Diamond Engagement pear ring and halo ring on grass

How to Buy a Diamond Ring

Choosing the right diamond ring for you may feel like a task. It’s crucial to know exactly what you’re buying and ensure that you have the best quality for your budget. Our essential guide to buying a diamond engagement ring will make sure you feel confident about what you’re buying.

5th August 2019 Ernest Jones - Editor

Buying a Diamond Enagagement Ring

An engagement or indeed an eternity ring is one of the most romantic and symbolic purchases you will ever make. While it is important to choose a ring that is aesthetically beautiful, an engagement ring must also express its wearer’s personality and encapsulate the memories and moments that have shaped you as a couple.

The first step to buying a scintillating diamond engagement ring is doing your research. There are countless styles, settings, diamonds, coloured gemstones and precious metals to choose from. Knowing which shapes and cuts you’re most drawn towards will help your jeweller to prioritise certain key engagement ring styles and present to you the ones that most closely suit your tastes.

To support your journey towards finding your dream engagement ring, take a look at our essential diamond engagement ring advice below. Just remember to enjoy every second of your engagement ring experience; the confidence you have in your choice will shape the moment you propose and will inspire beautiful memories for years to come.

Find a Respected and Trustworthy Jeweller

A purchase of this magnitude and importance requires the advice of an expert. Choose a jeweller with plenty of experience in diamond engagement rings and the knowledge that will help you make an informed decision. With an established jeweller comes peace of mind, service and after sales care.

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Decide What an Engagement Ring Means to You

The most romantic engagement rings are deeply personal. You may choose an engagement ring for its solitaire diamond with a large carat weight, or perhaps you are more interested in the uniqueness of the diamond setting and its design value. Research the options available to you and decide what will influence your engagement ring choice.

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Advice for Buying a Diamond Solitaire

The most popular diamond engagement ring choice is a classic diamond solitaire. This requires some knowledge when making that all-important purchase. Diamonds are available in a range of sizes and qualities, so you will need to be prepared to discuss your budget and requirements with your jeweller.

Once they understand your wishes, your jeweller will help you to find a balance between the 4Cs – cut, colour, clarity and carat weight – in order to find the diamond that is perfect for you. If you are seeking something a little more unusual, you may choose a fancy colour diamond, such as yellow or pink, or perhaps a precious sapphire, ruby or emerald gemstone.

And although this knowledge is important, there is still that mysterious diamond quality to consider. Some say that a diamond speaks to them or captivates them more than others. This unique relationship between the individual and their intended diamond engagement ring is a special factor to consider.

Understanding the 4Cs of Diamonds

The 4Cs were invented in the 1940s as a standardised method of measuring the quality and value of diamonds. The higher a diamond performs in each ‘C’, the more valuable and coveted it will be for a diamond engagement ring.

Cut: Widely considered to be the most essential of the 4Cs, the cut of a diamond relates to the way in which each facet has been fashioned to reflect light. Only expert diamond cutters can create the perfect alignment of angles and planes that result in a scintillating stone with fire, life and brilliance. Only with a perfect cut will a diamond sparkle at its best.

Cut may also refer to the shape of a diamond, for example, a round brilliant-cut, pear-cut or cushion-cut stone. While the most important aspect of cut is the internal facets of a diamond, its shape is more about aesthetics and personal taste. If you are looking for a fancy cut or fancy shaped diamond, like a marquise cut, you will need to consider both the quality of its overall shape and the quality of its internal cut for the perfect blend of beauty and brilliance.

Colour: Diamonds are graded on a scale from D (colourless and the most desirable) to Z (a light-yellow colour). The closer to D a diamond is graded, the more valuable it will be. It is possible to use diamond colour to your advantage when choosing a diamond engagement ring. For example, hints of yellow in a diamond will be made more obvious in a bright, white platinum or white gold setting, but will be masked by the rich warm hue of yellow gold. If yellow gold is your first choice, you may be able to prioritise carat weight and clarity over colour to secure the perfect diamond.

Clarity: This refers to the imperfections or natural inclusions inside a diamond. The more microscopic the internal flaws, the better the diamond. Clarity can also refer to the ‘cloudiness’ of a diamond, a bit like looking through a pristine pane of glass versus a frosted one. Be sure to query both with your jeweller.

Some diamond cuts can mask very slight imperfections, whereas others can reveal them. For example, an inclusion will be more obvious if it falls in the centre of the large open table facet of an emerald-cut diamond.

Carat Weight: This is how diamond weight is measured. The higher the carat weight, the bigger the diamond. As single large diamonds are rarer than small ones, they command a higher price.

You may find that you can achieve the same overall carat weight from lots of little stones at a lower price than buying a single large stone. To do this, consider an illusion-set diamond engagement ring or halo-style diamond engagement ring.

Choosing a Diamond Engagement Ring Setting

A diamond setting refers to the way in which a diamond is held in place by gold, platinum or palladium. Settings can be practical, decorative or elaborately diamond-set, depending on your personal taste.

Claw or Prong Setting: This is the most common for diamond solitaire engagement rings and consists of four claws of metal that hug the diamond and hold it aloft toward the light.

Bezel Setting: Perfect for the woman who is active or works with her hands, the bezel setting creates a frame of precious metal around the diamond to keep it securely in place.

Halo Setting: For a more dramatic and sparkling effect, the halo setting features a border of smaller diamonds around a centre diamond. This often makes a smaller diamond appear much larger.

Channel Setting: The way smaller diamonds are set between a border of metal, often in the shoulders of diamond engagement rings to add extra light and sparkle.

Pavé Setting: From the French word for pavement, this setting features lots of smaller diamonds close together to create a flawless sparkling surface.

The Perfect Diamond Engagement Ring Style

The final decision you will need to make is style. Diamond engagement rings are incredibly diverse covering classic, contemporary, avant garde, romantic and edgy ring styles. This is where the wearer’s personality and tastes are an essential consideration. Here are some of the most popular engagement ring styles you can choose from.

Single Stone Diamond Solitaire: A classic diamond solitaire ring style is a timeless choice for contemporary brides.

Trilogy Diamond Ring: Draw inspiration from the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and select a three stone diamond engagement ring, said to symbolise the past, present and future.

Cluster Diamond Ring: This style features a centre stone surrounded by smaller diamonds in a creative pattern. Look to Princess Diana’s famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring, now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, for inspiration.

Creative Shoulders: Engagement rings can often feature unique details on the shoulders, or the two strands of metal that curve around the finger. Infinity diamond engagement rings are a romantic choice, as are diamond-set shoulders and twist designs that add a hint of drama.

Bridal Suite: The perfect pairing of an engagement ring and wedding band that fit snugly together and complement each other.

Choosing a diamond engagement ring is an exciting experience that can be made all-the-better with some extra knowledge and a little bit of research. For years to come, the perfect ring will be a symbol of lasting memories worn by one but shared by both.