When it’s time to lock it down, everyone frets about buying the engagement ring that their future spouse has dreamed about for their entire life. How do you go about buying the one piece of jewelry that they’ll wear every day for the rest of their life? The potential for disappointment feels high! But fear not—if you follow my sage advice you’ll be blissfully engaged in no time at all. Come along as we pick out the engagement ring that you’ll be proud of for years to come.
The first decision you need to make is whether you want to buy your ring online or in store. Generally speaking, buying an engagement ring online will be much less expensive, so you can either save money on your purchase or buy a much bigger diamond than you could in person. The tradeoff is that you can’t hold the ring in your hand before you purchase and you don’t get the traditional jewelry store experience. You need to be able to live with that anxiety. If you go to a brick and mortar jewelry store, I’m certain that they will work to satisfy you and sell you a beautiful ring.
If you’re up to it, and you have the self-confidence to stare into the abyss that is spending thousands of dollars over the internet, then you should make your purchase with some degree of diamond knowledge.
Diamonds are classified by their cut, clarity, color, and carat. The four C’s are important because they will determine the price of your diamond.
Cut describes how well the diamond shines under light; a well-cut stone will look significantly larger than a poorly cut stone of the exact same weight. In my opinion, this is by far the most important thing to look for in a diamond.
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Clarity describes the amount of inclusions that can be seen in the diamond. This can vary from inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye all the way down to inclusions so small that you can’t see them with 10X magnification. Inclusions come in all shapes and sizes and a good diamond report should detail not only how many inclusions there are, but also what types of inclusions the diamond has in addition to where they are located. This is important because you can get great value from a relatively poor clarity diamond if the inclusions are well hidden by the diamond’s cut.
Color describes a diamond’s amount of color, specifically how much yellow. Generally speaking, the less yellow a diamond is, the more it will cost. You will not be able to tell if an individual diamond has some faint yellow to it unless you have another diamond to compare against. That being said, you can save some money if you don’t emphasize color in your diamond purchase. A word of caution though—if you mount a yellowish diamond on a ring with flanking stones that are relatively without color, the center stone will not look good.
Finally, carat describes the weight of the diamond and is perhaps the biggest factor in determining the price of your diamond.
Now that you know the basics, There are several different diamond shapes that you will encounter: round, princess, asscher, emerald, baquette, pear, marquise, heart, radiant, cushion, and trilliant. All of these shapes have gone in and out of fashion over the years but you can never go wrong with a round cut. Princess cut has been popular for quite a while now too.
Make sure the diamond meets the level of color, clarity, and carat that you’re comfortable with and pull the trigger!
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But wait! You’re not just going to present the love of your life with a loose stone! Finding a mount for the diamond can be even more stressful than finding the right diamond because your future spouse most likely has spent far longer fantasizing about the mount. Hopefully they’ve made a Pinterest board with all their favorite designs! Maybe that’s cheating but you’ll have a much happier fiancé if they get a ring they were hoping for.
So you’ve looked at all of these ring options and you’re unimpressed. Fear not! Consider purchasing a vintage or estate engagement ring. These rings have seen a lot in their lifetimes and they carry that earned character onto your spouse’s finger. Additionally, many vintage rings will have fine metal work that you can’t easily get on a newly made ring. Finding the right vintage ring will require a lot of legwork and your future spouse will appreciate how much work you put into buying their ring.
Finally, perhaps your future spouse has no interest in a diamond ring. After all, as your cantankerous friend has likely already informed you, diamond engagement rings are a relatively new phenomenon. And it’s all a conspiracy developed by DeBeers man! All kidding aside, don’t feel pressured to buy a diamond when it’s either out of your taste or your budget. No matter what you go with, it’s more important that you’re satisfied with the decision than it is what your peers think.
Featured Image Credit: Theresa Elizabeth Photography