Your Complete Guide to Buying a Diamond Ring on eBay

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Your Complete Guide to Buying a Diamond Ring on eBay

A diamond ring is one of the most cherished pieces in any jewellery collection. Whether it is for oneself or to give as a gift, a diamond is a major investment. Buyers need some basic understanding of how to select a diamond to make a wise purchase. They need to know how to look for carat weight, clarity, cut, and colour, and should also be able to recognise a number of different diamond shapes.

eBay offers a wide selection of diamond rings, from understated solitaires to elaborate clusters and anniversary bands, offered by a variety of sellers. The site allows buyers to specify a number of criteria and quickly narrow their choices down to the most desirable specimens. Additionally, one can find merchandise at prices much lower than those found at brick-and-mortar shops. By learning a few tips and tricks for shopping, as well as some background information on purchasing diamond rings in general, almost any shopper can find the perfect diamond ring on eBay.

Shopping for Diamond Rings on eBay

Buyers can shop for diamond rings on eBay in one of two ways. Those with a clear mental picture of the type of ring they want can enter a keyword search. To do this, enter a word or phrase into the search box on eBay's homepage. For example, entering the phrase "rose gold diamond ring size M" causes the search engine to search through hundreds of thousands of rings in seconds and return only those items tagged with all of the descriptors in the keyphrase. This is faster than a jewellery salesperson could ever hope to work.

A second method for shopping on eBay is the directory search. Beginning at the homepage once again, a buyer can click on the link for all categories and then navigate through to the diamond rings in gradual steps. This is a useful technique for shoppers who enjoy browsing through other active listings on their way to a particular group of items.

Either way, buyers can click on additional category filters to continue eliminating unwanted diamond rings from their virtual jewellery counter. To do this effectively, buyers should have at least minimum knowledge of diamonds and rings in general.

The Four Cs of Diamonds

A diamond’s value is generally determined by four criteria: carat, clarity, colour, and cut. These are called the Four Cs of diamond selection. Each stone is assessed by professional jewellers, often under intense magnification, and compared with many other stones. For many people, the only way to distinguish between one stone and another is by the price. Therefore, smart shoppers should have some basic awareness of these four concepts if only to gain a better appreciation of the pricing structure and to be able to know what constitutes a high-quality diamond.


The weight of a gemstone is measured in carats. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. A one-carat diamond in a standard round brilliant cut has a diameter of about 6.50 mm, roughly the size of a standard pencil rubber. Many stones are measured in fractions of carats.

Buyers should be aware that when shopping for diamond rings, sellers often note the total carat weight of all the ring's stones. A total weight of one carat might be either a large solitaire or a cluster of several small stones, so buyers should read eBay product descriptions carefully and examine all photographs to make sure they know what is on offer.


Diamond clarity is a measure of the number or and size of flaws in the stone. A gem may have internal flaws (inclusions) or external flaws (blemishes). Examples of inclusions are bubbles, cracks, and strains of other minerals tainting the diamond. Blemishes include scratches and chips, and these can be controlled in part by the cutting process. The fewer flaws in a stone, the higher the degree of clarity and the greater the stone’s perceived value. Flaws may or may not be visible to the naked eye (or to the average consumer), so compromising slightly on clarity is often a way to get a more affordable diamond without sacrificing appearance or size.


The traditional diamond is clear; this is known in the jewellery trade as "white". The trueness of the white colour is rated on a scale of D to Z to indicate how valuable the stone is. A diamond with a yellow undertone is considered inferior to a completely colourless diamond. To the layperson, this rating is not of much practical use, although the buyer needs to be aware that less expensive diamonds are more likely to have a yellowish tinge to them. Going down one grade in colour is another way to obtain a bigger diamond for less money.

For the average person, diamond colour is a choice of white or one of many other colours. Diamonds do occur naturally in brown ("chocolate"), champagne, grey, pink, black, and every colour of the rainbow. Naturally coloured diamonds are usually costly because they are rare. Therefore, many people who prefer the look of coloured diamonds choose synthetically treated diamonds. Diamonds can be permanently tinted through special radiation processes.


The cut of a diamond affects its brilliance. Cutting is both a science and an art that is practised only by experienced jewellers. An errant cut can ruin a stone. On the other hand, an expertly cut stone of lesser quality can sparkle so much that nobody would suspect it was a lower grade of clarity or colour. The purpose of cutting a diamond is to increase the penetration of light through the stone. This is done by cutting small surfaces at various angles; each cut is known as a "facet". The more facets a stone has, the more it shimmers. The perimeter of the stone and the manner of cutting are usually referred to as the stone’s "shape".

Stone Shapes

One of the primary aesthetic considerations when choosing a diamond ring is the shape of the main stone. Gemstone shapes have a terminology all their own. The following chart describes the most common shapes as viewed from the top, their body cut, or the approximate number of total facets in the cut.

Stone Shape Name



A square top shape


A rounded square top shape


A rectangular top shape; a step-cut body; 50 facets


A square shape with cut corners; 61 facets


A heart-shaped top; 59 facets


An American football or boat shape from the top; 57 facets


An oval top shape; 69 facets


A teardrop shape from the top; 71 facets


A square shape from the top; 76 facets


A rectangular shape with cut corners from the top; 70 facets


A perfectly round top shape; may be a brilliant or other cut; 57 facets


A triangular top shape; 44 facets

Choosing a stone shape is usually a matter of personal preference. However, certain stone shapes are considered more flattering to different hands and fingers. Another factor that determines a diamond ring’s overall appearance is the metal used to construct the band and stone setting.

Ring Metals

The metal in the ring’s band and setting affects the look of a ring in several ways. The metal should match the other jewellery one wears, and should also complement the wearer’s complexion. Moreover, the tone of the metal can enhance or detract from the stone colour. Most people tend to favour white- or yellow-toned metals. White metals used for jewellery include platinum, palladium, white gold, fine silver, and sterling silver. Note that fine silver is 99.9 per cent pure and does not tarnish, whereas sterling silver is usually 92.5 per cent silver mixed with other metals to harden it. People with cool blue- or pink-toned skin look good in white metals. Platinum, palladium, and silver are naturally white in colour; gold, which is yellow, must be mixed with a white metal and may be plated in order to achieve a whitish colour.

Yellow gold is the most common yellow metal. It looks best on people with warm, golden skin tones. A more unusual option is rose gold, a gold alloy that features a reddish-pink tone due to its copper content. Modern diamond rings are also found set in multi-tone gold. These mixed metal rings are more versatile if one wears an equal combination of white and yellow metals.

Ring Sizes

Knowing one’s size is an important factor in selecting any ring. The increments between ring sizes are quite small, yet these increments can make a big difference on a finger, so one should take care to choose the correct size. Resizing is always an option, but it adds to the cost. Therefore, it is best to get the right size initially. Buyers can measure an existing ring that fits well, or can measure the finger on which the ring is to be worn. If this is not possible, or if there is any doubt about size, it is usually better to buy the ring a size too large, since it is easier to resize by removing material than by adding it.

The following chart lists the dimensions for common ring sizes.

Ring Size

Finger Measurement


15.22 mm


15.61 mm


16.00 mm


16.40 mm


16.79 mm


17.18 mm


17.58 mm


17.97 mm


18.36 mm


18.76 mm


19.15 mm


19.55 mm


19.94 mm


20.33 mm


20.73 mm


21.12 mm


21.51 mm


21.91 mm

A ring must be loose enough to fit over the knuckle, yet should be snug enough that it does not twist and slide about on the finger. It must certainly not be loose enough to slip off on its own. If the wearer’s finger is smaller or larger than those sizes noted on the chart, one can look for more unusual sizes (there are sizes smaller than I and larger than Z, usually denoted as "Z+1" and so on) or have a ring custom-fitted (resized) after purchasing.

Occasions for Diamond Rings

Diamond rings are traditionally given and worn to commemorate special occasions. Consumers can find diamond engagement, wedding, and anniversary rings. There is a growing number of unmarried women who purchase other diamond rings for themselves, believing that they should not have to wait for a man to give them one. Men are wearing more diamond wedding rings, and they also purchase other fine diamonds for dressy occasions or everyday wear, as well. While it is a joy to receive a diamond as a romantic gift, one does not have to be in a committed relationship to have the pleasure of wearing a diamond ring.

Buying on eBay

Once you have some idea in mind of what you want in a diamond ring, it is time for an eBay search. Be sure to read full item descriptions, and get to know the sellers, as well. To do this, click on an individual item; this takes you to the specific product page. Here, you can find out about the history and condition of the item, shipping methods and costs, accepted payment methods, and return policies.

eBay Sellers

Also on the product page is information about the seller. The seller’s username is linked to his or her personal profile. Click on this link to read about the seller's past activity on eBay, both sales and purchases. Look at his or her rating, and check out comments left by previous buyers. Use all of these data to make an assessment as to the wisdom of dealing with that seller. You also also have an opportunity to leave honest feedback after completing your transaction; by doing so, you contribute to the security of other users.

eBay Shops

Some eBay sellers specialise in a particular category of items, such as fine jewellery. If you have a good experience with a seller, you should see if he or she runs an eBay shop. A favourite seller may be able to keep an eye out for a particular item you want. Sellers often offer shipping discounts for buyers who get multiple items at one time, such as a diamond engagement ring and matching wedding bands.


Diamond rings are treasured pieces of jewellery that often become heirlooms. One should take time to learn about diamonds before shopping. Knowledge is power, after all. The four Cs (carat, clarity, colour, and cut) are used by gemologists to appraise and price diamonds. The shape of the stone itself and the metal used for the ring’s band and setting are other factors that affect the value and the look of a diamond ring. Sizing a ring is important for comfortable wear and good fit. Perhaps most important of all, buyers should remember that diamonds are for everyone.

eBay offers one of the widest selections of diamond rings available in any one location, and buyers can shop from the comfort of home at their leisure. Shoppers get the additional benefit of being able to search for brand-new, previously owned, or antique and vintage jewellery. By carefully researching the items for sale and the sellers who offer them, buyers can acquire a prized piece of jewellery that lasts a lifetime, and longer.

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