Unfortunately there is no perfect answer to this question. However there are some key points to keep in mind when shopping for a diamond engagement ring to ensure you are getting the most for your money. While our primary business has always been working with clients who are looking to sell fine diamond jewelry, we have also continually worked with clients who are looking to purchase a new diamond engagement ring. Here are some questions that our clients commonly ask us:
1) Should I shop around for a diamond engagement ring? – I cannot stress this enough: Yes – shop around! You wouldn’t just buy a car from the first dealer you go to would you? You would shop around to make sure no other dealers in your area had a better price. The same is true with diamonds and diamond engagement rings – There can be a variance in pricing from jeweler to jeweler.
My Advice – Make sure to compare apples to apples. Meaning make sure when price shopping you are comparing the same carat weight, cut, color, and clarity diamonds.
2) Do I need to set a diamond engagement ring budget? – Our recommendation is yes. You will be more likely to overspend on a diamond engagement ring if you do not have a set budget in mind. Have an idea of what you are comfortable spending before starting to shop. When speaking with a sales representative be clear that you do not wish to see anything above your limit.
3) Do I need to buy a perfect diamond for a diamond engagement ring? – There is absolutely no need to go for a D colorless, Internally Flawless diamond. Remember, people are not going to be looking at the diamond with a loupe or under magnification while it is in a ring. So the only person that knows the diamond isn’t perfect will be you!
Here are some guidelines to follow:
– Look for a diamond clarity that is affordable, without large inclusions. This would be the SI1-SI2 range without “eye visible” inclusions (there are no large visible inclusions that jump out to you without magnification). Large black inclusions, and inclusions that reflect, tend to be more noticeable than white feather type inclusions.
– Look for a diamond color that is also affordable, without compromising a nice bright white color. There is certainly no need to go for a completely colorless diamond that will certainly cost a premium. We typically recommend F-H, and never going below an I color grade.
Here are also some additional tips that we give our clients who are going to buy a diamond engagement ring for the first time:
1) Do your research – When working with clients who are selling fine diamond jewelry, and clients looking to buy diamond jewelry, we always encourage education. Being an educated consumer can save you thousands of dollars on your purchase. This means being somewhat familiar with the “lingo”, and know what parameters are best suited to making your dollar go the farthest. I will go over some suggested parameters below.
2) Don’t ignore the Cut grade – When you are looking to buy diamond engagement rings, sales representatives focus primarily on the color and clarity grades of the diamond. Make sure to ask them what the cut grade is of the diamond you are looking at. My advice is to look for a Very Good to Excellent cut grade in a diamond. You can have a K color, I1 clarity diamond with an Excellent cut grade that will out sparkle and out fire a D colorless, Internally Flawless diamond with a Poor cut grade.
3) Sleep on it – My final piece of advice is to always sleep on it before making a final purchase – Don’t ever feel pressured to make a decision on the spot, because it could be one you regret later.
Buying a diamond engagement ring can be one of the largest purchases of a lifetime – other than cars and houses. With that can come a lot of pressure but keeping these tips in mind can help ensure you purchase a stunning diamond engagement ring without breaking the bank.