Ring shopping is fun. Even though jewelry might be an everyday item, you don't buy it regularly - especially fine jewelry. Shopping for a piece of jewelry should be an expedition because after all you are on a quest to find something beautiful. There's something rather special about shopping for a pair of earrings to wear with your favorite black dress and even more if you are going engagement ring shopping.
When you go jewelry shopping, you can expect the same kind of marketing and brand promotion in the store as any other consumer product. The store is laid out to encourage you to the biggest and best items and the products that are on offer. It's ok to be tempted by these tactics but only if the items meet the criteria of what you are looking for.
It would be unusual to shop for expensive jewelry without an idea of what you want. When you go shopping for a ring, you've usually got a purpose even if that purpose is just to treat yourself. If you're shopping for something specific like an engagement ring or a wedding band, you might have something very particular in mind.
There are so many different engagement ring styles on sale at any professional jeweler on the high street and online that the choice is bewildering. That's so, even if you know what type of engagement ring you want. It's quite a job to buy a ring that you love and that is going to look absolutely fabulous in your engagement photos.
To help you with your purchase, here are some key 'dos' and 'don'ts' when it comes to shopping for the perfect engagement ring or diamond ring. Follow our list of helpful tips and we can guarantee that you will be able to make a good informed decision over an impulse decision.
DO: Check The 4 Cs
As a jewelry lover rather than a jewelry expert, the most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for a diamond engagement ring are the 4 Cs. These are the standards by which the jewelry industry grades and value diamonds. The 4 Cs are cut, color, clarity and carat.
It is really worth taking your time to research the detail of each of these categories so that you know what you are looking for in terms of the quality of the stones compared to the prices that are being suggested for them. Even just digging into the basics, you will learn that you can play the various grades off against each other to maximize the value for your budget. The 4 Cs will also help you decide on the shape you most want.
The 4 Cs for each diamond are given, in great detail, in a certificate issued by one of various gem authorities and any jewelry store will be happy to explain any of the Cs to you for any diamond you are interested in.
DON'T: Purchase Uncertified Diamonds
A certified diamond is a diamond that has been very closely analyzed and graded by a trusted professional expert. In the USA, the most trusted certifier is the Gemological Institute of America. There are other organizations but the most important thing for you as a buyer is to know your diamond has been authenticated and graded.
Every jewelry expert will tell you to never buy a diamond that does not have a certificate. Without it, there is no way to verify the quality of an uncertified stone, and you may end up paying more for the diamond than it is actually worth.
DO: Purchase Conflict Free Diamonds
A conflict-free diamond is a stone that has been sold in order to fund terrorism and violence, and nobody wants their money to contribute to such causes. To avoid this, you have to buy from a retailer that guarantees that their diamonds are from a conflict-free resource.
It is illegal to import conflict diamonds in the United States and you can always ask your jeweler to confirm they abide by the guidelines of the Kimberley Process.
If you are looking at antique or vintage jewelry, the waters can be a little bit murkier. While all new diamonds in the USA and the majority of Europe can be certified as conflict-free, the same cannot be said for tracing back to the source of older pieces with older stones in them.
One way to absolutely guarantee there are no issues with the source of your diamond is to choose lab-grown diamonds. Increasing in popularity over the past few years, the source of a lab-grown stone is completely traceable. There are other benefits too. Diamonds created in a lab are exactly the same as natural diamonds in every way other than their origin yet they are currently 30-50% cheaper than mined diamonds. You get way more for your budget if you choose synthetic diamonds.
DON'T: Be Driven by Carat Weight
Don't make the mistake of being too consumed by having a large-carat diamond. Size does not always equate to quality. If you refer back to the 4 Cs, a smaller stone can have more scintillation and fire than a larger stone and therefore look more impressive.
Some heavier diamonds actually look duller than smaller ones because they have a lower clarity grade, and for those with slim, long fingers, a smaller-carat weight can look just as big on them as a larger-carat weight on somebody else!
Picking out the perfect ring for yourself or for another person is all to do with finding the perfect balance of the 4 Cs, as well as considering factors like finger size and personal style.
Don't get hung up on the numbers, that is why is it is always best to try on the rings as you browse.
DO: Be Strict With The Budget You Set
The world of diamond ring buying can be a very intoxicating, one that might tempt you to spend more money than you actually have.
There is an old school rule that states a diamond engagement should cost between one and three months' salary, but if this is too much of a stretch for you, then do not push yourself to try to achieve it irresponsibly.
There is a much wider choice and wider price range across the jewelry market these days, and you should never have to feel like you need to get yourself into financial trouble in order to secure a diamond. Set a budget and be strict with it, always mention it to your jeweler right at the start of your journey.
DON'T: Spend Too Much!
We can't reiterate enough, once your budget is set, do not let an eager or charismatic salesperson persuade you into spending more than you want to!
There are beautiful diamond engagement rings available at every single level of a wide price range, all you need to do is make sure that you conduct a thorough and extensive search to discover which stones and rings are the perfect fit for your needs.
A diamond ring doesn't have to be a budget buster in order to be impressive. It is much better to have a smaller stone that sparkles and shines compared to a larger stone that is dull and somewhat lifeless.
If you are invested in picking up a great bargain, then there are lots of affordable engagement rings to be found in the antique engagement ring market. Again, there is always the dilemma of not having as clear an idea of the conflict status of older jewelry, but this is something that you will have to decide for yourself based on your budget.
Remember too, lab-grown diamonds offer great value for money, are conflict-free and have minimal impact on the environment compared to diamond mining.
DO: Consider Your Partner's Personal Style
Make sure that you always have the personal style of the recipient in mind when ring hunting, whether that is yourself or someone else!
There is no point in spending the big bucks on a ring that the wearer isn't going to enjoy having on their finger, so at all times you need to make sure that you consider whether or not your choice of size, shape, metal type, color and the rest is in keeping with what your loved one would pick for themselves.
Take a look in their jewelry box to see what the common themes seem to be. You of course want a diamond engagement ring to be special and standout, but that does not mean that it should be in relative keeping to the rest of the jewelry that it is going to be worn with on a regular basis.
Whether you are looking for engagement rings, wedding bands, white gold, yellow gold, a specific carat size or one of a variety of colors, we can guarantee that you will find something that suits all of your needs and preferences at Diamond And Design.
We can promise that you won't be disappointed by the wide variety of engagement ring styles that we have in our collection. We look forward to being able to provide a wonderful engagement ring shopping experience.