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How to Buy a Diamond Engagement Ring

Find the perfect diamond for your love with our expert advice

Diamond engagement rings are a long-standing tradition for a reason: they are rare, precious, and valuable—just like your love. When you’ve decided on a diamond ring to pledge your engagement, make sure you know these ring-buying tips before you head to the store to find the perfect diamond ring.

Diamond Cut Options

One of the most important factors in choosing a diamond is the cut. The “cut” of a diamond refers to the polish and symmetry of the facets of the finished diamond—not its shape. The way the diamond is cut determines its sparkle (or brilliance) and the way it reflects light. A diamond’s cut also affects its quality.

There are many different diamond cut grades. The American Gem Society grades cut on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being “Ideal,” otherwise known as AGS Ideal®, and 10 being “Poor.”

Diamond Shapes

 The most popular diamond shapes include:

  • Round
  • Pear
  • Oval
  • Cushion
  • Emerald
  • Marquise

Round diamonds are the most classic of all shapes. 

Pear and oval are desired shapes for a romantic look, perfect for boho-type rings, old-fashioned beauties, and glamorous styles.

Cushion, emerald, and marquise are variations on an elongated theme. They differ in the angles and facets of each style and have become a favorite trend for soon-to-be brides.

Diamond Quality

When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, seek the highest quality diamond cut grade you can afford. It’s an important consideration among the “4Cs” of diamond quality: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

Cut

The cut of a diamond refers to how well the diamond’s facets interact with light, the proportions of the diamond, and the overall finish of the diamond. The higher the quality of the cut, the more brilliant the diamond. Expert jewelers consider the shape, arrangement of facets, and proportions of the diamond when perfecting its cut. When evaluating a diamond’s quality, look for a high-quality cut first.

Color

Colorless diamonds are usually of the highest quality, while brown or yellow tints are considered lower quality.

AGS Laboratories uses a color rating scale that goes from 0, indicating a colorless gem, to 10, indicating a light tint. Other diamond industry scales use D to denote colorless diamonds, and the scale ranges from there to Z, denoting a yellow tint.

However, note that there is demand for colored diamonds. Brown diamonds can be found in a range of hues that exhibit hints of red, orange, yellow, or green. Their warm tones can be further complemented when placed in a rose gold setting. Fancy yellow diamonds are beautiful as well, with colors ranging from a lively canary yellow to a soft, sunshine hue.

Clarity

Clarity can be thought of as how clear the diamond is. If there are flaws inside the diamond, they are called inclusions. While no gemstone is perfect, it’s possible to find diamonds that are only slightly included or very slightly included, meaning they have very few and small inclusions when viewed at 10x magnification.

The AGS Laboratories rating scale for clarity runs from 0, for a flawless diamond, up to 10, for inclusions. A rating of 1 or 2 means Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1 or VVS2). These diamonds have almost no inclusions and are therefore quite rare.

An AGS Laboratories clarity rating of 3 or 4 means Very Slightly Included (VS1 or VS2) and a rating of 5 or 6 means Slightly Included. About a 7 and above indicate inclusions.

Carat Weight

Finally, there’s carat weight. Diamond carat weight tells you the relative weight of the diamond. The weight can have a definite effect on the cost. For reference, one carat is ⅕ (0.2) of a gram.

While it is important to know the diamond carat weight when choosing a diamond ring, it’s not the only indicator of quality! You can have a big diamond with a large carat weight, but if it has a poor cut, a lot of tint, and many inclusions, it won’t be as valuable as a smaller diamond that’s of better quality.

Diamond Engagement Ring Trends

Now that you understand how to evaluate a diamond ring’s quality, it’s easier to choose among today’s engagement ring trends when ring shopping.

Diamond engagement ring trends for 2022 put the spotlight on unique gemstones and jewelry.

Pear

A pear shape diamond has all the beauty and brilliance of a traditional round diamond, but offers an appealing alternative shape that feels both fresh and vintage at the same time. These are shapes fit for a princess.

Halo settings

One of the biggest trends in diamond ring jewelry for 2022 is the halo setting, where there is a large central gem surrounded by tiny gems in a halo around it. Frequently seen in white gold as well as yellow gold, the main diamond takes center stage in this ring style.

Antique diamonds

Many brides are interested in antique diamonds, which often feature an old European cut. These round diamonds have about the same number of facets as a modern brilliant cut but were polished by hand just after the turn of the century, offering an antiqued look.

Nontraditional colored diamonds

For a unique take on the traditional diamond engagement ring, choose a colored diamond. Also known as fancy colored diamonds, these gems are available in a variety of colors such as brown, yellow, pink, red, blue, and green. The 4Cs of quality still apply to fancy colored diamonds, so be sure to choose a colored diamond with a quality cut.

How to Shop for a Diamond

Choose an AGS Jeweler

When shopping for a diamond engagement ring, it’s very easy to be led astray by less reputable sellers. Choose an American Gem Society (AGS) jeweler when making your purchase. An AGS-certified jeweler is committed to upholding the strictest ethical and gemological standards in the industry.

AGS-certified jewelers are experts when it comes to answering your questions about diamond quality, size, setting, or anything else about diamond engagement rings. AGS is dedicated to consumer protection and education, ensuring that you understand everything there is to know about the diamond you are shopping for.

You can find an AGS jeweler or jewelry professional using our Find a Jeweler search tool.

View the AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading Reports

When you’re ready to shop for a diamond engagement ring, request to see an AGS Laboratories Diamond Grading report on the diamond you are considering. This will show you the specs of your chosen diamond, including information about the 4Cs of your diamond. You can see any inclusions mapped out and even its light performance.

There are several different types of diamond grading reports offered by AGS Laboratories, including:

  • Platinum Diamond Quality® Document
  • Proprietary Light Performance Diamond Quality® Document
  • Colored Diamond Document
  • Only My Diamond®

Choose the highest quality diamond in your budget

How much should you spend on an engagement ring? Everyone’s budget is different, and only you know what you can afford. There’s no need to go into debt to buy a ring.

Once you have settled on a budget for your diamond engagement ring, keep in mind all that you have learned about a diamond’s quality, and choose the best quality diamond you can. It will last your love their entire life, a permanent and beautiful reminder of this journey you are embarking on together.

Insure your diamond ring with the best

Protect your investment with jewelry insurance. Jewelers Mutual Group is one insurance company dedicated solely to jewelry insurance; they have AGS-certified sales associates on staff who specialize in diamond jewelry and make it simple to make a claim.

For any of your most pressing diamond questions or concerns, trust an AGS-certified jeweler. Learn more about what we do or find a jeweler today.