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Diamond Buying Guide

Find the diamond you've always dreamed of in six simple steps.

How To Buy The Perfect Diamond

The diamond is a universal expression of luxury and love symbolizing romance and endurance.

At Washington Diamond, our strong core values of fairness, integrity, and extraordinary service drive us to take the confusion out of buying diamonds. We help our valued customers select the diamonds and fine jewelry pieces they truly adore. This guide is the perfect place to start your diamond buying journey, with expert tips and real-life experience from our wonderful team.

We’ll discuss the importance of the 4Cs, the ways diamond pricing works, and buying online versus buying in-store. We know that no two customers are the same, so once you have read our diamond buying guide let’s make an appointment. Our diamond experts will refine this advice to suit your personal needs.

Step 1

Set A Budget That Works For You

The beauty of this online experience is you can make loose diamond price comparisons and take your time creating a suitable budget. Here are our tips for setting a budget:

• View our Loose Diamond Collection to get an idea of diamond prices.

• Consider what characteristics are most important to you (for example: large carat weight, high clarity, or perhaps you’d rather set more aside for the setting).

• Never feel pressured into over-spending. Our team has decades of experience working within varying budgets and will never push you to go beyond yours.

• Remember that making small changes of just one grade to color and/or clarity can make a negligible difference to the appearance, but a significant impact on price.

💎 Our Advice:

If you need help with budgeting or a better understanding of diamond prices, take a look at our Diamond Price Calculator.

Step 2


Although many begin the diamond journey by learning ‘The 4Cs’, it is in fact the 5th C that starts your search. The 5th C is diamond certification. The process of diamond certification varies from lab to lab, but in short, it is analyzing and testing a diamond to determine its precise qualities. Offering certified diamonds gives customers:

• The assurance that they know exactly what they are paying for.

• A personal record of the precise quality of your diamond produced for insurance or resale purposes, or simply one's sentimental value.

• Consistent grading to allow accurate price comparisons.

• Guarantees that the diamond is real, but not all labs are equal.

At Washington Diamond, we only sell GIA Certified diamonds. As an internationally recognized lab, the GIA, the Gemological Institute of America, offers concise and consistent grading. The global diamond industry recognizes this lab to be the highest standard of diamond analysis. Take a look at our Guide to GIA Certified Diamonds to understand how important a good certification is for your diamond.

Step 3

Diamond Shapes

The illustrious round brilliant-cut diamond, the perfect square-cut princess, or perhaps a beautifully balanced pear shape. Choosing a diamond shape is one of the less technical aspects of diamond buying – or as we like to think of it – one of the most fun! Driven entirely by your own desires and style, this is the first opportunity to make your mark and express yourself. Explore our simple Diamond Shape Guide to find the perfect match that suits your loved one's style

💎 Our Advice:

Choose a shape that speaks to you and best reflects yourself, your partner or your relationship.

Step 4

The Four Cs

Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity - the four standards we use to assess the quality of diamonds. Each plays a unique role in what makes a diamond special. The qualities must work together in harmony.  For example, a diamond with a beautiful cut that is full of inclusions will fail to deliver sparkle. A high clarity diamond with a very low color grade can still appear dull.

Learn About The Four Cs:


Diamonds are priced per carat. As carat weight increases, the price per carat increases too. That means, the price per carat for a 1.00ct diamond would not be the same as a 2.00ct diamond. Most people have some idea of how ‘big’ they want the diamond to be, but this can change once they’ve actually seen the size/price.

Remember that different diamond shapes can give bigger or smaller appearances at the same carat weight, and carefully designed settings can be used to create a bigger impact!

💎 Our Advice:

Carat is entirely up to you, but remember that an excellent cut will give the best  proportions, and will maximize a diamond’s carat weight.

Cut is extremely important in making sure a diamond exhibits its finest qualities.  Brilliance (the reflection of white light), fire (flashes of colored light), and scintillation (the blinking or flashing effect). The proportions and polish of a diamond must be executed with extreme precision to achieve these incredible results. 

💎 Our Advice:

Cut is an area that we advise you not to compromise. Keep your eye on GIA reports with ‘Very Good’ and ‘Excellent’ cut grades to ensure your diamond is delivering the best possible light return.

The GIA grades color on a scale from D to Z. The presence of nitrogen in the diamond can cause a yellow tinge to diamonds.Diamonds in the D-E-F grades are ‘colorless’. Typically, diamonds that are bright ‘white’ are the most desirable. 

💎 Our Advice:

It is almost impossible to detect color in diamonds in the G-H-I ‘near colorless’ category making them an excellent choice for fine jewelry, without reaching the prices that the colorless diamonds demand. For diamonds graded ‘J-K-L’ consider choosing a yellow gold setting to give the diamond a whiter appearance by comparison.

When a diamond forms in the earth, other materials can become trapped inside the diamond. These are inclusions. With the exception of FL (flawless) and IF (internally flawless), if there are too many or they have formed in an obvious place, they can diminish a diamond's light return and even compromise its durability.  

💎 Our Advice:

For guaranteed, eye-clean diamonds (no inclusions visible to the naked eye) we recommend beginning your search in the VS1 category. However, diamonds with a lower grade can be analyzed and it is possible to find eye-clean diamonds with a lower grade. Speak with our team for advice on finding eye-clean diamonds.

💎 Our Advice:

Choosing the best diamond might not mean going for the top grades. It is finding a place of balance between budget and beauty.

Step 5

Deciding Where To Buy A Diamond

The question of online versus in-store diamond buying comes down to a few factors. At Washington Diamond, while we have a curated collection of diamonds available online, our one-on-one appointments at our Washington DC area store offer a personal and private experience. We provide an environment that is customer focused and driven by your satisfaction. Either way, what matters is what is most important to you.

Based on generations of experience, we suggest you ask these questions before you buy a diamond from either an online or in-store source:

• Do they offer GIA-certified diamonds?
• Can they offer professional advice from real diamond experts to help you narrow down your search?
• Can they offer both loose diamonds and pre-set styles?
• Do you feel pushed or pressured into going for higher grades beyond your budget?
• Can they offer a long term relationship and buyer assurance, such as inspection services, real-time advice, money-back guarantee and cleaning?

Step 6

The Finishing Touches

Make sure you feel valued and heard throughout your diamond-buying experience. Our family business is based on the belief that the diamond-buying process should be as bright and brilliant as the diamond itself.

Whether it’s creating a bespoke setting for your diamond, sourcing a distinct diamond, or simply providing a smooth and enjoyable experience, we make sure to take exceptional care of all your diamond jewelry desires.

No request is too much. Contact us today to let us know how we can make your diamond-buying experience remarkable!