Freedman Jewelers Blog

How to buy an engagement ring

by Josh on May 31, 2011

diamond engagement ring boston

So you are thinking of getting engaged and need to buy your significant other an engagement ring.

Where do you start? Here is a (hopefully) helpful list on how to prepare yourself for the engagement ring process.

Step 1: Budget:

Figure out what you want to spend in total on your engagement ring purchase.  You can get a beautiful engagement ring no matter what budget but it’s vital to figure out what you can afford and want to spend before you start doing heavy research.

Things to think about:

Establishing a budget helps out everybody: yourself and the jeweler you are working with.  There is a wide spectrum of prices for engagement rings and it helps a jeweler to know what you would like to spend so they can show you feasible options.  Any reputable jeweler should help you find a beautiful engagement ring that meets your budget.

  • Keep in mind that an engagement ring is a lifetime investment and it’s always better to invest the majority of the money you are spending into the actual diamond or other gemstone you are using for the center.
  • I recommend spending 70-80% of your overall purchase on the diamond.  For example if you have a $5,000 budget, you should spend at least $3,500 on the actual diamond purchase.
  • You should invest more in the actual diamond as diamonds last forever (as long as you don’t chip them, a tough thing to do).  The engagement ring setting that she likes today may change in 10 -20 years.  It’s very common to keep your diamond from your original engagement ring setting but have it remounted.

Step 2: Research:

Start to do some research on diamonds and other precious stones shapes and engagement ring styles.  Has your girlfriend hinted at a specific diamond shape or engagement ring setting she has seen before?

Diamonds: the most common stone for an engagement ring

The most common stone for an engagement ring is a diamond for its beauty, strength and resistance to scratching.  The perfect stone for everyday wear. For the purpose of this blog post, we’ll say you are looking for a diamond engagement ring.

Diamond Shapes

The most popular diamond shape is the round brilliant cut diamond.  There are many other shaped diamonds out there, the other popular ones being princess cut , (square) cushion cut , (rounded square) emerald cut (rectangular) , radiant cut (sparkling emerald style).  There are other shapes such as marquise, pear, and oval shaped that are not as popular at the moment.  Everyone has different tastes and there are diamond shapes to meet all those needs.

Engagement Ring Settings:

  • Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself if you are surprising her with an engagement ring to figure out the appropriate style for her.
  • Is she modest and understated?
  • Does she like to make big statements and be fashion forward?  Would she have a preference to diamond size (Believe it or not, some women want a modest sized diamond)
  • If you are completely clueless in regards to the engagement ring setting and want to keep the ring a surprise, a classic diamond solitaire mounting is a good option.  Some jewelers will work out a deal where you can swap out a solitaire setting later on for a more sophisticated setting.
  • Here are some links for engagement ring settings:

Diamonds:

The actual loose diamond is the most important factor in your engagement ring search.

Here is a list of some things to keep in mind:

  1. Diamond certificates: Try to buy a diamond certified by an independent laboratory.  This is not the same thing as a jewelry appraisal.  A jewelry appraisal is a written document by the jeweler who usually sells you a ring and is mainly used for insurance purposes. Keep in mind that if there is no certificate accompanied with your diamond, some of the grades for color and clarity could be inflated.  A diamond certificate is a laboratory report, which gives you definite characteristics of your diamond such as carat weight, color, clarity, cut grade, table percentage and more.  The most trusted lab is GIA (Gemological Institute of America, www.gia.edu ) as they are a non-profit organization hence their grading of diamond characteristics is completely unbiased.
  2. Diamond characteristics: You might know about the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity and carat).  (Read more here: http://www.gia.edu/lab-reports-services/about-the-4cs/index.html )All these characteristics are important.  Ideally you want a diamond that is fairly high in all factors: D-I in color, VS1 – SI1 in clarity, good to excellent cut, and a diamond larger than 0.50 carat total weight.  The diamond industry is a very competitive industry so if you encounter something too good to be true, it probably is.  There could be something drastically wrong with the diamond that does not show up on a report, like an inclusion greatly affecting the sparkle.  Viewing diamonds in person is extremely important as you can really learn about what to look for and compare with your own eyes.
  3. Buy the diamond and the engagement ring setting as separate parts: Be cautious of engagement rings already set up.  Since the diamond is already set you can’t be certain of its flaws.  For example there could be an inclusion hidden by a prong that you may not know about.  A diamond already set up may have inexact weight, color and clarity.  When you buy the diamond and engagement ring setting, you are also in control of customizing your ideal engagement ring!

Step 3:  Finalizing your engagement ring:

You have done your research, visited several reputable jewelers and are ready to make a decision.

  • The bottom line price shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your decision.  Yes, price is very important and you want to get the most value for your engagement ring purchase, however you want to think long-term about your engagement ring not short term.  One jeweler could be offering you a diamond engagement ring less than anybody else, but what are they offering beside the price.
  • What kinds of complimentary services are being offered beyond the purchase of your engagement ring?
  • Will they re size your ring free of charge if you guess wrong?  Will they fix the ring free of charge if something happens in the first several months such as a small diamond in the mounting falling out?
  • An engagement ring is a lifetime purchase and you will need maintenance over time.
  • You want to make sure that the jewelry store you buy from has some sort of return policy and excellent customer service.  You want to have piece of mind that you will be able to return your diamond if something goes wrong.
  • What if she says no, what if she wants a different engagement ring etc?  It’s good to have some sort of protection in case things don’t go according to plan.  For example, at Freedman’s we offer 30-day return policy on any piece of in-stock merchandise and can work with you if it extends past the 30 days.
  • Has the jewelry store been in business for a while? If the store has been in business in a while they must be doing something right and most likely have a good following of customers who trust them.
  • Is it family owned and operated? Do they have a good reputation and positive reviews online?    If the business is family owned and operated then you are dealing with jewelers who really care about their business, their product and their relationship with customers.
  • Do they have a good reputation and positive reviews online?
  • Here is a hypothetical situation:  You walk into a chain jewelry store and you meet a salesman named John who has been working there for 2 months and might be leaving for a new job 2 months after.  You go back a year later for your wedding bands and your salesman no longer works there.  Where is the relationship?  At a family jewelry store, the staff will be there to help you for the present and the future.

Conclusion:

I hope this information about diamonds, engagement rings and research tips is helpful and good luck in your engagement ring search!

For any questions, Freedman Jewelers is located in the Boston Jewelers exchange building at 333 Washington St. Ste 408 Boston, MA 02108 and our phone number is 617-227-4294.

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