Design Your Own Engagement Ring Online

how to Buy a GIA diamond online, sight unseen

What you should know is that you do NOT need to be a GIA diamond expert to design your own engagement ring online.

We developed this guide show you exactly what to look for, what to avoid and the steps to take to get the highest quality diamond your money can buy.

Buying a diamond should be an experience in itself. Our goal is to elevate your experience by teaching you a new, fresh approach to buying diamonds online, complete with step by step guidance, specific for purchasing online.

The Benefits of Buying and Designing Your Own GIA Diamond Engagement Ring Online

The diamond industry changed forever when the world’s first online retailers unlocked a secret vault that revealed a world of diamonds that we previously had no direct access. It blew our minds 20 years ago.

The selection of diamonds online exceeded retail stores by the thousands. Impressively, this included rare, high-quality diamonds with full certification in various shapes. We were instantly put into the driver’s seat and were given full control of our purchase. We had access to diamonds of any cut, color, clarity and carat weight combination right at our fingertips, with an endless list of options for continued browsing.


The Perfect Engagement Ring

The challenge was that the majority of consumers felt like they needed advanced diamond knowledge to start a search, let alone feel confident enough to navigate through thousands of diamonds and choose wisely. That’s where we come in.

At the end of this guide. we break down an easy 8 step process to follow as your ultimate checklist to ensure any details, opportunities, or cost savers are never overlooked. Complete it all with a carefully selected list of trusted, reputable retailers with our full recommendation and stamp of approval to shop online with total confidence.

Give yourself some time to browse your options. Online shopping gives you the freedom of choice and the ability to shop at
your own pace. If you are like us, we love seeing lots of options before we make a decision. We have included some stunning design ideas throughout this guide to inspire your inner designer.

The price of a diamond online is, on average, 30% 40% less than in retail stores.
Online retailers sell diamonds in large volumes, which means they can also buy in large volumes at a discounted wholesale price. They, in turn, pass those savings to you.


The Shape of a Diamond

The search for the perfect diamond online begins by selecting its shape. You have access to thousands of diamonds in various shapes by shopping online, all available for immediate purchase.  Each shape has its way of showing off its beauty.

Round, Princess, Cushion, and Heart shaped diamonds will have full facet coverage for an overall shimmer and brilliance while Emerald and Asscher will have immense, intermittent, bright flashes of light due to their elongated facets. It comes down to the style and fashion statement you want your ring to have.


The Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring

Although personal preference plays a role when choosing a shape, there are some facts you should know that may impact your choice.

Round shaped diamonds, known for their sparkle and classic style, make up for 65% of all online searches, followed by Princess Cut at 20%, with Emerald, Asscher, and Cushion Cut at 4% each to round off the top 5. Although popular, round diamonds are not the most affordable. During the cutting process, a round will shed around 50% of its original weight as waste.

Princess and Emerald cut diamonds can keep up to 90% of their actual rough weight due to their shape, which resembles an upside-down pyramid. By coincidence, their angular shape is the same as rough diamond crystals. A natural pyramid shape allows for a much easier and faster cutting process. Less work and less waste come at a lower price tag.

All diamond shapes will offer significant brilliance if they are well-cut. Once you have selected your shape, ensure that it has an EXCELLENT cut grade. We cover this next.

Why We Recommend GIA Diamonds & How To Buy Them


Buy The Perfect Engagement Ring Online

Of the many diamond grading organizations, the Gemological Institute of America stands out as the king. We do strongly suggest that you buy GIA certified diamonds because of the clear and thorough information provided on the diamond certificate as well as the definitive accuracy of their grading.

When GIA evaluates a diamonds’ cut, they will look at several factors to determine the cut grade and provide a full, detailed report of their findings. GIA includes an illustrated diagram and details that you can review to determine if this diamond has fire and brilliance.


There is a significant visible difference between a well-cut  diamond and a poorly cut diamond. Well cut diamonds reflect light through the top of the diamond, while shallow and deep cut diamonds will lose light through the sides and bottom and appear dull. Some diamonds have been cut more than once to enhance their brilliance further. Although this decreased their size, it increased their value due to the increase in fire and brilliance.

The CUT GRADE can signify up to 80% of the diamond’s value. A good portion of your budget should be allocated towards the cut because this is where the true beauty of a diamond will shine. Stick with diamonds that have an EXCELLENT grade in Cut Grade, Polish, and Symmetry for maximum brilliance.

NOTE: GIA certified diamonds are available from each of our retail partners.

Will that be white or yellow gold? Why it matters

GIA Color Clarity Scale

The Color Of A Diamond

It’s nearly impossible for the untrained eye to see the difference between each color grade when it comes to color. We are not diamond graders. Diamonds are graded based on lack of color. On the color chart, you will see that D lacks the most amount of color and is a rare find. Because of this, they are sought after and priced the highest.

CONSIDER THIS: Imagine that you are looking at a D color diamond placed next to an E and F, side by side at a jeweler. Are you going to be able to tell the difference? NO! There are trained professionals at GIA who can see the difference and give an accurate color grade. When do the rest of us start seeing any differences? If you were to place a D color diamond next to a J
color diamond, Right away, you will see that the J has warmer tones in the J, but here’s the kicker.

Place the D color diamond in a white gold or platinum setting and place the J color into yellow gold. You will see right away that the tone of the metal will compliment the tone of the diamond.


Shop Engagement Rings
If you prefer yellow gold, you don’t need to invest more in diamonds that lack color. Stick with G, H, I, J, for the best value. If you prefer white gold or platinum, you may want to consider biting the bullet and invest a little more of your budget towards a higher color grade. Ideally, D, E, F color will get you that icy cool look that comes with white gold or platinum.

If you are purchasing diamonds for the investment aspect, stick with D because they are rare. If you can find a D, flawless with an excellent cut grade, good job! They
are not cheap, in limited supply, and are in high demand. I’ve seen less than ten over the past 15 years, and they cost much more now than they did then.

How to buy an amazing diamond online, sight unseen 

The Clarity of a Diamond 

Inclusions are formed naturally in diamonds over the long span of their creation. They are the fingerprint of your diamond with identifying traits that only your diamond will have. The goal should be to purchase a diamond that is“eye clean.” You should know that most inclusions can’t be seen with the naked eye and, in many cases, can even be difficult to see under a jeweler’s loop at 10X magnification. Most diamonds will fall into the VS (Very Slightly Included ) or SI (Slightly Included) category with no visible inclusions.

In most cases, the only difference you will notice between a 1.00ct S1 and VS2 is the amount due on your credit card. The larger the diamond, the higher the clarity grade is needed to be “eye clean.” Generally, anything under 2.00ct is eye clean at SI1.

GIA Certification for Diamonds

Keep in mind; every diamond is unique. At times, inclusions can appear at its edge. How perfect! We’ve seen many I1 or S12 diamonds with this characteristic. A prong over the inclusion gave them the appearance of a VS1 at an S12 price.

Flawless (FL) No External Inclusions, None!

Internally Flawless (IF) No Internal Inclusions Nothing!

Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) There are slight inclusions, very hard to see under a jeweler’s loop at 10X magnification. Not seen with the naked eye.

Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Still, nothing visible to the naked eye not much easier to see under a jeweler’s loop at 10X magnification unless you are told where to look.

Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions become more evident under a jeweler’s loop, but you can’t see them with the naked eye. You will most likely never look at your ring through a loop in your day to day life. It is also doubtful that you run into someone on the street who has one and asks to examine your ring. That would be crazy!

Included (I1, I2, and I3) Unless very small or accent diamonds, you will see inclusions with the naked eye. I own a five stone Men’s Ring with diamonds that are all I1 clarity. I can’t see any inclusions because of their size and the blinding sparkle.


1.5-carat vs-1.4-carat diamond engagement ring

 The Carat Weight of a Diamond

Carat weight refers to its weight and not its size. As mentioned, bigger might not always be better. Carat weight should be the first of the 4C’s to reduce to get a higher quality diamond within your budget. We’ve seen 2, 3, and 4-carat diamonds that had the size but lacked the brilliance. When placed next to a 1.5 carat with an EXCELLENT cut grade, no contest!

The advice remains to invest your money into the cut and use the carat weight to play with and reduce if needed. Not only will you get a more beautiful diamond, but it will also appear larger, brighter, clearer, and whiter by the amount of light reflecting inside the diamond. A nice touch!

A good rule of thumb is to “Buy Shy.” If you were to place a 1.89ct next to a 2.03ct, they would appear the same size, but the price difference can be substantial! You would be surprised how little difference you will notice even if you reduced the carat weight by up to .50 in some cases. Remember to stay flexible when it comes to the carat weight and search for a range rather than an exact weight.

Extra Tip: Fancy Shapes (anything other than a round brilliant) generally cost less per carat than a Round Brilliant and will appear larger!

NOTE: Price per carat will increase with its size. For example, if a 1.00ct, SI2 clarity, F color costs about $4500, you would be looking at $6000 per carat ($12,000 total) for a 2.00ct, S12, F Color, not twice the price of the 1.00ct. The price per carat for most gemstones remain the same as the size increases.

How to buy a diamond and design your own engagement ring online – in 8 steps 

STEP ONE – Choose a Trusted Retailer

We have done the work. Choose to shop with any of our reputable partners (last page in this eBook) with confidence. They are all trusted retailers.

STEP TWO – Decide the Carat Weight Range

Choose your carat weight RANGE. You will use this as flexibility to makes adjustments as you narrow your search. The carat weight will be the first to reduce to get more brilliance, so know what you are working with.

STEP THREE – Choose Your Precious Metal

If Yellow Gold is your choice, investing more into a colorless diamond is optional. The metal’s tone will complement the diamond’s tone so stick to G, H, I, J, K for the best value. White Gold and Platinum is best with D, E, F color to get the icy cool look that a white metal brings.

STEP FOUR – Review The Certificate

The certificate will confirm the details about that diamond, including its color, clarity grade, carat weight, and cut grade. It’s like a piece of ID for a diamond so have a quick look to review it’s stats.

STEP FIVE – Assess The Cut Grade

The most important part about buying a diamond, CUT. Aim for an EXCELLENT score in Cut Grade, Polish, and Symmetry to ensure that you get maximum brilliance!

STEP SIX – Evaluate Color & Clarity

While reviewing the certificate, check the color and clarity grade. Eye clean is the goal so stick to SI1 or higher in clarity. Check the diagram to find the inclusions. Does the color grade match your metal?

STEP SEVEN –  Choose A Setting

So many beautiful designs with hundreds to choose from! Have Fun!


Choose the diamond for her and set it in the most basic setting. A simple solitaire will still get a YES, and you won’t need to wonder if you picked the right style. This way, she can have fun designing her ring with the diamond you chose. Perfect!

STEP EIGHT – Control Your Purchase

You are in the driver’s seat and completely in control of the purchase. Remember that nobody is chasing you for a sale and you can shop at the pace that you wish.


Ring Setting Options


Rather than spending countless hours searching through dozens of online retailers trying to pick one that is trusted, reputable and offer quality, shop with confidence at any of our carefully selected, respected and authorized retail partners. Our partners all offer thousands of certified, ethically sourced, high quality, well-cut “sparkly” diamonds.

In addition to gorgeous styles and lifetime guarantees, they have flexible and easy return policies as well as free shipping, complete with excellent customer service and quality scores. You can’t beat the reviews.

Buying a diamond means you should feel confident in your purchase and trust who you are buying from. We’ve done the work. Enjoy our top picks with total confidence and enjoy the experience of purchasing a diamond!

Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
As you are searching online, remind yourself of the personal symbolic meaning of the piece you are purchasing. It’s true what they say; diamonds capture memories. Whenever we look at our engagement ring or wear any of our diamond jewelry, we will  remember details about the day we received it or the person it belonged to previously. They force us to take a trip down memory lane and show us every love-filled memory of our lives.

Check out our previous articles to inspire your design! 

Halo Engagement Rings – Summer 2020

The 9 Hottest Overall Engagement Rings for Her – Summer 2020 (Our Engagement Story) 

Top 20 Trending Solitaire Designs – Summer 2020

The Emerald Cut Diamond Engagement Ring – Hottest 6 Styles

Written By: Jason Veen –