Engagement Rings

The hardest part is over – you’ve found the love of your life. Now is the time to find the perfect engagement ring and plan a beautiful proposal.

For most people, choosing an engagement ring is their first foray into fine jewelry. In the more than three decades that our family has been in the jewelry business, we’ve helped thousands of soon-to-be-engaged couples find the perfect diamond engagement ring, and we continue to share our knowledge with customers every day.

The process of buying a diamond engagement ring has changed since the Archduke Maximilian I presented the first one to Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, in 1477. Today, with information at your fingertips, all it takes is a few quick taps on your keyboard to start researching diamond stones and engagement ring settings from around the world. While you have ready access to diamond inventory online, there are still tried and true considerations when shopping for engagement rings. Here are our top seven tips:

1. Know Your Budget

Setting a budget that works with your life stage and lifestyle is a crucial first step. Historically, the industry has promoted a two-month salary guideline. Today, this feels somewhat out-dated. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice and one you’re comfortable with as a couple starting your life together. When researching diamond online, you’ll find that you have access to an unprecedented inventory of certified diamonds and the ability to compare prices. As a result, you’ll have many choices within your budget. By prioritizing the 4Cs – carat size, color, clarity, and cut - you’ll be able to narrow your choices and find the best value for the diamond’s size and the quality characteristics you seek.

To learn more about the 4Cs before beginning your search, visit our Diamond Education. When you’re ready, our diamond consultants are available via phone or live chat to help you find the best stone and setting for your budget. We have over 30,000 loose diamonds that are certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGSL (American Gemological Society Laboratories), or IGI (International Gemological Institute).

All certified loose diamonds on Diamond.com must meet a specific quality threshold before they are made available to you:

  • Diamond Cut = ‘Ideal’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Good’. We do not carry diamonds that are graded ‘Fair’ or ‘Poor’.
  • Diamond Color = colorless (D) to near colorless (J). We do not carry diamonds that are faint yellow (K) to light yellow (Z).
  • Diamond Clarity = IF (internally flawless) to I1, inclusions under 10x magnification. We do not carry I2 and I3 graded diamonds.

2. Start Thinking About Style

In 1953 movie, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe dazzled with the iconic rendition of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”. But of course, not just any diamond will do. Most women have an idea of their favorite diamond shape. Some will also have a preference for the ring setting style and metal type. You’ll want to choose a ring that not only symbolizes your love, but also suits her fashion taste and personal style. Today, it’s not uncommon for couples to shop together for an engagement ring. But if you really want to surprise her, you may consider enlisting one of her close friends or a family member to discreetly obtain the information you need.

Today, it’s not uncommon for couples to shop together for an engagement ring. But if you really want to surprise her, you may consider enlisting one of her close friends or a family member to discreetly obtain the information you need.

If you decide to go solo, think about her style. Is it classic and understated, bold and colorful, or somewhere in-between? If she’s a traditionalist she may love the classic, round brilliant diamond shape. If her style is highly individualistic, pink or fancy yellow princess-cut diamond may be the perfect choice. Please visit or Diamond Education to learn more about the different diamond shape and fancy colors.

Also, take note of the jewelry she typically wears. Does she predominantly wear yellow gold that looks beautiful against her skin tone? Or is she partial to cooler metals such as silver, white gold, or platinum? This will indicate whether she has leanings towards one color over the other.

3. Narrow Down Shapes

On Diamond.com, you’ll find the popular diamond shapes – round, princess, emerald, asscher, radiant, cushion, marquise, pear, oval, and heart.

Diamond Shapes

The most popular shape is the round brilliant diamond, followed by the princess cut. If your fiancée is a traditionalist with classic tastes, she’ll love the round brilliant solitaire. If her style is minimalist and modern, she may favor the emerald cut with its long lean lines or an asscher diamond that is a square emerald. Visit our Diamond Education to view and learn more about the different shapes.

4. Choose a Metal

Early wedding rings, such as those from the Byzantine era, were thick, gold bands, and it wasn’t until about 1600 that designs began changing, enabling the center gemstone to rise to a primary level of importance. Today, the type of precious metal you choose largely depends on personal taste. The appeal of platinum is in its durability and the soft patina it develops with wear over time. Platinum’s silky sheen creates a soft backdrop to the diamond, letting the brilliance of the stone shine through. It is also less likely to scratch than gold, making it the most durable of all the fine jewelry metals.

With the rising cost of gold in the last two years, the price differential between platinum and gold has narrowed, making it a more viable choice. Another consideration for those with sensitive skin is that platinum is the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95% pure, making it hypoallergenic.

Gold is the most malleable of all precious metals. For use in fine jewelry, gold is mixed with silver, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength and durability for every-day wear. Gold content is measured in Karats where 24 Karat gold is considered 100% pure gold. Both 14K and 18K gold are recommended for fine jewelry; they balance durability with gold content. Both are over 50% pure gold with 18K jewelry having a higher gold content.

The types of metal alloys used and the percentage of each, determine the various color shades of yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The color of the center stone – whether a color diamond or a canary yellow diamond – and skin tone are additional factors when considering a gold color.

5. Consider the Setting Options

Three popular styles of ring settings include the classic solitaire, a fancy setting with sidestones and a matching bridal set. When you choose the ring setting that the diamond will be mounted in, remember to consider the wedding band and how it will look coupled with the engagement ring.

With the rising cost of gold in the last two years, the price differential between platinum and gold has narrowed, making it a more viable choice. Another consideration for those with sensitive skin is that platinum is the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95% pure, making it hypoallergenic.

Gold is the most malleable of all precious metals. For use in fine jewelry, gold is mixed with silver, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength and durability for every-day wear. Gold content is measured in Karats where 24 Karat gold is considered 100% pure gold. Both 14K and 18K gold are recommended for fine jewelry; they balance durability with gold content. Both are over 50% pure gold with 18K jewelry having a higher gold content.

The types of metal alloys used and the percentage of each, determine the various color shades of yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The color of the center stone – whether a color diamond or a canary yellow diamond – and skin tone are additional factors when considering a gold color.

Ring

The simplicity of the solitaire setting makes it a timeless and classic choice. A solitaire setting with four prongs allows the most light to enter the diamond from all angles, maximizing its brilliance. Six prongs shows slightly less diamond, but provide slightly more security in holding the stone.

Fancy Ring

A fancy setting with diamond sidestones adds an extra sparkle to your ring, complementing your center stone. The sidestones are set evenly with the band in a channel setting, bar setting or with prongs.

Bridal Rings

A bridal setting is comprised of an engagement ring setting and a matching wedding ring to create a perfect fit and uniform look. Bridal sets come in classic solitaire settings or include diamonds. This also allows men to be more creative and personal in their own choice of a wedding band.

6. Make the Purchase

Your buying experience is best when it’s pressure-free. Plan ahead so you have ample time to learn about diamond quality and the characteristics that influence its price.

Shop around and price compare to find the best value in your price range. Certified diamonds that come with an independent, unbiased grading report from the GIA, AGSL or IGI allow you to compare stones with similar carat weight and quality characteristics.

Understand your jeweler’s return policy and adherence to the Kimberley Process before making your final decision.

You should also look for diamonds that are procured from authorized sources and validated through the Kimberley Process, an international certification process that uses strict requirements to control the production of rough diamonds and prevent illicit stones from entering the legitimate diamond trade. Additionally, loose diamonds should be graded by the world’s most respected grading entities, including the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the AGSL (American Gemological Society Laboratories), and the IGI (International Gemological Institute), so you and your fiancée can feel confident about both the social responsibility and the quality of your purchase.

7. Insure your Ring

The last step before slipping the ring onto your beloved’s finger is to have it insured. While the grading report for your stone offers a significant amount of information about the characteristics of your diamond, you’ll want to have the value of your ring appraised in order to establish insurance coverage. You may even want to consider re-appraising the ring every few years.