Don’t be concerned if you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of searching for the perfect emblem of your love and devotion. We’ve produced a user-friendly shopping guide to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect engagement ring. Here’s all you need to know to find the ideal ring for your love.
Before choosing an engagement diamond ring, know your fiancee’s preferences. Modern women will tell their partners about the style they want and their budget for the ring. This will help them choose the right ring style and metal for their future bride. Traditional women will discuss these aspects with their husbands to help them pick the right ring. Once they have a basic idea of her tastes, you can start shopping for the ring together.
Tips to Buy the Perfect Engagement Diamond Ring
1. Understand the Four Cs: Cut, Carat, Clarity, & Colour
You’ve probably heard of the “Four Cs,” the official diamond grading system that has gained popularity. Here’s a quick breakdown of each “C” and how you may utilise that information to find the greatest diamond for your money.
We don’t mean shape when we say “cut,” but rather the sparkle component of a diamond, which only applies to round brilliant diamonds. Cuts are graded from excellent to bad and are measured against the ideal and exact proportions of a round brilliant diamond.
A diamond’s size or weight is measured in carats. An engagement ring’s average diamond weight is one carat, or 200 milligrammes (about the size of an Advil tablet). ON THE OTHER HAND, Kim K’s famed stolen emerald-cut weighed 20 carats and cost $4.5 million.
Even the most perfect-looking stone can have defects known as inclusions. These are small black or white flecks or lines that arise naturally in the soil as diamonds form over millions of years. The number, intensity, and location of inclusions determine clarity, which is graded by the inclusions’ number, intensity, and position. The higher the clarity, the smaller, fewer, and less noticeable the inclusions.
Diamonds occur in various colours, but colourless diamonds are the most rare. Color is graded on a scale of D (no colour, the most expensive) to Z (visible yellowish). Fancy colours, such as pink, yellow, and chocolate, have recently gained popularity. The more saturated the colour is, the more expensive the stone.
2. Choose your Shape
The diamond you select should reflect your personal style (plus, it will kick off your ring stack options). Here’s a rundown of the most common shapes:
- Round: This is the most popular form since it best accentuates a diamond’s brilliance.
- Oval: This shape looks great with long, slim fingers.
- Emerald: Its huge facets display exceptional clarity. (See, for example, Beyoncé and Amal Clooney.)
- Asscher: An art deco-style square emerald.
- Cushion: This historical style was popular in the 1800s and is primarily square with rounded corners.
- Princess: Because of its broad, flat-topped, and pyramidal shape, princesses can appear smaller than their carat weight.
- Marquise: A long, tapering shape that maximises carat size.
- Pear: A round-marquise hybrid looks particularly delicate on a light, thin band.
3. Choose a Metal for the Band
Yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and platinum are all popular jewellery metals. Gold and platinum have distinct properties. Their colours can also alter the appearance of a piece of jewellery and contrast the colour of jewels in a ring.
Yellow gold is a traditional metal. For thousands of years, it has been utilised in jewellery. Its colour, uniqueness, and lustre (the look of a material’s surface in reflected light) captivate. Because pure gold is soft, it is usually alloyed with other metals. The term karat refers to the fineness of gold, which is measured in 24 parts. A 75% pure gold alloy comprises 18 parts gold and six other metals. The most common fineness in the United States is 14K gold, which is made up of 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.
*Tip: Metals with a higher gold content will have a deeper hue, be heavier, softer (slightly more prone to dents and scratches), and cost more.
For many years, rose gold has been a favoured choice. During the Retro era, it was frequently utilised in engagement rings (1935 to the 1950s). It is typically manufactured by combining gold, copper, and silver, which gives it a warm, rosy hue. Companies preserve their proprietary mixes with their lives.
White gold is created by combining pure gold with white metals such as nickel or palladium. It is a lovely and long-lasting option for engagement rings. To achieve a whiter appearance, white gold is typically coated with rhodium, a platinum metal. This can deteriorate over time. Replating white gold jewellery is often required, or the somewhat yellowish tint of the white gold beneath may begin to show through. However, doing so is simple and inexpensive; ask your local jeweller for this service.
Only jewellery containing at least 95% platinum (5% alloys) can be designated “Platinum,” according to the US Federal Trade Commission; other platinum alloys are marked by the Federal Trade Commission Guidelines. Platinum is more expensive than gold in general, but it is also hypoallergenic and more durable.
4. Examine Diamonds Under Various Lighting Conditions
Daylight, fluorescent light, and spotlighting all have varied effects on the appearance of a diamond. Many jewellers employ white spotlighting, highlighting a diamond’s brightness and fire and making most diamonds appear dazzling. However, most everyday scenarios do not have such dramatic lighting. Check how your diamond performs under ordinary lighting circumstances, such as outside in light or shade, in the diffused, fluorescent light of an office, or in the warm, diffused illumination found in most homes.
It’s worth noting that fluorescent lighting emphasises a diamond’s brightness, whereas incandescent lighting emphasises a diamond’s fire.
5. Determine Where to Purchase an Engagement Ring
There are numerous sites to purchase an engagement ring, each with unique benefits. Here’s what you need to know about each choice.
National Jewelry Store
Consider the Robbins Brothers or Jared. These stores have a national presence, extensive inventory, and financing options. They may also offer upgrading plans to trade in your ring and eventually upgrade to a larger or other diamond. Remember, “store lighting is designed to improve a diamond’s appearance when trying on rings in a store,” according to New York City-based jeweller Stephanie Gottlieb. “Stand near a window and look at the stone in natural light to obtain a true feeling of colour.” Gottlieb also suggests smearing the stone with fingerprints because some inclusions marked “not eye-visible” may become obvious once it’s soiled. (And once you start wearing the ring, it will never be perfectly clean.)
Local Store Trunk Shows
According to Kristen Lawler-Trustey of Forevermark, if you have your heart set on a specific designer, check trunk show calendars to see if the brand will be at local stores in your area. “There will be a broader range of fashions available, as well as discounts or incentives.”
Consider custom-making a ring with a private jeweller if you have a clear notion of what you want (and don’t need to explore and try on a lot of possibilities). You’ll often find lower prices without the overhead of a storefront. You may also expect a more personalised shopping experience, beginning with an initial consultation to examine the 4Cs and establish the right diamond at your price point, followed by selecting a loose stone and a setting which can be pre-designed or handmade. (Expect the procedure to take several weeks to many months.)
When buying online, you can look through hundreds of stones and either buy them loose (and take them to a local jeweller) or order a set in the band of your choice. “You may have a stone that’s perfectly eye-clean, with small white blemishes along the margins, or one of the same clarity with a large black fleck at the centre that’s apparent to the naked eye,” says Gottlieb. Read the official grading report (preferably from the GIA, AGL, or EGL) and watch a 360-degree video of the stone to look for any flaws that may be masked in images. Certain shops, such as Grown Brilliance, also provide information on whether diamonds are conflict-free.
Unlike major retail companies, the diamond districts are made up of thousands of local enterprises, making it difficult to know where to begin. Most of these jewellers are extremely modest firms with two to three employees.
“People are sometimes apprehensive to purchase in the Diamond District because they believe they will not obtain a genuine diamond or a decent value. The truth is that a good jeweller is not ready to jeopardise his or her name in order to defraud people “says Harry Winston’s Jaclyne Kirkorian-Poliseno, a former owner/designer at Jupiter Jewelry, a third-generation diamond district jeweller. “Our goal is to give excellent service, have consumers return to us, and, of course, have them tell their family and friends about their experience. Small enterprises rely largely on recommendations.”
It may seem paradoxical to reveal all your cards, but honesty is the best policy while purchasing in a wholesale diamond area. “Tell us how much money you truly want to spend. If the jeweller cannot provide it for that price, they will say no, but most of the time, they will be able to work with a reasonable budget “Kirkorian-Poliseno explains.
6. Prepare a Budget (and Priorities)
Let’s dispel the myth that an engagement ring should cost three months’ pay. That was a marketing gimmick devised by De Beers in the 1930s, and it should have no bearing on your decision to purchase a ring. According to Brides’ American Wedding Study, the average couple paid $3,756 on an engagement ring in 2020, less than the $7,829 average pair spent in 2018. You can also find a nearly one-carat solitaire for as little as $1,500. What you buy will be determined by how you prioritise your budget, whether the stone’s quality, the setting’s complexity, or add-ons like baguettes or engravings. If you can’t afford any huge bling right now, opt for a modest platinum or pavé band with room to expand.
7. Seek Ways to Save
No two diamonds are the same; prices vary according to cut, carat, clarity, and colour. Consider the following tips to get the most bling for your buck:
Color and clarity should be compromised. You can acquire a larger stone if you compromise on colour and clarity. “My clients come in looking for a F colour with very minor imperfections, but they quickly discover they can compromise the quality to achieve a larger size or spend less money at the same carat weight,” Gottlieb adds.
Choose a stone with lesser clarity and a spectacular cut. Its multiple features will conceal flaws, according to Lawler-Trustey. Choose clarity over colour if you want a step-cut stone (Emerald or Asscher): These styles are cut with large, flat “tables” so that even the smallest flaw is obvious to the human eye.
8. Select a Setting
Diamonds are held in place in jewellery by settings. The setting has two functions: it holds the diamond in place and protects it from harm. Different options provide varying degrees of security.
Here are two examples of popular settings:
Prongs: Four to six (narrow metal supports) hold a diamond in place. The prongs can be rounded on top for a more traditional appearance or sharp (claw prongs) for a more edgy, modern appearance. Six prongs can offer a round brilliant diamond a more rounded appearance while also firmly holding the diamond. Four prongs offer a round diamond a slightly square appearance and cover up somewhat less of the diamond’s surface area. The prong setting has several variations and can be utilised in various ring types, including solitaire, three-stone, and more.
Bezel: The bezel setting is one of the most secure. To secure the diamond, a thin metal strip is pushed or hammered completely around it. This means that the diamond cannot be seen from the side, but it also means that there are no prongs that could catch on gloves (which is useful for nurses) and that any edges are well-protected. It’s a great choice for diamonds with sharp points prone to chipping, like princess-cut and marquise-cut diamonds.
9. Understand Styles and Trends
What kind of ring do you want—vintage, modern, timeless, Bohemian, or romantic? Know your periods and motifs, or add personalized accents to create a one-of-a-kind ring.
Vintage and contemporary Vintage: Vintage fashion is making a comeback, or perhaps it has never gone out of vogue! Choose classic motifs like scrollwork, mill graining, and engraving for an Edwardian-style engagement ring. Many setting styles are rich in symbolism. The toi et moi ring, which means “you and me” in French, has been popular for generations. It includes a ring with two gemstones reflecting the couple’s union. Napoleon popularised this pattern when he gave his future-empress Josephine a sapphire and diamond toi et moi ring.
Heart Rings: Heart motifs have been popular since the Middle Ages and have never gone out of fashion. Heart-shaped diamonds are not only cheaper than round brilliants, but they also symbolise love. It is a one-of-a-kind alternative that will undoubtedly make a ring stand out.
Bohemian Rings: Bohemian rings experiment with unusual gemstone shapes, setting styles, and morphologies, such as geometric diamond cuts, black diamonds, and open rings. Some are edgy, while others are more romantic.
Engagement and Wedding Rings Stacked: Will your diamond engagement band be worn with a wedding ring? Check that their silhouettes match and that the two rings are compatible. Stacking many rings with the engagement ring to compliment its design is a hot trend.
Custom Rings: Personalization makes rings feel one-of-a-kind and distinctive. Consider a one-of-a-kind handmade engagement ring to commemorate the significant milestones in your love.
10. Side Stones
Side stones are a stunning way to adorn an engagement ring and make it appear larger. Making the band a three-stone ring, adding a halo, channel, pavé, or bead set diamonds around the ring’s shank, and adding colourful gems or birthstones are all popular options. If you desire diamond side stones, consider ones with the same 4Cs grade as the main stone. If you want the stones to match, having a comparable colour grade is vital.
The three-stone ring, also known as the trinity or trilogy ring, represents friendship, love, fidelity, past, present, and future. You can combine birthstones for a personal touch to add to their romantic significance.
Halo Setting: Adding melee diamonds around and on the shank of your engagement ring can make the center stone appear larger and add extra sparkle. Most rings have a single or double halo, but the amount of halos you can add is unlimited!
Cluster Setting: Cluster settings are an excellent approach to increase sparkle at a low cost. Smaller diamonds are less expensive than larger diamonds and can be set to create the illusion of a single larger diamond. Small diamonds can also be placed in unusual patterns.
11. Determine Ring Size
After you’ve chosen a diamond and a style for the ring, the following step is to determine the wearer’s ring size. The ideal method is to use a ring sizer, which is a set of plastic or metal rings in various sizes that you try on. Your jeweller will have a ring sizer and can assist you in finding the ideal fit. If you want to keep the ring-making process a surprise, borrow a ring from your fiancée or fiancé’s collection. On a sheet of paper, trace the inner circle. Alternatively, slip it down one of your fingers and draw a line where it ends. A jeweller can assist you in determining the approximate ring size. Because ring size fluctuates from finger to finger, this method will only offer you an estimate.
The good news is that most rings can be easily resized by a size or two. More than that, depending on the style of the ring, maybe more challenging. Rings featuring pavé, bead-set diamonds, or other decorations on the band are easier to resize than solitaire rings.
12. Demand a Diamond Grading Report
A diamond grading report from an impartial scientific laboratory, such as GIA, is more than just a paper with vital information. Buying a diamond with a GIA report assures that you are aware of the diamond’s identity and quality. It shows you if your diamond is natural or has been treated. Appraisers utilise GIA Diamond Grading Reports to estimate the worth of a diamond if you want to insure your diamond engagement ring.
We know diamonds at GIA. We developed the 4Cs of diamond quality and the GIA International Diamond Grading SystemTM, which is used to grade diamonds all over the globe. Top museums and auction houses entrust us with their most valuable treasures, and our reports are recognised globally. We grade every diamond, including yours, with the same enthusiasm and precision we use to grade these world-famous diamonds. Our knowledge is reflected in several diamond reports, including the GIA Diamond Dossier and the GIA Diamond Origin Report. Understand what each report may tell you about your diamond and insist on one when you’re ready to buy.
What is the Price of a Diamond Engagement Ring?
Diamond engagement rings typically cost between $3,500 and $5,000, according to jewellery industry estimates. This includes the price of the diamond and the setting, which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the metal type, ring design, and any side stones you choose to include.
A good one-carat engagement ring costs around $5,500, but most couples spend more than $6,000—and 7% spend more than $10,000.
What Carat Weight should a Diamond Ring have?
How many carats the ring should have is one of the choices to be made when thinking about buying an engagement ring. The Knot, a research firm and website dedicated to all things wedding, states that the average is between one and two carats. There isn’t a law. A smart place to start is always by creating a budget.
Do I need VS or VVS?
Inclusions in VS1 diamonds are slightly fewer and smaller than those in VS2 diamonds. To put it another way, a VS1 diamond is marginally superior to a VS2 diamond.
Although VS diamonds are superior to VVS diamonds overall, the inclusions in these two clarity categories are all minuscule, so you won’t be able to see them (unless you are a trained pro with magnification). The ultimate goal is to have eye-clean diamonds in every single one of these!
How to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Diamonds?
There is no sacrificing the fundamental measures before purchasing a diamond ring. There are, however, several tactics you can use to verify the legitimacy of the diamond you’re going to purchase. Here are two of the most basic criteria for distinguishing a genuine diamond from a fake.
The breath test is based on the fact that diamonds are great heat conductors. If you breathe on a real diamond, the fog created by your breath will almost instantaneously dissipate from its surface. On the other hand, the imitation diamond will not transfer heat as efficiently and will take longer to dry off the moisture. However, a substance called moissanite has qualities comparable to diamonds. It may also pass your breathalyzer test. Check the facets of a stone of the same shape on the ring you’ve picked if you’re concerned about the legitimacy of your stone. Because diamonds and moissanite are cut with various faceting patterns, the two will appear different due to the differences in their facets.
According to the sandpaper test, diamonds are the hardest items on the planet. And all it takes to determine whether a diamond is real or phoney is a piece of sandpaper. A genuine diamond will not be harmed by gently rubbing it with sandpaper. The phoney one, on the other hand, will scratch easily.
While beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, no one wants to purchase a phoney diamond ring. If you think what the jeweller is saying is too good to be true, it probably is. Learn everything you can about diamonds. When selecting the right jeweller, do your study from where. Even if the price is too good to pass up, don’t be swayed by it. Keep these tips in mind to prevent being tricked into purchasing a fake diamond ring.
Getting a diamond with an independent diamond grading certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory is always preferable. An impartial evaluation assures that you are getting exactly what you pay for. Remember that European Gemological Laboratory (EGL) evaluations are far more forgiving than other evaluations. We recommend striking a balance between the size (as represented by carat weight) and the quality of a diamond.