It’s all about your tolerances of the C’s. I went with a cushion so cut wasn’t a Factor- each stone is different. Make sure you have an experienced and non pushy sales person. I trusted my gal to pick stones without specific C’s except for cut- a balance of everything: I said I wanted a cushion or round, ex cut, at least very good symmetry, faces up white, eye clean and a stone at least 1.5+ carats (my drean being 2 carats+). Looking back, the lab grade does matter but I figure it evens it self out with my requirements that I’m looking for. She told me the price and specs after I looked at both rings. Of course the round is more expensive (it was about 3k more than the cushion)
I got it down to 2 stones. A GIA 1.88 round, ex cut, H color, ex symmetry, SI1
but this cushion stole my heart the minute she pulled it from the envelope:
GIA, 2.32 carats, J color, very good symmetry, SI1, strong blue florescence- it counteracts the warmer tones. the stone sounds ugly as sin on paper but I think she’s beautiful!
Here are some examples of ex cut stones that are meh:
oval, 2.2 carats, D color, ex cut, VVS1- no sparkle and something just seemed off with the stone
Last one- this one I think the salesman was outright lying to me about the specs (yucky stone)
1.9 carats, F color, SI1, ex cut & symmetry(I don’t believe him)
Some gals like a ‘mind-clean’ stone (VS1+) but my personal opinion is why pay more for something you need a loupe or microscope to see- no one is going to notice. I think purchasing online is hard- even with sites like James Allen. I’m planning on purchasing my band and next e-ring upgrade from Diamond Guy 808 in HI- he’s super reasonble and has GREAT reviews. check him out on Instagra. Anyway, sorry for the long post. Congrats and good luck!