How to Buy a Diamond

Step One: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Budget
Step Two: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Setting
Step Three: Choosing the Right Diamond
Step Four: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Gold or Platinum?
Step Five: Engagement Ring Buying Guide – Certification

It’s time now for the most exciting part of the process, what it’s all about!

  • The Centerpiece of your Engagement Ring
  • The Biggest Expense
  • The Stone
  • The Rock
  • The Diamond!

We know it’s a very scary idea, spending so much money on such a small thing.  Diamonds are quite beautiful, possibly one of the most beautiful objects in nature, and you are going to treasure it forever!  Another thing to remember is that you are getting something that is truly one of a kind.  No two diamonds are identical, even if they have the same weight and other characteristics.

Choosing a diamond comes down to 2 main decisions:
(1) The Shape
(2) The Characteristics, aka the 4 C’s

The shape of your diamond is a very personal decision.  There are many wonderful shapes and each of them evokes different emotions from different people. So how can you make a choice?  First, let’s see what everyone else is picking.

The Most Popular Choice

The most popular shape by far for engagement rings is the round brilliant cut.  It’s the most popular shape in fact for all kinds of jewelry.  Round stones are beautiful, symmetrical and full of symbolism.  The round shape represents the circle of life, perfect to mark the marriage of two people starting a new life together.

In the image here, you see a round brilliant set in 4 prongs.  The most common combination for engagement rings is a round diamond with a prong setting.

If you know you want a classic round brilliant, let’s go right into the all important 4 C’s .. the factors that will determine the price of your diamond.

If you want to explore different diamond shapes, scroll down for a look at some other stunning options.  Also, if you’re looking to add side stone, also scroll down for more detail.

One important thing to keep in mind, is that not all settings can support all diamond shapes.  If you want a fancy shape, anything other than round, make sure you pick an appropriate setting.

The 4 C’s – Determining Price

If you focus on your budget, step 1 of our engagement ring buying guide, choosing a diamond is actually pretty easy.  What, easy?  Yes, we’re going to make it very easy.  Within the 4 C’s .. two of them are far and away the most important.  They are the ones worth upgrading and spending extra money on.  Take a guess which ones.

And the answer is .. Cut & Color.  The explanation is very simple.

The Most Important Quality

Most people would not guess that Cut is the most important of the 4 c’s.  Diamond Cut should not be confused with shape.  Cut refers to the quality of the cut diamond.  What makes a diamond valuable is how well it shines, the brilliance and fire of a diamond.  Cut is the most important of the 4 c’s in this respect.  A poorly cut diamond will not allow the light to properly reflect back to your eye.  The light will get “lost” and the diamond will be dull and lifeless.  At Mazal Diamond we recommend purchasing, Good, Very Good or Excellent cut diamonds, avoiding Poor and Fair.

The Importance of “Lack” of Color

After cut, Diamond Color is very important because this will be the next thing you notice, the color of your diamond.  A colorless diamond comes with the highest rating, letter D.  So a color rating in fact represents the lack of color in a diamond.  The more white, the higher grading.  After cut, this is the next of the 4 c’s you should consider upgrading, or spending extra money to achieve a higher quality diamond.  Looking at the chart below, Mazal Diamond recommends diamonds with a color D, E, F & G.  Don’t worry if you cannot afford D, there are few of them around anyway.

A Word about Clarity & Carat Weight

Since we all have limited budgets, well most of us, you should focus on upgrading Cut & Color before worrying about Clarity or Carat Weight.  With Diamond Clarity, we recommend any of the grades, except I2 & I3, which are the 2 lowest.  These bottom grades will contain inclusions and blemished visible by the naked eye.  More important than getting a higher clarity grade is trying to find an eye clean diamond, i.e a diamond whereby the inclusions are not visible to the naked eye.

Diamond Carat Weight therefore becomes strictly a function of budget.  You can easily see what you can afford by checking out Mazal’s interactive tools.  There are 2 options.  (1) Visit our designer preset jewelry collection.  Click here to see Engagement Rings.  (2) Select from 100,000 certified diamonds and do it yourself.  Click on Build My Ring.  In either case, you can adjust the 4 C’s and see the price change instantly!  You’re in control like never before.

If you have your heart set on a specific size, for example a 1 carat or 1.5 carat, you can adjust the 4 C’s accordingly to see if it fits your budget.  Again, we stress that the place to save money is clarity and then color.  But do not compromise on cut!  This size chart by the way will help you visualize the approximate diameter of different carat weight diamonds.  These are the “appropriate” dimensions.  That means, you could get a wider diamond for a given carat weight, but then the dimensions would be off, therefore affecting the cut, our most important C.  Don’t be fooled by a large cheap stone.  You get what you pay for!

Different Diamond Shapes

The large majority of engagement rings feature round brilliant cut diamonds, as we mentioned earlier.  However, this classic design is not for everyone.  In fact, fancy shaped diamonds are becoming more popular.  The term fancy refers to any non-round shaped diamond.

Before we continue, one important note about settings.  In the previous step of this buying guide we discussed diamond settings.  Most settings will allow for a round brilliant stone.  Just keep in mind as you search through various shapes that not all settings will support them.

The Second Most Popular Shape

After round brilliants, the princess cut is the next most common, shown here.  It’s quite different, being square and makes for a stunning center stone for an engagement ring.  Like all of the decisions you will make, it’s all about personal style.  For more on this and other fancy shapes, check out our related articles.

Learn About other Dazzling Diamond Shapes

A Special Choice .. Radiant Cut
Unique Elegance .. Oval Shaped Diamond
Grace & Elegance .. Marquise Shaped Diamond
Delicate & Sophisticated .. Pear Shaped Diamond
Modern yet Traditional .. Cushion Shaped Diamond
Love & Romance ..  Heart Shaped Diamond
Glamorous & Star Studded  .. Emerald Cut
Stylish & Striking .. Asscher Cut

Side Diamonds?

Adding side stones can give a dramatic look to your engagement ring.  One option is to use small round brilliant cut diamonds, like in the image here.  You can add one row, two rows or more and the design options are endless.  To view our full collection, visit: Engagement Rings with Side Diamonds.  The style shown in white gold: 2 Row Pave Set Solitaire Diamond Ring.

A second option is to use two large round brilliant cut diamonds.  Most people refer to this style as a 3 stone ring.  The side diamonds would be matching, but smaller than the center diamond.

A third option is to use fancy shaped side diamonds, for example the baguette cut.  The 5 most popular options are listed below and they can be really stunning.

Of course adding side diamonds means a more complicated ring and added cost.  It’s also very important to get matching side stones, not always easy to do on your own.  To get a quote on price as well as to discuss design ideas, we would be happy to help.  Contact us for an appointment.

Learn About Elegant Side Stones

The Ultimate Accent .. Baguette Cut
Ideal Side Stones .. Trilliant Shaped Diamond
Bold Side Stones .. Shield & Kite Shaped Diamonds
Modern Side Stones .. Trapezoid Shaped Diamonds
Fancy Side Stones .. Crescent & Half Moon Shaped Diamonds

Ready for the Next Step?

This is very exciting.  You’ve chosen a setting and a diamond, now on to the color of your band.  You probably already have an idea, but there are a few important things to consider, big differences between gold and platinum.  We cannot wait to see the final design!

On to Step 4: Gold or Platinum?

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