Buying a diamond engagement ring is something that most people don’t do every day. Here are some tips to get you on the right track.
When buying a diamond, it’s important to know the 4 C’s of diamond classification. Together, the 4 C’s determine a diamond’s value. This system of grading diamonds was developed 60 years ago by the Gemological Institute of America.
You must have an understanding of the four important characteristics of the grading system by GIA to establish a diamond’s quality.
Diamond Ring Grading System: 4 C’s of Diamonds
How can you tell a good diamond? The 4 C’s of diamonds quality grading system by GIA (Gemological Institute of America), Carat Weight, Cut, Color, and Clarity, is one of the most popular to establish a diamond’s quality.
Carat Diamond Meaning
Carat is a weight measurement. Some people believe that carat refers to the size of a diamond while in actuality; carat is the term used to measure a diamond’s physical weight. A carat is equal to 200 milligrams, and there are 142 carats to an ounce. One carat is made up of one hundred points.
The larger the diamond, the greater its rarity as larger diamonds are rarer, they generally have a greater value per carat.
Small diamonds are cheaper than large diamonds. A ring with three small diamonds totaling 1 carat costs less than a single 1-carat stone of similar quality.
But there’s no ideal size for a diamond. It depends on your budget and taste. Some women want a big rock; others prefer a delicate, less blingy look.
Diamond Color: Diamond Color Grading
What color diamond should I buy? While diamonds come in every color of the spectrum, the most valuable diamond color is colorless. Truly colorless diamonds are extremely rare and as a result, are expensive. They are graded on a color scale established by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Diamonds range from D to Z – D for rare, colorless diamonds. E and F are considered excellent, but G or H diamonds will look just as good to the naked eye. The further down in the alphabet the diamond is, the more yellow it appears.
You’ll notice the differences for example – If you put a K color beside a G color, you’ll notice more yellow in the K,” according to Russell Shor, senior industry analyst for the Gemological Institute.
Color can best be determined by looking at a loose diamond on a pure white surface, and by noting its contrast.
Diamond Clarity: Clarity Diamond Grade
Clarity measures diamond flaws. Internal imperfections and external irregularities affect the clarity of the diamond by interfering with the passage of light throughout the stone. Imperfections such as spots, lines, bubbles, clouds, or cavities in the stone are known as inclusions.
The diamond is more valuable when it has fewer inclusions. According to the GIA’s quality analysis system, clarity is graded on a scale ranging from flawless (FL or IF) to imperfect (I).
The clarity grade SI stands for “slightly included.” VS is a better grade, very slightly included. VVS is even higher, very, very slightly included.
Most inclusions in the VVS-SI range cannot be seen by the untrained eye unless someone tells you where it is.
The system is based on the visibility of inclusions at a magnification of 10x.
Diamond Cuts: Types of Diamond Cuts
One of the most defining characteristics of a diamond is its cut. Cut measures workmanship, rather than a diamond’s inherent qualities. To many, cut is the most important of the 4 C’s. The way a stone is cut enhances sparkle and luminosity and can hide flaws. Each diamond is cut using an exact mathematical formula to unleash its maximum brilliance and fire.
The mathematical formula also takes into account the depth of the cut. If a diamond is cut too shallow or too deep it will lose some of its fire. A well-cut diamond will reflect the light and refract it back to your eye. The cut is not to be confused with shape.
The diamonds mounted on engagement rings can be cut into different shapes. The most favored is the round solitaire cut. This is just one big diamond mounted on the ring. The other cuts of diamonds include the brilliant cut, emerald cut, radiant cut, marquise cut, princess cut, pear cut, oval cut, and heart cut, among others.
The cut can also refer to the number of facets or flat faces that the diamond has. The most common cut is the round brilliant. The round brilliant has 58 flat, polished facets that reflect the maximum amount of light.
The best cut rating (ideal) is rare. About a third of diamonds are rated fair, good, or very good.
While these are the 4 most recognized C’s, there is a fifth C equally important, Certification.
5 C’s of diamonds. The fifth C, assurance of quality. Just as important as choosing the perfect diamond, is having an outside opinion of the quality of your diamond. A diamond grading report is a quality certification from an independent gem laboratory. So you can rely not only on the opinion of the store you are purchasing the diamond from but also on a recognized gemological laboratory.
How to Buy a Diamond: GIA Diamond Grading Video
An informational video about how the Gemological Institute of America grades diamonds and provides consumers with unbiased diamond grading reports. A GIA diamond grading report will make you sure of your diamond’s value and your diamond’s quality.
Engagement Ring Process
Examine each of the 4 C’s. The one thing you should not trade off on is the quality of the cut. Even a nice color stone, if not well-cut, will be dull and lifeless. But if it’s a middle color — like K — and it’s got a really excellent cut, it will pop and flash with all the sparkle that diamonds are famous for.
After choosing the cut, balance the color, clarity, and carat weight based on your personal preference to find the best diamond for you and your budget.
For example, for $1,200, you might pick a 1-carat, K-color stone with a slight inclusion, or a half-carat, G-color, with a very slight inclusion. An L or M-colored diamond at that price will get you a 2-carat honker, but you’ll definitely notice the yellow and you’ll see some inclusions.
Consumers pay $2,000 on average for engagement rings. On the low end, Jewelers recommend spending at least $700 to $1,000 to get something that’s not too small and of reasonable quality, a respectable half-carat stone.
Many websites list the four C’s for every ring they sell. Brick-and-mortar stores should be able to provide grading reports, whether from GIA or another expert lab.
Engagement Ring Help: Shape and Style
You can choose from, yellow gold, white gold, and platinum bands. When it comes to picking the diamond, there is a wide variety of shapes available. You may pick a diamond shape called baguette, emerald, heart, oval, pear, princess, marquise, or trillion.
Diamonds can be cut into many shapes. Round, the most common, offers the biggest bang for your buck because the difference between the raw and cut diamond is smaller. Unusual shapes with retro looks and names like marquise, Asscher, and pear are having a resurgence, partly because celebrities are wearing them.
Whether a shape is flattering depends on your fingers. If you have long thin fingers, you can wear something like Asscher or a princess that is more square-cut. If you have shorter fingers or muscular hands, marquise or oval will elongate your fingers. But long nails don’t mix with an oval; It looks like you’ve got a weird nail in the middle of your hand.
Help Buying Engagement Ring
Engagement rings traditionally feature gold bands with a center diamond, though some have smaller diamonds on either side. Diamond cluster rings are also very popular. Each smaller stone is a real, conflict-free diamond, but the rings are more affordable since smaller diamonds are less expensive.
What is a diamond cluster ring? A diamond cluster ring is a ring that consists of a cluster of smaller diamonds rather than one large
The grouping of diamonds together offers a similar visual impact to diamond solitaire rings for a much lower price.
How to choose a diamond ring
The most important factor in choosing a diamond stone is deciding on the shape that perfectly matches your style and looks good on you. Your style may guide you to more traditional shapes such as the classic Round, Emerald, or Asscher cuts or fancy shapes such as the Marquise, Heart, or Pear.
The 4C’s of a diamond ascertain their quality and beauty. Diamond Shape is the key to Diamond’s personality, style, and character traits. Mostly, the diamond shape you choose will be a matter of your individual taste and style.
Consider your number one priority, if it’s the appearance of the shape then choose a shape you like the best, if maximizing the fire and sparkle is your priority then stick to the most popular round cut diamond.
If budget is an issue, consider the princess cut because it uses more of the rough diamond, making an equivalent quality diamond cheaper.
The oval and pear shape will appear a lot larger than an equivalent carat weight of other shaped diamonds.
Radiant cut diamonds tend to make any color in the diamond look brighter, this is great for color diamonds but not so good for colorless diamonds.
It’s worth mentioning that any shape that is not the round brilliant shape is referred to as a fancy-shaped diamond. Diamond grading is used to determine the quality of all diamonds, each diamond is rated according to the 4C’s diamond color, diamond clarity, and diamond carat weight. The last of the C’s; diamond cut, is impossible to grade for fancy cut diamonds as there have been no agreed-upon best proportions.
How to choose through getting to know the specifics
The Band. The band is the metal part of the ring. This is the part that goes around the finger. Usually, the band is made out of gold, white gold, silver, or platinum. The best choice would be platinum, because of two reasons. Platinum is the sturdiest metal among these, and being so, it symbolizes a strong bond between the couple.
The Setting. This is the part of engagement rings that hold the gems. Nowadays, there are settings that are called “invisible”, as they are made so well that they cannot be noticed by the naked eye. With the setting, whichever style and design you prefer would be fine.
The Stone. The stone, or gem, is the most expensive part of engagement rings. The most common choice is diamonds, as it symbolizes everlasting love and signify the “flame of love”. This is why this is the most expensive part of the engagement rings, as the price depends on the number of diamonds and their sizes.
The diamond can be cut into different shapes and sizes which by themselves dictate the appeal of the engagement rings. Tip: When buying diamonds, it’s worth checking out loose diamonds for a more personal, customizable engagement ring.
The Cuts. The stones mounted on these rings can be cut into different shapes. The most favored is the round solitaire cut. This is just one big gem, usually diamond, mounted on the ring. The other cuts include the emerald cut, radiant cut, marquis cut, princess cut, pear cut, oval cut, and rose cut, among others.
The Number and Stone Arrangement. The stones can be mounted in different ways as well. Some of the most favorite arrangements are the solitaire (which usually sports the round solitaire cut) and the trinity (3 stones arranged horizontally, where the 2 side stones are smaller than the center stone).
The choice of arrangement depends on what you want to symbolize. For instance, the solitaire symbolizes the promise of loyalty and the trinity symbolizes the past, present, and future the couple is willing to spend together.
How To Find a Cheap Engagement Ring
What to consider when buying an engagement ring. You will save money if you are willing to forego a diamond solitaire ring and instead invest in a diamond cluster ring. Just like a solitaire ring, a diamond cluster ring is made from real diamonds that are certified conflict-free. However, instead of one big expensive diamond, the ring is made from a cluster of smaller high-quality diamonds.
The visual impact of a diamond cluster ring is the same as a solitaire ring, as the grouping of diamonds gives both elegance and luster. However, the cost is much less, since it is cheaper to mine perfect diamonds that are smaller in size.
How to find affordable engagement rings? Some Jewelers offer better prices on three rings purchased together as a set – an engagement ring, a ladies wedding band, and a men’s wedding band, than these three rings purchased separately.
For example, a trio wedding ring set saves you money because it saves the Jeweler money. It is less expensive for a Jeweler to manufacture, ship, and market coordinating rings as a set, and it saves you time and money, too.
Buy Engagement Ring Online
You know that going to a major retail outlet for the engagement ring is basically out of the question unless you get lucky and stumble into one of their super sales. How realistic is that? Sales like that only happen once a year, and you probably didn’t plan your wedding rings purchase around the annual sales.
You can go to the wide world of the internet, and you would be surprised how many choices of affordable wedding rings there are. This is an excellent option for finding inexpensive trio wedding ring sets that will meet your standards of quality with the widest possible selection available.
The biggest advantage of shopping online for engagement rings is that the prices are competitive. As each of the online retail jewelers wants to get new customers, the jewelers are willing to reduce the prices more than their competitors, which benefits the buyers.
Is it safe to buy engagement rings online? Many couples are getting away from the traditional brick-and-mortar store experience. More and more jewelry dealers are setting up online stores.
Not only is online shopping convenient, but also shopping online is a great way to find the best deals. As long as an online store offers an effective return or exchange policy and a safe form of making transactions, there is really no reason why consumers shouldn’t trust shopping online.
Blue-Nile has sold engagement rings to 325,000 couples over the Internet, including one for $1.5 million. But like most high-status Jewelers, their products are not very affordable for most people.
Fortunately, that does not mean that you can’t get a designer look at a lower price. Choose a quality real diamond cluster ring that looks similar to popular designer rings at a much lower cost.
Buying engagement ring together. Sometimes though. couples like to shop together for a ring. It’s ok to say, let’s just go and look at things together. This way she knows what he can afford and he knows what she wants.
For an intense shopping experience, try Manhattan’s diamond district on 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues. It can be intimidating: Salesmen literally stand on the street, pitching customers as they window-shop.
Some customers prefer online shopping so they won’t be pressured by an aggressive salesperson.
Estate Sale Engagement Rings
In 2011, a 33.19-carat diamond owned by Elizabeth Taylor sold for $8.8 million. The same stone was $305,000 in 1968. But that’s an exception: The average diamond does not appreciate as much, but a diamond will never become worthless.
Does that mean estate-sale rings are a bargain? Older stones can be a bargain but caution that stone-cutting has improved with computers and robotics, so older rings may not have the quality of workmanship found in modern diamonds.
It’s also a matter of taste. some of the old-cut jewelry is incredibly beautiful. They’re not quite as shimmery or blingy but they have a really sweet sparkle. There are also girls out there who want an estate look because they identify with a certain decade and they don’t want something blinged out.
Jewelers who specialize in estate collections are not hard to find, but be careful buying from a Sunday – everything must go sale.
Conflict-Free Diamond Engagement Rings
A conflict-free diamond is a real diamond that is certified to be ethically mined and sold. In the 1990s, concerns arose that some African diamond mines supported rebel movements undermining legitimate governments, especially in areas experiencing civil unrest.
The U.S. and 79 other countries agreed to a set of rules called the Kimberley Process to ensure that diamonds sold within their borders are conflict-free, meaning they do not come from mines supporting rebel activity.
Engagement Wedding Rings From Amazon
To find the right match check out Amazon for a wide selection of both men’s and women’s styles that come in a variety of precious metal types including gold, white gold, platinum, tungsten, palladium, and stainless steel. If you prefer matching bands, they carry matching sets as well as individual wedding rings. To get an idea check out this small selection of engagement wedding rings.
Make sure that it is certified AGS or GIA. The neat thing about Amazon is that you can return the ring if you don’t like it. It may be a hassle, but it’s better than buying a ring without that leverage of returning.