The Essential Checklist For Buying A Diamond Engagement Ring

Author Lynelle Schmidt
Date Nov 24, 2014

The Essential Checklist For Buying A Diamond Engagement RingAlright, so you've decided that you want to propose. You know that she's the one, and you want to make her happy by finding the perfect ring and planning the absolute perfect proposal.

But you quickly figure out that there is a ton to learn before purchasing the ring. How much should you spend on the ring? What style makes the most sense for her? What in the world are the Four Cs of diamonds?

We're here to answer all of these questions for you and more. Before you step foot into a jeweler to look at rings, make sure to follow these essential steps so that you can find the ring of her dreams at a price that makes you happy.


1. Start the process early
Make sure you allow for time between when you purchase the ring and when you receive the final item. Some rings can take weeks to be made once they are ordered, and could take even longer if you would like it to be custom-made. Don't wait until the last minute to buy the engagement ring to maximize your options!

2. Do your research on diamonds
We always recommend to anyone who is thinking about proposing that they should start by reading up on diamonds before they come into a store. There is a lot to know, and it can be overwhelming when you first start to learn. But it's so important to get a basic understanding of the Four Cs of diamonds and how each plays a part in the overall value of the diamond. You can start to understand how certain factors play a larger role in the overall appearance of the diamond, and you can determine which factors will be the most important to you.

To get started, here is a great introductory article on the basics of diamonds.

3. Find her style
Today, there are a lot of ring styles that you can choose from. Some styles, like solitaire or three stone, are more classic and timeless while other styles, like vintage and fancy colored, are a lot more unique and will depend on her personal style. Start to pay attention to what jewelry she wears on a daily basis so that you can understand her taste in fashion. It would also be helpful to think about any hints she has dropped in the past or comments she has made about other engagement rings. Every woman is different and there isn't one right style for everyone.

To get you started, here is a basic overview of each type of ring style.

4. Understand your budget
Determining your budget will be one of the most important steps that you need to make sure that you complete before stepping into any store. Diamond engagement rings can range drastically in price based on a number of factors. Even a 1 carat diamond can range from $2,000 - $20,000 depending on a combination of the Four Cs that help to determine price and value.

Many jewelers offer special, no-interest financing so that you don't have to pay for the ring completely upfront. If you think you will need financing, try to find out the jeweler's financing options before walking into the store. Most will offer 6 and 12 month financing options.

It can be difficult sometimes to understand how much a diamond ring will end up costing in the end. But, here are a few guides to help you understand the different factors that contribute to price:

5. Know which metal you may want in the ring
Platinum, white gold, and yellow gold are all common metal types that you have to choose from when picking out the ring. Often when you find a ring style that you like, you can then pick the metal type. So which metal is the best metal to choose? Well, each metal has its own pros and cons.

Platinum is seen as the best choice in metals because it is the most durable. But, it's also the most expensive metal. White gold, on the other hand, will be a bit less expensive up front, but then she will have to get the ring "dipped" periodically in order to maintain the appearance of the ring. There is a lot to consider when it comes down to picking the engagement ring metal.

Here are some resources to learn about ring metals:

6. Find the right jeweler
There are many things that you should consider before picking the right jeweler to purchase a ring. To begin, look up jewelers in your area that have a great reputation online. You can use review sites like Yelp or see if the jeweler has any credible awards on their website, like an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau. Another good idea is to ask around if you know anyone else who has recently gotten engaged. Referrals are a great way to pick a jeweler, especially if the person you know had a positive experience at the store.

You also will want to think of proximity. Consider finding a jeweler that will there to provide service for a lifetime. Most jewelers will offer free cleaning and other services that will benefit you over the years, so choosing the right jeweler that is near your home could make all the difference.

7. Be able to explain the kind of ring you are looking for
When you step into a store to look at and purchase rings, you should have done enough research on your own at this point to be able to give a store associate some information to guide you in the right direction. Of course, the store associate should help further educate you and answer any questions you might have. But, it's always a good idea to lead the conversation when you step into a store by stating what you are looking for and how much you are looking to pay.

If it helps, bring pictures. There are many different sites that have rings that you can browse. You may not be able to find the exact ring you are looking for, but showing a picture will give the store associate a good idea of what you are really looking for.


1. Tell someone at the store exactly what you are looking for and include your budget
When you finally feel ready to go shopping in person, tell the store associate at the jeweler exactly what you are looking for (as defined in the last step). You have a good idea at this point about the type of ring you want which will help guide the visit. Also make sure you make very clear what your budget is up front. That way, any options that are shown to you throughout your visit will not be a stretch outside your determined budget range. With this information, the store associate will be able to show you many different options that match your description.

2. Ask a lot of questions
Maybe the ring you thought you wanted, you didn't end up liking when you saw in person. In this case, ask the store associate to show you some other styles so that you can find a different option. Or maybe you don't understand why a certain diamond or setting is so costly. It's always good to come prepared to ask a lot of questions, because it may not be very obvious why different aspects of the ring end up costing more than others. The associate's job is to answer any and all questions you have to make sure you are fully educated before making this big purchase.

3. Find out if there are any special programs or exchange policies
Although you've already done a lot of research before stepping into the store about these types of policies, you should always confirm once you are in the store. You can also ask about any special programs that the store may have.

Long's Jewelers, for instance, offers the Get it Right Guarantee that would allow you to exchange the ring risk free after the proposal if for some reason she doesn't like it. These types of policies will be important in the off chance that she doesn't absolutely love your first choice. This is no reflection to you and your buying decision. But it is nice to have peace of mind in case this does happen so that you can 100% guarantee she is getting a ring she truly loves. Policies like this will help you feel more confident about your initial purchase.

4. Obtain a diamond certification
Once you choose the diamond that will be going into the engagement ring, you will want to obtain the diamond certification. Each diamond that is from a reputable jeweler will have been professionally graded by a lab, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). All diamonds are sent to these labs before they are sold in order to determine the value and price of the diamond. When the diamonds are sent back to the jeweler, each diamond has been graded and the results are on a report. The report goes over things like the diamond's cut, clarity, color, and exact carat size. You'll want this diamond certificate for an appraisal and in the even that you want to sell the diamond in the future.

5. Invest in insurance

Engagement rings are big investments. That's why it's so important to be thoughtful before going to pick one out at a jeweler. It's even more important that you find a way to protect that investment by considering insurance. We've heard our fair share of horror stories and accidents that have caused the ring to become lost or stolen. Just like any other big investment you will make in your life, like your car or home, you'll want to be insured in case anything may happen. We strongly recommend considering insurance, especially if the ring is high in value.


1. Keep the ring hidden in a secure place
If you want to keep the surprise, make sure to hide the ring in a creative spot that she will never look. However, make sure the location that you are hiding the ring is secure and safe. The last thing you would ever want to happen is for the ring to go missing. Put some thought into the hiding place, especially if it'll be there for an extended period of time.

2. Propose!
No explanation needed. Go for it!


1. Keep the ring looking great by getting it cleaned often
Hopefully the jeweler that you decided to buy your ring from has free cleaning services. If so, stop by often to get her ring cleaned and looking brand new. Normal, everyday activities might make the ring appear dirty.

2. Make sure she protects the ring
There are a few situations where she will want to consider taking off her engagement ring. Situations like going to the gym or sleeping may be risky with a diamond engagement ring. In order to protect your investment, have her learn about the different situations that she may want to take her ring off for protection. She also should have the prongs in her ring checked every so often so that the diamond is secure and safe.

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