~ Guide to Simplify Buying an Engagement Ring ~
Budget For An Engagement Ring
The first thing you want to do is establish a budget. This helps you focus on selecting the kind of diamond engagement ring you will purchase and it will also limit the sales-persons attempt to lure you into buying a diamond engagement ring out of your budget. Guys usually spend 2-3 months of their annual salary on a diamond engagement ring.
Marriage Tip: It is better to get a less flashy diamond engagement ring and upgrade in the future, as financial disputes is cited as a primary reason for separation. Plus, you could use the extra money for your honeymoon.
Where To Buy The Diamond Engagement Ring
When you buy a diamond engagement ring online, you have to be prepared for the fact that you just might not like what you get, and might have to return it. However, buying an engagement ring online definitely has its advantages though. One big one is the price. You will typically spend at least a thousand to two thousand dollars less than if you bought at a retail store simply because retail stores have so much overhead they have to pay and to recoup that money they add it to the price of your diamond and ring.
Always make sure you have a clean, crisp picture of the diamond, or at least a GIA / EGL certification to the diamond. Always make sure wherever you buy it from has a money back guarantee. This way you can always return it for another one, get your money back, or try another store. If you have the time, a money back guarantee, and nice pictures to look at and/or a diamond certification to go off of, you will find that a lot of the negatives from buying online are taken way.
Buying the Center Diamond for your Ring
You choose a diamond based on the 4 C's
Out of the four C's, the cut is most important. That is because the cut of the diamond is the single biggest factor on how well your diamond will sparkle. However shiny the diamond is all depends on the cut and the way light reflects off of it. Skilled professionals use exact proportions to cut the stone; if they are not careful, the diamond can easily lose its brilliance, even if the color and clarity of the diamond are perfect.
For example, if the stone is cut too shallow, light escapes from the sides, but if the stone is cut too deep, light escapes from the bottom. The cut of a diamond is often thought to be the same as the shape of the diamond, but I assure you, it isn't. The cut affects the way light passes through the diamond, while the shape of the diamond is its physical shape. You know when you look at a diamond and you see all those different sides within the diamond and it's all sparkly? That's the cut of the diamond.Note: Pick brilliance over size. Remember that the cut facilitates the brilliance of the diamond. The more brilliance, in most cases, the size of the diamond decreases. If the stone is cut for size, it will lose brilliance.
Clarity refers to the presence of microscopic features that formed within the diamond as it crystallized. If a diamond is absolutely perfect with no flaws whatsoever, it is considered Fl (FlawLess) or IF (Internally Flawless) . If it has minute imperfections, it is considered VVS (Very Very Small inclusions) . If it has minor imperfections, it is considered VS (Very Small inclusions) . Then SI (Small Inclusions) and then I (Imperfect).
Here's a great trick to know. SI1 clarities (when graded by GIA) have absolutely no visible inclusions to the naked eye. Meaning you can't see a single imperfection without a loupe or 10x magnification. Anything higher than a SI1 in clarity has the same distinction. You can't see any inclusions with the naked eye. However they cost much more. That's why when searching for a great clarity look for SI1 in clarity. It's the best bang for the buck.
Notice the clarity is an SI1, NOT Si2, SI3, I1, I2, or I3. Anything below a SI1 will show inclusions to the naked eye. Anything SI1 and above will not. Please note this only applies to diamonds graded by the most respected grading lab in the world; GIA.
All diamonds are almost always clear or white. The most transparent, clear, colorless diamonds are classified as D. Diamonds range from being classified as D to Z, as Z is still clear, but tainted with some color. They are graded by flipping over the diamond and viewing the stone upside down on a non-reflected white background. Even if the diamond is colorless from the top where everyone sees it, but tainted at the bottom, it is still classified as tainted. While typically the most popular diamonds are colorless, there are some diamonds that have color, which are not graded on the D to Z scale. Some diamonds are blue, pink, black, orange, purple, yellow, etc. The system that grades colored diamonds is called the "fancy colored diamond grading system. There are also fluorescent diamonds that can be seen through ultraviolet rays.
Hint: It is difficult to tell the difference between a D and G. Opt for a color between g and j, you will get a nice engagement ring at a nice price.
Warning: Some jewelry stores use a special type of ultraviolet light. This can distort the color reflected from the diamond, making it appear more white than it actually is.
The carat of a diamond refers to the weight of the diamond. A 1 carat diamond is equivalent to saying 100 points. 150 points is a 1.5 carat diamond. Naturally, the heavier and larger the diamond is, the more expensive the diamond will get.
A Handy Trick: When dealing with diamonds, you will find the diamond price jump dramatically in some cases when it reaches a magic half number. For instance the price of a .49 ct. diamond can be several hundred less than a .50 carat diamond. The difference between a .95 - .99 carat diamond can be as much as thousands of dollars cheaper than if you purchased a 1.0 carat diamond. Those magic numbers can really increase the price. So if you can stay under the numbers. Ex. .49 vs .50, .98 vs 1.0, 1.45ct. vs 1.50 carat diamond, etc...
Diamond Engagement Ring Settings And Bands
Setting and Diamond Center Rings
When it comes to searching for the right engagement ring, platinum and gold are the most popular. Platinum tends to be a favorite for many people because of its strength and durability. It also happens to be thirty-five times rarer than gold, so it could get a little pricey. However, the negative part about platinum is that it tends to scratch easily, but it doesn't tarnish. Gold doesn't scratch as easily, but it sometimes changes color after many years, depending on the metals the ring was put together with. White gold is pretty popular for engagement rings, but the problem with white or yellow gold is that it is not as strong as platinum or palladium and if it is white gold, the color tends to go back to being the original yellow, since white gold is man-made through rhodium plating. Typically, most gold engagement rings are 14 - 18 karat.
Once you know what kind of engagement ring you're looking for, keep in mind that besides the regular solitaire setting, there are also sidestone settings and matching bands. Solitaire settings are rings with just the diamond in the center and sidestone settings are the same as solitaire, but the sides of the ring are adorned by smaller diamonds. Matching bands are two rings that account for one engagement ring. While one ring holds the diamond(s), the other ring is simply a band that assists the main ring. There are so many types of rings that differ in size, weight, and carats; you want to be sure she'll like it and that it fits her.
Hint: Selecting white gold, palladium or platinum as your engagement ring metal has major advantages. All the light reflecting off your ring will be white, and that white light will hit your diamond, making it appear even more clear and sparkling. Yellow settings, sometimes, can have a negative effect, as the light reflecting off your yellow gold ring will be more yellow in tint and that will reflect in your diamond as well.
The Ideal Diamond Engagement Ring
Deciding how much to spend on your girlfriend's engagement ring is always a tricky decision. It should depend on your salary, but roughly speaking, it should be about two to five months salary. You can definitely spend over that, but the minimum amount you should pay should at least be two months salary. According to diamond engagement ring statistics the typical amount spent by men to buy diamond engagement rings is roughly 2 months worth of salary.
After you figured out what kind of jewelry she likes, measure her fourth finger with a measuring tape or string so you get the exact measurement. To be a teensy more inconspicuous than that, you might want to "borrow" one of her rings for a day or two, take it to a jewelry store, have them fit the engagement ring using her other ring and then place it back before she realizes something is missing.
The size of the ring remains totally up to you and what you think your girlfriend would like. As I mentioned before, if her hands are small and delicate, a smaller diamond might look nice on her finger, but you could always go with a bigger diamond if you wanted to. If she has large hands, a smaller diamond would probably make her hand look larger, so it is advised that you go with a bigger diamond.
Loose Diamond Certification
Make Sure Your Diamond is Real
When you go shopping for a diamond ring, you want to be positive that all the diamonds you are looking at are certified. Certified diamonds verify their authenticity. Once a diamond is certified, the certificate claims that the diamond has been inspected and all the specific details (the 4 C's) about the diamond are written.
There are many different labs where diamonds can get certified. Just to name a few, there's Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gem Society Laboratories (AGSL), European Gemological Laboratories (EGL), International Gemological Institute (IGI), and Gem Certification and Appraisal Lab (GCAL). GIA and AGS are especially well-known and respected. Whatever these two companies say your diamond is, it is! No insurance will argue with it. Period. Any other diamond grader is usually off by 1 - 3 grades on what they "claim" it is. This is why diamonds not graded by GIA or AGS are cheaper, because what they are can be argued. Beware of purchasing any diamond not graded by GIA or AGS. The next best one is EGL USA. They are usually on the money, or about 1 grade off. If the diamond certificate does not say EGL USA, but only EGL, it's not the same thing. It needs to be GIA, AGS, or EGL USA.
Certifying your diamond engagement ring can cost anywheres from 50 dollars on up. Sometimes a good trick is to buy a non certified diamond engagement ring, than send it out for certification. This will help with insuring the ring later on. Which is something you definitely want to do. This is called a trick because if a dealer, no matter who, knows that they are selling a GIA, EGL, IGI, etc.. certified diamond they will command a higher price, sometimes 1000's of dollars more when you could save those thousands of dollars and just pay the 100 dollars to certify it yourself.
Engagement Ring / Loose Diamond Tips
More Tips ...
Ways to get her ring size without arousing suspicion from her, her friends, and family.Take one of her rings, and press it between 2 bars of soap. This allows for an impression to be brought to the jeweler. Another way is to outline the ring on a sheet of paper with a pencil/pen . Or you can take her ring and mark where it stops on your finger. Get more info on diamond ring size.
Spot a Fake Diamond
Here are a few tips to know if you are trying to discover if your ring is a fake. This only works when the ring is not set yet. If you place a diamond over a book or a newspaper and you can see the words clearly, yet distorted, it is not real. A real diamond would refract too much light for you to even see through it. Diamonds have flaws in them, and it might be a little odd if a diamond has no flaws, except if it is considered an FL or IF by GIA or AGS. So if someone tells you your stone is completely flawless without verification for either GIA or AGS, you'll want to get that checked out since fake diamonds are usually flawless.
In-House Diamonds / Non-Certified Diamonds
If you are buying a diamond online and the diamond is graded “in-house” or graded by “other” it’s best to have the store pull the diamond out for you and personally inspect the diamond to make sure it’s eye clean. This can not be stressed enough.
The History Of The Diamond Engagement Ring
All throughout history, diamonds were considered a symbol of strength and protection. Diamond rings have had the connotation of representing love, prosperity, and spirituality. No doubt, diamonds are also used as engagement rings because of their extreme hardness symbolizing eternity and the circular band symbolizing unity in hopes of an unbreakable marriage. Though the exact history as to how diamonds became involved with engagement rings is quite unclear and muddled, it can be traced back to as early as 800 BC where they were first discovered in India.
In Rome, Pope Nicolas I made a law stating that a gold ring is required for engagements to confirm that it was an arranged marriage and also as a financial commitment made by the groom. The ring would mean that groom had paid for his wife, making her his property. In ancient Egypt, engagement rings were worn on the ring finger of the left hand because that was the finger which was believed to have the "vein of love" flowing straight from the heart. In ancient Greece, the ring was considered to be more of a promise ring between lovers, friends, and even masters and slaves. In catholic tradition, the priest will count the ring finger, after declaring "In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Did you know? The first diamond engagement ring ever to be recorded and begin its long tradition was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented a diamond ring to his future wife, Mary of Burgandy.