Just Engaged and Proposals

Guy asking about diamond rings

hey all. So I have some questions about engagement rings and diamonds specficically. Considering you already have an idea for the style of the ring (setting, diamond shape), what advice would you offer on picking out the diamond?

Mainly I want to know how to determine if the 4 Cs are up to par and that you are buying a quality diamond. Should the diamond be certified in your opinion? Was that important to you? I feel like I have a basic understanding of diamonds, but I still feel like a bit of a newb. So any advice you guys have would really be appreciated!

Re: Guy asking about diamond rings

  • Find something in your price range. Even if the salesperson is pushy on insisting that you get something much more expensive. I'm sure your girlfriend would love it since it came from you. It isn't about the size so much but the thought and effort put into it.
    I was going to use FI's grandma's ring but since it was missing 2 stones and 60 yrs old, it wasn't guaranteed that it could be fixed. So we went to the store and picked out my E-ring. This was after he proposed to me with his grandma's ring.
  • Good question.

    I think something to look for when diamond shopping is that the store employees want to take time to help educate you about your purchase.  If they don't, to me, that's a big red flag.  I know where my husband went, he was taken into an office and they sat down and discussed exactly what he was looking for and they looked at tons of diamonds under a scope to see the difference in various color/cut/clarity.  They spent an hour picking out a diamond before even looking at settings.  The setting was more of an afterthought. 

    I think color and clarity are the most important factors in a diamond's beauty.  Cut would be 3rd, because the cut will determine how well it sparkles.  Carat weight would be least important, to me.  A 2 carat diamond means nothing if there's a big black streak in it or if it's cloudy. 

    I do think it is important to have it certified, because you'll need insurance on it, and you'll need the certificate in order to determine the value.  Another red flag is places that charge extra for certification. 
  • Wow, a lot of people are not well-informed about diamonds.
    There is really SO much to know, but I'll give you some sites where you can find out the basics:
    Yes, it SHOULD be certified. This is the only way to know if you're getting what you pay for. The most respected certifications are from the GIA and AGS labs. EGL USA (emphasis on USA b/c there are 2 EGLs) is also pretty good.
    For info on how to grade a diamond, check out:
    Gemological Institute of America
    Accredited Gem Appraisers
    (this link goes to their webpage where you can learn do-it-yourself grading. just select the shape of diamond you want and it will show you the specs)
    Also, don't rule out buying online. Many websites are better than brick and mortar stores because they have a much wider selection and cheaper prices (because they don't have to pay overhead). Most people working in jewelry stores aren't really that knowledgeable about their product, especially in mall stores. For a list of well-respected online stores, see:
    Pricescope.com is a non-partisan site for diamond and gem buffs/afficionados.  It's a great resource if you're looking for information and advice.
    As far as the 4Cs are concerned, everyone is different. But unliken goheels05 said, cut is actually really important and most people who know a lot about diamonds would rank it higher than 3rd. For example, if you get a diamond with an ideal cut, you can get a lower color and it will still look white because of the better light dispersion an ideal cut provides.
    As far as best value cut & clarity that will look white and flawless, go with F/G color and VS clarity. Higher color and clarity will cost a lot more, but you can't tell a difference without putting the diamond under 10x magnification. There are also some eye-clean SI1 diamonds out there.

  • Don't put too much emphasis on what the paper says. My fiance got my ring at Shane Co and there was another diamond that rated higher in clarity and color and was therefore more expensive. But it wasn't cut as well, and actually looked cloudy compared to the one he bought and gave me.

    So be sure to take an honest look and decide which you like better! Good luck!

    (PS, I totally recommend Shane Co)
    And if you should die before me, ask if you can take a friend. Pick a flower, close your eyes,and drift away- STP
    June siggy challenge!
  • I see that you're also in LA so I suggest you check out Robbins Bros.  They sat down with DH and explained to him everything he needed and wanted to know.  They also have a VERY large selection so you can look around and get some ideas.
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  • Thanks for all the tips. Not sure if I would buy online or in-store...guess it would depend on the selection, prices, and if their diamond were certified (which by the looks of it is pretty important). I feel like I've seen most diamonds come with GIA reports...are they the best? Personally, "pretty good" ain't good enough for me Laughing That will say if the 4 Cs are good or not right?
  • Don't know alot about it... but, can tell you Stay within your price range.  Choose something that catches your eye, then check into the quality and see if you can improve on it if you want to.  That way, not only are you getting a setting you'd like, but the quality you want as well.  I mean as long as it means something to the two of you, then...
  • mica178mica178 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    edited February 2010
    I think color and cut are the most important.  It's great having good clarity, but if the diamond is cut well, you won't notice small inclusions at all except under 10x magnification. One of the salespeople I met while shopping for my ring said that is what she did when she got her ring.  She went SI1 but got a colorless and ideal cut diamond, and that really improved what she could afford to buy.

    Also, if you're planning on getting a solitaire ring, I think you really do need to get the best quality diamond you can afford.  If you're getting a more elaborate ring with side stones and/or colored gems surrounding the center diamond, you might be  able to get away with a smaller/less well-cut, cloudier diamond.

    Online stores have the best value, but if you're looking at SI2-I2 clarity rings, you should see the diamond in person because not all inclusions are created equally.  And sometimes you can have the jeweler position the stone so that the inclusions are hidden by a prong.
  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    edited February 2010
    I wanted to add links which explain cut, since it can be the most diffucult to understand.

    Here is a link from Whiteflash with info on the importance of cut & what makes it an Ideal.

    This link has more info from Whiteflash on cut grading.

    For online sites to buy your ring from I recommend Whiteflash,  James Allen, & Bluenile.

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    *This is Not Legal Advice*
  • I actually got engaged with a "cognac" diamond. It was very high quality and not too big, so I could wear it every day. You may want to look here for ideas for a high quality, locally made, conflict-free ring:  http://www.karenkarch.com  and keep us posted!
  • PiruPiru member
    edited February 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_just-engaged-proposals_guy-asking-diamond-rings?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:683Discussion:637b14fd-295a-4bf5-adeb-3d33fffecf7ePost:b7337cbf-b6fb-4307-9bc5-49f645da7455">Re: Guy asking about diamond rings</a>:
    [QUOTE]People always think my diamond is much bigger than it actuality is b/c of how well it is cut. [/QUOTE]
    Ditto. Mine is only .38 carats I think but it is plenty big enough for me and people always think it's bigger, especially in pictures. This is it, as a set:

    <a href="#" title="Click to view a larger photo" onclick="return gSiteLife.LoadForumPage('ForumImage', 'plckPhotoId', '8cac87e9-72b9-4534-988d-94ef95cfc6ea', 'plckRedirectUrl', gSiteLife.EscapeValue(window.location.href));"> <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/images/store/12/8/8cac87e9-72b9-4534-988d-94ef95cfc6ea.medium.jpg" alt="" /></a>

    (as a set, there will be sapphires on both sides of the main diamond)
    And if you should die before me, ask if you can take a friend. Pick a flower, close your eyes,and drift away- STP
    June siggy challenge!
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_just-engaged-proposals_guy-asking-diamond-rings?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:683Discussion:637b14fd-295a-4bf5-adeb-3d33fffecf7ePost:6d64d571-b735-4eef-8799-c30b428b9359">Re: Guy asking about diamond rings</a>:
    [QUOTE]Thanks for all the tips. Not sure if I would buy online or in-store...guess it would depend on the selection, prices, and if their diamond were certified (which by the looks of it is pretty important). I feel like I've seen most diamonds come with GIA reports...are they the best? Personally, "pretty good" ain't good enough for me That will say if the 4 Cs are good or not right?
    Posted by cremebrulee[/QUOTE]

    Oh man.  I worked at a chain jewelry store, and honestly, I'd NEVER worry about a diamond being certified.  All they do is charge you more for it, plus, the grading is subjective.  Once you've purchased a diamond, and had the ring set, then you have it insured, and you can get an independent appraisal done for the insurance.

    That being said, I believe that CUT is the most important.  If you look at a site such as bluenile, you'll see that the stones that have a perfect cut than a same size stone with similar color/clarity, are more expensive.  That's because cut is what makes it sparkle.  Second for me would be color.  D/E/F is in the colorless range.  No one is really going to be able to tell the difference at those colors unless they have sophistocated equipment.  Then clarity. 

    Honestly, I'd purchase at an independent jeweler if you're really concerned about being able to see/compare.  If a jeweler has two diamonds sitting in front of you, both premium cut, one E/SI1 and the other D/VS1 and you can't tell the difference, don't pay the extra couple of grand for a difference you can't see.  If you can't, no one else can either.
  • I agree with looking into an online purchase.  My husband went shopping beforehand to know exactly what he wanted and then purchased the ring off bluenile.com.  They have a great selection and their diamonds are certified.  They have great prices so you can get more for your money. 

    While color and clarity are all extremely important, you don't want to ignore size either.  The price difference between a D or an F color (both colorless) stone is pretty significant, but to the average person, the difference in color isn't noticeable.  With the money saved you can get a slightly bigger stone.  And as much as some girls will say the size doesn't matter, it's the thought (which is true), every girl wants a nice rock on her finger.
  • I forgot one thing about colored stones:  They can be hard to find, and often quite crappy.  Don't even bother with mall stores.  An emerald, for example, shouldn't be cloudy although visible veins are okay to a degree.  Finding a clear emerald here is pretty much impossible!  Still, my sapphire is brightly colored, well cut, translucent/ vein free, and cost a quarter of the price of a diamond this size and quality!

    I also want to back-up the PPs who say cut is the most important of the 4Cs as long as Clarity and Color are reasonably good.  A poorly cut stone will not shine no matter how clear and colorless it is.
  • In addition to what everyone else has said, I think you have to pay attention to what is most important to you.  My fiance could have gotten a larger diamond for what he spent - had he gone to a chain jeweler or didn't go for as high a quality.  I just wanted a ring - I don't know much about diamonds.  But he took the time to learn the 4cs, etc.  So, my only additional recommendation is to really consider purchasing in person.  I find it very nice to be able to take my ring in every 6 months to be inspected and cleaned.  We're using the same jeweler for my band too - and they are just so awesome.  I would hate to have to try to find somewhere else to inspect the ring or clean it; I would worry that they might switch out the diamond or something.

  • edited March 2010
    Definitely cut and clarity. I've seen so many brides with big rocks that are majorly muddy! I opted for a 0.5 carat but with almost double the standard number of cuts in a brilliant round (106 facets versus 56). The sparkle alone could knock the shoes off someone! 

    As well, often we don't realize the pricing scheme for diamonds. Going with a 0.49 or 0.99 carat will save you a ton of money and no one will ever notice its size difference. That was a tip my jewelry store grandma gave me :) My FI did not know this and went for the 0.50 but I'm cool with that.

    Definitely go to a jeweler that will actually talk to you about selecting a diamond. I personally found it pretty easy when I first started browsing to spot an aggressive salesperson! 
  • If you buy from a store, definitely go to a place that will spend time with you and not pressure you to buy a more expensive stone/setting than you want.  My FI bought mine online from Blue Nile because of the cut I wanted - can't find it in very many stores.  Clarity and color are probably the most important, in my opinion.  Don't want cloudy/flawed/subpar stones.  With Blue Nile, you can select the cut, size, clarity, etc. and it will give you a choice of stones within your price range selected.  Good luck!

  • get some recommendations for a diamond wholesaler in your area, go to one, and get yourself educated. do some online research beforehand. if the wholesaler is any good, you'll walk out feeling like an expert. in that appointment, the wholesaler will be able to show you different diamonds side by side so you can compare them (colorless diamond vs an H, for instance, an excellent cut versus a good or fair cut, etc). pick out the diamond you like the best, thinks looks the prettiest. get its specs. once you have the specs...

    go to bluenile. I"m not even kidding. once you have the specs, you can get a blue nile diamond for a lot less. FI did exactly what I said above. he paid about $3K less for my diamond than it is actually worth and appraised for.

    btw, PLEASE go for quality over size. it looks so much better. I have a friend of mine who spent more on his wife's ring than FI spent on mine. however, he went for size over quality (she's superficial like that). her ring looks like it came out of a Cracker Jack box. my opinion though.

    Glenna Harding Photography
  • The cut is the most important.

  • Definitely focus on clarity. The better the clarity the sparklier the stone. You can get a really beautiful diamond that's not certified for a much better price than one that is. After you purchase it have it appraised and that'll set the base for the value of the stone and cut the cost way down.
  • I bought certified.  The most important things that people will notice is carat weight, and "sparkle" which is mostly a function of cut and polish.  To keep costs down, I went by the rule of what's visible to the naked eye.  Anything SI2 and above is pretty much undetectable, and anything J or above for color will appear white unless being compared against another diamond.

    I went with polish of "excellent", 1.something ct, SI2, J 

    Also make sure the diamond you get fits the setting you pick.  A great setting will make an average diamond shine and an poor setting will make a great diamond look terrible. 
  • Hi.  You asked a loaded question!  I have done tons of research on diamonds.  Here's the deal:  I would not buy a diamond online.  Would you marry someone you've never met in person?  Diamonds are like people.  They might appear the same but behave differently in person (light return, brilliance, fluorescence, ect).  Even if the certification is almost the same, they may loook slightly different.  If you really want to buy online, buy from BlueNile.  They're prices are at market price.  Or use the site to do your comparison shopping. 

    Certification is important when buying an expensive diamond.  It costs about $200 to get the diamond cerified, so ask the jeweler to do that if it has not already been done. Also, go to a reputable diamond dealer.  I would stay far away from the Kay's, Litman's, and Zales if you don't know what you're looking at when it comes to the 4C's.  These stores tend to have merchandise that is really over or under priced depending on the piece.  I like dealing with people in the diamond districts.  I live near Philly, so we have one here or the one in NYC.  I'm sure you have one in LA. I tend to deal with shops the have been owned for multiple generations...they have always given me the most fair price on larger stones.  And don't feel pressured to buy...if you do, don't do business with these people. 

    I would stick with a SI1 clarity or above.  You won't be able to see the inclusion easily without magnification.  A VVS is just overkill.  Save some money on a SI versus VS if budget is an issue.  If you are getting something like an emerald cut, I would lean toward better clarity since it's like looking through an open window.
    My perference for color is easy: colorless!  However, it is perfectly acceptable to buy a G or H in color, but I wouldn't go any further down the near colorless spectrum. 

    Carat is the C that will add the most cost, obviously.  You need to determine if you would rather have a larger stone that is a lower quality, or a small stone that is of exceptional quality.  I prefer a balance between size, color, and clarity.  If I was buying a round brilliant stone I would get a E-F in color and SI1 clarity.  And then let the carat determine the price range you want to be in. 

    An average "good to very good" cut is perfectly fine.  You don't have to do signature ideal unless you want to sacrafice something like size.  Be sure to get a stone with good polish; this adds a lot to the stone.  Remember the best cut stones are cut for brilliance, not size.  It takes a bigger rough stone to get a very well cut diamond than a big diamond from the same rough.  If you have the money, of course the better the cut, the more sparkly the diamond.

    Overall, you need to determine your proioreties.  What is most important to you?  Would you rather look at a big stone with a little black spec or would you rather have a smaller stone with better clarity/color?  

    Here is the cut-off for Tiffany's:
    VS2 or better 
    I in color or better
    They don't make a claim for cut, because cut is very complex.

    Tacori recommends G-H in color and VS clarity.

    Here is how a diamond's price is typically determined:

    To be honest with you, some women will walk into a jewelry store, and say, wow that's pretty or wow, that's big.  We're really talking about a slim number who understand and appreciate what they're looking at when it comes to diamonds.  Do your research, shop around, do comparison shopping, and go with your gut.   

  • If your spending a lot of money on it (at least $10,000 or more) then yes I think you should have it certified, most jewelry locations will offer this option. I also think you should stick to something in your price range, remember you might have to upgrade it in 5-10yrs! lol or so that would be the idea. The carat size is not as important as most people think. The clarity and shine of the ring I think is what is more important. My Fiance got me a gorgeous pear shape ring total weight being 1.78 the center diamond is .86 but if you were to put a full carat right next to it you will not tell the difference... but you will definietly see the difference in price!!! I say go to the diamond district you get a lot more for your money!!! My fiance went to Roma Design Jewelers (213) 629-3909 they have a great selection.... and they are very honest I wanted the full center diamond to be one carat if they were just looking to get money out of us she would have sold it to use the sale lady was the one who convinced me it wasn't worth it!!! Now I didn't get a certificate but I did get an appraisal letter...
  • I am so glad to see you are asking because my FI had no idea about diamonds and I absolutely hate my ring.  :(
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_just-engaged-proposals_guy-asking-diamond-rings?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:683Discussion:637b14fd-295a-4bf5-adeb-3d33fffecf7ePost:bd14a045-1976-4ce7-b75f-c8e718b306c9">Re: Guy asking about diamond rings</a>:
    [QUOTE]I am so glad to see you are asking because my FI had no idea about diamonds and I absolutely hate my ring.  :(
    Posted by Amy5473[/QUOTE]

    OMG amy, I am so sorry to hear that!!! you should discuss this with him in a very nice way and get something you love! JMO
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  • I'm a very logical person, so I told my fiance that I didn't want an expensive diamond, the cut and that I didn't want to see any blemishes. We talked about the pros and cons of simulated versus real diamonds. If she wants more money for the wedding and the biggest rock she can possibly ever hope for, bring up the idea of getting a simulated diamond from Nexus Lexus (I think that is the name). They you'll take the diamond to a jeweler who can create the ring for you. Something to think about.
  • What is your bride's personal style?  If she's a vintage type of girl, I would check out estate jewelers & the auction houses.  Christie's & Sotheby's both offer jewelry on a regular basis.  Is she fun & flirty?  If so, find a store with bubble gum machines that have rings in them.  While she is at the store with you, stop at the machine, use it & get down on one knee in front of her & the rest of the world.  Then you will have a great story & if she wants a 'real' ring you can shop together.  Bonus if you get friends to be there with cameras or you get the store manager to make a copy of the security tape.  Is there a family ring you could propose with?  If it has gotten to worn out, the stones could be reset.
  • The most important thing, if you are set on a new diamond, is to make sure that it's been through the Kimberly process to ensure that you're not funding overseas conflict and human rights violations.  I don't know the first thing about the 4 C's, as I didn't want a diamond, but where stones come from and how they are mined is very important. 
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  • I think it all depends on you & your girl's style... are you glam and want sparkle that shouts LOVE LOVE LOVE then maybe size is more important. Or are you someone who does things quietly, but the "right way" then the quality of the stones matter more. I say, 1. go to a jeweler you trust--there is a national rating system for certification of jewelers. 2. stick to your style (as mentioned above) 3. don't get sucked into spending more than you want no matter what. If you do these things, you'll be happy as well as your girl. You don't want the ring to become a symbol of debt and frustration from being suckered. 

  • Go to the jewelry stores and ask them for a quick tutorial on how to tell the quality of the diamond. My FI went to a store and the lady worked with him for a long time on how to tell the color and location of the imperfections. Diamonds are graded by three people. Sometimes they will grade a diamond higher or lower than it actually appears to be. For example, my fiance was able to pick out a wonderful diamond that was a lower grade because the impurities were on the bottom of the diamond (out of sight). It was significantly cheaper and if something is wrong with the diamond I can't tell. It's all about what she's proud to show not about the specific grade.
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