, and how-to’s for diamond shoppers.

Gemological Labs and Societies
Be sure to check out the gem society websites during your online hunt as well:
Gemological Institute of America (
American Gem Society Laboratories (
European Gemological Laboratory (

A Word on Conflict, or “Blood” Diamonds
A sad facet to the diamond industry is the ongoing human rights issue of exploitation at some diamond sources. is a website that covers this issue and discusses how you can seek out conflict-free diamonds.

With the insight you’ll gain by educating yourself and shopping carefully, you’re sure to appreciate your diamond as a unique, fascinating treasure, and quite a bit more than just an expensive rock.

GIA Diamond Grading Guide: How to Buy a Diamond

Photo Credits: Diamond anatomy and cut diagrams from e-Plan Your Wedding: How to Save Time and Money with Today’s Best Online Resources. Screenshots from Blue Nile, Diamond Cutters, and

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avatar About Jason

Enthusiast of traveling, writing, cinematography, all things tech, good coffee, and craft beer. Founder of Mediasoft Technologies, Inc. & Author of "e-Plan Your Wedding". Follow me at @jason_melendez and check out my blog.


  1. avatar Diane Flora says:

    Jason, Thank you for sharing our AGS website and member search in your post. One of you bullets mentions the various lab reports and I would just like to add that knowledge, experience, and ethics (aka reputable jeweler) are needed with that report. Many jewelers don’t have the education to even know if the diamond is the grade that is stated on the report. And, not all labs will render the same opinion. Unfortunately, there are no licenses for gemologists, jewelers, or appraisers. This is why a credential, such as the Certified Gemologist title from the American Gem Society is so important when making such a buying decision. Please visit our web site and click on Education for more information about our light performance grading of diamonds and please email me with any questions. I also invite you to read my blog at It’s not all about diamonds, but I mention them now and then. Thanks. Dii


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