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How to Choose the Right Diamond Engagement Ring

Maybe you’re planning a surprise proposal, or perhaps you and your sweetheart have been talking about marriage for a while now. When the time comes to pop the question, you’ll want to make sure you buy a diamond engagement ring that will delight your special lady and stand the test of time—many crazes and fashions will come and go over the course of your married life.

Deciding on a Budget :

The first step before you begin research is to set a budget for this all-important purchase. If you don’t start out with a clear idea of how much you can spend, you could find yourself either broken-hearted or entering into a debt that neither of you will appreciate in early marriage. A general guideline is to spend up to two month’s salary on an engagement ring, with $4,000 being a common figure. The amount you can spend on a ring also needs to match the amount you can reasonably save between now and the big day.

Find out What She Likes :

Once you know how much you can spend, find out what your sweetheart likes so you know what you’re looking for.

Pay special attention to her fashion sense in jewelry. Does she go for a modern or classic look? Does she prefer fine and subtle shapes, or chunky and eye-catching? Are most of her existing jewelry pieces made of silver, white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold? Girls will usually wear the jewelry that best suits their skin tone and the color of their wardrobe, so it’s especially important to get this right.

Consider How She’ll Wear It :

Next, think about her lifestyle. If she’s an active girl who goes for practicality, go for a smaller rock (but still elegant and feminine) that’s firmly set into the band and is unlikely to fall out or snag on her clothing. If she’s a dedicated fashionista with affluent friends, think about looking for a diamond that’s larger and more prominent, even if these means compromising slightly on indicators of quality. If your girl is a fan of matching sets, consider a diamond ring that comes with matching wedding bands. That way, you’ll end up with “his and hers” rings!

The best way to make sure your beloved will love her diamond engagement ring is to talk with her about it. She probably knows what shape and size of diamond she’d like, and the setting and band color that she prefers. It’s even possible that she may already have a ring picked out!

Learn a Bit about Diamonds :

When you finally step into the jewelry store, you’re going to want to know a bit about diamonds so you can select the perfect quality and design for your girl, and for your budget.

The GIA (Gemological Institute of America Inc.) came up with the “4Cs” of diamonds in 2007 as a way to make grading the value of diamonds more straightforward:

  • The cut has to do with the workmanship involved in shaping the diamond, and rates its proportions, symmetry, and polish from “excellent” to “poor”. The cut determines the brilliance and appeal of the diamond.
  • Color refers to how clear a diamond is on a scale from completely clear (a “D” rating) to yellowish-brown (a “Z” rating). The clearer the diamond, the higher it is worth.
  • Clarity defines how many “inclusions” and blemishes are present inside a diamond, and ranges from “flawless” to “included”. The clearer the diamond of inclusions and blemishes, the rarer and therefore the more valuable the diamond is.
  • Carat is a measure of the weight of the diamond, with smaller diamonds having a lower carat (less rare) and larger diamonds having a higher carat (most rare). Diamond carat ratings range from 0.5 to 5.0.

Diamonds come in a variety of classic and specialty shapes. The most popular shapes (and the ones that are least likely to ever go out of fashion) are round, square, and princess. If your lady is into trendy and unique shapes, consider the full range of shapes to find one that will match her style: oval shape, pear shape, radiant shape, heart shape, marquise shape, cushion cut, emerald, and Asscher cut.

For the diamond’s setting, the most popular design is the “solitaire”, which has a metal band with one solitary diamond. This setting is a classic and has stood the test of time.

The other main settings are:

  • The “sidetone” features one large central diamond, flanked by two small ones.
  • A “three stone” setting has three diamonds of the same shape, with the center stone typically being the largest in size.
  • The “halo” setting has one large diamond in the center, with tiny diamonds positioned all the way around. This makes the center diamond appear larger.

Make Sure You’re Getting What You Pay For :

Finally, take the time to make sure that your stunning diamond engagement ring is the high-quality product you believe it to be. Go in person to the jeweler rather than purchasing online, and ask about lab certification. An independent, professional appraisal will confirm if the price you’re being charged is accurate. Once you’ve made your purchase, keep the certificate for any future claims and/or resale.

Congratulations, and all the best with the proposal!

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