How to Buy a Diamond Ring

Three Methods:Shopping for QualityGetting the Best DealBuying the Ideal Diamond

A ring is a never ending circle that symbolizes eternity. When proposing marriage, this represents a never ending circle of love for someone. And what better ornament for the symbol of your enduring love than a precious stone reputed to last forever, a diamond? But before you buy a diamond ring, you'll have to figure out just what kind of diamond best suits the person you're buying it for and evaluate potential diamonds and settings.

Method 1
Shopping for Quality

  1. Image titled Buy a Diamond Ring Step 5
    Select a cut that maximizes sparkle and beauty. The cut of a diamond will influence how the stone redirects light, causing it to glitter. Many consider this to be the most important feature of a diamond ring. Even an expensive diamond, if cut poorly, can look lackluster. The main categories of cut are:[1]
    • Ideal cut (sometimes called "Excellent"), reflects the most light possible back to your eyes, making the diamond sparkle brightly.
    • Very good cut, reflects slightly less light back to your eyes than an ideal cut.
    • Good cut, reflects most of the light that enters the diamond back to your eyes.
    • Fair cut, reflects noticeably less light than a good cut, but is generally considered to still be a quality gemstone.[2]
  2. 2
    Equip yourself with knowledge about diamond color. When a diamond seller talks about the color of a diamond, they're actually referring to its lack of color. Diamonds are rated on a scale that goes from D to Z. Diamonds that are perfectly white are the most desirable/expensive and are ranked at D.
    • Color grades can be minutely different from each other. Selecting a diamond with a unnoticeably lower color grade can save you a significant amount of money.
    • Ranks F to E will only have minimal traces of color that can only be detected by a professional gemologist.
    • Ranks H to G are nearly colorless. The difference between these and higher color grade diamonds will only be noticeable when compared side by side.
    • Ranks J to I will generally have a detectable warmth to their color tone, usually in the form of yellowness, but are still considered to be near colorless.
    • Ranks worse than I will have noticeable yellow tones coloring the gem.[3]
  3. 3
    Identify your ideal clarity. Even the most expensive diamonds will likely have minute flaws and imperfections. Gem experts call these "inclusions." For high quality diamonds, these inclusions may only be visible with a microscope. However, too many flaws or the wrong kinds of flaws can make your diamond cloudy.[4]
    • Clarity grades, from flawless to visible flawed, are rated: FL (flawless), IF (internally flawed), VVS1, VVS2 (very, very slightly included), VS1, VS2 (very slightly included), SI1, SI2 (slightly included), and I1 (included).
    • You might save some money by choosing an SI1 clarity diamond. These often only have flaws visible under magnification, making them a more economical purchase without looking cheap.
    • Before purchasing a diamond with a SI rank or worse, verify with the seller that the diamond is "eye clean." This means there are no imperfections visible to the naked eye.[5]
  4. 4
    Take florescence into account. Small amounts of boron are frequently trapped in diamonds, causing a slightly milky appearance in the stone. This is called "florescence," and it is rated from Faint to Very Strong.
    • Unless you are able to appraise a diamond in natural light to ensure there is no milkiness, you should avoid Strong or Very Strong florescent stones.[6]
  5. 5
    View potential diamonds from above. Looking at your diamond from above will give you a better idea of how the stone will look when placed in a setting. While most people evaluate the size of a diamond by carat weight (CTW), this can be deceptive. Even small diamonds that have been cut correctly can appear sizable.[7]
    • You'll also want to look at potential diamonds in many different kinds of lighting. Some stones look beautiful in bright light, but lose their appeal in everyday lighting.
    • Carat total weight (CTW) is the weight of all the diamonds in the ring, including side stones.
    • When only the CTW is listed, ask the diamond seller about the quality and weight of the centerpiece stone. If the seller does not want to share this information, this is likely a sign a sign that the diamond is low quality.[8]
  6. 6
    Pick the best shape for your diamond. The shape of your diamond will highlight different features. Round brilliant cuts will bring out the sparkle in your diamond. Step cut diamonds, like Asscher and emerald cuts, will reflect flashes of light as opposed to sparkle. Longer shapes, like oval, pear, and marquise cuts, can be suitable for longer fingers. Some other shapes for your consideration:
    • Round
    • Princess
    • Emerald
    • Radiant
    • Heart
    • Cushion[9]
  7. 7
    Verify the diamond is certified. You'll want your diamond to have been graded by an independent authority so you know you're really getting what you're paying for. This is also known as a certificate, and will include an evaluation of cut, clarity, color, and carat weight, as well as other attributes.[10]
    • The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and AGS (American Gem Society) are two major diamond grading authorities.[11]

Method 2
Getting the Best Deal

  1. 1
    Prioritize physical stores over online sellers. Online diamond sellers can provide a wide selection often at competitive prices. However, it's unlikely you'll be able to inspect the diamond before purchasing, which in some cases can lead to diamonds of unsuitable quality being purchased. For this reason, you should prioritize stores you can visit in person.[12]
    • If you do decide to go with an online diamond retailer, make sure the seller is well established and has a good reputation.
    • You'll also want to check that any online diamond seller you are considering sells diamonds from a certified diamond authority.
    • To evaluate online sellers, you may want to us a diamond report, like the Rapaport Diamond Report, the Troy Diamond Report, Ajediam Antwerp Diamonds Monthly, and the Gem Guide.[13]
  2. 2
    Purchase from mom-and-pop shops for better bargaining. Franchise diamond sellers are oftentimes held to corporate policies that make it more difficult to bargain. Smaller, family owned stores will likely be more willing to budge where price is concerned, or may throw in extras, like free polishing or a deal on insurance.
  3. 3
    Avoid designer fads and names. As with most products, popular brands will likely be more expensive than others. Two diamonds could be extremely similar except for the name attached to them, and this may be the only factor making one diamond ring more expensive than another.[14]
  4. 4
    Shop around before purchasing. Some stores may specialize in certain kinds of diamonds. In some cases, certain diamond rings may be one of a kind or only available at some stores and not others. To get the most extensive selection, you'll need to visit several diamond retailers.
    • You should also ask about the ability of a potential diamond seller to accommodate special requests. For example, you may want to use a combination of metals in the band to cut down costs. Some stores might not have the facilities to do this.[15]
  5. 5
    Negotiate the final cost, if appropriate. As previously mentioned, franchise sellers may be held to rigid corporate policies that make it difficult to bargain, and upscale diamond sellers might consider it in poor taste. However, even stores that adhere strictly to no bargaining policies still might offer other freebies to get your sale.
    • If you're shopping for a diamond ring with your partner, be wary of diamond sellers trying to convince you to spend more on a ring by upselling your partner.
    • Stick to your budget even when a "special" deal is offered. Specials are often a gimmick to increase sales.
    • If you miss a sale, inquire if its still available after the fact. Many times these kind of sales will still be available.
    • Don't let an emotional or pushy salespeople deter you from asking questions or taking your time. A diamond ring is a major purchase, and you should take your time so you end up with the right ring for you.[16]

Method 3
Buying the Ideal Diamond

  1. Image titled Buy a Diamond Ring Step 1
    Set a budget. There is a general expectation that when buying an engagement ring you should spend about three months of your salary on it. You shouldn't feel obligated to do this, as this idea came about as a result of a diamond seller's marketing campaign.[17]
    • In some cases, a less expensive diamond may suit you and your partner's sense of style and financial situation better.
    • Having a firm price range will help prevent you from being upsold when purchasing your diamond. Diamond merchants are salespeople, and will try their hardest to get you to buy the most expensive diamond.
  2. 2
    Discuss expectations with the recipient. If you're planning on surprising your partner with a diamond ring and a proposal, this may not be feasible. Still, you can bring up the topic as a "what if" situation, or you can get your partner on the topic by asking them their opinion on the rings of married friends and relatives.
    • A diamond ring is a significant investment and symbolizes a lasting commitment. Some diamond sellers have a limited return policy in case your partner doesn't like the ring you've chosen, but you should be sure to ask the seller about this if the ring is a surprise.[18]
  3. 3
    Account for style. You may notice that your partner prefers jewelry or accents that are gold in color. In this case, you may want to consider a gold band for your diamond ring. Similarly, if they prefer large, ornamental pieces, you may want to select a stone or setting that is more ornamental.
    • If you don't have the keenest understanding of your partner's fashion sense, you might want to ask family or a trustworthy friend what kind of diamond or setting you think might be best.[19]
  4. 4
    Utilize style trends while determining the best ring. There are many different variations of stone and setting, and this can make your buying the perfect diamond ring difficult. Current trends usually feature whimsical, organic, and vintage designs, like celestial, floral, and scrollwork inspired motifs. You might choose diamonds or settings in the shape of:
    • The stars and moon
    • An astrological sign
    • The shape of a favorite animal
    • Elegant and sweeping architecturally inspired designs[20]
  5. 5
    Inquire about the diamond setting. You may want a specific kind of setting for your stone, like one made of silver or gold. Depending on the facilities of the establishment selling you your diamond ring, they may or may not be able to provide you with the kind of setting you desire.
    • Just because a diamond retailer can't provide you with a setting doesn't always mean you have to go with a different seller. Ask how the seller can help you get the kind of setting you want.[21]
  6. Image titled Buy a Diamond Ring Step 3
    Purchase your diamond ring. If you have enough money saved, you may want to pay the entire cost outright, but since diamond rings can be so expensive, some sellers may offer payment options. Inquire with your diamond seller to find out if these payment options are available to you.


  • Avoid getting talked into buying a diamond of higher quality, clarity, or better color than you need. Some differences will only be visible under a microscope, but can significantly impact the cost.

Article Info

Categories: Engagement and Rings | Weddings