How to Shop for a Diamond Engagement Ring

by Kate Sauble on July 22, 2013

Congratulations, you found the right person to spend the rest of your life with! The next big step is preparing your proposal and finding the perfect diamond engagement ring to give the woman of your dreams.

Becoming familiar with all of the particulars about buying a diamond can require a bit of research, but essentially it’s all about what you think will best suit her personality, preferences, style and also about choosing a diamond with great value. The good news is that diamonds hold and increase in value, so what you pay today for a diamond will likely double or triple by the end of your lifetime as a couple. With proper care, diamonds do indeed last forever and become a great asset to your family heirlooms that can be passed on for future generations.

However, as you commence shopping for a diamond engagement ring, the emphasis is not with the “end” in mind but in “new beginnings” for this journey you are about to take together. With the Diamond Buying School, you can read up and become knowledgeable in the skill of buying a diamond without ever having to set foot in a store.

Here’s a brief step-by-step understanding of the process of buying a diamond engagement ring:

Step 1: First, you need to become familiar with diamond terminology. Just as you would do your homework to buy any “big” item such as an automobile or home, it’s important to do some research. Learn what the 4’Cs are (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight) and some other C’s that might be essential, as well. For example, “Certificates” and “Cost” could be a 5th and 6th “C” that are not-commonly addressed, yet which factor in your purchase decision.

Step 2: After you learn the most important things to look for in a diamond, it might behoove you to “feel out” what your girlfriend might like. If you want to keep your proposal a secret, you could try asking her family or friends if they know which shape or other specifications she may like best. Or if you’re brave and feel like you know her better than anyone else, go out on a limb to pick out the perfect diamond on your own.

Step 3: Choosing the shape of a diamond (the cut) is the most common beginning point for people shopping for a diamond. However, this is one preference that can change depending on what else you may come across during the shopping process. You might set out on a search for a round diamond and then after looking at diamonds and doing further investigation, you may decide that a radiant cut or something else is the best engagement ring. So, step 3 is to KEEP AN OPEN MIND.

Step 4: Narrow down your possibilities. You find several diamonds, settings or styles that you think will be a good fit for your diamond engagement ring purchase. Next, get to the finer details of your purchase to do a comparison. Ask to see a diamond certification if one is available and this will let you see the “inside” of a diamond. You can also ask to look at the diamond under a gem scope, which is similar to a microscope. Diamond Buying School recommends always looking at a diamond under a gem scope before committing to the purchase. Some stores only offer a “loupe” which is a small eyepiece that is not the best way to see the entire diamond. The gem scope is absolutely the best way to be assured that you are getting what you pay for and what the certification shows you. Beware of stores who say that their gem scope is “being fixed” or is “unavailable” or even that they don’t have one.

Step 5: Whether you go with a loose diamond or a diamond that is already mounted, make sure it is the actual diamond that you are buying. Some diamonds these days even have a laser-inscribed number on the girdle of the diamond (mostly only found in solitaires) to ensure that the diamond matches the certification. Not all diamonds have this, but this is one way to have solid peace of mind that the information is accurate. Certified diamonds generally cost more, but their value is more because of the diamond certification.

Step 6: Finally, before you purchase a diamond, determine the setting. Some diamonds have settings that specifically enhance the best features and brilliance of the diamond. If you can, try to attend a diamond show at a local reputable jeweler. This will be a great chance for you to look at loose diamonds and settings or find something totally one-of-a kind. Smaller jewelry stores also cater to specialty settings. The setting is almost as important as the diamond because it keeps it secure and showcases the engagement ring in the best manner. It can also be adjusted or changed to suit her needs.  For example, you might find a nice high setting for a diamond engagement ring but then a few years down the road you decide to have a family together. The diamond can be raised, lowered or reset altogether so that it doesn’t run the risk of getting lost.

Step 7: One final thought worth mentioning is that after you give her the diamond engagement ring, you should both be vigilant about the upkeep and maintenance. Some people forget to go in for cleanings and checks to make sure the prongs are tight or that the diamond is secure. Or, they just don’t know they are supposed to do it. Just like automobiles and other things that are worn or used every day, a diamond engagement ring needs regular “maintenance” to stay safe and keep wearing for a lifetime.

Buying a diamond doesn’t have to be complex!

At first it might be confusing because the gemstone itself is one of the most sought after and revered stones of the earth and because people of today’s society place so much emphasis on “bigger is better”, often overlooking very nice diamonds as a result. The goal here is to find something special for her and that represents a symbol of your commitment and love to one another. Don’t stress about shopping for a diamond engagement ring.  Instead, enjoy and savor this special time in your lives!

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