How To Buy A Diamond Ring
One of our readers was working with Annie recently and asked her about this diamond from James Allen. Now her first reaction was that the diamond was stunning. but then she asked what setting it will go in. When the reader responded with this setting, we realized that buying this diamond would have been a terrible mistake.
how to buy a diamond ring
Mike Fried has written hundreds of articles and helped answer more than 30,000 emails from our readers. This has given him a unique perspective on what information truly helps our readers in their quest for finding the perfect diamond engagement ring or piece of jewelry.
Sometimes I forget just how difficult it is for a consumer to juggle all the information when figuring out if something is a good price. My team and I have so much experience selecting diamonds (each of us selects hundreds every month), navigating the minefield becomes second nature for us.
We recommend reputable online diamond jewelers. Based on our years of experience, James Allen and Blue Nile have proven to offer the best selection at the best prices (see the full list of Best Online Jewelry Retailers here).
Carat weight impacts how large a diamond will appear (as does its shape and cut quality). You can learn more typical carat weights and diamond sizing in our guide to average diamond size to help you make an informed buying decision.
Diamonds are evaluated and graded by professional labs, referred to as grading entities. These are the organizations that give each diamond its specific cut quality, clarity and color grades (as well as many others).
Some diamond grading labs are extremely strict and consistent, while others have questionable standards and are much less reliable. You should consider only GIA Certified Diamonds and AGS Certified Diamonds in your search for a loose diamond.
Engagement ring settings range from elegant and simple, like the solitaire setting, to ornate and eye-catching, like the halo setting. Each setting offers its own unique identity, as well as distinct advantages and disadvantages.
For example, simple settings such as a solitaire ring are very affordable and great for creating a visual focus on the center diamond itself, while settings that contain halo diamonds can produce the appearance of a larger diamond.
If you have any questions throughout the engagement ring process, feel free to reach out to us for diamond advice. We help hundreds of our readers find and buy beautiful engagement rings every month, and our diamond experts are happy to answer any and all of your questions.
The first tip for buying a diamond engagement ring is to know the 4Cs: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Created by GIA, the 4Cs are the global standard for assessing the quality of diamonds and allow you to compare one diamond to another.
Rose gold has been a popular choice for many years. It was often used in engagement rings during the Retro era (1935 to the 1950s). It is usually made by alloying gold with copper and silver, which is what gives it its warm, pinkish tone. Companies closely guard their special blends.
White gold is made by alloying pure gold with white metals such as nickel or palladium among others. It is a beautiful and durable choice for engagement rings. White gold is usually plated with rhodium, a platinum group metal, to give it a whiter finish. This can wear away over time. White gold jewelry typically requires replating, or the slightly yellowish color of the white gold underneath may start to show through. This is easy and relatively inexpensive to do, however; simply ask your local jeweler for this service.
The color of the metal reflects throughout the diamond. Setting a colorless diamond in yellow prongs can cause it to look more yellowish in appearance. Gold and rose gold settings tend to benefit diamonds with lower color grades or colored diamonds or colored stones as they can help enhance the color of the gemstones. If you have a diamond with a distinctively yellow or brownish tint, a white gold or platinum setting might conversely emphasize the color of the stone due to contrast.
If you love the color of yellow gold or rose gold, use white gold or platinum prongs or bezels to set the diamonds and pair with yellow gold or rose gold bands. This way, the diamonds will appear more colorless while you get the style that you want.
Side stones are a dazzling way to dress up an engagement ring and make it look bigger. Popular choices include making the ring a three-stone ring, adding a halo, including channel, pavé or bead set diamonds along the shank of the ring, and adding colored gems or birthstones. If you want diamond side stones, choose those with 4Cs grades similar to that of the center stone. Having a similar color grade is especially important if you want the stones to match.
Three-Stone Ring: The three-stone ring, also known as the trinity or trilogy ring, symbolizes friendship, love, and fidelity, or past, present, and future. To add to its romantic connotation, you can incorporate birthstones for a personal touch.
Cluster Setting: Cluster settings are a great way to maximize sparkle at a relatively affordable price. Smaller diamonds cost less than large ones and can be set in a way to create the illusion of a single larger diamond. Small diamonds also be arranged in unique designs.
Heart Rings: Heart motifs have been popular since medieval times and have never gone out of style since. Not only do they symbolize love, heart shaped diamonds are typically more affordable than round brilliants. It is a unique option that will definitely make a ring stand out.
Bohemian Rings: Bohemian style rings play with unexpected gemstone shapes, setting styles and silhouettes, such as geometric diamond cuts, black diamonds, and rings with open shapes. Some are edgy; others have a more romantic vibe.
Stacked Engagement and Wedding Rings: Will your diamond engagement ring be worn alongside a wedding ring? Make sure that their silhouettes match and that the two rings fit together. A popular trend now is stacking multiple rings together with the engagement ring to complement it in design.
Custom Rings: Personalization makes rings feel unique and memorable. Consider a custom engagement ring for a one-of-a-kind ring that celebrates the special moments in your relationship.
The good news is that most rings can easily be resized up or down by a size or two. Resizing more than that may be more difficult depending on the style of the ring. Solitaire rings are easy to resize, while rings with pavé or bead-set diamonds or other details on the band will require more work.
Nicole Wegman is the founder and CEO of Ring Concierge, a New York City-based jewelry company that designs and sells customized engagement rings, among other jewelry pieces. Prior to Ring Concierge, Wegman was a private luxury jeweler.
Enter: lab-grown diamonds. A 2018 report found that 70% of millennials would consider purchasing a lab-grown diamond engagement ring. Another report found that the production of lab-grown diamonds increased by 15% to 20% in 2018 and 2019.
Their lower cost might be boosting their popularity. According to a special report by Rapaport, a primary source of diamond price information used in the industry, lab-grown diamonds can cost 30% to 40% less than mined ones, on average.
Several online jewelry stores focus on lab-grown sales exclusively, and many others carry at least a small selection. Even an industry magnate such as De Beers has its own lab-grown line, which speaks to their growing popularity. However, the selection of lab-grow diamonds currently in the market is still far from being as vast as the mined one.
A jeweller that's long had a presence on UK high streets, the online selection at Ernest Jones encompasses engagement rings from three figures up to around 20,000, including high-end ring makers such as Vera Wang. With a wide selection of precious metals and ethically sourced diamonds in traditional solitaire form or clusters, it's one of the most accessible and diverse places to begin. ernestjones.co.uk
A brand that can be credited with originating the engagement ring as we know it, back in the late 19th century, we all know today that few jewellers can incite quite the excitement as that which comes in a little blue box. Tiffany's legacy remains just as strong today, with many an expert-crafted engagement ring to choose from online. All are classics and, as with anything from Tiffany, it really is hard to go wrong. tiffany.co.uk
With a passion for recreating antique ring designs for the modern landscape, Jessica McCormack specialises in romantic pieces imbued with a sense of history and luxury. For contemporary bling with a timeless attitude, look no further. jessicamccormack.com
If not for its iconic floral fabric patterns, London department store Liberty would surely be known for its ground-floor jewellery selection. If you're looking for an engagement ring with an alternative gemstone to the traditional diamond, Liberty has plenty to offer, from deep green emeralds to multi-stone clusters. These alternatives are an increasingly popular choice and one look at the selection here will show you why. libertylondon.com
Cartier's Solitaire 1895 is an icon in itself among engagement rings. It is timeless in its style and has been done in countless variations. Bands come in platinum, rose gold and yellow gold and, while the diamond classic tends to be the gemstone of choice for most, don't write off the sapphires, emeralds and rubies also available. Or, for something that ups the ante on ostentation, the Destinée Solitaire boasts a halo of cut diamonds that shine in every angle. cartier.com
An online destination for gemstones of all varieties, Angara has a diverse range of jewels including topaz, amethysts and citrines. Not the most traditional proposals, but, for anyone seeking an alternative style with a more personal touch, something to consider. It's not short of traditional diamonds either, with vintage styles, such as the round Halo Circle ring pictured, in different, customisable metal types, carat weights and gemstone qualities. angara.com 041b061a72