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Everything You Need to Know About Buying Loose Diamonds for an Engagement Ring

Opting for a loose diamond will offer you the chance to create a truly bespoke engagement ring. Here’s everything you need to know… 

A set of loose diamonds scattered over a oink background
Unsplash / Daniel Dan

A set of loose diamonds scattered over a oink background
Unsplash / Daniel Dan

They say diamonds are a person's best friend and we can’t help but agree - so what better way to begin the proposal process than by buying gorgeous loose diamonds?

While historically people have proposed to their beloved with a complete engagement ring – made with a diamond or other stone - there is another way to do it. Buying loose diamonds to create your own engagement ring design is the latest engagement trend, and we have the full scoop on everything you need to know about the process.

This lesser known, but altogether more exciting way to go about buying an engagement ring, offers you the chance to create something that’s both unique and sentimental. Buying a loose diamond is a very personal process, but it’s also one that could be a little overwhelming - where do you even start?

Loose Diamonds: Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Diamond

Here, we break down everything you need to know about buying a loose diamond, from where to source loose diamonds in the UK and how you to get one made into a ring, to how much they are worth and what you should be looking out for.

Our guide equips proposers with everything they need to know about sourcing and buying loose diamonds to ensure the process is as simple and stress-free as possible. As you finalise your plan on how to propose and what engagement ring box to choose, knowing how the loose diamond process works gives you one less thing to worry about. 

What is a Loose Diamond?

A set of tweezers holding up one loose diamond against a white background
Unsplash / Tahlia Doyle

A loose diamond is essentially a gem - either sourced naturally, or grown in a lab - that hasn’t already been incorporated into a piece of jewellery. Essentially, with a loose diamond you’re buying one element of a future ring.

When you buy diamonds loose, you have the freedom to pick the exact size, shape and clarity you want, to not only meet your style needs but your budget, too. You can then have your chosen diamond or gem set in the exact band you want – whether that be silver, gold or something else – and have the ring made to your partner’s exacting measurements.

By buying a loose diamond you have the freedom to design and make a totally personalised and custom piece of jewellery that will have endless sentimental value.

If words like clarity and cut already have you lost - our guide to buying an engagement ring will help - it has a dedicated section all about what to look for in a diamond so you can ensure you're on the right track. 

Where to Buy Loose Diamonds in the UK

A man at a jewellery shop buying loose diamonds
Unsplash / Dilon Wanner

There are a few options when it comes to where to buy loose diamonds in the UK. Leading jewellery suppliers, such as Blue Nile, Taylor & Hart and the British Diamond Company, are all specialists in the sourcing and selling of loose diamonds.

Taylor & Hart, have an entire page dedicated to loose diamonds, both lab-grown and naturally sourced.  Each listing tells you the diamond’s carat weight, clarity level, colour and price, so there are no hidden surprises. Plus, you’ll receive a certificate of the diamond’s grading after your purchase - this is really important as it's your best way of proving the quality of the stone after you've bought it.

Alternatively, you can also go to a specialist diamond merchant who will be able to show you their wares in person. Hatton Garden in London, for example, is home to countless experts selling loose diamonds of all shapes, sizes and weights, so you can do some market research to find the right fit.

How Can I Get a Loose Diamond Made Into a Ring?

Blue Nile diamond shown being inserted into a ring setting using their ring builder function
Blue Nile

There are endless jewellers out there who will be able to transform your diamond into the perfect ring. You can either design the ring yourself, or speak to a ring designer who will  bring your vision to life.

If you're not sure where to start with the design, professional jewellers will be able to give you a number of suggestions. It's also worth looking at existing designs to give you inspiration for your own. You may have two or three engagement rings you absolutely love, that you want to combine into one style.

Taylor and Hart provides a fantastic service, allowing couples or individuals to easily create a custom ring online. Simply contact them with your ideas to receive a quote, then you’ll be able to choose your centre stone before finalising the design and placing your order. 

Likewise, Blue Nile offers a 'Build Your Own Diamond Jewellery' service which does exactly what it says on the tin. Buyers can use the online tool to pick their stone and setting before placing their order.

It isn’t just for rings, either. You can build your own pendant or earrings as well, meaning wedding anniversary gifts and wedding jewellery can be made to match the style of the engagement ring - now that's cute!

Before starting, you should decide whether you want to keep the whole process a surprise, or go through it with your partner. For example, you could propose with the loose diamond first or with a temporary proposal ring, and then set about designing the ring together afterwards - the perfect bonding experience.

Alternatively, you could design the engagement ring with the loose diamond yourself and surprise your partner completely. 

What to Look for in a Loose Diamond?

A man shopping for loose diamonds looking at one through a microscope

When it comes to buying diamonds loose, there are so many things to consider.

Every stone is unique and will have its own specs in terms of colour, clarity, cut and weight. Before you buy, it’s important to ensure the diamond (or diamonds) you’re looking at have been professionally assessed. Diamond certification is a grading system designed to help buyers judge the quality, and importantly the value, of diamonds.

To ensure you know what you’re getting before parting with any cash, double check that the stone has been certified by a recognised body, such as The International Gemological Institute (IGI). This way you’ll know your stone has been verified against an impartial and accurate set of criteria.

This will avoid you paying too much for a gem that isn’t quite as good as you might believe. You can then compare and contrast the various options to get the best quality product for your money.

Can you buy loose diamonds without first considering their origin? You can, but we certainly wouldn't advise it. No matter where you buy from, you'll want to ensure you do so from a company that’s committed to responsible sourcing. Any high quality supplier will be able to offer proof of the origins of their diamonds, with products certified by the Kimberley Process. 

How Much Are Loose Diamonds Worth?

A set of loose diamonds scattered over a oink background
Unsplash / Daniel Dan

So, how much are loose diamonds worth? Well, their prices differ depending on their grading and their size. A diamond that is deemed flawless in terms of clarity and excellent in terms of cut, will inevitably be more expensive than one deemed slightly included, meaning it has flaws that are usually only visible through a magnifying lens. 

Therefore, you might need to decide whether you want to prioritise the quality, or the size of the diamond. If you pick the former you may need to go for a smaller gem to suit your budget, while a larger diamond will cost more so you might wish to compromise on its clarity.

As a rough guide, Taylor & Hart’s cheapest natural diamond is priced at £499 and has an excellent cut, VVS1 clarity and a carat weight of 0.2, but prices go up to over £1.3 million, highlighting how important it is to set your budget in advance.

Luckily, most websites allow you to search by price and carat to find the perfect gem within your budget. Buying a loose diamond in the UK isn’t quite as daunting as it might first seem, is it?

Once you have the diamonds secured, it's time to decide on the design. Will it be a halo engagement ring with a white gold band, or an alternative engagement ring that'll really stand out? The choice is all yours!