You’ve decided to pop the big question, commemorate the big milestone, or reward yourself for the big accomplishment. Congratulations! Now the question is how to buy a diamond ring that will help you celebrate this exciting time in your life - and remember it forever. We’ve got the answer.
Stock or Custom?
One of the first decisions to make is whether you want to purchase an in-stock piece or go custom. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
In terms of existing pieces on display at your favorite jewelry store, you have the advantage of a faster and more streamlined process. You see something you like, you get it! The downside is that you may have to settle for a piece that is not quite what you envisioned. “Good enough” can, indeed, be great - but it may not be completely you.
A custom engagement ring (or any other ring, for that matter) is meticulously created to your specifications. This does take longer, and for optimal results, you must engage in a collaborative relationship with the designer/jeweler. Does it cost more? Sure, it can. But custom pieces are not out of range. You can make choices that minimize cost while maximizing results (more on this to come!).
Choosing Your Diamond
Our expert tips are as follow:
Tip #1: Start with Shape
This refers to the geometrical profile of the diamond. Is it a princess? Round? Marquis? Oval? Emerald? Pear? Each shape has its own characteristics and will be enhanced in certain settings. For example, an emerald can appear dull in the wrong circumstances, but if you optimize its elegant beauty with a four-prong solitaire or halo setting, you can highlight its glamorous appeal.
If you’re not sure of the best diamond shape for a custom engagement ring or other piece, you cannot go wrong with round or princess. These are both highly adaptable and will stun in any setting.
Tip #2: Prioritize Your 4Cs
When searching for a diamond ring, many people fixate on carat. We recommend prioritizing cut to achieve the best results. Why? Because a stellar cut can make a smaller carat size appear larger and more dazzling.
Cut is widely considered to be the most important of the 4Cs, so opt for the best you can within your budget. You can shave off about 10 percent of carat weight with a great cut, which can also help you save money.
You can sacrifice a bit of color and clarity, as well, to get the most dazzle for your dollar. You can go as far as H or J (near colorless) in terms of color and VS2 (very slightly included) or SL1 (slightly included) in terms of clarity. In many cases, you can also hide inclusions, or flaws, by a strategic choice of setting.
We know it can get complicated. Checkout this quick guide to diamond quality or visit GIA’s website to get a basic primer in the 4Cs, and ask your jeweler and/or diamond supplier for recommendations on how to buy a diamond ring.
Think About the Ins and Outs of How to Buy a Diamond Ring
If you are working within a budget (and who isn’t?), you can find ways to maximize impact. For example, you can drop your color grade all the way to K if you opt for a yellow gold band. This will essentially disguise any hint of color inherent in the diamond.
Another “trick” of the trade: you can make up for lost carat weight by utilizing melee diamonds in a halo setting. This style creates continuous sparkle, making smaller stones appear much larger. It bears repeating that a 10 percent reducing in carat weight is not noticeable to the vast majority of people.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the appropriate amount of money to spend on an engagement ring? Long ago it was said that three months salary was the amount you should spend, but that figure doesn't suit everyone's budget. Think about what’s comfortable for you and about what you want in a ring, rather than what’s considered standard.
- How long does it take to buy a diamond ring? If you plan on purchasing a custom engagement ring, it can take up to 6 weeks, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
- How do I select a diamond? The 4 C’s should be carefully reviewed so you can balance out what’s important to you.
- What if I don’t know their finger size? Try taking one of the rings that they wear and tracing the inner and outer circle on a piece of paper. You can also take a firm chunk of cheese and push the ring into it to make an imprint.
- How do I choose the right style? I’m sure at this point there has been some talk about getting engaged, so pay attentions to subtle hints your significant other may drop. When in doubt, grab some pictures of their current jewelry, so we can help you with their sense of style.
- Do I open the ring box when proposing? Everyone has a story and there is no right way to do this. Many often ask whether to open the box or just hand them the box. Simply do what feels comfortable in the moment.
- When does the ring need to be insured? Always insure your ring before picking it up, as things do happen.
In wrestling with the question of how to buy a diamond ring, the single best piece of advice is to choose a reputable, experienced jeweler. When you work with someone with integrity and commitment to his or her craft, you can achieve the results you want.
Whether you are buying for a lucky lady/gentleman or for yourself, give the gift of lasting quality.