Read This Before Buying That Diamond Engagement Ring
February 07, 20175 min read
So you've decided to take the plunge... congratulations! This is the beginning of an awesome journey, and the first step is picking the ring. Now this is where it can get overwhelming. If you're like most guys, you don't know much about diamonds or styles, and maybe you don't even know her ring size. We're here to help. We happen to be sellers of fine jewelry and we have certified gemologists on staff... so we know what we're talking about. Here are our must-know tips for buying a diamond engagement ring.
Decide Whether It Will Be a Surprise
Whether or not to surprise her is an important decision. Yes, it's a safe bet to have her pick out her own ring, but it also eliminates the mystery. Our female staff members are unanimously big fans of surprise proposals since they make great life-long stories. They also agreed that if you're at a loss for ideas about how to ask, it might be good to get her best friends' advice. Whichever way you're proposing, you'll need to pick out a ring first, which brings us to...
Determine Your Budget
The old rule was that a ring should cost two to three months' salary. That outdated theory has been replaced and the new rule is that there isn't a rule. Some people say that four to six weeks salary is the optimal budget, and others say to simply stick with what you can afford... and don't go into debt. Chances are you'll be buying a house down the road, if you haven't already, and getting yourself into more debt over a piece of jewelry just doesn't make sense in the long run. One idea to consider is buying an estate or pre-owned diamond ring, and having the stone re-set. It will save some money, since resellers often sell jewelry below its appraised value. As a side note, don't forget to give your homeowners or renters insurance a copy of the appraisal after you buy the ring, so that its covered in your policy.
Figure Out Her Ring Size
You have a couple of options here: you can sneak one of her rings to a jeweler and have it measured, or you can compare a ring that she has in her jewelry box to a ring sizer. Etsy seller esdesigns sells inexpensive plastic sizers, or you can print one out. You can also slip one of her rings onto your finger and see where it fits. When you get to the jewelry store they can test a bunch of sizing bands on that finger until they find the right fit.
Diamond 4C's: And they are: carat weight, cut, color, and clarity. Here's a quick run-down:
Carat weight is the weight and size of a diamond. The bigger it is, the more rare and expensive it is, and diamond prices have larger jumps at each quarter carat interval (.25 carat, .50 carat, etc). For example, a .48 carat diamond may cost only slightly less than a .49 carat diamond, but a .49 carat diamond will cost a lot less than a .50 carat diamond.
Cut is a diamonds specific proportions. The three most popular cuts are round, princess, and emerald, but there are others to choose from. Cut affects how well a diamond interacts with light, and it's defined by brightness, fire, and scintillation. In other words, a diamond cut is evaluated for how much light passes through, the colors of the rainbow that it refracts, and how much sparkle it has.
A good color rating actually means the absence of color. The more colorless the diamond, the more transparent it is. On the other hand, fancy colors like pink or canary yellow can be a lot more pricey.
Clarity refers to inclusions, or imperfections, in a diamond. Think about it, diamonds are natural stones that grow under tons of pressure, so it's natural to develop internal imperfections. A flawless clarity rating means that there are no imperfections, which makes the diamond really rare and adds to its price tag.
Tessa, our lead certified gemologist, recommends getting an appraisal from a GIA-trained (Gemological Institute of America) professional before purchasing a stone.
Figure Out Her Style
Chances are, you already know what she likes. You probably know if she's the "go big or go home" sort, or if she gravitates toward vintage charm. When it comes to choosing a ring, you can always enlist her closest friend for help... just be sure that she can keep a secret. Another option is checking out her jewelry collection on your own, to get a sense of what she likes. A good thing to note is whether the pieces in her collection gravitate towards intricately detailed or simple. It's good to take note of her overall style too. For example, is her style modern, edgy, vintage, or a mix? Here's a run-down of some different engagement ring styles and why they work.
Miranda Kerr's ring from Evan Spiegel is simple, but not small. The brilliant cut solitaire was probably a big investment, but it suits someone like Miranda who has a classic style. This style is by far the most popular "can't go wrong" choice, and there are lots of options and diamond sizes for different budgets.
For some ladies, it's all about the bling. Ciara's stunning ring from Russell Wilson is reportedly 16 carats. That size isn't affordable for most people, but rest assured that going cheaper doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing the ice factor. If she likes to get noticed, you may want to check out large rings that are made up of a lot of small stones instead of one large one. Rings covered with pave diamonds, for example, tend to be cheaper than solitaire bands.
If your lady likes to wear a lot of jewelry like Fergie, you'll want to pick something larger so that your ring doesn't pale in comparison. A thick gold band inlaid with smaller stones might be a good choice for her.
A photo posted by Ashlee Simpson Ross (@ashleesimpsonross) on
Just because it's an engagement ring doesn't mean diamonds are the only option. Ashlee Simpson-Ross' ruby-adorned stunner from Evan Ross is vintage, unique, and perfect for a boho babe like Ashlee.
This platinum and diamond Tiffany & Co. band is a timeless, simple choice that looks great stacked alongside a plain wedding band. Its a great option for a girl who doesn't want a big stone... there are a few out there! Whatever ring you choose, we're sure she'll love it. Just do your homework, know a little about jewelry before you go shopping, and don't forget to get an appraisal from a certified gemologist! *Feature image courtesy of Flickr user Stephen Durham *Diamond 4 Cs image courtesy of HenriSormus via Wikimedia Commons