Many retailers display, and sell, rings with pre-set diamonds. They’re ready to purchase and wear out of the store if you wanted to. Another option is buying the diamond separate from the ring and mounting it later. There are several real advantages to this approach, but a few cons too.
Is it Cheaper to Buy Loose Lab Created Diamonds? Purchasing a loose diamond can potentially help you to save money on the total cost of your assembled ring. It’s easy to compare prices and characteristics for loose stones, but you also don’t have the ring design, or material, to cloud the portion of the total price that’s attributed to the diamond.
Few consumers have ever purchased a loose diamond. This article will address the pros and cons of this buying this way. I’ll also give you my favorite place to purchase loose lab created diamonds.
What is a Loose Diamond?
Loose diamonds are diamonds purchased all by themselves, rather than already mounted on a ring. It’s not very common for couples to purchase their diamond and setting separately. Most couples tend to shop for rings that catch their eye and match their budget. There’s nothing really wrong with approaching the purchase that way, but there could be advantages in buying a diamond ‘loose’ to pair with the setting of your choice. We’ll discuss the pros and cons below, so you can decide if it’s the right approach for you.
Buying The Best Diamond Possible Without Blowing Your Budget
The 4 main drivers of diamond value are cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. When you shop loose diamonds, you typically have a large selection to choose from. You’ll have many variations in all 4 of those areas. That means that you can make strategic tradeoffs that allow you to get the features that are most important to you while staying within your budget.
If diamond size (carat weight) is really important to you, you can select a larger diamond and give a little on the color or clarity for example. If having a very colorless diamond is most important, you could get a ‘D’ or ‘E’ and concede a little on the size or clarity of the diamond. It’s all a matter of balance and tradeoffs. Ultimately, your diamond can be good in all areas, but exceptional in the one or two areas that are most important to you for example.
When you’re dealing with a company that has a large selection, you can sort through a huge supply of lab diamonds that can match almost any configuration that might be of interest.
How Much Does it Cost to Have a Diamond Mounted to a Setting?
Paying a local jeweler to mount a loose diamond to a separate ring will vary widely. Going to a jeweler at the mall, for example, will likely be more expensive than working with a small independent jeweler. The key to finding a great price for the service is getting several bids. That’s something you should be able to do within 15 minutes or so by phone.
Generally speaking, setting an unmounted diamond will likely cost between $90 and $240. It’s often well worth the cost of mounting because of the money saved through the process of buying this way, and the fact that you’ve been able to pair the perfect gem and setting through this process.
Pros of Buying a Loose Lab Grown Diamond
Less Compromise: When you purchase a finished ring, you may have to compromise to some degree on either the diamond or the design of the ring. The jeweler that has the best diamond selection may not be the jeweler that also has the best ring designs. Buying a loose diamond and a setting separately can allow you to buy from the very best source for each element. That extra effort could allow you to assemble the ring of your dreams, rather than settling for a setting that’s not quite perfect because you like the diamond that’s mounted to the ring or compromising on a diamond because you like the setting that it’s attached to. You can have the best of both worlds!
Find the Best Price on Each Component: The style of your ring isn’t the only consideration. If you need a frugal ring, you probably have a budget that you need to stay within. Buying this way can allow you to buy from the sources that sell each component for the best rate (without sacrificing quality). When you save on both the diamond and the setting, it can make a huge difference in your total cost.
Ability to Save the Diamond For Later: Instead of buying an engagement ring AND a wedding band, some couples choose a diamond simulant for their engagement ring, and then swap it out for a lab created diamond just before the wedding. The swapping of the center stone is a change that celebrates the milestone but also minimizes expense.
Clarity on the Price of the Diamond: When you buy a pre-made ring that already has a diamond mounted, it’s really hard to tell how much of the overall price is related to the diamond, and how much is related to the setting. That lack of clarity is a great advantage for retailers. In fact, ‘bundling’ is a classic way for businesses to improve their profit margins. When the parts of the ring are in their individual components, they’re easier to shop and compare. Bundling makes each ring a little more distinctive (harder to shop with an ‘apples-to-apples comparison).
Cons of Buying a Loose Lab Grown Diamond
While buying loose lab created diamonds has many advantages, it also has some disadvantages that you need to be aware of before deciding to buy that way.
It’s More Time Consuming: The stakes are pretty high when you’re buying an engagement ring or wedding ring. If it includes any kind of diamond, then you’re making a real investment in the ring and you want to buy the right one. The right diamond ring is one that is beautiful, durable, and affordable. While buying a man made diamond and setting separately can often give you to the best chance of getting the perfect diamond and the perfect setting at a price that also fits your budget well, it could also double the time that you send on a process that already seems to take quite a while. If you love the process of shopping, this won’t bother you. If you CAN’T STAND shopping, it may make more sense to buy something that’s pre-built and ready to go.
There’s Temptation to Exceed Your Budget: If you go into an electronics store and buy a pre-built computer, you only have certain price and feature combinations available. It may be easy for you to stay away from the systems that are WAY outside the reach of your budget. On the other hand, if you start with a basic system and are offered the ability to customize your system with little upgrades that you might find valuable, it would be easy to justify a system that’s much more expensive than you originally planned, because you moved up in price a little at a time based on small cost increases that were tied to attractive performance increases. The same thing can happen when you buy a loose diamond. The budget you’ve set for your lab diamond might be set at $2200.
When you initially start looking at diamonds that could be considered, you find some nice options that could work well for only $1,800, but then notice that for only a couple of hundred dollars more, you could move from an ‘F’ color grade to an ‘E’ color grade. For a couple hundred more, you could move up in clarity several levels. For a few hundred more, you could increase the size of your diamond quite a bit.
Little by little, the upgrade options pull you into a beautiful ring that’s far more expensive than you originally planned for. You have to be prepared for this kind of temptation. This kind of flexibility is great, as long as you can make trade-offs that make sense and still meet your budgetary constraints.
It’s Helpful to See the Finished Product All Together: If you’re like me, it’s helpful to see a finished product put together so you can get a clear idea of how all the individual components look when put together. Sometimes the shape or shade of a gem that you choose may not look as good as you hoped against a particular metal color or ring design that you were considering. It’s awful when you realize that AFTER you’ve already purchased the individual components—especially if they aren’t returnable. Some people have the gift of being able to clearly visualize their finished product. Buying a diamond and setting separately would be perfect for them.
The Best Place to Buy Loose Lab Created Diamonds
My favorite source for loose lab created diamonds offers a HUGE selection and really great prices. They also offer 3 other things that are really important to a guy like me that doesn’t want to get stuck with a ring that I later find wasn’t the right choice.
- A 100-day money back guarantee (with FREE return shipping)!
- The ability to pick a lab diamond and setting separately and then see them paired together.
- A presentation ring that I can swap out later.
Nothing says that you have confidence in the value and quality of your product like a 100-day money back guarantee! Who do you know in this industry that has a longer return period? It’s incredibly rare. Physical jewelry stores typically don’t allow returns at all!
Aside from those major benefits, they also offer FREE FedEx overnight shipping, up to 24-month financing, FREE layaway, FREE lab grading on all gems, one FREE resizing within the first 100 days if needed (with free shipping in BOTH directions), and more.
Their site also allows you to select the perfect man-made diamond among many options of all sizes, quality grades, and price ranges, and then pair it with the setting that you like best. it’s the best of BOTH worlds. You can select each component individually and see it in combination before buying. You then have the 100-day return policy to ensure you love it as much in person as you did online!
Click here to learn more about them, and to browse their available inventory.