10 Things to Remember when buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

Buying a diamond ring can be a challenging experience for most people because of the large investment, inadequate information and too many choices. Here are some tips to help you navigate.Pink sapphire double halo engagement ring and matching contoured wedding bands

Find out what your girlfriend likes.

Do not rely on your instincts or attempt a grand surprise. It may end up costing you more. If you aren’t sure what diamond shape she prefers go for a Round Brilliant. Given the refractive index of diamond, a Round Brilliant has the most brilliance and been consistently the most popular shape.

Choose your jeweler just like you would select a doctor or a lawyer.

A knowledgeable jeweler will clearly explain the 4Cs’ – color, clarity, cut and carat weight; discuss small differences that can significantly impact valuation, and offer you multiple choices within your price range.

Emerald Cut Diamond Ring in Antique SettingDon’t just aim for the “big name” stores.

Due to the issues of trust, quality, etc some folks go for established high end 5th Avenue stores. While they generally sell well cut diamonds, their stones are not always the most balanced in value. For example, diamonds like I-J color VVS clarity sold at such stores are of slightly yellowish in color but of exceptionally high clarity therefore not the best value for your buck.

How to get the Best Value?

Get a ring that is “balanced” between the diamond and metal. For example, a ring made of 14K white gold has similar luster to that of platinum despite substantially lower price. The difference in cost could then be used for larger and/or higher quality diamonds. Also, instead of an elaborate mounting with several small diamonds seek the largest possible center diamond.

Cushion Cut Engagement RingWhen shopping for a certified diamond, insist on GIA certificate.

Gemological Institute Of America - GIA is the most respected lab in the world. Other labs use GIA terminology but are generally lenient in grading. For example, a diamond that is graded H VS2 by GIA could get F VS1grading from another lab.

Be wary of diamond certification.

It has become a standard practice amongst jewelers to offer a diamond certification (either in-house or one from an independent lab), no matter what size diamond. A certificate is only as good as the honesty of the jeweler and can be very subjective. While most jewelers use the terminology developed by GIA, some liberally upgrade their diamonds.

Engangement Ring, His & Hers Wedding BandDoes having a GIA certificate guarantee good quality diamond?

GIA does a pretty consistent job of grading diamonds. However, the science of grading diamonds is not perfect, because they use certain tolerance. Therefore one must learn to understand how different factors interplay in making the entire diamond shine bright or not. For example, a D-VS2 stone with average cut and strong fluorescence will be less brighter than a G-VS2 excellent cut diamond with no fluorescence. Therefore the G VS2 is a more desirable of the two, assuming both are certified by the same lab.

Small differences in identically graded diamonds can have significant impact on value.

On the same diamond selling website one finds several GIA certified identically graded diamonds of about the same weight almost 40% apart in price. Is this possible with a brand new car or a TV set? One example, a VS2 graded diamond with an insignificant white inclusion by the girdle is a very desirable one, whereas a VS2 diamond with an inclusion in the pavilion that reflects on several facets is a weak VS2.

Princess Cut Diamond Ring in Antique SettingDon’t buy mounted diamonds.

It’s impossible to correctly examine quality, weight, etc once the diamond is mounted. A diamond must be examined loose.

Buying on the web.

Internet is a great tool to learn but buying a diamond is not like purchasing an ipad. It is impossible for you to compare identically graded diamonds from your computer, there are several fake certificates in the market, there are several diamond enhancement treatments which a seller may or may not disclose and could have significant impact on the diamond’s value, etc.


A diamond does not have to be Flawless to be beautiful and precious. A well cut "eye-clean" diamond with no inclusions visible to the naked eye will sparkle almost like a flawless diamond. Therefore it is essential to consult a knowledgeable professional who will volunteer detailed information and get you the best value.