Planning to pop the question any time soon? Putting a ring on it? We reached out to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and got a lot wiser about buying this precious stone. We share some helpful insights that will make buying an engagement ring hopefully a bit easier.
For centuries proposing went hand in hand with an engagement ring. In the beginning of the 20th century the engagement ring gained popularity after De Beers advertised it to men as a status symbol, but before that it wasn’t unusual to give your fiancé an engagement ring. It is known that the Egyptians wore engagement rings thousands of years ago, just like the romans did in the ancient empire. Throughout the time it became tradition in western societies for men to give a ring when they asked their girlfriend to marry them.
Where to buy
The GIA recommends buying a diamond engagement ring from a jeweler with the right qualifications. As a diamond seeker, look for a jeweler’s certification and make sure the diamond comes with a certificate. If the jeweler has a GIA Graduate Gemologist (GG) or Accredited Jewelry Professional (AJP) diploma, you can be sure that they know what they are talking about. As long as the jeweler has the right certificates it doesn’t matter where you buy your ring; you can even buy it online. Blue Nile, for example, has a big arrangement of rings and settings that you can easily customize into your own ring for an affordable price. They also have a 30 day return policy, and all their diamonds are GIA certified!
GIA diamond certificate (Source: GIA)
Most people recommend not spending more than two to three months of income for an engagement ring. An engagement ring in the United States costs about 4,000 dollars on average, but even with a smaller budget you can find a very nice ring. Make sure not to spend more than you have. Please note that some people might tell you that the diamond is a great investment but be aware that there are people that claim the contrary.
When you are buying your significant other a diamond, make sure to pay attention to the four C’s: Clarity, Cut, Carat (weight) and Color. Each of those C’s contribute to the quality and price of the diamond. See below the variations of color:
Diamond Color (Source: GIA)
Diamond Color Grading (Source: GIA)
Self evidently, clarity stands for the clarity in the diamond. The less inclusions and blemishes the clearer and more expensive the diamond.
Correlation between Clarity and Value (Source: GIA)
The Cut determines whether the stone is cut excellent, poor, or somewhere in between. The quality of the cut has everything to do with the dimensions of the diamond. The better the cut, the shinier the diamond. The GIA explains on their website that the proportions of the diamond allow them to evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects such as:
- Brightness: Internal and external white light reflected from a diamond
- Fire: The scattering of white light into all the colors of the rainbow
- Scintillation: The amount of sparkle a diamond produces, and the pattern of light and dark areas caused by reflections within the diamond (Source: GIA)
Read more about the Cut here.
The final C that defines the quality is the Carat of the diamond. The Carat is the weight of the stone, and is weighted to two decimal number places. The bigger is not always better, it’s important to take all C’s in consideration when buying a diamond.
There are many styles to pick from when choosing an engagement ring. You can figure out what your girlfriend is into by looking at the jewelry she likes to wear. Is she into vintage, classic, modern, romantic, etc.? Most likely your future wife will wear this ring 24/7, so make sure you choose something that fits with different outfits and is not very time-bound. The safest option is to choose a classic model. An example of a classic engagement ring is a gold, white gold or platinum ring with a diamond stone like you can see below.
Keep in mind that the engagement ring is often worn with the wedding ring, so buy something that will fit the wedding ring. For inspiration check out the Top Twenty Engagement Rings from Blue Nile.
If you have no clue about her size the GIA recommends the following:
The average ring size in the US is 6 (based on the ‘average’ US female being 5’4″ tall and weighing 140 lbs.) If she’s more slender, or fine boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range (by lederman at dh fashion). It’s always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she’ll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size. (Source: GIA)
You can also try to find a ring your girlfriend wears on the fourth finger of her left hand and sneak it to a jeweler. This would be a perfect measure for your girlfriend’s ring size.
The media wants you to believe that the size and the price of the ring stands for the amount of love you have for your significant other, but don’t let them fool you. Just choose the ring that you can afford and put some thought into the style of the ring. Most likely your partner will be overwhelmed by any ring, no matter how big or expensive it is! You can also be creative and make the ring yourself like this guy who made a diamond ring out of titanium or this guy who made an illuminative titanium ring.
Please let us know if you have any experience with buying an engagement ring and feel free to share some tips!
P.S. We just found out that Blue Nile has a 15% discount for Valentines if you use the coupon code HEART15 until 6:59 pm on February 13th.