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How to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring: 9 Essential Steps

This engagement ring buying guide will help you narrow down your choices according to the 4 Cs, so you can select the best quality based on your budget.

By
Ocere LTD, Partner
4-minute read

The purpose of using a buying guide is to help you narrow down your choices according to the 4 Cs. This way, you can select the best quality based on your budget. Buying diamond jewelry is an investment. Out of all the gems, diamonds are considered the most expensive. It’s no secret that many people get duped into buying fakes. That’s why anyone in the market for a piece should be wary of dubious selling practices. Not only that, choosing diamonds can be quite daunting. And when it’s a loose gem meant for an engagement ring, the options are endless.

When buying a diamond engagement ring, price is most often the priority. And if you don’t want to overpay, you can use a helpful tool such as this diamond pricing guide from Naturally Colored. The purpose of using a buying guide is to help you narrow down your choices according to the 4 Cs. This way, you can select the best quality based on your budget. With that in mind, let’s discuss the nine steps you need to follow when choosing a diamond for an engagement ring.

Step 1: Choose a shape

The gem's shape is critical to the setting and style of the ring. Some shapes are more popular than others, but choosing one is mostly based on what you or your partner prefers. Round diamonds are considered common for engagement rings because the shape highlights the stone's brilliance. However, many people prefer a unique shape such as an oval or cushion.

If you aren't sure of what your partner for an engagement ring, you can ask their friends or relatives, or perhaps look for some inspiration online.

Step 2: Select carat weight

If your fiancée knows a lot about diamond jewelry, then you need to be ready to meet their expectations. The carat weight will determine if the stone is noticeable or dainty. Of course, the higher the carat, the more expensive the gem. A common choice for an engagement ring would be somewhere between 1 and 2. Nevertheless, you can choose a diamond with a weight lower than 1, especially if you’re on a strict budget.

Step 3: Choose cut quality

The cut of a diamond has a significant impact on its appeal and appearance. Many diamond experts make recommendations for high cut quality or whatever they feel ensures the best sparkle. For example, a particular vendor will recommend a diamond graded as Excellent or Ideal cut. If you prefer a fancy-shaped gem, choosing a cut could be more challenging. Unfortunately, without the proper knowledge, you may not know what is a good cut and not all vendors are gem experts. But for that, there is the certificate (see step 7). 

Step 4: Choose color grade

Ideally, a diamond that appears the most colorless is more valuable. The most colorless diamond is graded as a D or E. But, know that the appearance of the color in diamonds isn’t always visible to the naked eye. Grading diamond color is done through a lab analysis only. So, if you want quality at a more affordable price, a diamond in the G-I range is a good option.

You also need to account for the effect of shape and cut on the color of the diamond. So, choosing the right color grade and cut quality will depend greatly on the shape you chose.

Step 5: Choose clarity grade

The next aspect to consider when choosing a diamond is clarity. These characterize the presence of impurities in them and whether these impurities are visible to the naked eye. Once again, the shape of the stone matters when it comes to clarity. A reasonable choice would be VS1 or VS2. Although there are higher clarity grades, these two are considered excellent options and offer good value for money. There’s no need for you to splurge a big amount on an IF or FL diamond because tiny imperfections and impurities are not noticeable at all.

When checking the clarity of a diamond, a diamond vendor will allow you to view the diamond up close. Some online vendors even provide a virtual look and HD photos of the piece so that potential buyers can examine the stone before buying.

Out of the four Cs considered in determining the value of a diamond, experts agree that clarity should be your least priority.

As long as the stone looks clean to the naked eye, you can focus on the other characteristics instead.

Step 6: Compare your options

By the time you reach this step, you most likely already have a preferred diamond specification. You can use this specification to find diamonds from different vendors. From here on, if the specs are similar, then your next step is to compare the overall appearance of the stone and the price.

Apart from the four Cs, you may also want to look at symmetry, polish, and fluorescence. These factors impact the cost of diamonds, even when they have the same specifications.

Step 7: Verify the gem’s certificate

When buying a diamond, you should always look for one that is AGS or GIA certified. These grading systems are considered to be the most consistent in the industry. Also, you may want to check the vendor’s practices. Are the stones mined ethically? If this matters to you, then a bit of research can help you choose the right vendor.

Step 8: Consult an expert

Before making the final decision, you may want to ask the opinion of a diamond expert. The expert will review your choice and give you impartial advice. Of course, a diamond is a hefty investment. The purpose of getting the opinion of a professional is to ensure that you get the best, and will feel more confident that you made the right purchase.

Step 9: Close the deal

After following these recommendations, the last step is to buy the diamond. You can buy the gem as part of an engagement ring set. Usually, the vendor will recommend setting options that go best with the diamond you choose. Check the policy of the vendor if you have the option to return or replace the product. Lastly, make sure that you take the time to read the terms and conditions before closing the deal.