Purchasing a Diamond Engagement Ring


Buying a diamond engagement ring should be one of the most unforgettable moments in your lifetime. On bended knee you ask her to marry you and become your life-long partner.  You desperately want her to say ‘yes,’ and you really want her to like the ring you have chosen as well.

Staff at E. D. Marshall Jewelers can help you be sure that she will like the ring.  Consider following these tips as you pick out the perfect engagement ring.

Decide How Much You Will Spend

There will be an enormous variety of rings to choose from as you shop for engagement rings.  Be ready and have a price range in mind before you start to shop.  Working with definite limitations will help you and your jeweler at E. D. Marshall Jewelers find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.

Do Your Homework First

You have much to learn about diamonds and diamond rings before setting foot in a jewelry store.  Start with 4Cs – Color, Clarity, Cut & Carat Weight.  You will want to understand how each influences the value of the diamond and adds to the overall appearance of the stone and ring.  You also need to learn about the various shapes of diamonds that are available because shape will seriously affect your decisions and how the ring will look.  You should learn what is most important to you and where you may be able to compromise in order to stay within your price range.

Carat weight is the first thing to decide on.  You may have a personal opinion on this, or your intended partner may.  Carat weight is simply the measurement of how much a diamond weighs.  A ‘carat’ is 200 milligrams.  Two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values depending on the other 3 C’s.

We are going to sneak shape in here because shape can have a major effect on the next 3 C’s.  Each shape possesses unique qualities that will have major impact on the appearance of the diamond.  Shape will affect the brilliance of the diamond and shape may be important because of the size and silhouette of your partner’s hand.  Be sure to consult our guide to diamond shapes as you choose which shape you are going to get.  Consider looking at any rings your partner already owns to get an idea of how different shaped stones look on her hands.

Clarity is the next thing to consider.  Clarity refers to the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes.  Clarity grades are based on the size, position, and number of inclusions and blemishes that are visible under 10x magnification.   There are 11 grades.

If you honestly hate imperfections you will need to consider buying a VVS2 or better diamond.  The most popular range of clarity is VS1 to VS2.  To the naked eye these diamonds will appear flawless.  This standard of clarity costs a fraction of the price of a top clarity stone.  The larger the diamond the more important clarity becomes since imperfections will be easier to see.

‘D’ represents colorless with ‘Z’ diamonds appearing yellow to tan.  Diamonds are color graded by comparing them to master stones in very controlled viewing conditions.

Once a diamond is in a setting and out in everyday lighting the average person will never know what the actual color of the stone is.  Even experts can have great difficulty distinguishing color ratings in real life situations.  Because of this, color grades can be lower and you will still have an exceptional appearing diamond.

Diamond cut grades are not uniformly defined.  This can make comparison from one store to another difficult.  The cut of a diamond is the factor that will fuel a diamond’s sparkle, fire, and brilliance and is most crucial to the diamond’s value.  To cut and polish a diamond requires expert craftsmanship.  There are 5 cut grades ranging from excellent to poor.  Multiple factors go into determining a diamond’s cut grade but rarely do you need to work with them as you evaluate diamonds.  Comparing these separate factors is only necessary if you must compare 2 identical diamonds of equal cut grade.

Understand Her Preferences in Jewelry

Observation counts.  Pay attention to kind of jewelry she already wears.  Does she own more classic or modern jewelry?   Does she wear white metals (silver, white gold, platinum), yellow gold, or rose gold most often?   Do her pieces tend to be more delicate, ornate, sleek, or chunky?  You will need to keep her preferences in mind as you shop.  If you buy a ring that is similar to what she already wears, you won’t go wrong.  Remember that she is going to wear this ring every day of her life.

Her Ring Size

If she owns rings that fit, borrow one.  Carefully trace the inner circle on a piece of paper.  Another option is to slide the ring down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops.  A jeweler at E. D. Marshall Jewelers can use this information to determine her ring size.

If she doesn’t wear rings, you will have to estimate her ring size.  Talk with your jeweler.  It’s always safer to buy a ring that is larger than you think she’ll need.  Having a ring down-sized is much easier than increasing its size.

What is Her Favorite Shape and Cut Style

Hopefully she will make this easy for you by voicing an opinion on the subject or admiring someone else’s ring.  If you are unsure we suggest you keep these ideas in mind as you shop for rings.

Because she will wear this ring every day it will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear.  If you are unsure of her preference in gemstone shape stick with a classic shape, such as a round or square.

If you are considering a multi-stone ring remember that certain shapes will pair more successfully with other shapes.  Round, oval and marquise shape stones work well sitting side-by-side.  Pear and heart shapes are more challenging and are usually used in solitaire rings.

You may be able to use some of her other preferences to infer what she will like in a ring.  If she favors clean, modern lines in furniture, it’s probable that she will prefer a rectangular or square shape.  If she likes tradition, a round shape is likely to be a hit.  If her tastes tend toward the eclectic she may prefer more unusual shapes such as a triangular or marquise shape.

A diamond’s cut refers to its facet arrangement and affects it ability to reflect light. Round-shaped diamonds are cut in the brilliant style with 57 or 58 facets.  It is designed to maximize the diamond’s sparkle and minimize the appearance of inclusions. The fewer the facets, the more visible any inclusions will be, so a cutting style such as a step cut (emerald cut) requires higher clarity in the diamond.

Decide on a setting

Consider her personality and lifestyle when deciding how well a certain setting design will fit her.  If she enjoys an active lifestyle look for low profile, less ornate and more secure ring settings.  These are less likely to get damaged or caught on things.  If she enjoys glamour look for fancier settings with a high profile stone, more intricate detailing and/or a unique style.

These are a few of the basic settings you will see at E. D. Marshall Jewelers:


A single stone.  This remains the most popular choice in engagement rings.  If prong set, the prongs must allow the diamond to catch the most light.  A six-prong setting is more secure than four prongs.  A bezel setting is even more secure and protects the stone, but it allows the diamond to catch less light.


Smaller diamonds (or other gems) that flank the larger center stone. Popular sidestone settings include prong, channel (which protects stones by keeping them flush), and bar-channel (which allows more light to enter the sidestones).  Ask a jeweler to show you these options to better understand them.

Three Stone

Typically, the diamonds are the same shape with the center diamond slightly larger than the two side stones.

Halo setting

The center stone is surrounded by tiny gemstones (usually diamonds) in a pave (pah-vey) setting to add sparkle and to give the appearance of a larger center stone.  This can work well if you need to use a smaller central stone.

Decide on which metal

A diamond engagement ring should last a lifetime so the metal is usually gold or platinum.  These are extremely durable metals that can withstand many decades of daily wear.  Metal color is a matter of personal preference.  The appearance of a diamond’s color is affected by its surroundings so metal color can affect this. Once you select the diamond, be sure to look at it with different colored metals.

Find a good jeweler

You won’t go it alone if you are working with a great jeweler like E. D. Marshall Jewelers.   We will educate you about the 4Cs of diamond quality, answer all your questions, and help you narrow your choices to fit your intended’s tastes while staying within your budget.  Be sure to ask us for a GIA grading report to validate the quality of your diamond.

Buying an engagement ring can be easy if you educate yourself about diamonds and learn her preferences.  Enjoy the process and envision the look of love and happiness you will receive when you put that ring on her finger!

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