Diamond Buying Guide
Buying a diamond can seem like a difficult task, but it doesn't have to be. The difficulty with diamonds is essentially your lack of knowledge on them, the high value of the purchase and most important, the commitment and symbol of what a diamond purchase means. Since you've already decided to purchase a diamond, the hard part is over. Purchasing a diamond requires some research and decision making.
Diamond buying requires a little planning. Follow along with these guided steps and you will be able to find the perfect diamond in no time.
1. Set a budget: the most important part of buying a diamond is setting a budget and never exceeding that budget. Diamonds are a symbol of commitment, not measure of spending capacity. It is important not to forget that and never pressure yourself into spending more than you are comfortable affording. You never want regret, in the present or future, to be part of your engagement story. In order to set a budget, do very high level, preliminary research about the average diamond engagement ring purchase price. See if that's above or below where you may want to be. See what going up or down in carat gets you. You need to establish a preliminary baseline so you can budget relative to it and properly set your budget. Otherwise, you'll find yourself changing your budget around and this will get frustrating.
2. Timing: give yourself about 1 month, plus or minus a couple weeks. You're not expected to become a diamond expert and diamonds are something you buy everyday. Therefore, don't obsess over them by spending months researching every single aspect -- it'll drive you crazy. Also, taking too long may result in questioning your decision and result in putting off your proposal longer than you should wait. It's best to purchase a diamond when you're research is fresh in your mind and you're not learning about diamond a little per week. Odds are you'll forget many of the things you learned early on, which are often the most important parts of diamond research. Also, give yourself time. A ring takes about 2 weeks to make, unless your purchase a preset ring. Don't cut it close and stress yourself out.
3. Shape first: The first and most visual consideration is the diamond's shape. The most popular shape is the round brilliant cut. If, however, you know she/he prefers another shape, definitely go in that direction. It is never a good approach to be selecting between multiple shapes at the same time because the styles, pricing and consideration all vary so much.
4. The 4 C's: Once your shape is final, you'll need to read up on the 4 C's and beyond the 4 C's. Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity are the most visual characteristics of a diamond. That is why they get the most importance. They also are the factors that set the diamond's price. You don't have to be an expert and you'll never be grading a diamond. You simply need to understand them enough to make a decision on the diamond you may want to choose. The best way to understand the relationship between the 4 C's and a diamond's price is as follows: Think of the C's as levers. Unfortunately, with diamonds you can't have it all. So carat is typically the lever on your left and Cut, Color and Clarity are levers on your right. If you pull the carat lever up, you may need to pull the other C levers down (and vice versa) so the diamond works with your budget. Once you've pulled the levers up and down, you'll ultimately find the right balance, which will lead you to selecting a diamond. Be careful though, these are very sensitive levers, meaning that small changes in diamond attributes are large changes in price.
5. Selecting The Right One: Finally, once you've determined the right combination of diamond attributes for you, you'll probably notice that you still have several options remaining. Well, now what? Don't always go with the least expensive. Diamond suppliers know their inventory. They price diamonds a certain way for a reason. If the price seems too good to be true, there's a reason for that. Consider comparing the attributes beyond the 4 C's such as fluorescence, measurements (length to width ratio), table, depth, polish and symmetry. These factors will help you.Shop Diamonds
Diamond Pricing Value
There is no magic answer or secret location where diamonds have the best quality and are magnificently less expensive. The number one factor in diamond buying is trusting your diamond supplier, whether online or in store.
When purchasing in store, you can expect to pay a larger premium than when purchasing online. The offline jeweler may have between 20% - 50% margins on diamonds, depending on diamond size and selection. Offline jewelers have overheads, inventory holding costs and most importantly, they provide you the experience and ability to physically see and hold the diamond live, in person. If this is of utmost importance to you, then consider purchasing in store. You may find yourself paying a premium; however, you'll attain a peace of mind that you required as part of the diamond shopping experience.
Today, like many other industries, the online diamond industry is the fastest growing segment of jewelry. Things like GIA diamond grading certificates have made customers very comfortable with buying online. Diamond purchasing was once an art, but now has become a bit of a science. Buying online gives you exponentially more selection, major pricing benefits (markups between 5% - 15%), generous return policies, and convenience without sales pressure.
Ultimately, we recommend a hybrid approach, if possible. Don't feel shy about stepping into a store to see diamonds, but certainly don't get pressured or bullied into prematurely buying the diamond. Likewise, use online to research, price compare and make a confident decision. Again, the most important factor is trust. You should go in with the mindset that you're not just buying a ring; rather, you'll be purchasing wedding bands, possibly anniversary jewelry or other future gifts. Then you'll know if you've found the right place to purchase jewelry. Read our Diamond Pricing section for more information.
The most commonly researched topic or question is how much to spend on your diamond/ring, when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring. It was a clever sales tactic where people began recommending 3 months salary. This formula, however, could not be more untrue.
Buying a diamond is a very personal decision and it depends on many personal factors. How can you decide a budget if you don't know what X amount buys you? Our advice is to do very high level, preliminary research. Look up the average diamond expenditure. See if that's within your range. If you'd like to spend more, than see what increasing one of the 4 C's get you. If it's outside your price range, than start paring down the 4 C's. This will help you hone in on a budget. It is important to set a baseline and know your budget before you begin aggressively searching for the perfect diamond.
If your budget isn't set before you start narrowing diamond options, you'll find yourself changing your mind a lot and the whole thing becomes a moving target. It will become, painful (figuratively), frustrating and annoying. The goal is to make this process be a fun, happy one because you're about to begin the happiest moment of your life with the diamond.
Research and compare options and pricing
Ask your jeweler for recommendations
Set a budget
Save up to purchase your ring
Consider financing your purchase
Insure your diamond ring after purchase
Balance the 4 C's to achieve better value
Get pressured into a buying decision
Exceed your budget
Wait till the last minute and cut it close to the proposal
Go it alone and decide without any help from your jeweler
Get too creative. Often times, her/his jewelry preferences will not be yours