How to Buy an Engagement Ring: A Complete Guide


Engagement rings come in a vast array of styles and materials. When choosing rings, consider your budget and style preferences, and determine what’s most important to you by prioritizing the 4 C’s.

The 4 C’s are cut, carat, color, & clarity. Diamonds are measured in carats (ct), and diamonds appear in various degrees of transparency (how many flaws they have), which affects how much they sparkle.  Diamonds come in multiple colors, and cuts can be either round or fancy (irregular).

When looking at the 4 C’s, it’s helpful to determine what you value most to compare diamonds with similar qualities. For example, if carat is crucial to you but the color isn’t as critical, there are options to choose from.

If you are overwhelmed by the wide range of settings, styles, sizes, and shapes available, consider your preferences for style and size, as well as the activity that the ring will be used for.

The color:

Nature produces diamonds in various colors and shades, including red, blue, pink, purple, green, or black. Engagement rings with colored diamonds are becoming increasingly popular. These rings are usually quite expensive, however, due to the rarity of the color. Diamonds are graded on a D to Z color scale, with D being pure white and Z having a yellow tint. The colorless diamonds are the most expensive. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can opt for a lower-grade diamond. 

Diamond cut: 

While the round brilliant is the most popular diamond shape today, many brides have unique ideas about what will look best on their hands. Some prefer princess cuts or nugget shapes. Diamond cutters can also create custom cuts, which have been popular in recent years. You can get in touch with diamond ring designers like Fergus James if you want a custom engagement ring.


The clarity of a diamond refers to the number and size of flaws in a diamond. Diamonds with fewer flaws will be more expensive due to their rarity. The naked eye can only detect diamonds that have microscopic internal flaws, so most jewelry you see will have some degree of inclusions or blemishes. As long as they are not large enough to be visible to the naked eye, these inclusions are not a problem. Recently, salt and pepper diamonds are becoming more popular. Salt and pepper diamond rings can be a unique and affordable option. 


Carat refers to the mass of a diamond. As diamonds are measured by weight, larger stones will be more expensive than smaller stones with the same other qualities. The carat represents 1/5th of the total diamond weight, so you can divide by 5 to determine what size stone you can afford given your budget (for example, an 0.50 carat stone has the same mass as an 0.10 carat stone but is more expensive due to its rarity).

Even if you are not looking for engagement rings, it’s also good to consider these 4 C’s when buying other diamond jewelry, including earrings or pendants. It’s important to know what quality you are paying for to compare prices and make an informed decision.

Choosing the right metal:

When it comes to buying an engagement ring, you have more options than gold or platinum. White gold, yellow gold, and even palladium are other options.

Platinum is the most popular choice for wedding rings, but it is also the most expensive metal. It is very hard-wearing and does not tarnish as white-gold does. However, platinum can require initial polishing to remove residue. Palladium rings are similar to platinum, although they are usually a little lighter in color, and the metal is less dense.

Gold is a classic choice for rings but can tarnish over time if not correctly cared for. White-gold rings have a silver hue which gives them a more contemporary look. Yellow-gold rings are beautiful, but they need to be polished regularly to remove skin oils and dirt.

White-gold rings are made of an alloy that has a little silver in it, so they have a slightly more yellowish hue than platinum or palladium. They’re ideal if you want the classic look of gold without having to polish your ring regularly. 

Choosing the right setting:

Traditional settings include:

  • The solitaire diamond ring
  • Side stone ring setting
  • Prong-less bezel
  • Elaborate carved scroll

If you can not afford a diamond with exceptional clarity, you’ll want to go with the most simple setting. If your budget is more flexible, it’s worth considering one of the more contemporary settings without prongs for added safety.

Buy Online:

Buying online can help you save time and money.  You can find great deals on engagement rings, wedding bands, and bridal sets. 

To be sure you get a quality diamond, we recommend buying from a reputable online retailer. Most retailers have GIA-trained gemologists who can help you choose the right diamond, metal, and style. 

Most engagement rings will need to be cleaned and inspected after time has passed. Your jeweler should inspect the item every six months (or once a year, depending on usage). 

The first step to choosing the perfect engagement ring is knowing what your loved one likes. It might seem like an obvious statement, but many people overlook this detail and end up with a piece of jewelry that their partner dislikes. When you’re searching for an engagement ring, take time to find out the things your fiancé loves or would want in a new piece of jewelry so they can be involved in the decision-making process. Once you know their preferences, it becomes easier to narrow down potential rings until you find something they love!

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