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12 Diamond Engagement Ring Buying Tips

Are you thinking about purchasing a diamond engagement ring? You'll need to understand the 4Cs, how to choose a diamond shape and cut, metal characteristics, different types of settings, and more.

To make a wise purchase, follow these 12 engagement ring buying tips:

  1. Understand the 4Cs

    The first piece of advice for purchasing a diamond engagement ring is to understand the 4Cs: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. The 4Cs, developed by GIA, are the global standard for assessing diamond quality and allowing you to compare one diamond to another.

    In summary, the 4Cs are:

    • D-to-Z diamond color grades rate colorlessness. Rarer are whiter diamonds.
    • Cut determines how well a diamond shines.
    • Clarity: The absence of inclusions and blemishes.
    • Carat weight determines a diamond's size.

    Once you understand the 4Cs, ask yourself which is most important to you. Prioritizing the 4Cs will help you quickly eliminate some diamonds from your search.

    The 4Cs are important. It describes diamond quality universally. Speaking this language gives you confidence when buying a diamond engagement ring.

  2. Recognize the distinctions between diamond shapes, diamond cutting styles, and diamond cut quality.

    Before buying an engagement ring, understand a diamond's shape, cutting style, and cut quality. Face-up diamond shape describes its outline. Most people prefer round diamonds. Marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, square, and heart are fancy shapes.

    Cutting style refers to a diamond's facets. Most round diamonds have 57 or 58 standard brilliant facets. The emerald cut is a square or rectangular shape with step cuts and beveled corners. A radiant cut diamond is square or rectangular and brilliant-cut.

    How well a diamond's facets reflect light determines its cut quality. Table size, girdle thickness, polish, and symmetry can vary in same-shaped diamonds. These differences affect their appearance and cut quality.

  3. Choose a metal for the band.

    Metal choice affects the look of an engagement ring band. White gold and platinum are popular, modern metals. They highlight colorlessness in diamonds graded D through J on the GIA color scale. Yellow prongs would make one of these diamonds look yellower.

    White metal prongs or bezels are often added to yellow gold bands to contrast the diamond. Rose gold has a warm, soothing appearance and was popular for Retro engagement rings (1935 to the 1950s).

    Here's info on these metals:

    • Platinum is a gray-white, corrosion-resistant metal. Because pure platinum is soft, it's usually alloyed with iridium, ruthenium, and cobalt, popular U.S. alloys. Only jewelry containing 950 platinum (95 percent platinum and 5 percent alloys) can be marked "Platinum"; settings with 90 or 85 percent platinum ("traditional platinum") must be marked 850Plat or 850Pt. 50-80% platinum settings must include alloy percentages (e.g., 800 Pt. 200 Ir., for platinum alloyed with iridium). Platinum is pricier than gold but hypoallergenic and more durable.
    • Gold jewelry is centuries old. Its color, rarity, and luster (reflectivity) enchant. Pure gold is soft, like platinum, so it's usually alloyed. Karat measures gold's 24 part fineness. 18K gold is 75% pure gold and 25% alloy. 14K gold is the most popular karatage in the U.S.
    • Rose gold is alloyed with copper and silver. Special blends are guarded. Rose gold is durable and said to complement any skin tone.
    • White gold is alloyed with palladium or silver. Beautiful and durable engagement ring material. White gold is usually rhodium-plated for shine and scratch resistance. This wears out and needs replating.
    • Sterling silver is often used in jewelry but not engagement rings because it tarnishes. Soft, too. 925 parts silver and 75 parts copper or another metal make sterling silver (usually nickel or zinc).
  4. Select a setting

    Settings hold diamonds in engagement rings. The setting highlights and protects the diamond. Different settings provide different protection.

    Three common settings:

    • Prong: A diamond has four to six prongs (narrow metal supports). When prongs hold a single stone, the ring is a "solitaire." Prong settings come in many variations, such as the cathedral setting, which has slopes on each prong to protect the diamond.
    • Bezel: Thin metal is pushed or hammered around the gem to secure it in a bezel setting. Bezels protect the center stone.
    • Halo: Diamonds surround the center stone. A halo can make an engagement ring's center stone look bigger.
  5. Select side stones

    Side stones make an engagement ring sparkle. They add sophistication and elegance. Channel or pavé set diamonds along the shank, diamond baguettes on either side of the center stone, and colored gems in any configuration are popular. Choose side diamonds that match the center diamond in color, clarity, and (if round brilliants) cut.

  6. Examine a diamond in various lighting conditions.

    Under different lighting conditions, a diamond looks different. Diamond facets reflect their surroundings like tiny mirrors. Any movement causes the facets to reflect light onto each other, creating colorful flashes. When buying a diamond engagement ring, examine it under four lighting conditions:

    • Not-too-bright spot lighting
    • Fluorescent lights that bounce off a white ceiling provide diffused lighting.
    • A spot-and-diffuse lighting environment
    • Natural daylight – directly under the sun or under a tree that dapples the diamond's light.

    Consider where she'll wear her ring most. Choose a diamond engagement ring that performs well here.

  7. Get the most sparkle and size possible

    Cut determines sparkle for diamonds of similar color and clarity. A round brilliant diamond with a GIA cut grade of "Excellent" or "Very Good" will sparkle. More diamonds mean more sparkle in an engagement ring. Also consider diamond side stones.

    wedding ring engagement ring diamond jewelry

    Two ways to make your diamond ring look bigger:

    • The diamond is illusion-set in a fluted white metal head. The diamond will be head-sized.
    • Cluster several small diamonds together. This technique maximizes sparkle and creates the illusion of a large single diamond from melee diamonds.
  8. Choose a ring that fits her style (not yours)

    An engagement ring should be worn forever. The wearer should be thrilled. Put your own tastes aside and find out what she likes. If you want to maintain the element of surprise, you can ask her.

    • Observe. What jewelry style does she favor? Metallic color?
    • Consult her BFF. Your intended may have pinned her dream engagement rings or jewelry. Unless she's told you, she's probably told her friend.
    • Jewelry-shop together. Notice what draws her to a jewelry piece.
    • Her style is classic if she's refined and loves old-world elegance. A rectangular-shaped diamond or a brilliant-cut round diamond are timeless engagement ring options.
  9. Determine her ring size

    Here are some (subtle) ways to get your beloved's ring size when buying an engagement ring. Borrow a ring she owns and trace it on paper or press it into soap to make an impression. Slide it down a finger to draw a line. These measurements can estimate her ring size. If she doesn't wear rings, you can still determine her size.

  10. Determine your budget

    Spend what you want.

    Here's another place to debunk diamond engagement ring myths. The 1950s myth about spending three months' salary on an engagement ring is untrue. Better: Compare prices, learn the 4Cs, and find an affordable engagement ring. Ultimately, what matters is how much love the ring represents.

  11. Select a jeweler

    You'll want to buy an engagement ring from a reputable jeweler. Start by looking for a GIA-certified jeweler. GIA Retailer Look Up helps you find retailers with GIA-graded diamonds or GIA-trained staff.

  12. Demand a diamond grading report. wedding ring engagement ring diamond jewelry

    Insist on a diamond report when buying an engagement ring. By describing the diamond's quality, the report will eliminate buying uncertainty. The report will say if the diamond was treated to improve its color or clarity. The GIA grades diamonds.

    A GIA Diamond Grading Report gives buyers peace of mind.

    TIP: Insure your ring

    Once you've found the perfect engagement ring, insure it. You'd be compensated if the ring was lost or stolen. Insurers require a diamond grading report before issuing a policy, so make sure you buy one.

Bonus!

Sell your diamonds with ease with Diamond Registry’s comprehensive approach and vast global industry connections to help you find the best buyer for your diamond fast. Visit www.diamondregistry.com/sell-your-ring to take your first step to fast, easy and reliable way of selling your diamond.

Want to check and calculate diamond per carat instantly? Go to DR’s diamond price calculator www.diamondregistry.com/diamond-price-list/#calc-move-to to know how. Reliable and trusted carat calculator in the diamond industry since!

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