We hope you have prepared yourselves for How To Choose An Engagement Ring because this is a fairly comprehensive article about all elements related to buying a diamond ring.
We strongly recommend reading this article because either way it`s not a minor expense…
For your convenience, the article is divided to sub-categories that you can shuffle through by a simple click.
Although the article addresses mainly engagement rings, the information is relevant for any diamond ring.
So what are the steps of choosing an engagement ring?
Choosing a budget
Choosing a gold color for the ring
Choosing gold karat value
Choosing the ring design
Choosing the ring size
The right way to choose a diamond
Choosing diamond`s features
The fine print about diamonds
The significance of gemological accreditation
Choosing the right place for purchasing a diamond
Warning signs during a purchase
Highlighting the importance of proper documentation
About the guide
It is worthwhile to invest your time in this article.
Either way it is not every day you spend few thousand SGD on a small product.
In case this article doesn`t cover a topic that was on your mind, you are welcome to contact us for a consult.
Writing this article is an attempt to minimize all commercial interests and provide you information as objective as it gets in this situation.
Choosing a gold color
In most cases this part shouldn`t be that difficult and you can simply notice the jewelry color your girlfriend usually wears.
But in case she doesn`t wear gold jewelry, check if she wears silver jewelry that might look like white gold, or goldfield that looks like yellow gold.
There is also a possibility that she prefers red gold jewelry (pinkish color) – although it`s not very likely.
In case she doesn`t have a clear preference, the best advice is to see every ring in both gold colors.
There are designs that are more suited for yellow gold (usually authentic or vintage) and other that are more suitable for white gold (for example designs that make the central diamond appear larger).
There is something important to remember about white gold, there is no such thing.
Every alloy of white gold is a little yellowish and therefore lined with radium.
Radium is a metal coating which may peal with time and must be renewed every few years according to usage.
Choosing gold karat value
Karat doesn’t represent weight, but the purity of gold as part of the alloy.
The most significant differences between these two alloys is the strength and durability.
Pure gold is extremely soft and therefore it is necessary to mix with other alloys. Therefore, practically for longer duration 14 karat is preferred for white gold.
According to this, it is ideal for white gold (which indeed is coated with radium which is unrelated to the gold purity).
The challenge is dealing with yellow gold.
Yellow gold 18 karat has deeper and wealthier taste and therefore here we have a visual aspect.
It is recommended to decide according to the jewelry itself – 14 karat is more suitable for gentle rings with relatively thin teeth, and more massive rings with sturdier teeth looks better with 18 karat gold.
Additional aspect you should consider is your budget.
14 karat gold is significantly cheaper for two reasons – the first one is of course the relatively low gold concentration within the alloy and the second is that the density of 18 karat gold is higher and therefore it requires more gold in order to produce it.
Design is a completely subjective matter and by the end of the day you are the one who must decide (just make sure the store have a convenient return policy).
Either way, here are some key points you should consider:
Did she comment about any engagement ring that a friend of her received?
Did she mention anything about a ring you saw in a store?
Does she have a clear taste for jewelry she wears – simple, delicate, vintage, highly decorative, etc.
Does she have a close friend, sister, mother or anyone else who can give you some advice and keep quiet about it (and you don’t mind including them).
Is she likely to keep the same taste in jewelry for your entire joined life or likely to mix and match every once and a while.
This decision might help to choose between a more classical design that will always fit and between a more stylish or extravagant design that might grow old with the passing year.
Do you like certain designs more than others. You too have a say in the matter if you wish it. You should have at least 20% say in the matter.
Choosing the ring size
A question that keeps many people from sleep.
According to most it is hard to asses the actual finger size of your partner in advance.
Here is the best advice we have for finding out the right size:
Its better to have a larger ring than a smaller one. That way you avoid the awkward situation if the ring doesn’t fit.
Your partner can always wear a larger ring on a different finger till the re-sizing.
It is custom to have One time resize free of charge. make sure you get it.
Most of our rings are of average size around 11-14 the Israeli measurement.
The goal is to be close enough to most women, so they will be able to wear the ring until the resize.
It is recommended not to change a ring`s size and therefore it is better to prepare the correct size beforehand.
Adjusting the size beforehand is done only if you are certain about your partner`s size or if her size is an extreme size and you want to approach the right range.
It is possible to obtain the right size by using one of her rings that she wears on the right finger often (most often on the 4th finger but not always). The ring should be with a similar width of the engagement ring (mostly 1.5 – 3 mm width), it should be round and not oval. The measurement is done by measuring the inner diameter in mm in an accurate manner or by a caliber if possible. If you have a ring suitable for measurement, please read this article.
The right way to choose a diamond ring
The wisest thing you can do during purchasing a diamond is to see it before inlay.
We already know that inlay may cover the diamond`s real color, it`s inclusions, etc.
Additionally, it is always better to compare several diamonds with different features, different height, in order to figure out what features are more important for you.
The conditions in which you choose a diamond should be very specific.
The place should be fluorescent lit and the evaluation should be done under a specialized jeweler`s fluorescent bulb.
The diamond should be placed on a white surface.
The table should contain a Lupa, a special diamond forceps and a color paper.
Lupa is x10 magnification, the forceps are the optimal way to hold a diamond in order to evaluate it properly and a color paper is a folded paper used to evaluate the diamond`s real color and every unwanted shade that might be hiding inside.
Choosing diamond’s features
Diamond`s price is based on a wide accurate and precise price list that is published once a week and is used as a guideline for all the diamond salesmen.
The price list is based on three main parameters used for primary evaluation, but the price listed is a maximal price only.
Some known discounts are then calculated based on this crude price according to some known or less known features.
This will be mentioned in details under the title “the fine print about diamonds“.
These are the leading features while determining diamond`s price.
Diamond weight in carat
Diamond carat actually equals 1/5 gram.
Many times, in the diamond field and for our convenience we refer carat as 100 points.
Meaning a diamond of 0.73 carat is called 73 point diamond.
Diamond`s price list is based first and foremost according to diamond weight groups.
Some groups are composed of few lonely points as 0.01 – 0.03 carat, other groups are composed of 10 points as 0.30 – 0.39 carat, and some groups are composed of 20 points for example 0.50 – 0.69 carat, and so forth.
The theoretical meaning of these weight groups is that the price for every diamond in this method is calculated by multiplying a base price value by the diamond`s weight.
For example, let`s assume that the base value of a diamond with certain features is 1000 USD and its weight is 0.52 carat. It`s price will be 520 USD.
But a diamond that weights 0.69 carat and looks like a 0.70 carat diamond will still cost 690 USD according to the same price group.
It is obvious that these diamonds who are found in the upper border of a price group are a cutting accident and no one planned to cut them into a lower price group.
Therefore, they are rare and cost more than 690 USD due to increased demand, let`s assume around 800 USD.
On the other hand, a diamond that weights 0.70 carat with similar features will be calculated according to a much higher price group value.
Its safe to assume that a parallel price will be around 1300 USD.
If we will multiply by weight we will get 910 USD.
Is it worth to pay a 100 USD premium for one-point difference? Probably not.
The realistic advice here is not to search for 0.69 carat diamond – they are very rare, and everybody wants them.
But to look for diamonds as high as you can find in a price group.
Every diamond which is 5 points above the minimal value of a price group is called “oversized” diamond in the professional lingo and these are most of the bargains.
Although they are not always easy be find.
The senior customers always talk about diamond clarity.
All of them had at list one friend during the happy 70s and 80s that worked as a diamond polisher and all he could talk about was clarity.
The truth is that several things have changed in the world since then and in the past 20 years (more or less) new polish methods has begun and in the past few years the old methods are no longer used.
The modern cut, with basic description, is a cut with more sides to the diamond, with better proportions and therefore more sparkly.
Due to the fact that they have more sides and they are more sparkly, it is much harder to spot internal inclusion with the naked eye. Which means they are more life-like and it is harder to notice any flaws.
The polish grade of round diamonds is divided to 3 parameters – POLISH, CUT and SYMMETRY.
The CUT value is the most important and it actually symbolizes the diamond`s proportions.
The POLISH value refers to the cut finish and the SYMMETRY value means – is the diamond completely round.
We strongly recommend paying attention to the polish quality as the first step in your evaluation.
There is no reason to but a life-less diamond.
Compare several diamonds to evaluate its sparkle and avoid buying a diamond under heavy fluorescence lighting that can make a piece of plastic look life-like.
The minimal cut grade is VG (VERY GOOD) in our opinion.
It is sometimes possible to find a nice-looking diamond with GOOD polish grade, but it is important to understand what kind of GOOD is it – is it a flat diamond that appears larger or one that looks like a bracelet and have wide gridle.
Once again, when purchasing GOOD grade diamond, it is important to compare it to other diamonds!!
For non-round diamonds there is no CUT value or proportions due to the fact that they are cut in various shapes and models and don’t have uniformity.
Therefore, it is crucial to compare several diamonds and notice which ones look better and with finer work and which ones are life-less and neutral.
Diamond color grade
An ideal white diamond is completely transparent and clear as water.
With diamond real accreditation, said diamond is marked with the English letter D.
Diamonds with real D grade are relatively rare and most diamonds have a yellowish shade which ranges from slight to very harsh and are marked with increasing letters from the ABC up to Z.
Actually, when inlayed, it is very hard to notice the difference among diamonds with adjacent grades and therefore there is no significant difference between color grades of E, F, G and H, etc. (in cases of real accreditation) and it is beneficial to focus on color group and not on a specific grade and then choose the diamond according to other features and it`s price.
Practically speaking a yellowish diamond will be more noticeable inlayed in white gold ring but will appear whiter while inlayed in yellow gold ring and therefore it is less common to invest greatly in color grading for yellow gold rings.
The correct way is to see how diamonds with a certain color look like on a ring of certain color, in order to see if there is too great of a conflict or if the diamond is too yellowish.
Obviously, again, it is always better to choose a diamond before inlay and compare it to other diamonds.
All naturally-formed diamonds are formed with inclusions – inclusions which are foreign substances that were trapped inside the diamond during its formation or others inclusion that are imperfections in the diamond structure like bubbles, etc.
Even diamonds that receive flawless clarity grade by a gemologist probably have inclusions that are still invisible even with x10 magnification and they are visible with higher microscopic magnification.
According to most the greatest influence of an inclusion over the diamond`s brightness and it`s appearance is not necessarily high even in lower gemological clarity grades.
The most important aspect is an inclusion which is hard to spot by the naked eye or find in a location where it is easy to hide it during inlay.
According to most, the most troublesome inclusions are the large black ones, inclusion located on the diamond`s table, and inclusions which are close to the surface, etc.
A diamond should be chosen according to its appearance – and not only by accreditation!
When purchasing a I1 diamond you should be more careful because some inclusion may affect diamond`s appearance greatly.
Eventually, we must set a maximal budget and try and reach some balance between weight and quality that will fit your taste, the ring design and your budget!
Most people feel that the least important parameter is clarity, as long as it doesn`t affect the diamond`s appearance and sparkle.
The reason is, it is easy to spot size, color and life -like appearance but clarity evaluation usually requires close examination or magnification…
The fine print about diamonds
In addition to parameters discussed in previous section, there are quite a few parameters that, slightly or significantly, influence diamond`s price.
Those are parameters or sub-parameters that only few people are aware of and they are concealed due to seller interests.
Most of them are not mentioned at all in most gemological accreditation in the market and therefore they are easy way to make easy money of private customers.
Type of inclusion
The type of a specific clarity problem or another won`t be mentioned on most accreditation and occasionally even if it is mentioned, it`s influence on the diamond is not elaborated.
The meaning of appearance is not if the inclusion is visible or not with the naked eye, but the appearance of the entire diamond as a whole due to the inclusion.
For example, an inclusion of CLOUD type may create an extremely milky appearance of the entire diamond and actually give it an appearance of Zircon.
An inclusion in a certain location may reflect inside the diamond and give it a grayish appearance, etc.
Therefore it is very important to examine several diamonds and compare them side by side in order to evaluate the influence of every inclusion if there is any.
Apart from the diamond`s color, many times diamonds have background shades that influence its appearance.
Often it is very hard to notice while in inlay, but we must know that the presence of these shades greatly reduce diamond`s retail price and those diamonds are considered cheap merchandise among sellers.
For example, diamonds from certain mines in certain countries come with a green shade.
This is very cheap merchandise.
A more common phenomenon is diamonds with a light brown shade.
They are mostly less illuminated than diamonds of similar features but no shade.
Here as well, only few labs bother with mentioning the presence of shade and the everyday customer will have a hard time spotting them without comparing with other diamonds.
Again and again – it is recommended to choose a diamond before inlay after evaluation over a color paper.
One of the most debatable parameters in the diamond field is fluorescence.
This parameter may influence greatly on diamond`s price.
So how can I know if a diamond has fluorescence?
When placing a Dimond under an UV bulb and it reflects blue light in some level, that mean the diamond has fluorescence.
When this measure is high with a white diamond, this phenomenon is considered as a flaw due to the fact it makes the diamond milky and sealed.
Actually, past research of GIA (the most prestige American lab worldwide) in which gemologist, jewelers and everyday people were presented with diamonds with various fluorescence levels concluded that people did not recognize fluorescence according to diamond appearance alone.
According to this, the importance of high fluorescence is mostly related to the understanding that it should reduce diamond`s price!
The most important conclusion that is drawn from this section is to choose a diamond according to comparison between several diamonds and not according to numbers or letters.
The significance of gemological accreditation.
Gemological accreditation is actually a professional evaluation of the diamond`s features by a trained professional.
People refer to gemological accreditation as an unimpeachable truth, but it is important to notice and understand that it is not the case and that even when the diamond has a gemological accreditation it doesn’t mean much about its background.
The most important relations are brought below:
Most gemological accreditation don’t worth the paper they are written on.
The reason is that there is no patent pending over the scales used for color and clarity, so everyone can write anything they find beneficial with minor risks (there are some changes during recent years and legal intervention mainly in the USA but there isn’t full protection yet).
Therefore, more than once or twice diamonds are sold with a certain color and accreditation with color grade higher by up to 5 grades.
Diamond over accreditation is a widespread phenomenon worldwide and is not unique to the local market.
The strictest lab is GIA and it correlates to the measures of the diamond`s professional-retail.
Other high regarded labs which are widely available are IGI and HRD.
According to most these labs are only one grade away from GIA.
Which means, a borderline stone that will receive color F according GIA will receive E color grade from IGI, etc.
In many cases the difference is due to a more commercial approach.
For example, one lab may give higher value for diamond`s appearance from a top view and other lab will evaluate the entire diamond as a whole, including its hidden aspects, etc.
It is possible to purchase diamonds with other accreditation, but it is recommended to check carefully about their background and again choose by comparison.
Choosing the right place for purchasing a diamond
According to our field experience, there is still a lot of mystery around the diamond and jewelry field.
Internet allows people to know more and prepare before a purchase, but the majority of the information in most times is partial or filled with interests.
People know a few basic parameters and are not aware of tens of other parameters which are equally important, and sometimes even more important.
Due to the fact that even the best student of the theoretical knowledge doesn’t become an expert in one day, it is vital to give great importance to the vibe generated by the seller.
Did he answer all your question? did he avoid or didn’t know answers for the important questions?
Does he give you the ideal conditions for diamond evaluation and is there an option to choose a diamond before it`s inlay.
Obligatory equipment in a place selling diamonds is fluorescent lighting (that doesn’t cause sparkle and hides inclusions and color), Lupa (x10 magnification), color paper (that allows to evaluate diamond’s color and shades if there are any), tester-gem with American accreditation and are used for comparison, in case an American accreditation is out of budget.
Warning signs during purchase
No possibility to choose a diamond apart from a ring.
The store is packed with LED lights and there is no fluorescent viewpoint to evaluate diamonds.
The basic diamond evaluation tools for diamonds mentioned in the previous section are nowhere to be found.
The store does no hold any GIA accredited diamonds as tester-gems.
Direct questions are met with vague answers.
Purchase documents and gemological accreditations are partial and not detailed. This will be elaborated in the next section.
There is no convenient return policy.
Highlighting the importance of proper documentation
Everything said by the seller doesn’t always represent reality and therefore all details should be documented by writing during ring transfer.
If realizing in any time that the ring you received doesn’t uphold your agreement details, there is nothing you can do without detailed documents by your side.
By law every receipt for gold jewelry and gemstones must specify gold weight and its symbol, the overall weight and the weight of all gemstones by the types.
A non detailed receipt should be a warning sign.
In addition to receipt, and unrelated to gemological accreditation if present, you should receive a detailed insurance certificate of the ring – with separation of central diamond, smaller diamonds, accurate ring diameter and the weight of peripheral diamonds and obviously full parameters of the central diamond including measurements.
Other than that, the gemological details must be described, the gold`s weight and purity, an image of the ring, etc.
The most important thing in case of any concern of misconduct, it is possible to compare all the details.
Diamond`s weight is of low significance because every diamond is built differently and the more details you have the better the comparison and the better accuracy you will get.
It is recommended to receive an evaluation for insurance needs, so you`ll have a set statement for the diamond`s worth in order to include it to your house insurance plan or any other insurance plan.
The points we would really like you to remember
Comparison – choose a diamond out of several non-inlayed diamonds
Documents – everything that was said orally should be documented in writing.
Polish – don’t compromise on polish quality.