A 2021 Diamocycle Buyer’s Guide

Buying a diamond can be an intimidating process, especially when you’re looking to buy a used diamond or engagement ring. That said, equipped with the right knowledge, the process of buying a used wedding ring can be straightforward and stress-free.

Our 2021 Diamocycle Buyer’s Guide walks you through:

  • Diamonds 101

    • The 4 Cs: What Does a Carat Mean?

    • The Pricing of Natural Diamonds

    • Types of Diamonds 

  • Understanding The Diamond Industry

    • Diamonds as Investments 

    • The Diamond Marketplace

  • Best Places to Buy

  • Tips for Successfully Purchasing a Diamond

With this information, we guarantee that buying a diamond (used or new) will be as easy as admiring one sparkle.

Diamonds 101

The 4 Cs: What Does a Carat Mean? 

You’ve likely long heard about “The 4Cs.” Here’s your chance to understand each one a bit more.


This refers to a diamond’s size, as measured by its weight. The heavier a diamond, the higher the Carat value. And for reference, 1 carat is equal to .2 grams.


While we imagine diamonds to be clear, sparkling stones, diamonds are rated by color. A diamond can vary in color from clear and sparkling to a yellow or brown tone. The color rating ranges from a D rating (void of color) to Z (yellow in tone). The clearer a diamond is, the higher it is in the alphabet and the higher its value.


While there is no value ranking in terms of a diamond’s cut, the variety of cuts can affect a diamond’s value. A diamond’s cut can affect the angles of its facet, and to wit, how it shines. Some standard cuts are:

  • Point Cut

  • Table Cut

  • Old Single Cut

  • Peruzzi Cut

  • Mazarin Cut

  • Old European Cut

  • Emerald Cut

Each cut will demand a different value depending on the quality of the cut and what is currently in style.


A diamond’s clarity is the prevalence of inclusions (internal flaws), blemishes, scratches, or clouds found on the stone. A gemologist inspects both the exterior and interior of the stone for such flaws.  While most diamonds have some sort of scratch of flaw, a flawless diamond is both rare and valued as such.

Pricing of Natural Diamonds

To help you understand the impact of the 4Cs in pricing natural diamonds, we’re happy to share this price chart with you. This should help you understand how to comprehend how much a ring or engagement ring is worth.

Please remember that these prices as estimates and by no means are quotes or pricing promises made on the behalf of Diamocycle. 

This chart is simply meant to be illustrative of how being flexible in one of the Cs may allow you to find a stone that fits your dreams and your budget.

Carat Dependent Pricing

Carat Dependent Pricing

Clarity Dependent Pricing

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 13.33.22.png

Color Dependent Pricing

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 13.33.09.png

Types of Diamonds 

Along with the 4Cs, you’ve likely heard about a variety of diamonds. Here’s our quick break down, regarding a variety of diamonds and diamond substitutes.

Natural Diamonds

Natural diamonds are diamonds that are mined from the earth. They are formed over billions of years through geologic processes. Natural diamonds then need to be found and mined from the earth. Given their natural uniqueness and the labor required to extract them, they often fetch a commanding price, whether as a new or preowned diamond.

Synthetic Diamonds

Synthetic diamonds have the same crystalline structure and appearance as natural diamonds. The main difference, however, is that they are instead created in a laboratory. Given that their birth is man-made rather than geologic, synthetic diamonds are more prevalent and priced as such. That said, their chemical composition and physical properties are the same as natural gemstones. Synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds are visibly identical. The only way to tell the difference is through laboratory testing.

Please keep in mind that synthetic diamonds are real diamonds. Both natural and synthetic diamonds have the same properties and specifications. The sole difference is how they are created. Due to market forces, the price between the two items is considerable. That said, it would be incorrect to consider synthetic diamonds a “fake diamond.” As mentioned, the only way to know the difference is to submit your stone to a reputable diamond laboratory.

Similarly, the best way to find out how much your ring is worth is to take it to a trained professional.

Other Synthetic Stones

There are a variety of other stones that look like diamonds but have a crystalline structure of another type of stone.

Non-Diamond Synthetic Stones with a Natural Counterpart

Some synthetic stones have a natural counterpart, look like a diamond, and were created in a lab. Some examples of these stones are:

  • Synthetic Rutile

  • Colorless Synthetic Spinel

  • Colorless Synthetic Sapphire

Non-Diamond Synthetic Stones with No Natural Counterpart

In contrast, there are also some synthetic substances that have no natural counterpart. These synthetic substances look like a diamond, despite having a different chemical composition. Some examples of such a stone are:

  • YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet)

  • GGG (gadolinium gallium garnet)

  • CZ (synthetic cubic zirconia)

  • Synthetic Moissanite

Whether you’re buying new or pre-owned, moissanite, CZ, GGG, and YAG all have their distinct style and flair which makes for gorgeous and valuable jewelry.

Understanding The Diamond Industry

Diamonds as Investments

While diamond prices are often seen to be stable, we would like to offer a quick note regarding purchasing diamonds as an investment.

Even if you are not buying or selling a diamond as an investment, we recommend giving this a quick read to better understand the industry into which you are entering as you shop for diamonds.

It is true that overall, market diamond prices have stayed relatively consistent over time. For those who hold valuable diamonds, this is a relief.

However, if you are buying to invest or sell your engagement ring, you must understand that the retail mark-up of a diamond completely overshadows any small appreciation in value that you may enjoy over a significant span of time.

In addition, besides a small selection of specialized and rare color diamonds, the expansion of the market has led to a small decrease in diamond value over time.

For those hoping to invest in the long term, despite looking at slow upward trends for the past few decades, we encourage you to consider the stronger rate of investment your money may have had in the stock market or another more traditional mode of investment.

Disclaimer: Diamocycle is not offering advice regarding purchasing diamonds as a way to make money. Diamonds are an extremely illiquid luxury asset class and are difficult to sell even by people in the diamond trade. The opinions we offer are not meant to be taken as for profit advice, and individuals should not purchase diamonds unless they are prepared to lose a portion of their capital. 

The Diamond Marketplace 

In addition, the mark-up of a diamond from its original price to its sales price is considerable. This mark-up often goes to cover a business’s overhead, expertise, and other business expenses. Simply put, it is the price of doing business and buying a diamond.

While you may be able to avoid a fraction of a diamond’s mark-up by buying from an online vendor rather than a brick and mortar, there are scant ways to pay the “base” or wholesale price of a diamond, without buying from a wholesale seller. And we sadly remind you that wholesale sellers prefer not to deal with the public for diamond sales, given their strong pre-existing relationships with a variety of players in the diamond industry.

As you take into consideration the inevitable institutional mark-up you will pay on your diamond, we encourage you to remember that it will be hard to privately sell your diamond for the same price you bought it for. When you’re selling your ring as a second-hand diamond, the most you can do is aim to minimize the amount of money you will lose on the sale.  While all of this may seem discouraging, it’s simply the price we pay to enjoy and luxuriate in such a beautiful stone. We do encourage you to remember that we are experts in helping your preloved diamond ring find a new home, which also has a positive ecological impact, even if it’s not financially remunerative.

Welcome to the Diamond Industry.

Best Places to Buy

There are as many places one can buy diamonds as there are diamonds. That said, here are some of the more common places (along with their pros and cons) that one could purchase a diamond.

  • Jewelry Store

  • Pawn Shop 

  • Fine Auction House

  • Non-Diamond Specific Online Marketplace

  • DIamond Specific Online Marketplace 

  • A Known Individual 

Jewelry Store

A brick-and-mortar jewelry store is one of the most traditional and thus most trustworthy places to buy a diamond. Given that your local jewelry store has likely been in business for a number of years, it’s worthwhile to trust the quality of the inventory and the trustworthiness of their practices. Many jewelry stores often have an on-site gemologist to verify your stones, to help you understand how much your ring is worth, and to add a layer of professionalism to their diamond pricing and sales practices.

That said, because all items are in-store, your selection may be limited and the mark-up may be significant to help the store cover all the overhead from their physical location. We recommend buying from a physical jewelry store if you’d prefer to see items in person and don’t mind the substantial price mark-up that comes from buying from a brick-and-mortar location.

PROS: Strong Business Practices

CONS: Limited Inventory & Significant Mark-Up 

Pawn Shop 

While pawn shops may be abundant in your community and have a variety of preowned and previously owned wedding rings, overall, we do not recommend buying a diamond from a pawn shop. Pawn shops are in the business of giving short-term loans to people who may need to bring in their items for a quick cash offering. While you may find a seeming steal or bargain at a pawn shop, we remind you that pawn shops often do not have trained gemologists on their staff to do a ring or diamond appraisal. What may seem like a bargain may also not be a verifiable stone.

While it may be fun to browse a pawn shop’s used wedding rings and see what they have in stock, we strongly do not recommend buying a diamond from a pawn shop unless you have a way to independently verify the authenticity of the stone or you are willing to purchase an item that may look amazing but may not be an authentic diamond or have the paperwork to prove its veracity.

PROS: Discounted Pricing, Easily Accessible

CONS: Limited Safeguards for Consumer Protection and Item Veracity 

Fine Auction House

Fine Auction Houses are wonderful places to buy high-value diamonds and 2nd hand diamonds, at rates of upwards of $100,000. While we strongly endorse browsing and purchasing from a fine auction house as one of the best places to buy used diamond rings, we also acknowledge that the caliber of items being sold at a fine auction house may be excessive or extravagant for your needs.

Given the caliber of their reputation, you should feel assured that the used diamond or wedding ring you’re buying is truly what the auction house says it is. That said, with fine auction houses, the larger barrier to entry is the high price tag (and considerable mark-up) of the diamond rings and used diamonds that are being sold.

PROS: Strong Industry Reputation & Remarkable Inventory

CONS: Prohibitive Pricing and Top Luxury Goods 

Non-Diamond Specific Online Marketplaces

As you search online, you may be tempted to buy a diamond online from a website such as EBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist.

While there may be some incredible deals and 2nd hand diamond rings on these online marketplaces, we would like to remind you of the risks inherent in buying and selling diamonds on such online forums.

Given that eBay, Facebook, or Craigslist do not employ gemologists (obviously!) there is no way to verify that the used engagement ring listed online is actually the item being sold to you. Beyond that, even if the item matches its description, there is no controlling mechanism or resale diamond value calculator to ensure that the price being offered is fair or that the transaction is being conducted in a safe way.

In addition, given the relative risk of meeting someone offline that you met online to exchange a sizable amount of money and previously owned engagement ring or diamond jewelry, we strongly urge you to exercise the utmost caution should you decide to buy a used diamond from someone off a marketplace that you then need to meet in person.

While some vendors on EBay have reviews that may make the purchase seem a little safe, we still urge you to be wary and careful when purchasing from a large online marketplace with very safeguards to verify stones or protect their buyers. While we understand that the allure and the navigability of such a website and preowned diamonds is significant, we encourage a strong level of caution when exploring buying a used diamond from an unknown online seller.

PROS: Easy to Search, Large Inventory at A Variety of Price Points

CONS: No Industry Professional Accreditation, No Way to Verify Purchase, Risk Inherent in Platform of Purchase 

Diamond Specific Online Marketplaces

In terms of searching for a strong intersection of value and expertise, our vote is for diamond-specific online marketplaces. This may include online auction houses and other diamond and jewelry-specific online marketplaces (Diamocycle Marketplace, Blue Nile, etc) that exclusively sell diamonds online.

Buying from an online diamond-specific marketplace has several advantages. Because the institution is strictly online, the price to buy your diamond online does not include the heavy mark-up that brick and mortar retailers must charge to cover their overhead. Online diamond marketplaces are instead able to offer a selling price closer to the wholesale price of the diamond as they have lower overhead and business costs.

Additionally, at a diamond-specific online marketplace, the survival of their business is dependent on excellent customer service and high-quality inventory. (The only thing they’re selling is diamonds!) As a result, even though you’re unable to physically experience the stone prior to purchase, you can rest assured that the quality of the diamond is appraised, verified, and accurate. In addition, many diamond-specific online marketplaces employ a gemologist and offer GIA certificates to reduce any apprehensions a consumer may have by buying a diamond online.

Lastly, given their online status, most diamond-specific online marketplaces have a substantial searchable online marketplace, allowing you to truly find, search, and purchase a stone that matches your specifications and your budget. Online diamond marketplaces take pride in offering a wide selection and reasonable prices, and you, as the buyer, are sure to benefit from their online business model.

If you know what you want, an online diamond marketplace is an excellent way to find a superior diamond or jewelry (sometimes preowned or secondhand) at a reasonable price.

PROS: Great Selection, High Quality, On-Site Gemologist for Authenticity

CONS: Not Being Able to Experience Item in Person 

A Known Individual 

Lastly, you can always buy a pre-used diamond or ring from someone in your known social network. While you may feel like your relationship with this person is strong, we still strongly encourage you to ask for the corresponding GIA certificate for the stone.

In addition, buying from within your social network may be slightly complicated if the used diamond you’re buying is perhaps a preowned engagement ring from a failed relationship, untimely death, or other unspecified tragedy. If having your friend see you wear their preloved wedding ring may bring up complicated or unpleasant feelings, no matter the price or the need to sell the diamond, it may not be worth the purchase. In addition, asking to appraise and verify the diamond with an outside source may stress the friendship as your friend may simply want you to believe them.

Lastly, individuals are usually only selling select items that they have in their possession. We encourage you to truly examine what kind of second-hand jewelry you want and make sure the pre-owned diamond being offered to you matches what you’d like to spend your hard-earned money on.

That said, the ability to support a friend and buy a preloved diamond ring at a personal discount may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We simply encourage you to fully examine the situation, given the inherent social complexity in such a situation.

PROS: Trusted Source, Likely Good Price and Well Maintained Item

CONS: Social Complication, Very Limited Choice of Item 

Tips for Successfully Purchasing a Diamond

Purchasing a diamond is a huge investment. Here’s a few quick tips to make sure your experience is positive.

Buy from a Source You Trust

By buying from a diamond seller you trust, you’re eliminating a layer of anxiety and risk from an otherwise stressful process. Take the time to read reviews, research, and understand the business model of your diamond seller. Take some time to consider if you would mind buying a preowned diamond ring.

(What if it were a pre-owned Tiffany’s engagement ring at a fraction of the price?) 

That way, once you’re ready to buy, you’re not second-guessing the authenticity of the seller or the stones and you can simply focus on what matters.

Keep Your Priorities In Mind

You can always have a bigger, sparklier diamond. In the excitement of the moment, it’s easy to forget what your authentic style or tastes are or what the limits of your budget are. Before you begin shopping – know your limits and your priorities.

A few questions to keep in mind are: 

  • Are you willing to buy a used, preowned, or preloved diamond? 

  • What’s your highest limit for budget?

  • Do you want something you’ll wear every day?

  • If so, is this an item you feel comfortable wearing every day?

  • Does this item feel like an accurate representation of the relationship or sentiment you were hoping to celebrate? 

Never let yourself feel pressured into making a purchase. Your diamond ring seller is there to support you! And should you ever feel yourself getting overwhelmed, never hesitate to ask to take a moment or return another day.

Understand Diamond Pricing

Once you have your budget in mind, we remind you of how diamond pricing works. Given that most diamonds are priced across 4 factors (the 4Cs), we encourage you to prioritize what qualities you would like in a new or used diamond.

Given that the most apparent factors are size and cut, we recommend setting a budget and a carat and cut goal. From there, we’d suggest having a bit of flexibility in diamond color and clarity.

While a sizable stone might look “yellow” or “dingey” next to a perfectly clear stone – we remind you that when you’re staring at the stone without flawless comparisons, you still may feel delighted and awestruck by its beauty. Similarly, while inclusions and flaws seem horrifying while looking through a loupe, some small imperfections will absolutely go unnoticed from the other side of a brunch table with your friends.

If you’re willing to accept a preloved diamond or used engagement ring with perhaps a small flaw or a slight change in color, you may be able to score a stone that has the size and cut style that you most desire while still remaining well within your budget.

That said, we truly advocate for getting a diamond (used or new) that you find beautiful and fills you with joy. We simply encourage you to remember and consider that the new or used diamond you buy doesn’t have to be perfect on all accounts – it simply needs to shine strong and bright for you.

Wherever you end up buying your diamond, please know we’re always here to discuss and answer any questions you may have about used and preowned diamonds and the diamond buying process.

Your Neighborhood Jeweler,