Diamond Engagement Rings Guide

Diamond Engagement Rings 
Buying a diamond engagement ring is part of a much larger decision that goes far beyond jewelry, tradition, or money. The very fact that you're even considering such a commitment indicates that you've already made quite a journey. 

Step 1: Establish Your Budget
Spend some time exploring your diamond ring options. This time is for looking, seeing what's out there. Setting YOUR standards. Once familiar with the options, establish your budget based on your income, what you feel comfortable spending, and the type and grade of diamond you wish to purchase.
diamond buying guide point Your love cannot be measured by how much money you spend on an engagement ring. This is no time to be stingy or, shall we say it, cheap, but it's also no time for bankruptcy.

And once you've established your budget, don't allow a jeweler to talk you into going drastically over or going drastically under (for a supposedly "great deal") your budget.
Your engagement ring budget will be based on not only your income, but also your knowledge of diamonds (the "four Cs", certification, shapes -- see below), so you'll have a very good idea of both what you can afford and want to spend. If you've done your homework, there shouldn't be any big surprises at the checkout counter.

Step 2: Learn About Diamonds

To begin shopping for a diamond, you need to understand the four Cs of diamond evaluation:
  • Carat
  • Color
  • Clarity
  • Cut
By understanding these qualities you can determine which traits are most important to you, and you can find a balance between them that best suits your needs. To learn more about the four Cs of diamonds, visit our Diamond Buying Guide. Once you understand the "Four Cs," review the page on Diamond Certificates. Diamond certificates are the "blueprint" of the diamond and and certify the various grades (cut, color, clarity), carat weight, and additional aspects of the diamond (such as shape). Not all certificates are created equal -- be sure to read this section to know that the certificate you receive is worth more than the paper it's written on.
Additionally, be sure to review the different diamond shapes that are available.

Step 3: Learn About Ring Settings

The "setting" is what you probably think of as the "ring" portion -- the band, accent stones, and the prongs. Everything except the center diamond. Settings come in a variety of metals and styles. Most diamond engagement rings are set in gold (yellow, white, or "two-toned", and various karats) or platinum.
When selecting a gold band (yellow or white), we recommend 18K. That said, lovely quality diamond engagement rings can also feature 14K.
We strongly recommend against karatage lower than 14K.
Settings may also feature smaller diamonds or gemstones as "accent stones." Popular accent gemstones include: diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tanzanite, and more.

traditional solitaire diamond accents gemstone accents
Traditional Solitaire Diamond Accents Gemstone Accents 
To learn more about platinum, gold, and gold karats, read our Precious Metals Guide.

Step 4: Design Your Ring

diamond engagement rings First, don't be surprised when you visit the better online Diamond Jewelry Stores and discover that they display the engagement ring setting without a center diamond. At these stores, you select both the setting and the diamond (as opposed to a "pre-set" ring where someone else has already chosen the (uncertified) diamond for you).

diamond engagement rings diamond engagement rings diamond engagement rings
Round Brilliant Princess Pear Shape 

There are two basic parts to every diamond engagement ring: the Setting and the Center Diamond. The "setting" is the "ring" portion the band, accent stones, and the prongs.
When designing your own ring, which one do you select first  the setting or the center diamond? Well, that depends.
If either you or the recipient has a heart set on a "princess cut" diamond, you better start with the diamond selection. Not all settings can accomodate all diamond shapes and sizes, so if you already have an idea what the center diamond will look like, start there.
On the other hand, if either of you have a heart set on a platinum setting, start there and review the platinum options (which will include traditional plain bands, bands with accent diamonds, and bands with colored accent gemstones).

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