Looking for the best places to buy I Diamonds online?
Perfect! In this LearningJewelry.com guide, you’ll learn:
- What Are I Clarity Diamonds?
- How to Buy I Clarity Diamonds?
- Are I Diamonds Worth the Price Tag?
- Where Are the Best Places to Buy I Clarity Diamonds Online?
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of all my top picks. Keep scrolling to learn more about my best buying tips and tricks as well as a comprehensive FAQ section.
Top 3 Places To Buy I Diamonds Online
What Are I Clarity Diamonds?
In 1931, the Gemological Institute of America was formed. They created that system, and it's known all over the world in the diamond industry as the 4Cs of Diamond Quality. The 4Cs say that there are 4 main factors to determine the overall quality of a diamond: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. I Diamonds are the lowest tier on the Clarity Scale.
Unlike any of the other tiers, I diamonds consist of three different levels: I1, I2,I3. In most retail jewelry stores, you won't see any I2 or I3 as center stones in preset rings. These two clarity grades are more likely to be found in small melee stones as pave diamonds. I Clarity stands for Included.
They are the lowest grade of clarity on GIA Clarity Scale and almost always contain a mess of dark spots speckled throughout your diamond.
Still, there are a lot of people that like a lot of dark spots in their diamond. It's actually become trendy, under the market name "salt and pepper" diamonds. This SI clarity diamond actually happens to be one. Note that this is an IGI certified diamond. This might be one the GIA might grade as I1 clarity.
For this reason, most online diamond retailers will not sell I diamonds on their site. However, we know two that do.
In general, I won't recommend getting I Clarity diamonds. But if that's all you can afford, I have three reputable online diamond stores for you to check out.
1. James Allen
James Allen has a large selection of 1 carat I clarity graded diamonds of various shapes and diamond grades. They offer ideal cut round diamonds with I clarity while many other places don't. This allows you to get a beautiful diamond for less with a lower clarity grade but improved appearance than a standard round cut.
Most of their diamond inventory is round cut shapes, but they have at least 8 in almost every diamond shape offered, with the exception of Asscher cuts. They have affordable ring settings in yellow, white, and rose gold.
James Allen has the best 360˚viewing for you to pick out a really great I1 diamond. You can toggle it back and forth catching the light to make sure there aren't any obvious inclusions, which we've established is the most important aspect when purchasing a diamond from an online jeweler.
Of course, it's equally as important as a great return policy, which James Allen also has. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked and have you covered with a lifetime warranty that covers routine maintenance and one free resizing within the first year.
I definitely advise staying away from James Allen's diamonds that have IGI certification. I'll go into this more below in the How To Buy I Diamonds guide later on. Only buy GIA-certified or AGS-certified diamonds, which you can see in the different picture options.
While I diamonds are hard to come by because of the lower quality, JamesAllen.com is the best choice for picking out the best diamond at low prices.
- Controllable 360˚
- 1 free sizing first year
- Lifetime upgrade
- Clear 360 view
- Mainly round diamonds
- Carries IGI diamonds
2. Blue Nile
Blue Nile is #2 for recommended online stores for I diamonds. They hold a strong reputation among online buyers since they were the first retailer to showcase loose diamonds online in 1999.
Their prices on average for I clarity diamonds are going to be a little more than James Allen's but they still have that 360˚ viewer that you can control. Unfortunately, they don't have 360˚ viewing on every diamond, so that cuts their large selection down. At the least, they let you filter them. Remember, finding an eye clean diamond with I1 clarity is going to be like finding a diamond in the rough, so to speak.
You need a viewer.
I do like that all of their diamonds are GIA certified, which makes it easy to buy a diamond with a good grading report.
They also have a large selection of over 200 ring settings, both designer and non-designer. Unlike James Allen, they don't offer a free lifetime warranty. They give a manufacturer's warranty which only covers design flaws.
- Not many choices in diamond fine jewelry
- Does not cover loss of stones in settings
3. Leibish & Co.
Leibish & Co. is a specialty online diamond retailer that deals in fancy colored diamonds. Most of them are untreated, so the prices can be very expensive. Leibish carries colorless diamonds, but you don't want to buy them here.
I definitely recommend buying I clarity colored diamonds from Leibish. They're the only online retailer that carries the most colored diamonds. The colors range from popular colors like yellow and black.
The company is proudest of their Argyle Diamond collection, which is a pinkish red diamond. Red diamonds are the rarest color of diamond available.
With colored diamonds, clarity doesn't have as much of an effect on price as the color does. The darker the diamond, the less inclusions you can see as well. Instead of noticeable black inclusions in a clear stone, people will be focused on the color.
Leibish doesn't offer a warranty, other than a manufacturer's warranty for all of their diamonds. They don't have a wide selection of ring settings either.
- Fancy colored diamonds
- Inclusions not as noticeable
- Buy just the diamond
- Not many choices ring settings
- More expensive
- No warranty
Are I Clarity Diamonds Online Expensive Or Cheap?
I diamonds are the lowest tier on the diamond clarity scale, so they're going to be the least expensive clarity available. Diamond prices are assessed by many different factors, not just the 4Cs. Fluorescence, proportions, and diamond shapes can all play a part in diamond price.
But most people shop in brick and mortar jewelry stores like Jared or Zales. But the truth is, these mega corporate jewelry stores are overcharging I diamonds. I went to Zales.com and built a simple solitaire setting with a 1 carat I1 and I color engagement ring. It is $6,500.
Now, I've taken the the same diamond grades and created a similar solitaire cathedral diamond ring from James Allen. Here's the price of this ring:
Of course, there are differences between the two. James Allen's ring is set lower, which is actually better because high-set rings are more likely to become damaged quicker. They just end up bumping things more.
But the slight differences shouldn't account for the $3,200 difference, should it? I mean, for the price of an I diamond ring at Zales, you could buy some matching solitaire stud earrings to go with your engagement ring and still saved money on a warranty.
Buy buying this I diamond engagement ring, instead of Zales, you can save 57% shopping online with James Allen instead. Less expensive AND you get to be control.
How to Buy I Diamonds
We know that there are other factors that contribute to the quality of a nice diamond. Here are some things that are worth knowing when picking out an I diamond online.
Other Diamond Grades
I mentioned that diamond prices aren't affected by clarity alone, but a multitude of different factors. Let's talk about some of them.
We recommend that if you're buying an I diamond, you should get an ideal cut diamond. It is the top cut quality. Ideal cut diamonds also help with the color grades since they already reflect so much white light. You could get away with an J or K color grade without noticing a big difference in the actual color of the diamond.
The other thing you'll need to account for is carat weight. The larger the carat weight is, the more obvious the inclusions in your I diamond will be.
I recommend only buy I diamond center stones with a carat weight of up to 1 carat. Of course, it's not to say that you can't find a beautiful I diamond as a larger carat weight, but it will be difficult.
If you want an I diamond, I'd also recommend choosing brilliant-cut diamond shapes as opposed to step cut diamonds. Brilliant shapes are your round, princess cut, cushion cuts, pear, and marquise.
Step cut diamond shapes include your emerald cut, Asschers, and baguette diamonds. Step cut diamonds are designed to create long, dramatic flashes of light, rather than broken up light in brilliant cuts. These long facets make it easier to see diamond inclusions.
Check out this I clarity emerald cut diamond below:
Because it can be difficult to find an appealing step-cut diamond with I clarity, you should have better luck finding a nice SI clarity diamond.
If you're going to purchase an I diamond online, and you want a nice one, you have to buy diamonds from an online retailer that allows you to see the diamond under magnification.
A 360 viewer like the one James Allen has is most ideal. These viewers allows you to see the diamond all the way around as well as being able to manually toggle the diamond at each angle.
I diamonds are often heavily included and look very unappealing, especially if you're not buying an ideal cut diamond. But not everyone wants an ideal cut or can afford it.
If you're unable to afford an ideal cut diamond or are wanting to buy a diamond shape other than a round diamond, there are other ways to try to save. That's where the viewer comes in.
Avoid inclusions and blemishes near the girdle. The girdle of the diamond is more sensitive, so inclusions there might lead to chipping. Not always, but it's a potential hazard to be aware of.
The best way to avoid that is by comparing a wide selection of loose diamonds and look at each stone through a 360-degree viewer. That way, you can sort out undesirable diamond characteristics from the ones you can live with. You might even find an eye-clean I diamond if you dig hard enough!
When you make a ring online at Zales, you are given any old I1 diamond in their inventory. You could be paying $6,500 for an engagement ring whose center stone looks like this 1 carat ideal cut, G color, and I1 clarity:
Would you spend $6,500 for center diamond? Let me ask it this way. Would you readily hand over your credit card to a retailer for that ring if you knew you could save 57% and pick out your own diamond if you were to shop at an online store like James Allen?
As you can see, even though I clarity diamonds are the lowest grade on the clarity scale and the least expensive, they still cost a couple thousand dollars, and sometimes triple that. Naturally, you want what you're paying for, correct?
Everyone does. Sadly, there are ways to be duped. All of our recommended online diamond retailers are approved and legitimate, but we know that not everyone buys from our guys.
Read also: 10 Ways To Make Sure A Diamond Is Real
If you're buying diamonds online, or even in any jewelry store, you should make sure it has a certification or grading reports. Certified diamond rings let you know that a gemology lab has looked over the diamond and decided that it is what the jewelry store is selling it to be. You can know that your I1 clarity diamond is actually an I1.
Not all grading labs are the same. We recommend that you only purchase diamond engagement rings that come with certifications by the GIA or American Gem Society. Both the GIA and AGS are the top lab in the world, which means they are the most accurate. Other grading labs like IGI or EGL have less strict parameters when grading clarity.
This means that it's possible to obtain an I1 diamond from a different lab, send it to the GIA for grading, and it come back as an I2. And if you're investing in diamonds, your diamond will not sell for as much as it would with a GIA or AGS grading reports.