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How To Buy A Diamond For An Engagement Ring

A jeweller that's long had a presence on UK high streets, the online selection at Ernest Jones encompasses engagement rings from three figures up to around 20,000, including high-end ring makers such as Vera Wang. With a wide selection of precious metals and ethically sourced diamonds in traditional solitaire form or clusters, it's one of the most accessible and diverse places to begin.

how to buy a diamond for an engagement ring

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A brand that can be credited with originating the engagement ring as we know it, back in the late 19th century, we all know today that few jewellers can incite quite the excitement as that which comes in a little blue box. Tiffany's legacy remains just as strong today, with many an expert-crafted engagement ring to choose from online. All are classics and, as with anything from Tiffany, it really is hard to go wrong.

With a passion for recreating antique ring designs for the modern landscape, Jessica McCormack specialises in romantic pieces imbued with a sense of history and luxury. For contemporary bling with a timeless attitude, look no further.

If not for its iconic floral fabric patterns, London department store Liberty would surely be known for its ground-floor jewellery selection. If you're looking for an engagement ring with an alternative gemstone to the traditional diamond, Liberty has plenty to offer, from deep green emeralds to multi-stone clusters. These alternatives are an increasingly popular choice and one look at the selection here will show you why.

Cartier's Solitaire 1895 is an icon in itself among engagement rings. It is timeless in its style and has been done in countless variations. Bands come in platinum, rose gold and yellow gold and, while the diamond classic tends to be the gemstone of choice for most, don't write off the sapphires, emeralds and rubies also available. Or, for something that ups the ante on ostentation, the Destinée Solitaire boasts a halo of cut diamonds that shine in every angle.

An online destination for gemstones of all varieties, Angara has a diverse range of jewels including topaz, amethysts and citrines. Not the most traditional proposals, but, for anyone seeking an alternative style with a more personal touch, something to consider. It's not short of traditional diamonds either, with vintage styles, such as the round Halo Circle ring pictured, in different, customisable metal types, carat weights and gemstone qualities.

There are pages and pages of engagement rings to mull over at F Hinds, a jeweller that offers quality gemstones at excellent value. Choose from classic solitaire rings, such as the one pictured, to those more sparkling bridal sets with central stones surrounded by decadent halo clusters on multiple bands. With a 30-day returns policy, it eases the frustration of not being able to browse in store.

Colour: Diamonds are placed on a colour scale: the less colour, the more valuable. A colourless diamond is the traditional route but you can also opt for something more modern and eye-catching like a yellow or pink diamond.

Cut: Round or princess (square) cuts tend to be the most popular, but there's an endless sea of cut variation available. This is when you might want to bring in a friend or family member to help advise on what shape to choose.

Sapphire: The second hardest mineral after diamonds, sapphires are traditionally beloved for their deep blue shade, but are also available in myriad colours, including yellow and pink (Princess Eugenie said yes to a blush sapphire ring). The stone became a popular engagement ring choice when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with a 12-carat oval blue sapphire and 18-carat white gold ring that originally belonged to his mother.

Emerald: One for the green lovers, emerald engagement rings have adorned the high-profiled fingers of Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly and Victoria Beckham (just one of her many engagement rings).

Ruby: Ranging in pink to blood-red shades, the ruby is held with high esteem in Asian cultures and is said to symbolise passion, wisdom and success. While it tends to be less common than sapphires and emeralds, Orlando Bloom recently proposed to Katy Perry with a floral-inspired ruby engagement ring surrounded in a halo of eight diamonds.

Aside from their simple beauty, Fenton's Solar Diamonds also come at a more affordable price than one might think. Where a Hatton Gardens one-carat diamond might set you back up to 5,000, one carat of Solar Diamond will come in at just 2,500.

White gold, yellow gold and platinum are all very traditional options, with rose gold now becoming more and more popular. There are many different metals, all of which vary in grade, strength, colour and price. Make sure the jeweller you choose is licensed and reputable and then begin firing them with questions.

When it comes to white (non-fancy) diamonds, most consumers can't tell the difference between diamonds on the very high end of the clarity scale ( like VVS1), and those lower on the scale which contain very slight or slight inclusions (VS1 or SI1). In the case of many SI1 diamonds, for example, the flaws are only visible under 10X magnification, although the price difference between a VVS1 and an SI1 diamond is considerable.

A diamond's polish refers to the smoothness of the exterior surface of the stone. When it comes to diamond's polish, a "good" grade is good enough for most cases. Most consumers can't tell the difference between a diamond with "good" and the more-expensive "excellent" polish.

The industry makes massive profits by selling to uninformed guys who walk through the door and want to buy the biggest ring they can afford (or stretch to afford). Jewelers do everything they can to make buying an engagement ring an emotional decision. And when you make an emotional buying decision, you spend too much.

Being a naive (at, at the time, financially irresponsible) 21-year old, I decided I would just buy a nice but modest ring and pay for it over time with a credit card. There were no shortage of jewelry stores in manhattan, so I shopped around at all the well-known jewelers like Zales, Kay, Tiffany & Co. I was smart enough, on my budget, to steer clear of Cartier, LOL.

I was turned off by the rather aggressive salespeople at Zales and ultimately ended up begin drawn to the brand mystique of Tiffany & Co. I put down $2,800 for a small half-carat round solitaire engagement ring in platinum.

The worst part? I ended up selling that Tiffany ring to a jeweler for a measly $750. You can never recoup the retail price of a diamond ring. But you get totally hosed when you pay such a premium for a brand.

If you want a highly-customized ring (beyond what you can design on these online sites), find a local independent jeweler to design the ring for you. And even in this case, you may want to buy a loose diamond online to use in the setting the jeweler designs.

If you want to buy an engagement ring your fiancée will love at the lowest price possible, first figure out: 1) What kind of rings she likes, 2) Her ring size, 3) Your budget and 4) how to compare diamonds using the four Cs. Then, visit top online jewelers to build her ring at a price you can feel good about.

From there, a simple solitaire setting will be the least expensive, costing a couple hundred dollars in 14-carat gold. Prices for settings can reach into the thousands for settings with sidestones or many small diamonds around the center stone.

Online jewelers make it easy to filter and compare diamonds by each of the four Cs, shape, and price. The only downside to this is that you might be overwhelmed by just how many diamonds there are to choose from in your price range!

With an independent jeweler, you may have more unique choices in styles and settings, as well as the ability to customize the setting if your jeweler does bespoke rings. Your local jeweler can, for example, reset a diamond you buy elsewhere or have in the family. It also feels good to support a local business.

Sites like James Allen, Brilliant Earth and Brilliant Earth and Blue Nile feature a wide variety of diamond engagement rings and the ability to build a custom ring by matching a loose diamond and setting. Like national chain jewelers, these sites have a spotless reputation so you can have 100% confidence in your transaction (no questions asked return policy, insured shipping, etc.)

How can they do it? Pretty simple: By not paying for 1,000 stores across the country. The rent at your local mall is not cheap. Nor is it cheap to pay a staff to sell the jeweler. The result? Near-wholesale prices on diamonds.

James Allen is the most competitive diamond vendor with more than 150,000 loose diamonds in inventory. They have been a leader in selling diamonds online and pioneered 3D imaging so you can see the exact diamond you're buying in exquisite detail. You'll find it hard to beat James Allen in terms of price or selection. Read our James Allen review.

Whiteflash is the home of "A Cut Above" diamonds which are among the best quality round- and princess-cut diamonds in the world. With superior diamond photographs and videos, Whiteflash's diamonds seem to come to life -- even online. Read our Whiteflash review.

Selection: You've probably been saving up for this moment, and want only the best for your future spouse. A wide selection, for both diamond and setting, can have a major influence on your decision.

Customer Experience: A positive experience means more than being treated well while you shop. From return policies to repair speeds, customer service matters when choosing where to buy your engagement ring.

Note: Some retailers employ tricks like providing the clarity, color, and carat weight BUT leaving out the cut. The cut (good, excellent, ideal) is used to identify a diamond's reflective brilliance, which is arguably the most important feature. 041b061a72


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