Getting engaged is one of the most important steps a couple can take on their journey together. This ring symbolizes a promise of eternal love, devotion, and commitment. While we all define the perfect ring differently, there are several tips every shopper should know when selecting one. In this buyer's guide, we'll discuss how to find the perfect diamond engagement ring.
Set a Budget
Before browsing online or going into jewelry shops, decide how much money you want to spend on the ring. The price of fine jewelry can be drastically different based on specific areas such as the 4Cs, natural vs. artificial diamonds, and the type of metal used for the band.
As you set your budget, remember that better quality diamonds come with a higher price point; the average ring costs between $3,000 and $4,000. Of course, you can still get a beautiful ring for around $1,000 if you reduce the carat size.
Understand the 4Cs
We've mentioned the 4Cs of diamonds—carat, cut, clarity, and color—but what does all that mean? Experts use these factors to determine a diamond's overall quality, impacting the price.
Carat relates to diamond weight, so larger gems tend to cost more money. Remember that the carat does not have to reflect the actual size of the diamond, as you can have two diamonds with the same measurement, but if one is denser, it will have a higher carat weight. Despite this, the carat does impact size a majority of the time.
Nearly everyone loves a dazzling ring that sparkles under the light, and cut impacts this. Diamonds with a higher cut grade appear more brilliant because of the way they interact with light.
Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes in the stone, with flawless (FL) being the best you can get. However, an FL diamond is also among the most expensive due to its rarity. Most diamonds in engagement rings are VS1 – VS2, which is mid-range for clarity.
This is not color as in pink, blue, yellow, or green—those are fancy diamonds. Color in terms of diamond grade pertains to it being colorless. More expensive diamonds have less color, while the priciest diamonds have no color. This range goes from D, the best, to Z, the lowest rating.
Decide Between Natural vs. Lab-Grown
Another major decision you'll need to make before purchasing is whether you want a natural or lab-grown diamond. Nowadays, many shoppers worry about the ethics surrounding natural diamonds as some companies rely on child labor and other inhumane practices to obtain them. However, some jewelers rely on ethical sourcing to get diamonds without harming the earth or the community.
Lab diamonds hold the same beauty as real ones, so much so that the average person can't tell the difference between that and a natural one. Another great thing about lab-grown diamonds is that they come at a lower selling point than natural ones. This means you could purchase a much larger gem or one with superior clarity for your budget than if you were to buy a natural one.
Natural diamonds come at a higher price point than lab-grown diamonds due to their rarity. These diamonds also increase in value over time, while lab-grown ones don't. Experts can always create more manufactured diamonds depending on public demand, whereas natural diamonds are finite.
Shop for Ethical Diamonds
Windy City Diamonds is a Chicago jeweler that sells beautiful, naturally mined diamonds. Purchase ethically sourced diamonds to create a unique engagement ring!
Know Your Partner's Preferences
This buyer's guide to diamond engagement rings would be incomplete without mentioning the importance of preferences. Think about your partner's style and what they enjoy wearing when it comes to jewelry. Most importantly, consider the following factors about the ring:
- Metal type
If you feel unsure, don't hesitate to talk with your partner about their jewelry preferences. Nowadays, many couples go engagement shopping together and then pop the question on a surprise date to maintain the exciting element of this special moment.
Rings come in various metal types to appeal to a broader range of people and budgets. While yellow gold is a traditional option, it can get expensive depending on the current market. Below, we've listed the common choices of the metal type you can choose for the engagement band.
- Yellow gold
- White gold
- Rose gold
- Sterling silver
When choosing a metal type, consider the care requirements to keep the ring in great shape. For instance, you'll need a jeweler to clean the ring once a year. Many recommend having a jeweler dip white gold jewelry in rhodium plating around once a year to keep the ring looking incredible.
There are many different setting options for engagement rings, and the best choice depends on your partner's preferences. Some of the many options you'll see at a jewelry shop include:
Each of these has a different look. In a solitaire ring, there's a single diamond to look at. On the other hand, a cluster setting requires at least two diamonds side by side. Cluster and halo settings can also make a smaller diamond look larger.
The center gem captures everyone's attention, and there are many shapes to choose from. Shape differs from the cut but can impact cut grade since some are better at reflecting light than others. A few of the many options you can choose from include:
There is no perfect answer to what shape you should buy because it depends on what the wearer likes most. Take time to evaluate your options to select the one that speaks to you.
Bonus Tip: Know the Size
Before buying a ring, you need to know your partner's ring size. If you're not sure, ask them. However, if you want the proposal to remain a surprise, bring a ring they already own into the jewelry shop for an expert’s help determining the size.
Buy From a Reputable Jeweler
Take time to search online for local jewelers and read through their reviews. Do they have helpful staff to sit with you on this journey? Picking out an engagement ring can be challenging, and you may have many questions. With an expert's help, finding your ideal band becomes easier.
Additionally, check the jeweler's website for ring options and their services. Ideally, you should buy from a jeweler you can visit if the ring gets damaged or needs cleaning.
Windy City Diamonds
If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, make an appointment at Windy City Diamonds! Our knowledgeable staff helps you find the right engagement ring for your partner. Buy a gorgeous ring to propose to your partner as you prepare for the next chapter in your love story.