Okay, you are ready to “pop” the question, and you need to get a good deal on a diamond engagement ring. Of course, you have a limited budget. So how do you figure out what to buy?
Here are five shopping tips that will help you get the right diamond ring at the right price.
- Shop for the Diamond First. Whether you shop online or in-store, first select the diamond and then the setting (the ring itself). Avoid buying pre-packaged, diamond engagement ring products. Diamonds already set in a ring are usually lower quality and overpriced. By shopping for a loose diamond first, you can get a better quality diamond and still stay within your budget. At your local jeweler’s shop, you can more easily examine a loose diamond under a microscope or 10X magnifying glass (called a jeweler’s loupe), than one already in a setting. The diamond’s size and shape will also often dictate what type of setting to get.
- Read the Grading Report. Only buy a diamond of.23 carat or greater if it comes with a diamond grading report or certificate from a reputable gemological laboratory, such as GIA (Gemological Institute of America) which grades over 75% of the fine jewelry quality diamonds, or AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratories) a leading grader of higher quality stones. The grading report/certificate will verify the diamond’s carat weight and quality, including the color grade, clarity grade, cut grade, and other important characteristics that affect the diamond’s value. Reputable retailers will allow you to inspect the grading report/certificate before purchasing the diamond.
- Find Out What You Can Afford. Even before heading to your local jeweler or surfing over the Internet to find one of the leading on-line diamond
- Compare Diamond Prices and Verify Before You Buy. Diamond prices vary not only by a diamond’s size (carat weight) and quality, but by retailer as well. You should expect to pay 5 to 45% more for a diamond at your local jeweler, department store or jewelry chain store than if you buy over the Internet, depending on the diamond. But for that extra price you should expect to get individual customer service and will not have to wait for your purchase to arrive by FEDEX or UPS. Take charge of your diamond shopping and don’t be pushed into buying something you can’t afford or don’t want. Search online and compare prices, and visit several stores before deciding on a diamond. Then, before you buy, verify the price is fair by checking the blue book value for the diamond online.
- Buy With Her in Mind When Choosing the Shape and Setting. If you get the chance, window shop with her to see what shape of diamond and type of setting she would prefer. If you want to surprise her, you may need to ask her friends or a family member if she would prefer a yellow gold, white gold or a platinum setting. If she has thin long fingers, a Marquise shape may be better than an Emerald shape diamond. The most popular shape is the Round Brilliant, but it is also the most expensive on a per-carat basis. The Princess shape is currently a popular diamond for engagement rings and can be up to 10% less per carat than a Round Brilliant. More important than saving a few dollars is insuring she is happy with the shape of the diamond and type of setting, so do your homework before you buy.