Shopping for diamond jewelry can be tedious and expensive, and you don't always get exactly what you wanted. When you buy from most jewelry stores, you are limited to their preset jewelry. You may find the exact diamond you want, but it is already set in a rind and you wanted a necklace. Or you may like a set of earrings, but you can only get the .5 carat stones, which you can't afford. There are stores which allow you to pick a stone and then set it, but they usually charge a premium. The solution is loose diamonds.
By buying a loose diamond, you are not bound by the preset jewelry in a store. You can pick the exact diamond you want, and then set it anyway you like. You can meet your budget and your standards with a loose solitaire diamond, and often get a much better price than with a preset stone. By getting a loose diamond first, you can create the perfect piece of jewelry for yourself or a very lucky someone. Many stores have exact standards of stones they may carry, limiting you to a certain size, color, or clarity. These are often at the high end of the spectrum, and while a 1 carat, VVSI, D color stone sounds great, it will cost more than your car. Often, these high quality diamonds are not necessarily the best. While a flawless diamond with perfect clear color is a great investment tool, it is not necessary for most pieces of jewelry.
Here is one of my experiences to prove this point. When I purchased my wife's engagement ring, I thought I needed to get the best diamond I could find. I had pre-determined that I wanted no less than VSI clarity, and F color. While shopping, I had the fortune of working with a very honest diamond broker who shed some light on this for me. She picked a SI clarity diamond and inspected it with a magnifying glass, then drew a “map" of the imperfections she found (there were 5 total, which is why it was an SI). I used the magnifier and the map, and I still could only find one. She explained that if I cannot find the imperfections under magnification with a map, my wife, or anyone else, certainly wouldn't see them with the naked eye. That alone saved me more than $1000 by preventing me from buying a more flawless diamond. We then looked at color. While I wanted no less than F (almost no color), she showed me an H (slightly yellow). I honestly couldn't see the difference, and she explained that a little color is actually good for jewelry. The “sparkle" that most people expect in a diamond is actually due to the color. A perfectly clear diamond doesn't have the “fire". It is the slightly yellow color that gives diamonds their sparkle. Again, she saved me money while giving me a diamond I expected.
You can see the by choosing the exact loose diamond you want can make you more satisfied. Another benefit to a loose solitaire diamond is they tend to be cheaper because no effort has gone into the setting. Typically, a loose diamond will be 5% to 15% cheaper than the exact same stone in a preset piece of jewelry. Once you have the perfect loose diamond, it is a minimal cost to have it set in any setting you prefer at a jeweler.
The final benefit of loose diamonds is an investment value in bulk. You can buy a bulk lot of loose diamonds for a very decent price because most of them are not very high quality, but some are. You can buy a bulk lot, select the solitaire diamonds that are acceptable, and resell them individually for a nice profit. You can even use the lower quality diamonds for baguettes or other accent stones in your jewelry.
As you can see, there are many benefits to buying a loose diamond instead of a preset stone. You get the exact stone you want, for less money. While it saves you money, the most important part is that it is unique, and exactly what you wanted.