Shopping for Diamonds

Have some questions about shopping for the perfect diamond? We can help.


Why should I buy diamonds from a wholesaler?
We are a family owned business, we cut our own diamonds, we have enormous purchasing power so we can buy in bulk and offer you the lowest price.  We don’t have a large, fancy showroom or costly overhead, so we don’t have any of that markup. When you buy our diamonds, we can offer the best price: guaranteed.

We sell GIA certified diamonds directly from the suppliers, so there’s no mark up for each change of hands. Plus we’re the wholesalers who supply the larger stores with diamonds, so by shopping with us, you cut out the middleman. For all of these reasons, we know we can offer you the best prices for world-class diamonds.

If you need one more reason, we are located in beautiful downtown Portland, OR which does not have a sales tax. We have many customers that come from Seattle, WA, Boise, ID and from Los Angeles to take advantage of our great cost and location. If you’re not from the Portland Metro Area, no problem. We customize and ship to all over the US and the world.

How can I buy diamonds and customized jewelry? What’s the best way for me to sell diamonds and old jewelry?
At Northwest Diamonds we can custom design a piece as unique as you, or work with a setting you already have. Contact us at 503-222-5571 Monday through Saturday to make an appointment at our downtown Portland location.

You can sell diamonds and your old jewelry by giving us a call 503-222-5571 to set up an appointment at our downtown Portland office and we’ll pay you on the spot, the same day.

What if I don’t know anything about jewelry, how do I know what diamonds to buy?
We have been in the business for over 30 years, you’re not the first person and you won’t be the last, we’ve helped thousands customize jewelry here in Portland and throughout the northwest to buy the right diamond and customize the perfect piece of jewelry. No matter what inspired you in creating a piece of jewelry, we can help you make that dream a reality. We have the expertise, and the absolute best designers, goldsmiths and staff to make you completely confident and happy with your purchase.
The economy is bad and I am on a tight budget, can I still afford a nice piece of jewelry?
Absolutely! We have many customers from different personal financial situations, we will work with you to find a diamond with the color, clarity, carat weight and cut you want in a price range you can afford. We have an international inventory that we can access, which is why we literally mean: world class diamonds and personal service.

Because of the economy and personal budgets, if you are looking to sell jewelry or sell diamond we’ll give you the best price for your piece, and we offer cash on the spot. Shop around with other jewelry stores, but we know that we’ll be your last stop because we’ll give you the best price.

I’ve heard of the 4 C’s of diamonds, what are they and why are they relevant?
Carat Weight– All diamonds and other gemstones are weighed by carats (abbreviated as “ct.”), one carat is about the weight of small paper clip, or 0.2 grams. 1 Carat = 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounce. The weight of the diamond and the price per carat determines the price of a diamond. Weight is measured to the thousandth of a ct. and rounded to the nearest hundredth. Diamond weights greater than one carat are expressed in carats and decimals. So a 1.25 ct. diamond would be “one point two five carats.”

Color- In General, a gem’s color is another important factor in determining the value of a diamond, the closer the diamond approaches colorlessness (the less color) the higher the value. The only exceptions are the colored diamonds like pink, purple. A diamond with the color of “D”, “E”, “F” is colorless and likely more expensive, whereas on with color of  “L”  “M”  there is more yellow in color, which detracts in value.

Clarity– Diamonds are created within the earth, they’re a stone, and so some contain unique “birthmarks” called inclusions, which are internal birthmarks and blemishes, external birthmarks. The fewer the birthmarks, the higher in value they are, typically. The GIA created an international measurement system to rate the inclusions and blemishes from flawless (FL) to diamonds with more prominent inclusions (I3).

Below is the scale from the GIA website:

  • Flawless (FL)- No inclusions or blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF)- No inclusions and only minor blemishes are visible to a skilled grader using 10× magnification
  • Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2)- Inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under a 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2)- Inclusions are clearly visible under 10x magnification but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (S1 and S2)- Inclusions are noticeable to a skilled grader using a 10x magnification
  • Imperfect (I1, I2 and I3)- Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification and may affect transparency and brilliance

Cut–  Though extremely difficult to analyze or quantify, the cut of any diamond has three attributes: brilliance (the total light reflected from a diamond), fire (the dispersion of light into the colors of the spectrum), and scintillation (the flashes of light, or sparkle, when a diamond is moved).

As a value factor, though, cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. For example, look at a side view of the standard round brilliant. The major components, from top to bottom, are the crown, girdle and pavilion. A round brilliant cut diamond has 57 or 58 facets, the 58th being a tiny flat facet at the bottom of the pavilion that’s known as the culet. The large, flat facet on the top is the table. The proportions of a diamond refer to the relationships between table size, crown angle and pavilion depth. A wide range of proportion combinations are possible, and these ultimately affect the stone’s interaction with light. (Courtesy of the GIA website)

There are many different shapes to diamonds, here are some of the more popular shapes:





Heart Shape






If I know what the 4 C’s are, how does that help me buy a diamond?
Good question. Knowing the 4 C’s of diamonds, allows you to shop with confidence. By dealing with a certified Gemologist, like ones on our staff,  it allows you to better understand the factors that impact the value of the diamonds and shop with more confidence.
How can we be assured we are getting conflict-free diamonds?
We buy our diamonds from well known sources and reputable entities, who are all committed to strictly adhere to the Kimberly Process and stop illegal harvest and trafficking of conflict diamonds.

For those that are unfamiliar with “conflict diamonds” or “blood diamonds,” for decades there has been illegal diamond mining in Africa done with forced, slave labor and child labor. Some of the proceeds from these diamonds sales have supported rogue governments, separatist movements and terrorism. In order to stop this immoral and illegal behavior measures have put in into place to prevent these diamonds to make it to the market, while governments protect the rights or the miners and their families.

The Kimberly Process Certification was established in 2002 to help make sure these illegal, conflict diamonds do not make it to the market and makes it illegal for the harvest, sale and resale of these diamonds.

To buy or sell your diamonds and jewelry, set up an appointment at our Portland office today.