What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring – Are you looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring? You will need to know about diamond quality, metal properties, setting styles and more.

The diamonds in this image show a Low, Good and Very Good cut grade from left to right. Photo: Kevin Schumacher/ GIA

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

The first tip for buying a diamond engagement ring is to know: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. It was created by the GIA, the global standard for evaluating the quality of diamonds and allows you to compare one diamond to another.

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Once you understand what it means, the next step is to ask yourself “Which C is most important to me?” Prioritization will help you quickly eliminate certain diamonds from your search and narrow down the diamond that is right for you. It will also help you work with your budget, knowing which C you are willing to spend more on and which you are willing to compromise on.

These fancy diamond shapes include, from left to right: cushion cut, square emerald cut (called the Asscher cut), emerald cut, brilliant cut, oval cut, marquise cut and pear cut. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA

Before you start shopping for an engagement ring, you should understand the difference between the shape of a diamond and its cut style. Shape describes the outline of a diamond when viewed from above. The most popular diamond shape is round. But there are other shapes—known as good shapes—including marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, square and heart.

*Tip: Round brilliant diamonds tend to be the most expensive of all shapes and cut styles. Choosing the right shape can be a great way to save money and choose a unique center stone.

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Cut style refers to how the diamond’s features are arranged. A brilliant cut is popular because of how it enhances the diamond’s brilliance. This style of cut can be seen in a variety of shapes, from round to oval to square (princess cut) to marquise. The most popular combination of shape and length is the round brilliant cut, with 57 or 58 earrings.

Step cutting is another popular cutting style. Step cuts have long, smooth lines, giving them a beautiful, sophisticated glow. A popular step cut is the emerald cut—a square or rectangular shape with straight parallel sides and beveled corners. Conversely, a brilliant cut diamond also has a square or rectangular shape but is cut in a more elegant style.

*Tip: Step cuts tend to show more color and definition, while flared cuts are better at hiding color and inclusions. When you buy a step cut, you are considering a step up in color and clarity.

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

Daylight, fluorescent light, spot light – a diamond looks very different under different lighting conditions. Many jewelers use white light, which brings out the diamond’s sparkle and fire and will make most diamonds look brilliant. However, most everyday situations don’t involve such amazing lighting. Be sure to see how your diamond performs under moderate lighting conditions, such as outdoors in light or shade or under the diffused, bright light of an office workspace or the warm, diffused light common in most homes.

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Popular jewelry metals include yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum. Gold and platinum have different properties. Their colors can also change the look of a piece of jewelry and set off the color of the ring’s gemstones differently.

Yellow gold is a classic. It has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. It enchants because of its color, rareness and luster (the surface appearance of the material in reflected light). Pure gold is soft, so it is often mixed with other metals. Karat is the term used to describe gold jewelry, which is based on 24 parts. 75% pure gold—18K gold—is 18 parts gold and six parts other metals to make up the alloy. Most popular jewelry in the U.S.—14K gold—14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.

*Tip: Metals with a higher gold value will be richer in color, harder, softer (less prone to dents and scratches) and more expensive.

Rose gold has been a popular choice for many years. It was commonly used in engagement rings during the Retro period (1935 to 1950s). It is usually made by alloying gold with copper and silver, which gives it a warm, pink tone. Companies are very careful about their special combinations.

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Moval Collection of Rahaminov Diamonds. Set in 18K rose gold with a total of 5.31 carats of diamonds.

White gold is made by mixing 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 often plated with rhodium, a platinum group metal, to make it whiter. This can wear off over time. White gold jewelry often needs to be replated, or a slight yellowing of the white gold underneath may begin to show. This is easy and inexpensive to do, however; just ask your local jeweler for this service.

Platinum is a slightly grayish white metal that is durable and resistant to corrosion. Because platinum is soft in its pure form, it is often alloyed with other platinum group metals such as iridium or ruthenium. Source: Rahaminov

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, jewelry containing at least 95% platinum (5% alloys) may be marked “Platinum;” some platinum alloys are marked according to Federal Trade Commission guidelines. Platinum is generally more expensive than gold, but it is also hypoallergenic and durable.

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White gold and platinum are good choices for diamonds that are graded colorless to near-color—D to J on the GIA color scale—as they highlight the diamond’s lack of color.

The color of the metal shows throughout the diamond. Setting a colorless diamond on yellow prongs can cause it to appear yellow in appearance. Gold and gold settings often benefit diamonds with lower color grades or colored diamonds or colored stones as they can help enhance the color of the gemstone. If you have a diamond that has a distinctive yellow or brown color, a white gold or platinum setting can contrast the color of the stone with contrast.

If you like yellow gold or rose gold color, use white gold or platinum prongs or bezels to set diamonds and pair with yellow or rose gold bands. This way, the diamonds will appear more colorless while you get the style you want.

The diamonds in this ring are set in platinum to show that they are colorless. Rose gold bands are woven throughout the contrast. Courtesy: Sylvie Collection

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In jewelry, diamonds are held in place by settings. The setting has two functions: to hold the diamond in place and to protect it from damage. Different settings provide different levels of protection.

The six-prong setting on this solitaire engagement ring provides additional protection for the diamond. Courtesy: JK & Co Jewelers

This ring has a bezel set with a princess cut diamond, surrounded by a diamond halo with latticework and millgraining.

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

Side stones are a brilliant way to dress up an engagement ring and make it look grand. Popular options include making the ring a three-stone ring, adding a halo, including a channel, pavé or diamond bead set along the shank of the ring, and adding colored gems or birthstones. If you are looking for side stones of a diamond, choose those that are the same size as the center stone. Having the same color range is very important if you want the stones to match.

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Emerald is May’s birthstone. These pear-shaped emeralds give this ring a unique look, and the diamond halo adds a luxurious touch. Photo: Ziva

Three Stone Ring: A three stone ring, also known as a trinity or trilogy ring, symbolizes friendship, love, and loyalty, or past, present, and future. To add to its romantic meaning, you can combine birthstones for a personal touch.

Sapphire is the birthstone of September. It symbolizes loyalty and royalty, and the contrast in color can really make a diamond stand out. Source: Omi Privé

Halo Setting: Adding melee diamonds around your center stone and on the shank can make the center stone look larger and add more sparkle to your engagement ring. Most rings have a single or double halo but there is no limit to the number of halos you can add!

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring

This ring features a 0.42 carat marquise-cut diamond center stone set in a triple-halo of pink and white brilliant-cut diamonds. The triple-halo makes the ring look bigger and so does the split shoulder band studded with melee diamonds. Source: Yael Designs

Cluster Setup: Cluster setups are a great way to maximize brightness at a very affordable price. Small diamonds are less expensive than large ones and can be set in a way to create the illusion of one large diamond. Small diamonds are also arranged in unique designs.

This cluster style ring has a small diamond in the center surrounded by a halo with many small diamonds set in a flower motif. Additional diamonds greatly increase the size of this ring and add sparkle throughout. Source: Kat Florence Atelier

What To Know When Buying A Engagement Ring

What is your ring style

Things To Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring


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