Flawless and internally flawless diamonds stand on the top of all diamond clarity charts. They are rarer than most people think, and because of this many jewelers don’t even carry them.
As you can imagine, flawless and internally flawless diamonds have and will always be in high demand. Their unblemished character makes them desirable among couples, and well, just about everyone.
What Are FL And IF Diamonds?
Flawless diamonds are rarer than internally flawless diamonds. To the naked eye, these two clarity grades are indistinguishable – they both have zero inclusions.
Internally flawless diamonds have some barely noticeable differences under 10x magnification, but they are not inclusion-based differences. What it usually comes down to is polish. A diamond with polish lines visible under magnification will receive an internally flawless clarity grade.
How Is Diamond Clarity Measured?
There are several methods of measuring diamond clarity:
Inclusion Size- when an inclusion is spotted, its size is one of the first characteristics noted. Inclusion size is also one of the primary determining factors behind whether or not a diamond is eye-clean.
Inclusion Nature- inclusion nature touches on the inclusion type being dealt with. Inclusions affect diamonds differently. For example, a cavity inclusion may diminish a diamond’s strength.
Inclusion Number- the number of inclusions also plays a big part in determining which clarity grade a diamond receives.
Inclusion Location- location is important. Lots of inclusions on the diamond’s table will result in a lower clarity grade.
Relief- lastly, relief refers to the contrast between inclusion and diamond. For example, a dark inclusion will create higher contrast with the diamond and be more noticeable than a clear or white inclusion.
Should I Buy A FL Or IF Diamond?
FL and IF diamonds are the most expensive clarity grade. Tens of thousands of dollars can easily be spent on these high-grade cuts.
Keep in mind that whether you choose a flawless or internally flawless diamond, either one will be free from inclusions. This is what truly separates both of these from other clarity grades. Remember that you don’t need to spend thousands of extra dollars on a flawless or internally flawless diamond; a VVS1, VVS2, VS1, and sometimes even a VS2 diamond will be eye clean.
All of the four C’s should be closely examined before making a decision on a diamond because ultimately, clarity is just one aspect of diamond grading to consider.
Where Can I Find Flawless & Internally Flawless Diamonds?
Because flawless and internally flawless diamonds are rare, you may have better luck finding one online. When shopping for a diamond online, always look at real HD images and/or videos of it; never rely on 3D renders.
SI1 and SI2 diamonds are slightly included diamonds that contain some physical blemishes. As a result of this, they dwell at the bottom of the diamond clarity grading scale. SI1 and SI2 inclusions are often easily seen by the naked eye.
Clarity is only one facet of the 4C’s of diamond grading, the others being cut, color, and carat.
Even with inclusions present, it still doesn’t mean that an SI diamond loses all appeal. They are much less expensive compared to their high-achieving Flawless and Very Very Slightly Included counterparts. Inclusions can be thought of as birthmarks that are acquired during a diamond’s underground, high-temperature, long-term growth. They make each diamond one of a kind.
How Is Diamond Clarity Measured?
Each diamond’s clarity grade is usually measured by multiple professionals with the help of a jeweler’s loupe. A jeweler’s loupe is a small magnification device.
There are multiple inclusion types, and their nature, color, and dimensions help to determine a diamond’s clarity grade. Here are a few common types of inclusions:
Pinpoint Inclusions – tiny black dots on the surface of the diamond.
Feather Inclusions – internal cracks in the diamond.
Cloud Inclusions – Hazy areas where multiple pinpoints are located.
Twinning Wisp Inclusions – Streaks formed out of a series of clouds, pinpoints, and/or growths of crystals. They can be thought of as thin, gemological banners, where multiple inclusions have twisted together.
Should I Buy An SI1 Or SI2 Diamond?
SI diamonds are a great money-saving choice that can still deliver in looks. However, if you are purchasing a step cut diamond such as an emerald cut diamond or an Asscher cut diamond, you should avoid diamonds with SI1 and SI2 clarity grades. Step cut diamonds have a large, open table, making imperfections easy to spot. Brilliant cut or modified brilliant cut diamonds, such as round cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds, and oval cut diamonds are much better at concealing inclusions.
You can hide diamond inclusions with the right setting depending on their location. Prong settings and bezel settings are excellent at hiding inclusions.
Where Can I Find SI1 And SI2 Diamonds?
SI1 and SI2 diamonds can be purchased online or in jewelry stores. If you’re buying any kind of diamond online, it’s important to view HD images and/or videos of the diamond before purchasing. Because SI1 and SI2 diamonds aren’t always eye clean, you may want to see your diamond in person for extra assurance before purchasing it to make sure you are happy with it. Take advantage of our Free In-Store Preview program to view your diamond at a local jeweler at no cost.
Before proposing, people wonder how much to spend on an engagement ring. Finances are often a sensitive topic, making it difficult to know how much others spend on engagement rings. We’ve compiled our data from 2016 through July 2019 to determine which cities on average spend the most on engagement rings. This data includes the cost of the diamond and setting.
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and that turns out to be true. Dallas spends an average of $12,700 per engagement ring. For comparison, the average engagement ring in the U.S. and Canada (from 2016 through 2019) is $7,692.
Dallas isn’t the only high roller within Texas – Houston spends an average of $8,200 per ring while Austin spends $7,800 per ring.
Nationwide, after Dallas, Boston comes in second for purchasing the most expensive engagement rings. On average, Boston spends $10,600 on engagement rings. Closely following Boston is Charlotte. Residents of Charlotte spend $10,500 on engagement rings.
How Much Should I Spend On An Engagement Ring?
While it’s interesting to see how much others spend on engagement rings, we believe that you should spend whatever you are comfortable with. Ignore the old myth that you should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring. You can still purchase a beautiful engagement ring without spending tens of thousands of dollars!
Fortunately, there are options available to help you afford an engagement ring. At Ritani, we offer financing options, including interest-free financing for 12 months. You can read more about our financing options here.
Our customer service team is dedicated to helping you find an engagement ring within your budget. They’ll give you valuable tips on how to save money on an engagement ring without ever pressuring you for a sale. To talk with our customer service team, call us at 1-888-9RITANI or chat with us online.
Another way to find an engagement ring within your budget is to try our ring recommender. Just tell us how much you’d like to spend, your preferred diamond shape, and your favorite setting style. We’ll find you the perfect diamond and setting.
Our goal is to try to make the diamond buying process a little easier for you by providing “Pro Tips” from our diamond expert, Josh Marion, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Read on to find out how to find a quality diamond that the love of your life will cherish forever.
Determining Your Budget
Before beginning your search for a quality diamond, the first thing you’ll want to consider is your budget. It’s a common misconception that one must spend 3 months’ salary on an engagement ring – spend whatever is right for you. We believe it’s more important to find a ring your sweetheart will adore — one that reflects their personal style and your commitment to each other. Once you’ve selected your budget, it’s time to move on to the bling.
Shape: The Personality of the Diamond
Diamond shape makes the biggest impact on the look of your engagement ring. Shape names typically describe the stone’s silhouette when viewed from above (round, pear and oval), while some are named for a historical legacy like asscher and marquise. Starting here can help develop the personality of the ring. The most popular shape is round, with fancy shapes like princess and cushion following closely.
Pro Tip: A fancy shaped diamond is a term for any gemstone that is not round. For a fancy shaped diamond you should focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond in addition to its cut to ensure its beauty. For instance, if you are going for that classic emerald look, make sure you have a length-to-width ratio that is greater than 1:4. A ratio less than 1:4 will make the emerald shaped diamond look stubby. If a cushion shaped stone is what you’re after, it should look more square to accent the faceted cuts of the stone. Above all else, seeing a real HD picture of a fancy shape diamond or viewing it in person before buying to ensure its quality is a must. If you’re unsure, our Virtual Gemologists are happy to help you select the perfect fancy shaped diamond.
The 411 on the 4 C’s
The 4 C’s include Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. When selecting the highest quality diamond, it is important to determine which attribute of the diamond is the most important to your partner and yourself. Do you want the biggest diamond within your budget, the most sparkle, or the most unique look? Figuring out which aspect of the diamond is the most important to you will make the rest of the decision-making process easy.
Cut: How Much Your Diamond Will Sparkle
Regardless of diamond shape, the most important C is cut. Cut has the greatest impact on a diamond’s appearance. The cut, above all else, will be what gives your diamond the sparkle and fire that boasts quality. For a round shaped diamond, always look for either a Very Good or Excellent / Ideal cut. Don’t skimp out on sparkle when it comes to selecting a high quality diamond.
Pro Tip: If you would like a quality round diamond, focus on excellent cut, excellent polish and excellent symmetry. This is what we call in the industry a “Triple X” and will sparkle more than any other type of diamond. (Note: The GIA does not assign a cut grade to fancy shaped diamonds.)
Carat: How Big Your Diamond Will Be
Carat is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a rough reflection of its size. Because carat is a record of a diamond’s weight – not its size – two diamonds of slightly different sizes may have the same carat weight.
Pro Tip: If your budget calls for any diamond that is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important. Why? Well, a possible visible inclusion (such as SI2) in a 1.25 carat diamond is much easier to see with the unaided eye than it would be with a smaller diamond. This is because the 1.25 (or greater) carat diamond’s table or “top view” is larger, and thus the diamond is exposed to more light.
Color: How White Your Diamond Will Be
Color actually refers to the lack of color on the grading scale. D, E and F grades are considered to be Colorless and are rarer and more valuable. G through J are considered “Near-Colorless,” with only some color (yellow tones) visible in certain light. Diamond colors K and L will feature a faint yellow color. A near-colorless diamond will still appear colorless to the untrained eye.
Pro Tip: Are you getting a yellow gold engagement ring setting? If so, you can save money on your diamond by choosing a color in the I to K range, since the yellow hue of the diamond will blend nicely with the setting. A white gold or platinum engagement ring setting would contrast negatively with the lower color grade and may make the yellow tint more noticeable.
Clarity: How Flawless Your Diamond Will Be
Clarity describes how many natural “inclusions,” or flaws, exist in a diamond, and whether they are visible to the unaided eye. Clarity grades range from Flawless (FL) to Included 3 (I3). A grade of Flawless means there are no imperfections within the diamond or on its surface, even when viewed under 10x magnification. On the other end of the spectrum, a grade of Included 3 means large flaws are obvious to the unaided eye. Ritani offers diamonds ranging from Flawless to Slightly Included 2 (SI2).
Pro Tip: A clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 1 (VS1) or higher looks free of inclusions to the unaided eye. However, any diamond with a clarity grade of Very Slightly Included 2 (VS2), Slightly Included 1 (SI1) or Slightly Included 2 (SI2) may appear clean to the eye depending on the kind of inclusion. So, if you are considering a diamond graded VS2, SI1 or SI2, be sure to view a real image or see it in store before purchasing. This will allow you to make sure any inclusions are not overly obvious.
Top Tips for Selecting a High Quality Diamond
Cut gives your diamond sparkle and fire.
For round shaped diamonds, focus on the “Triple X”: Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish, Excellent Symmetry.
For fancy shaped diamonds, focus on the length-to-width ratio of the diamond.
If the diamond is greater than 1.25 carats, clarity is more important.
When purchasing yellow gold metal for your ring, save money by choosing a diamond color in the I to K range.
Need help finding the perfect diamond for your budget? Contact customer service at 1-888-9RITANI or chat with us online. We’ll be happy to help.
Dark and dramatic, black diamonds make a wonderful choice for engagement rings, wedding rings, earrings, and more. Black diamonds are fancy color diamonds, however, they are much more affordable than other fancy color diamonds such as pink and blue diamonds. These opaque diamonds have no sparkle. Instead, they have a high luster. Because they are opaque, the GIA cannot assign them a clarity grade.
Are black diamonds real?
There are naturally occurring black diamonds as well as treated black diamonds. Because black diamonds are so rare, they are often treated to become black. Treated (also called enhanced) black diamonds are man-made by taking white diamonds that have too many inclusions to use for jewelry. The diamonds are then heated or irradiated to obtain a dark color. Color treated black diamonds are actually an incredibly dark green color, but appear black in regular lighting. A GIA certification will specify if a diamond is natural or color treated. At Ritani, we only use natural black diamonds in our jewelry.
How are black diamonds made?
Black diamonds are formed the same way colorless diamonds are formed: from pure carbon, intense heat and pressure under the earth’s surface. Fancy black diamonds receive their dark color from large amounts of mineral inclusions such as graphite, hematite, or pyrite. Because they are so heavily included, they must be cut, polished, and set with care in order to not damage the diamond.
Black diamonds can feature microscopic fractures as a result of being so heavily included. These fractures can make your diamond more vulnerable to cracking. It’s recommended that you do not use ultrasonic cleaners for black diamond jewelry, which can damage black diamonds.
How much are black diamonds worth?
Even though black diamonds are rare, they are generally less expensive than colorless diamonds. This is because they are in far less demand than colorless diamonds.
There aren’t any official guidelines as to how much a black diamond should cost, but a natural fancy black diamond will generally cost from $2,000 to $3,000 per carat.
Be wary of inexpensive black diamonds. If you stumble upon an inexpensive black diamond, it was likely color treated. As the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.
Purchasing an engagement ring can be stressful. If you’re wondering how to buy an engagement ring, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to give you engagement ring tips & tricks so you can buy a beautiful, affordable engagement ring.
1) Ignore the 3 months’ salary rule.
A common misconception is that you have to spend 3 months’ salary on an engagement ring. You may be wondering how much to spend on an engagement ring or how much an engagement ring should cost. At Ritani, we believe that you should spend whatever is right for you. You don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a beautiful, sparkly engagement ring!
2) Buy shy.
Our diamond buying advice is to buy slightly under the carat weight you were intending to purchase. For example, if you were looking to purchase a 1 carat diamond, invest in a .90 carat or .95 carat diamond instead. This can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
3) Opt for near-colorless diamonds.
D grade (colorless) diamonds are the rarest. This makes them the most expensive color grade. Our engagement ring advice is to seek near-colorless diamonds (diamond color grades G through J) instead. These diamond color grades will face up white – it is difficult for those who are not gemologists to differentiate between colorless and near-colorless diamonds.
To be cost-effective with your color grade, consider setting a diamond with a lower color grade such as K or L in a warm colored metal. Warm colored metals such as yellow and rose gold engagement rings will conceal some yellow coloration. You can also do some certification report sleuthing and select a diamond with a lower color grade, yet a higher blue fluorescence grade. High blue fluorescence can improve the appearance of a low color grade. However, stay away from high yellow fluorescence, which could make a diamond’s color look worse.
4) Make the 4 C’s work for you.
First comes first: brush up on your diamond education and familiarize yourself with the 4Cs. Isolate which of the 4Cs – cut, color, clarity, or carat weight – is the most important to you while buying diamonds. This will help you determine where your opportunities are for saving money.
For most customers, cut is the most important 4C grade, because a diamond’s cut quality has the most impact on sparkle. For budget purposes, this means that a lower clarity or color grade will be a good way to save.
If you want to save on clarity grade, it’s best to go with a brilliant cut diamond. Princess and round diamonds are the most well-known brilliant shapes. Brilliants will hide lower clarity grades because of the faceting pattern on their table.
Choose your setting wisely.
Settings can enhance or take away from the appearance of your diamond center stone. Choose a setting that holds your center stone up high, like a cathedral setting. A diamond set higher up will appear slightly larger than it really is.
Another great setting choice for your engagement ring is a halo setting. This is because the tiny diamonds surrounding your center stone make the center stone look larger. You can choose a slightly smaller carat weight for your center stone if you choose a halo setting, which will save you money in the long run.
Be wary of wide shanks (or bands). A wide shank will take away from the center stone and make it appear smaller. Instead, choose an engagement ring with a thinner band.
Our popular knife edge solitaire engagement ring features a thin 1.65mm band width, allowing for the diamond centerstone to look larger than it is.
Consider fancy shape diamonds.
While round cut diamonds are a super sparkly classic, they are also the most expensive diamond shape. Fancy shapes are a more affordable option. In terms of diamond cutting, princesses are the least wasteful shape. This means that a princess cut can cost 20-30% less than a round cut of the same carat weight.
Oval shaped diamonds, pear shaped diamonds, and marquise shaped diamonds tend to look larger than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight. This is because these diamond shapes have a larger surface area, so they face up bigger.
It is also a wise choice to wait for fads to die down before purchasing popular diamond cuts. For example, everyone was clamoring for a heart shaped diamond once Lady Gaga started sporting one. Diamond sellers know this, and can artificially inflate prices for trending shapes. If you are looking for a diamond shape that you know is popular at the moment, make sure to do lots of comparison shopping to ensure you are getting a fair price. As of 2019, oval shaped diamonds and pear shaped diamonds have been trending, so make sure to compare prices if you are considering one of these shapes. Fortunately, Ritani offers a price match guarantee on all natural diamonds. If you see an online competitor’s diamond priced for less, we will attempt to find a similar diamond at a lower price.
When Not to Cut Corners
Here are three things that you should never skimp on to save money while buying an engagement ring:
1. Don’t buy uncertified diamonds.
Some people make the ill-advised choice to purchase uncertified diamonds to save money. Sellers of uncertified diamonds tend to offer a steep price discount, but it is most assuredly not worth the risk. Uncertified diamonds – if they are genuine diamonds at all – are almost always extremely low quality. Even with the discount provided, you will not be getting what you paid for.
You should also be wary of jewelers, online or brick and mortar, that claim to offer wholesale diamonds to make sales. Anyone who is selling diamonds to the general public is not offering wholesale diamonds! Only brick and mortar & online jewelers have access to wholesale diamonds.
2. Don’t skimp on step cut clarity grades.
The step cut shapes – specifically, Asscher and emerald cut diamonds – are adored for their wide, open tables. However, this also means that inclusions are quite obvious on these shapes. Don’t try and save money on a step cut diamond by buying one with a low clarity grade. The inclusions will seriously detract from the beauty of the diamond. A step cut diamond with a clarity grade of VVS2 or higher should ensure an eye-clean diamond.
3. Don’t buy blind.
Even if it is a screaming deal, don’t buy diamonds without getting a clear sense of what it looks like. This may seem intuitive, but many people buying diamonds online have only seen digital renderings of the stone. Ask the diamond seller for real photos or video of the diamond in question. Or, take advantage of a service like Ritani’s free in-store preview program, which allows our customers who are buying a diamond to see their stone in person, obligation-free.
Universally, round diamond shapes work for any hands, large or small.
As a reminder, the ten most common diamond shapes to choose from are round, emerald, princess, cushion, Asscher, heart, marquise, oval, radiant, and pear.
Think about your lifestyle and what kind of shape and setting fits best with it. Do you want a ring that’s subtle and doesn’t draw attention, or do you want a dramatic show-stopper?
Are you modest? Do you use your hands regularly? You might opt for a classic or solitaire setting that has less accent diamonds.
If you’re looking for an opulent, dramatic ring, you have plenty of options filled with bling like a halo, three-stone or vintage setting.
Halo settings pair nicely with any sized finger, which is why halo engagement rings are Ritani’s most popular engagement ring style.
Best Diamond Shape For Smaller Hands
It’s all about proportion when it comes to small hands. Petite or short-fingered hands typically look best with a smaller-sized diamond.
Go for stones cut in a small, round shape; Asscher or princess cut diamonds may look good too.
Looking to elongate your fingers? Try a pear, marquise, or oval shaped diamond.
Try thing bands or split shanks.
Best Diamond Shapes for Wider Fingers
Having wide fingers gives you an advantage: you can easily pull off bolder, bigger rings.
Go for a fancy diamond shape: especially oval, marquise, rectangular, radiant, or emerald shaped diamond.
Wide fingers mean you’ve got more room for bling: try a three-stone ring.
Try angular shapes or an asymmetrical design.
Consider a medium to wide band.
Best Diamond Shape for Long Fingers or Skinny Hands
Long, thin fingers have a lot of freedom when it comes to the shape and size of a center stone. Thanks to the overall size of a large hand, bigger stones appear more proportional.
Fancy, square and round stones work nicely on thin fingers.
Go for large, bold designs and wide-band statement pieces.
Consider thicker, heavier bands or double rows of diamonds.
How to Buy An Engagement Ring
There are no hard rules about what diamond shape you should wear. We believe the best diamond shape for you is the one you love, not what fits into society’s beauty standards about what types of hands are beautiful or not (who wrote those rules, anyway?). You write your own rules, and your hands are beautiful no matter what size they are.
At Ritani, we have a ring style and shape to flatter every finger and every hand, and there is one rule we DO believe in: wear what you love.
The bottom line is that you should opt for the ring that you love–no matter what size, shape, or setting. With hundreds of settings, several metals, and plenty of band styles to pick from, you can feel confident about finding the right ring for you (or we can custom design one for you). You can choose a pre-designed ring or create your own, and then try the ring on in person at a partner jewelry store near you–at no cost and no obligation–with our free in-store preview program, like I did.
When my now-husband and I started talking about getting engaged, I thought I already knew what style engagement ring I wanted. Like many women, I had spent hours looking on Pinterest at different styles of rings, and I had fallen in love with a Ritani semi-bezel ring. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was me in a ring: classic, but not boring; it was visually interesting but not glaring or dramatic. I thought it was the ring for me.
One night, my husband and I picked out a diamond (we’re part of the 42 percent of couples that shopped for an engagement ring together) and arranged for a Ritani Free In-Store Preview. Ritani set the diamond we picked in the semi-bezel setting and sent it to our local jeweler. A few days later, we got a call saying the ring was there, and we went to go try on my future engagement ring!!!!! I was really, really excited.
Except once I had it on my finger, I wasn’t as in love with the ring as I thought. It wasn’t the one.
I felt awful that Ritani had taken the time to set a diamond into the ring I thought I wanted. I sheepishly told the jeweler and he literally said, “No worries, Ritani’s free in-store preview program is really amazing. I just send it back to them–no issue at all.”
Now I was confused, was my life a lie? How could I not know what I wanted after all that time I spent swooning over rings on Instagram and Pinterest? I overlooked a few key details: what it would look like on my very petite hand and to my super particular, visually-driven eyes that had spent the last several years double-tapping pictures of just-engaged, perfectly manicured hands on Instagram. I had to start over and think about what would look good on my hands and that fit me as a person.
The jeweler brought out several more styles for me to try on: a halo with a french-set band, a classic split shank, and a simple, elegant solitaire with a 1 carat center stone. He also brought out several fancy-shaped diamonds, an Asscher, marquise, princess, and oval, which I had never considered. The jeweler mentioned that because of my petite hands, I didn’t need as large of a diamond for the ring to look proportional (nearby, my husband sighed in relief).
The classic split shank band looked beautiful on my small hand and I loved how the halo looked–I kept staring at it and smiling, my heart aflutter. I hadn’t considered these options before.
A few months later, my husband surprised me with a halo engagement ring with a split shank. The moral of this story: odds are, you may not really know what you want until you see it on your ring finger.
Which hand does the engagement ring go on? Traditionally, women wore engagement rings on the third finger of their left hand (next to the pinky) because in a world before medical science, people believed that there was a vein that traveled right to the heart from that finger. A wedding ring worn on this finger is therefore symbolic of romantic love.
In Western culture, this practice was first adopted during Roman wedding ceremonies, and continued through the centuries. However, in many countries around the world, it is a tradition to wear an engagement ring on the right hand. This is because some cultures consider the left hand to be unlucky. Russia, Norway, and India are a few of the countries that wear engagement rings on the right hand. In Sweden and Chile, people wear their engagement ring on their right hand and move it to their left hand after getting married.
Although Western engagement rings and wedding bands are steeped in ritual and tradition, it is becoming more and more acceptable to make a personal decision about how to wear your own. Some, of course, choose not to wear rings at all. Some make the decision based on which hand is their dominant. By choosing your engagement ring hand as the less dominant, it is less likely to get damaged or uncomfortable.
Which finger do I wear my engagement ring on for my wedding? Typically, brides will place their engagement ring on their right-hand ring finger for the ceremony. This is so that your wedding band can be worn closest to your heart. You can always choose to move your engagement ring back to your left hand after the ceremony.