Choosing an engagement ring might be an uphill task. If you’re not well versed in diamonds, how do you go about doing it? Here at TWV, we share with you the tips we found was most useful in our diamond ring shopping. With this guide, buying your engagement ring will be a breeze.
The Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring for Your Proposal
1. Know your Ring
Each engagement ring is made up of a diamond and a ring setting. At some places (i.e. private retailers), you might be able to customize both aspects, which means you get to choose the diamond and setting you want. Engraving might be an option too! Customization usually takes 4-8 weeks, depending on your requirements. At commercial chain stores, most rings are already set, which means you can just buy them off the rack.
I hope this guide has helped you with your engagement ring purchase! Do share your experience with us below, and don’t forget to share this post with your friends if it has helped you. :)
2. Know your diamonds
As the famous saying goes, diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But how do you differentiate one diamond from the next? Diamonds all have certifications to accompany them, the most widely known being the GIA Certification. Now, let’s get a bit more technical… When choosing your diamond, look out for the 4Cs. That would be cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.
Under the cut, you might think it refers to the shape of the diamond, whether round shaped, pear, diamond, emerald, princess or more… The most common shape would be the round (brilliant) cut with the strongest hearts and arrows phenomenon due to its symmetry. But in fact, cut actually refers to the facets (angles & proportions) of the diamond, which determines how well they interact with light. When picking out a diamond, you’ll want one that sparkles immensely in light. Cutting is what determines that, and you should pay most attention to this factor. Diamonds that are cut too deep or shallow are bound to leak light, resulting in a more dull appearance.
For diamonds, the absence of colour would make the highest quality. GIA’s colour scale is as shown below, with D-H being popular choices. As the diamond goes down the scale the colour will start to depict a faintish yellow.
Diamond clarity would refer to whether the diamond has any “blemishes” or imperfections, called inclusions. Popular choices would be Flawless to VVS2. Though SI1 and SI2 are slightly included, you might not be able to see the imperfection with the naked eye (without a scope). Insider Tip! Try to avoid choosing diamonds with inclusions on the top and middle of your diamond, as it might have an effect on the light reflection of the diamond.
Now here comes carat, which is widely known as the bigger / heavier, the better. With all else being equal, diamond prices increases with carat weight as bigger diamonds are rarer to find. However, you cannot solely consider the carat factor as it does not mean that a 1 carat diamond will shine brighter than a 0.75 carat diamond. Shine depends more on the cut than carat size. A master jeweler with proper mounting and shaping can make a diamond appear larger than the carat might suggest. All in all, it’s important to consider the 4Cs as a unit. There will be scopes that you can use to check out your diamond specifications.
3. Find out what’s your budget
Before you check out the jewellers, it would be good to have a budget in mind. This makes it easier for the jewellers to show you the appropriate range when you visit their stores. Though some people take into account the usual practice of 1-3 months salary, I strongly suggest that you budget the ring accordingly to what you can afford. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that goes into your proposal that counts.
4. Research on your Girlfriend’s Style
What does she like? What is her usual fashion style? What types of accessories does she match her clothing with? I am pretty sure this is the part which stumps guys the most! If you are not planning for an entire surprise, it might not be a bad idea to rope your girlfriend into the ring shopping stage. Though there is a lack of surprise element there, in exchange you will be assured that you are getting a ring that she will definitely love in many years to come. Otherwise, you can check out jeweller’s websites or Pinterest for tons of designs here and here. You could even bring your girlfriend accessory shopping, and observe the type of designs that she is attracted to.
Read more: Where to buy Engagement Rings in Singapore >>
5. Decide on your Diamond Shape
Does your girlfriend like to be unique or different? Does she has a personality that stands out in the crowd? If so, you might want to consider fancy cuts like emerald or pear. You could even play around with gemstones like sapphire or rubies, which will definitely give a royal feel to the wedding. Insider Tip! As the round brilliant cut is the most common (and popular) the market, commercial chain retailers usually carry (only) that range. Any rare fancy cuts in those stores are either really expensive or have to be customized. When we were shopping for a pear-shaped ring, the starting quote at the commercial stores was above 10K. Therefore, if you are looking for fancy cuts, you might have a better chance with private jewellers.
6. Choose your Ring Setting
When choosing engagement ring settings, you can decide if you want to have side diamond embellishments. This is made possible at the custom jewellers. Whichever shape/design you choose, it’s important to ensure that the shape of the diamond matches the setting, and the entire ring design is timeless in nature. Choose one that best fits your girlfriend’s personality.
7. Check out your diamonds
Usually, jewellers will allow you to examine the diamond/ring with different scopes, the most common one being the hearts & arrows scope.
The hearts and arrows scope allows you to see the symmetry of the diamond. the hearts and arrows stand out the most in an ideal brilliant cut. It’s important to note that with different diamond shapes, the hearts and arrows will differ.
At Jann Paul, they showed us the ASET (Angular Spectrum Evaluation Tool) & Ideal scope which allows us to see the light return performance of the diamond (depending on the cut). If you want a brightly sparkling diamond, you will want to ensure that the light return is good, and does not have light leakages. A poorly cut diamond will have a lot of leakages (depicted by white areas).
8. Measure her ring size
One way would be to take her other rings and see which finger it fits on yours, using that as a gauge when doing your ring shopping. Of course, you will need a ring that she wears on her left-hand ring (fourth) finger, which might not be easy to find. Another way would be to estimate and get it resized after the proposal. Be sure to over-estimate slightly, and not under-estimate. You will want to be able to slide the ring on her finger when you propose.
9. Insure your Diamond Ring
As a purchase of a lifetime, you’ll probably be spending quite a bit of money on your engagement ring. Coupled with the fact that a ring is so tiny and easy to misplace, I strongly suggest that you find an insurance company that will insure your ring.
10. Get a Ring Box / Accessories
Most will just use the ring box that was given by the jeweller. But if you’re looking for something more unique, check out Etsy for tons of ideas!
You can check out this slim engagement ring case which looks nothing like a box, by Clifton. Warning though, it’s a tad pricey at $100+.
As your engagement ring is an expensive purchase, be sure to educate yourself on how to buy a diamond ring. Check out Beyond 4Cs for a comprehensive guide on how to buy a diamond and engagement ring, and avoid making mistakes that over 80% of customers do! Paul Gian, the founder of the site is a GIA Diamonds Graduate and has extensive knowledge and experience when it comes to diamonds and their pricing. Visit Beyond 4Cs and to check out their step-by-step jewellery guide and find out whether you are paying a fair value for your diamond. If you have already gotten your diamond, check out their diamond care tips here.
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