How To Choose a Diamond for Engagement Rings

The diamond engagement ring is one of the most financially and emotionally important objects you will ever own. It is a hugely important decision, so it is completely understandable that many shoppers become overwhelmed when they first set out to purchase the all-important diamond engagement ring. But armed with a little time, some patience, and some good information, anyone can choose the perfect diamond engagement ring, whether for yourself or a loved one. Here are just a few of the major decisions involved in choosing the ideal engagement ring that will suit your budget and lifestyle.
Simon G. MR2948 Solitaire Engagement Ring
Simon G. MR2948 Solitaire Engagement Ring

Surprise Proposal Or Shop Together?

Decide whether you want it to be a surprise or a collaboration. Although fairy tale love stories seem to always feature the surprise engagement proposal, the truth is that more and more couples are heading to jewelry stores together. After all, chances are you’ve already discussed the idea of getting married in general; plus, the person who is going to wear the diamond engagement ring every day might want input into how to looks!

First Things First – A Certified Loose Diamond

If you are looking for a bonafide high quality engagement ring, start with a certified diamond as your feature stone. And remember, there’s now a high quality diamond for every budget with the emergence of lab grown diamonds in the last few years. They are real diamonds with essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural. And they a significantly less expensive.
Whether you have your heart set on a natural diamond or you are considering a lab diamond, make sure to get a high quality stone that is well cut. A diamond ring for engagement has to really shine! To learn what to look for spend a little time reviewing the 4Cs of diamond quality. Time spent understanding the basics of diamond light performance will pay brilliant dividends. In the end, it’s all about the fire and scintillation.
For those shopping elite level natural diamonds, the A CUT ABOVE® Super Ideal is a world class diamond brand. These gems in-stock, fully vetted and imaged, and immediately available exclusively from Whiteflash. The full specifications and qualifications for the brand are published on the website, and each diamond comes with a comprehensive assurance package including 100% Lifetime Upgrade guarantee.

Generic or Designer Setting

Once the diamond is picked out it is time think about the setting. Maybe you already had an idea of the style before the diamond selection, so now you are ahead of the game. Otherwise, no worries - there are plenty of beautiful settings to choose from and you are sure to find the perfect fit with a little browsing.
Tacori 46-2RD Sculpted Crescent Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 46-2RD Sculpted Crescent Diamond Engagement Ring
The classic tiffany style solitaire is the simplest and least expensive option. It’s tried and true as diamond engagements ring for women, and you cannot go wrong. It can be embellished later with a diamond wedding band. In the simplest iteration of the solitaire, it features a fairly thin band and a four or six prong head for setting the diamond. Most often it is a round diamond, but this style can be adapted for any shape.
Solitaire styles, which present the feature stone prominently, can also have some extra pizzaz, such as accent diamonds on the band, under the gallery, and even set into the prongs. You can choose from generic designs which can be produced by any competent jeweler or go with a brand name designer engagement ring for greater exclusivity.
The world of brand name designers is a domain to explore for more unique and artistic designs. The craftsmanship is reliably impeccable and many designs are visually head turning. Top brands like Tacori, Verragio, Simon G, and A Jaffe have been crafting the finest engagement rings and wedding rings for decades. In the case of A Jaffe for over a century! When you deal with a merchant who is an authorized dealer for these brands, you have access to the entire catalogues of all of these fine designers, as well as the benefits associated with their purchase. And most of the designers also offer some level of customization to add an extra personal touch to any one you choose.

What Size Diamond for Engagement Rings?

The size diamond you choose for an engagement ring depends upon several factors including budget, lifestyle, and personality. It can also be a cultural thing as people in some parts of the world favor smaller stones of elite quality, while in other parts it’s all about the bling factor and showy stones rule. With the emergence of lab grown diamonds the budgetary limitation has been largely lifted for many shoppers and that is definitely resulting in a trend of larger engagement rings.
Verragio Tradition TR180TR Diamond 6 Prong Tiara Engagement Ring
Verragio Tradition TR180TR Diamond 6 Prong Tiara Engagement Ring
Another trend we are seeing, particularly as a result of affordable lab diamonds, is an expansion in today’s market of the different diamond shapes for engagement rings. The significantly lower prices of lab diamonds have encouraged diamond shoppers in general to experiment with different shapes and faceting styles. Because the material cost is so much lower, cutters have little reason to save carat weight by compromising on cut quality with lab diamonds resulting in a surge of beautiful, high performing diamonds in all different shapes. As more people see the array of beautiful alternatives to the classic round brilliant, more shoppers for engagement rings are now taking a serious look at fancy shape diamonds, both natural and lab grown.

Custom Design Or Catalogue Setting?

One way to make sure that your diamond engagement ring is truly one-of-a-kind is to literally make it unique by having it custom designed to your exact specifications. You will get to choose every detail of the ring design, from the setting style to the design elements on the shank. However, buying a ring “off the shelf” doesn’t mean you have no choices. Most diamond engagement rings are sold as empty settings; the jeweler will place your choice of a certified loose diamond into the setting once you purchase it. And there are often ways to customize a standard mounting to personalize it and make it special.

Solitaire Or Diamond Setting?

A solitaire diamond engagement ring, in which the center stone rests in a simple setting with little or no adornment on the band, may seem like the most inexpensive option, but in order to create a really beautiful solitaire engagement ring, the diamond used for the center must be a top-quality certified loose diamond (natural or lab grown), in order to create the visual impact needed. Although embellished diamond settings are more expensive, they often coordinate better with smaller center diamonds. Ultimately, you have to decide whether you want to invest most of your budget into the feature diamond or allocate a portion of it for a more unique and exclusive setting. The affordability of lab diamonds is enabling more shoppers today to get their dream designer setting, which would have been out of budget with a natural center diamond.

The Diamond 4 Cs

Whether you intend to go with a natural diamond or a lab grown diamond, it is important to understand the basics of diamond quality so that you can shop wisely.
Diamond quality and price is determined largely by the diamond 4C’s – Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity. Basic understanding of these characteristics will enable you to be an informed buyer and that will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of diamond buying and help ensure that you get a great diamond at a fair price.
Although lab grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural diamonds, there are some distinct quality issues to be aware of when shopping. And they don’t always show up on a laboratory grading report.

In-stock Diamonds vs Virtual Inventory

Most shoppers browsing the internet do not realize that most of the diamonds listed for sale are not owned or even possessed by the merchant offering them. The listings are driven by a database of multiple diamond manufacturers who supply the information and images seen in the listings. In most cases the merchant has never physically seen the diamonds they are offering. This is known as ‘virtual inventory’ and it is very common for the same diamond to appear on many different websites and often at differing prices according to the merchants markup and value added benefits.
There are pros and cons to virtual inventory. It enables merchants to offer vastly better selection since they are not investing in the diamonds for stock and can therefore offer them at sharp prices. The downside as mentioned, is that they have never actually seen or evaluated the diamonds prior to selling them. And it is also possible that the diamond has previously been sold and is not available at all. This can be highly frustrating for the customer who spends hours, days, or weeks sorting through diamonds to find the one that checks all the boxes, only to pay for it and find out it is not available. This can be especially frustrating if you are up against a deadline and now have to go back to the drawing board.
Some companies do carry in-stock diamonds, both natural and lab grown. They have been fully evaluated and imaged and are guaranteed available. They are often diamonds of higher quality that conform with the company’s brand qualifications and specifications, and very often come with impressive benefits like Lifetime Upgrade Guarantees.

Round Brilliant Or Fancy Shape?

There are many advantages to the classic round diamond shape. First, they are the most common, so you will find the greatest possible variety in your certified loose diamond search. Second, they can be scientifically engineered for maximum light performance in a way that is not always possible for fancy shapes. Finally, many of the certifications and reports used to grade diamonds do not include an overall cut grade for shapes other than the classic round brilliant. This adds an extra challenge to shopping for them and being confident that you get a diamond with outstanding light performance. Fancy shapes, like emerald-cut, princess-cut, pear and marquise shapes, each have a unique style and elegance to them. They are more unusual than round diamonds and can really make a diamond engagement ring stand out. The affordability of lab grown diamonds is lowering the stakes and allowing shoppers more freedom to experiment with different diamond shapes.

Gold Or Platinum?

Once you’ve decided on the perfect certified loose diamond and the setting style, you have to choose your precious metal. Many jewelers, especially online jewelers with greater variety, offer the same settings in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. Each metal has its relative distinctive characteristics. Platinum is durable, valuable, and needs no rhodium plating. White gold has the same crisp white finish as platinum for a more affordable price, although it may need to be re-plated every few years to maintain its bright white luster. Yellow gold, and its lesser-known cousin, rose gold, has a unique vintage-y appeal that many diamond engagement ring buyers value, although white metal is the most popular choice for showcasing a colorless diamond.

Diamond Buying Guide

If you have read this far you are probably a candidate for our step by step diamond buying guide. Or you may prefer personal guidance from one of our friendly and knowledgeable diamond consultants. Our veteran team of helpful GIA trained diamond and jewelry experts work on salary, not on commission, so there is never any pressure to buy. Our mission at Whiteflash is to help you meet your goals and make an informed and confident decision on your important purchase.

Be Inspired By Our Designer Engagement Rings

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