Call us today to order your engagement rings!
Engagement Rings

Your 4 Biggest Diamond-Buying Questions, Answered

The Leader in Custom Jewelry Pittsburgh Answers Your Biggest Questions About Buying Diamonds

Whether you’re thinking about popping the question or celebrating a major life milestone with a piece of diamond jewelry, it’s difficult to navigate diamond buying without a bit of information in hand. There are a number of factors that influence the price and appearance of a diamond, all of which you should be careful to understand before shopping.

At Lisa Marie Kotchey Designs—the leader in custom jewelry Pittsburgh—we know how difficult it can be to make an informed buying decision, which is why we’re here to support you through your diamond purchase. To do this, we’re breaking down the answers to your four biggest diamond-buying questions right here, right now. Check it out! 

What are Diamond Inclusions?

Understanding Diamond Imperfections with the Leader in Custom Jewelry Pittsburgh

diamond clarity chart


In the custom jewelry world, ‘inclusions’ is basically a fancy word for imperfects. All diamonds have imperfections—including tiny dots, air bubbles, or markings insider the diamond—that impact the diamond’s clarity. The fewer inclusions that a diamond has, the better the diamond’s clarity.

While diamonds with lower levels of clarity (and therefore more inclusions) are not considered as nice, most of these imperfections cannot be seen by the naked eye. Unless you and your friends are literally looking at your diamond under a microscope, it’s okay to buy a diamond with more inclusions. It’ll still look beautiful and be affordable for your budget.

There is a scale of diamond clarity that describes how clear the diamond is and how many inclusions it has. FL, or flawless, diamonds are the most expensive and extremely rare. I1, I2, and I3 diamonds contain the greatest number of inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, making them less valuable. Many people opt to by SI, or slightly included, diamonds to save money while maintaining quality clarity. 

Which is More Important: Clarity or Size?

Striking the Balance for a Beautiful Diamond

diamond color chart


Everyone would love a massive, flawless diamond. However, only extremely rich collectors can afford these types of diamonds, which is why most people shopping for custom jewelry in Pittsburgh look to strike the perfect balance of size and clarity.

As we just mentioned, diamonds with high clarity (fewer inclusions) are more expensive. You also probably already know that that bigger the diamond, the more expensive it will be. Finding the right diamond is all about striking the perfect balance between clarity and size for your budget.

In addition to clarity, it’s important to take into account your diamond color. D-grade diamonds are colorless and most expensive, while Z-grade diamonds are heavily tinted yellow and are cheaper. As you can see in this helpful diamond color animation, you often cannot tell the difference between a D-grade diamond and an E, F, or G-grade diamond. 

In other words, choosing the right diamond comes down to your preferences. If you favor a slightly larger diamond, you may want to sacrifice on clarity or color to achieve your goals.

What Makes a Diamond Sparkle?

Designing Custom Jewelry in Pittsburgh that Shines Bright

diamond shape chart


A diamond’s sparkle comes from a combination of quality, color, and cut. Once you decide on the size, clarity, and color of diamond you can afford, choosing the cut that reflects your aesthetic goals is key. Round-cut diamonds have the most sparkle, followed by princess, marquise, oval, and pear-shaped diamonds

Emerald and cushion cuts, however, have less sparkle and reflect longer flashes of light. Because of this, these diamond cuts typically are sold with better quality diamonds to create the best-looking result possible.

How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Sticking with your Budget is Easy with the Right Jeweler

diamond ring on woman's finger

We’ve all heard rumors that an engagement ring should cost you 2-3 months’ salary. However, in an age with young people buried in student loans, trying to buy homes, invest, and save for a wedding, this isn’t always the case. Discuss with your soon-to-be-fiance what a realistic budget may look like for you.

The average price of an engagement ring in the United States is right around $5,000. However, make small compromises on size, clarity, or color can help you drop the price while still getting a beautiful ring. This can easily bring a $5,000 price tag down a thousand dollars or so, and your jeweler can help you ensure that you’re picking a diamond that’s right for you.

Ready to shop for diamonds? Get in touch with the leader in custom jewelry Pittsburgh today to start shopping with a trusted team of experts.