Congratulations on taking the first step into the next exciting chapter of your life! Buying a diamond engagement ring is a big decision that can become overwhelming for most people. Not only will it signify the beginning of your life together with your soon-to-be fiancé, it’s also potentially one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime.
Rather than stressing over the information overload on diamonds, we’ve done the homework for you to give you the definitive guide to buying a diamond and choosing the best engagement ring design for you and your partner.
Here are our top tips for buying a diamond engagement ring.
Decide on your budget
The first thing you’ll need to do before shopping for an engagement ring is to pick an amount and stick to it. This will save you both time and energy.
There are no rules when it comes to how much money you should spend on buying a diamond ring. Spend as much as you can afford and keep in mind that the proposal is only the beginning of your journey. After all, you’ll need to top it all off with a wedding and a honeymoon, plus whatever other plans you may have to account for financially.
Learn the 4C’s
Established by GIA, the 4C’s to keep in mind when comparing diamonds include: Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat weight.
Colour: Diamonds are given a colour grade between D and Z according to their saturation. When buying a white diamond, D is the highest colour grade available and means that the stone is as clear as a drop of water.
Cut: The cut of a diamond determines its sparkle and brilliance. Cut grades progress from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. When choosing a diamond, we recommend buying only those that are Excellent or Very Good in cut.
Clarity: You might have heard the term “VVS” mentioned in pop culture by the likes of Jay-Z and Post Malone and wondered what it means. VVS stands for “Very Very Slight” and refers to the diamond’s “inclusions”. Diamonds are formed under extreme pressure and heat conditions, and thus often contain imperfections either internally or externally.
The clarity grade scale begins with Flawless (FL) which are extremely rare as they contain absolutely no internal or external flaws when examined under 10x magnification. This is followed by Internally Flawlesss (IF), VVS1, VVS2, VS1 (Very Slight), VS2, SI1 (Slightly Included), SI2, I1 (Included), I2 and I3.
Insider tip: I1, I2 and I3 are sometimes also referred to by industry experts as P1, P2 and P3. The P stands for “Pique”, a French term meaning “mark” or “blemish”.
Carat weight: The weight of a diamond is universally measured in Carats or CT for short. A 1 carat diamond would weigh the equivalent of 0.2 of a gram. Diamonds that weigh under 1 carat will usually be referred to in “points”. So when you are looking to buy a diamond and the merchant presents you with a “fifty pointer,” they’re referring to a stone that is 0.50CT.
It helps to decide what is most important to you when it comes to the perfect diamond for you. Is size a priority for you? In which case you would opt for a “bluffy” stone that is larger and not the highest colour and clarity grade. If you have your heart set on that D VVS stone, perhaps you may like to look for a smaller diamond to suit your budget. It’s important to buy a diamond that is beautiful to you and your loved one and not base your decisions on something that will impress others. At Eternal Diamonds Australia, we get to know you and your preferences with an initial consultation to ensure that you are only presented with a curated selection of diamonds relevant to you.
Familiarise yourself with different diamond shapes
At Eternal Diamonds Australia, we offer all kinds and sizes of diamonds including the popular round brilliant cut as well as fancy cuts such as oval, emerald, marquise and more. These are the top 10 diamond shapes featured in engagement rings.
Round Brilliant Cut
This is the most popular of all the diamond cuts due to its timeless appeal and sparkle. When cut to ideal proportions, the 58 facets of a round brilliant diamond refract light to deliver maximum fire and brilliance. It also happens to be the most expensive diamond shape to buy. Another factor that drives up the price of a round brilliant cut is the loss of weight in a rough diamond to achieve a beautiful end product.
Referred to as “square modified brilliant” on a GIA diamond grading report, princess cut diamonds are identified by their sharp corners and square shape in most cases. The beauty of the princess diamond is largely dependent on the symmetry of its facets. GIA suggests that you draw imaginary lines vertically and horizontally through the centre of the stone and examine the facets to ensure that they all match up symmetrically. Colour is made more noticeable in a princess cut where the facets meet, thus we suggest that you opt for stones ranging between D to F.
This tear drop shaped diamond is a hot contender in modern day engagement rings, with celebrities such as Emily Ratajkowski, Paris Hilton, Ariana Grande and Cardi B all rocking the same shape. Pear shape diamonds are rounded at the top and taper down to a sharp point at the bottom. Its silhouette helps to elongate the finger which makes it a flattering choice for engagement rings. Like the princess cut and other fancy cuts, pear shapes display colour more than a round brilliant and therefore it’s best to stick to higher colour grades.
Oval cut diamonds have also gained popularity due to its elongated shape that flatters the hand. The elongated look of the stone also makes it appear larger without increasing the carat weight. As with marquise cuts, ovals have the tendency to display a bow tie effect whereby a dark area around the centre of the stone is visible to the naked eye. One of the best ways to minimise this effect is to choose an oval cut diamond that is shallower. A very dark bow tie signifies a poorly cut stone and should be avoided.
This is similar to the oval cut except that it has pointed ends. The elongated shape also helps to give the illusion of a bigger diamond. Like the oval cut, marquise cut diamonds tend to display a bow tie effect that can be seen when viewing the diamond from the top. Opt for a marquise cut diamond that is more shallow to avoid the diamond having a very dark bow tie. This is also why it’s wise to check out a marquise cut diamond in person before committing to your purchase.
The cushion cut has been around since the 1800’s and was once known by their original name, the Old Mine Cut. Modern day cushion cuts can either come as “cushion modified brilliant” or “cushion brilliant,” as their GIA grading report would state. Most cushion cut diamond rings feature stones that are square with rounded corners. However, some brides also like the look of an elongated or more rectangular cushion cut.
Appearing like a rectangle with cropped corners, the emerald cut is another elegant and classic diamond shape that appeals to romantic brides. Emerald cut diamonds are sometimes referred to as step cuts due to their pavilion facets’ resemblance to a set of stairs. This is also the most unforgiving diamond cut when it comes to clarity, as minor inclusions are made more visible to the naked eye than in brilliant cuts. Thus we recommend opting for an emerald cut that is higher than VS2 in clarity to achieve maximum beauty.
A predecessor to the Emerald Cut, the Asshcer Cut, or “square emerald cut” as it’s also known, is a square shape with cropped corners. Its facets are like straight lines that draw the eye to the centre of the stone and can appear more brilliant than emerald cuts. However, being a step cut means that it is also unforgiving when it comes to clarity and colour, hence we suggest you choose an Asscher cut stone that is high in both grades. Do keep in mind that this will drive up the price of the stone when choosing this particular shape.
Radiant cut diamonds are newcomers to the scene as they were only developed in 1977. Radiant cuts combine the brilliance of a round brilliant cut and the clean long lines of an emerald to deliver maximum sparkle. Found in either square or elongated silhouettes, the radiant cut features cropped corners like an emerald or Asscher cut, whilst also adding fire and scintillation with its brilliant faceting.
Perhaps the most romantic and feminine cut of all, heart shaped diamonds resemble a pear shape with a cleft at the top. When choosing a heart shaped diamond, it’s best to go for one with a cut grade no lower than Very Good to achieve maximum sparkle.
Pick your metal
Engagement rings are most commonly made in white gold, yellow gold, rose/pink gold or platinum. Pay attention to the jewellery your partner currently wears, whether it be a watch, earrings, necklace or dress rings, to identify what metal would best suit them. If you don’t already have a metal preference in mind, allow us to enlighten you on the differences between the options offered at Eternal Diamonds Australia.
18ct White Gold
The most popular metal used in engagement ring designs is 18k white gold, which contains 75% gold and 25% other metals such as silver or palladium. Our master jewellers at Eternal Diamonds Australia use 18k over 9k or 14k white gold as it is more durable and suitable for every day wear. White gold rings are also plated with a coat of rhodium to give it that whiter look. The need to have a white gold ring re-plated every 12 to 18 months in order to retain its bright “white” look may be a factor that can steer buyers towards using platinum.
18ct Yellow Gold
This traditional choice of metal contains 75% pure gold and 25% other metals such as copper and zinc. 18ct gold offers the most elegant aesthetic when compared to 24ct or 9ct and is also suitable for every day wear.
18ct Rose Gold
Also known as pink gold, this type of metal has gained popularity in recent years and is becoming a more common choice for engagement rings. It is created using a combination of gold and copper, which gives the final product its pinkish tinge.
For those that want the white gold look along with durability, platinum is a popular choice of metal. Although platinum engagement rings demand a higher price due to its 95% purity and density, they do stand the test of time and do not require re-plating to retain brightness. Platinum weighs more than the aforementioned metals, thus a platinum engagement ring will feel heavier than an 18ct gold ring.
Research your partner’s style
Marriage proposal is likely to be a topic that you’ve discussed time and time again with your significant other. And whilst you may want to keep the proposal and the ring itself a surprise, it’s still possible to scope out your future fiance’s preferred ring style to make sure you create something that they will absolutely love. Pinterest is one great way to find out whether your partner prefers a solitaire ring setting or one that features a diamond halo and side stones. Take a look at their Pinterest boards to see what their most commonly pinned rings tend to look like and draw inspiration from that. At Eternal Diamonds Australia, all of our rings are custom made to suit your exact needs. If you have inspirational images or references you’d like to emulate, contact us to workshop ideas and create the perfect ring for your loved one.
Choose the right ring setting
Choosing a setting for your engagement ring is just as important as choosing the diamond itself, as a setting has the ability to enhance a stone’s characteristics even more. The following styles are most common when it comes to engagement ring settings.
This type of setting features one centre diamond that is the focal point of the ring, and a plain band. The simplicity of the style allows you to spend more on the diamond as it is less expensive to create than other more intricate designs. In saying that, the simplicity is also unforgiving to a centre stone that is low in colour and clarity.
Adding a halo of small diamonds around the centre stone of your ring setting can add extra brilliance and size at a low cost. Pear shapes, Oval Cuts and Cushion Cuts all look beautiful and elegant when surrounded by a halo. To stand out even further, you may opt for a halo of small coloured diamonds such as fancy yellow diamonds or Argyle pink diamonds.
Adding small diamonds to the engagement ring band is an excellent way to add sparkle to the finished product. Side stones can be any size you’d like, and a consolation with Eternal Diamonds Australia can help you to decide on the best option to complement your centre stone.
Find your partner’s ring size
Determining your partner’s ring size is important as it helps to work out the cost of making the ring. It also saves having to get the ring re-sized after the proposal. If your partner wears rings as part of their jewellery repertoire, find a ring in their collection and trace a circle around the inside on a piece of paper. We can use this to determine their size.
Look at diamonds in person
E-Commerce has revolutionised the way we shop in the modern age. And whilst it’s absolutely fine to shop for clothing gadgets online without seeing the product first-and, it’s a different story when it comes to diamonds. A GIA certificate can tell you the specifications of the stone to an extent. But if you want to make the best decision for what’s about to be one of your biggest life purchases, it’s best to have some face time with an expert and view diamonds in person.
For example, a diamond graded as SI2 in clarity could contain white specs that are somewhat invisible to the naked eye, or it could also have black carbon inclusions that would dramatically lessen the aesthetic of the stone.
As an Eternal Diamonds Australia customer, you are offered a tailored experience when it comes to shopping for a diamond and will only be offered stones that best suit your needs.
Consider an “under-carat” stone
Diamond prices increase by 0.50ct increments. If you’re looking to buy a 1 carat diamond with little room for budget, consider a stone that is 0.90ct as it will be less expensive and will look just as big to the naked eye.
Wondering how to keep your engagement ring clean and sparkly? Take a look at our step by step guide on diamond care.
Ready to take your next step in buying a diamond engagement ring? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today and let us help you find your perfect diamond at near wholesale prices.