Smart Shopping for a Diamond Engagement Ring
In Western cultures, an engagement ring represents a formal agreement to future marriage.
When the slogan “a diamond is forever” was introduced in 1947, consumers were persuaded that a diamond is the only acceptable stone for an engagement ring.
This is why in the United States, diamond engagement rings have been widely featured since the middle of the 20th century.
Engagement season in the U.S. typically runs from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s day with proposals that reach their peak during Valentine’s.
The highlight of these proposals costs the average American $7,750 on a diamond engagement ring.
A research was conducted on what Americans spend on an engagement ring in each state.
South Dakota came in at rank 51 with the lowest average spend of $3,005 and Washington with the highest average spend of $10,109.
Texas was on the 11th spot with an $8,063 average spend on diamond engagement rings.
Like all types of jewelry with a gemstone, the price of an engagement ring varies depending on the type and quality of the diamond stone.
Diamonds have a standardized description that determines their value according to the 4Cs: carat, color, clarity, and cut.
Smart Tips on Buying A Diamond Engagement Ring
So you want to finally put that ring on her. And a diamond engagement ring, even if it’s more expensive than other alternatives, is what you feel is perfect for the coveted, “YES!” when you propose.
Would-be grooms need to decide whether buying a diamond engagement ring would be a status symbol worth spending for.
Not to mention all the pressure one has to go through with the purchase from choosing the perfect design, where to buy it, and the budget.
To the would-be groom, here are tips for making a smart purchase on a diamond engagement ring:
What’s your partner’s style and lifestyle?
Glamorous, romantic, chic, minimalistic, classic, bold. Which of these defines your partner best? Does she need a diamond engagement ring with a touch of glam that calls attention? Does she portray an idealistic and dreamy nature or is she a modern-day showstopper?
You may need to ditch traditional diamond engagement ring styles and opt for a ring with a generous dash of the unexpected. If she has a realistic approach to life, a traditional or classic, clean, and subtle, vintage engagement ring may be a perfect choice.
Choose a ring that won’t interfere with the daily situations your partner is into.
Consider your partner’s career and hobbies — a ring with glam for an affluent professional image and a minimal design for one who loves hands-on hobbies and activities like gardening, baking, playing music, and the like.
Which Metal setting will make a statement for your partner?
Mounting or setting is the most important component of any ring because it defines and influences the ring’s design.
The most common setting according to design is the solitaire (having one diamond) prong setting where metal projections or tines, called prongs are used to secure a diamond stone to a piece of jewelry in a claw-shaped type of binding.
This setting allows light to strike the diamond stone from more angles maximizing the diamond’s brilliance and sparkle.
Here are other types of settings according to design:
- Bezel – provides excellent protection for the center stone
- Halo – tiny diamonds encircle the center stone
- Pick side stones – dress up and complement your center stone with side stones in any number of configurations to add more dazzle, elegance, and sophistication
- Tension – gives a floating appearance of the center stone
- Pave – multiple small diamonds that form a carpet-like effect along with the band
These are the different metal band settings according to the element that it is made of:
- Yellow Gold – has a warm look
- White Gold – made with gold plus palladium, nickel, copper, or zinc
- Rose Gold – increasingly popular; made with gold plus copper
- Silver – a cheaper alternative
- Platinum – a lustrous silvery-white metal that does not tarnish or wear out; a more expensive option
Check our wholesale diamond guide for more details.
Shape of Diamond
Popular diamond stone shapes are round, oval, princess, emerald, pear, asscher, cushion, radiant, marquise, and heart.
The emerald cut stands out because of its prism-like effect but it is more expensive, while the round cut remains a favorite option.
Also, consider altering the setting to make a classic shape more unique.
Calculate your Budget
Get total income from all your possible sources of income and your total fixed and variable expenses. Compare expenses to income and then allocate surplus income to an engagement ring fund.
GIA recommends that you spend as much as you think is appropriate.
Choosing diamonds that are just below the whole carat (1.00 ct, 2.00 ct, 3.00 ct) will save you thousands without sacrificing any noticeable difference in size.
Understand and empower yourself with the 4 Cs
The 4Cs is the global standard created by the GIA for assessing the quality of diamonds. Get a grasp of the balance of these Cs when you are choosing so that you can zero in to the best option for your partner. Take your time to understand and learn this language:
- Color – Diamonds with less color are rarer but better
- Cut – Excellent or ideal cuts are the best; a diamond’s cut tells how well it unleashes its light (brilliance and sparkle). Don’t scrimp on cut.
- Clarity – refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes
- Carat weight – gives you an idea of the diamond’s size
Customized engagement rings
A customized diamond engagement ring shows creativity, forethought, and attention to detail. You can create a truly unique engagement ring to exacting specifications within your budget.
You start with choosing a loose diamond stone, a setting, and a metal band.
Make a sketch that diamond designing experts can transform into a masterpiece. You will be asked to have in-person meetings with the experts who will be creating your customized diamond engagement ring.
Consider Vintage engagement rings and family heirloom
Vintage diamond engagement rings are a cheaper alternative to a new one. Some diamond dealers have a selection of many pre-owned family diamond stones that were reset into current styles or handed down from previous generations. Make sure though that you get verification and authentication with a gemologist if you find an incredible vintage engagement ring.
An engagement ring that’s a family heirloom is also a cheaper option where experts work with jewelers to re-image a precious heirloom to keep a special stone or ring in the family.
Get a GIA Certified Diamond Ring
A GIA Diamond Grading Report provides an unbiased evaluation of a diamond’s 4Cs, so you can be guaranteed of an objective and accurate report that will remove any uncertainty from your buying decision.
Try diamond lookalikes for a fraction of the cost
Moissanite and White Sapphire engagement rings are diamond engagement ring alternatives.
With moissanite, you get more brilliance and shine but less clarity. So this can be a great swap if color and clarity are less important for you.
White Sapphire is not as hard as a diamond but is essentially colorless and is about a quarter of the price of a diamond.
Put a Diamond Engagement Ring on It
At the end of the day, it’s all about your partner’s wants and your budget. Market research says that it’s the maximum sparkle, how the diamond engagement ring reflects your partner’s personality, and uniqueness that matters.