So, you’ve found the love of your life. You plan the ideal moment to get down on one knee, you ask the biggest, most important question of your life, holding what you hope is the perfect engagement ring. She says yes and you’re over the moon with joy!
There’s no denying the significance of engagement rings for couples about to become husband and wife. This ring represents love, commitment, hope, treasured memories shared together, and even more priceless moments to come.
In many cases, buying an engagement ring is a couple’s first experience shopping for fine jewelry, which can leave everyone a little flustered, confused, and concerned about making the right choice. This should be a time for happiness and celebration, not wide eyes and furrowed brows. Which is why we’ve come up with a few stress-relieving tips for how to shop for the engagement ring of her dreams.
Setting a Budget
It’s helpful to have an idea of what you want to spend before you go shopping. Today, the average amount spent on an engagement ring is around $3,000 to $4,000. Only five percent of grooms spend more than $10,000. You may have saved up for this important purchase, but you can also research financing options, including personal credit cards, lines of credit, and interest-free financing to make this large expense a little easier on your wallet.
Don’t let budget alone determine what you’re going to buy. If you are going for the traditional diamond ring, remember that diamonds are forever—time does not break them down. Historically, diamonds have doubled in value every 10 years, so they’re a smart choice for a long-term investment. Consider the emotional value of this once-in-a-lifetime purchase; choose something that you both will be proud of and she’ll love to wear for years to come.
Some people value size over quality, while some folks go for the best quality they can afford even if it means sacrificing size. If the diamond of her dreams is not in your budget right now, remember that at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Ring Store, you can trade in your diamond for a larger one down the road.
Another great option is to consider buying a vintage engagement ring. It’s eco-friendly and you can find a truly unique ring with a very favorable price tag. No one will know you didn’t buy it new, in fact it might even be mistaken for a custom design!
Shopping for Quality and Value in Diamonds
Quality and value are two things you should consider when shopping for a diamond engagement ring, and they are largely determined by four criteria called “the 4 Cs”, clarity, color, cut, and carat.
Clarity can significantly add to the beauty of a diamond, but the higher the clarity, the higher the price per carat. Diamond clarity is graded on this rating system:
- Flawless – No imperfections when viewed with 10x magnification
- VVS – Very, very slightly included (inclusions are very slight imperfections within the diamond)
- VS – Very slightly included
- SI – Slightly included
- I – Included
Do you have to buy a flawless diamond for it to look dazzling? Absolutely not! Generally, imperfections in diamonds graded VS and above cannot be seen with the naked eye. Even most SI graded diamonds do not have visible imperfections and can be stunning with the right cut. Some people tend to value size over quality and would rather have an I graded diamond that is larger, but costs less per carat. It’s really dependent on the individual and their personal taste.
A diamond’s color is the general body color when viewed from the side. The less body color, the higher the cost per carat, excluding special colors. Diamonds range in color from D to Z, starting with D—colorless or pure white—through increasing amounts of yellow, all the way to Z— a dark, fancy yellow color. It isn’t necessary to buy a D color diamond! Body color is usually not noticeable in diamonds ranging all the way down to G, H, and I, especially with a well-cut diamond. Even lower colors can “face up white,” especially if set in yellow gold.
Cut refers to how well the diamond is faceted, and of the 4 Cs is the single greatest influence on a diamond’s beauty. The modern round brilliant cut was actually mathematically determined to produce the most brilliance and scintillation in a diamond.
The “ideal cut” diamond is cut to specific proportions within a range. However, not all ideal cut diamonds are equal! To see “The World’s Most Perfectly Cut Diamond,” visit us at Leo Hamel’s and ask about Hearts On Fire® diamonds, which are cut using 100 power magnification instead of the industry standard of 10 power. Only 1/10 of 1% of all diamonds is cut to Hearts On Fire® standards, and the difference is evident, even from across the room.
Diamonds are measured by weight, not by size. Carat weight is designated by points, with 100 points in a carat (notated 1.00 carat), so a 50-point diamond is half a carat (notated 0.50 carat) and so on. Generally, the heavier the diamond, the larger it appears, although an excellent cut will make a smaller diamond appear larger because the maximum amount of light is being refracted. Shallowly cut diamonds will also appear larger than their carat weight, but will lack the brilliance of a well-cut stone.
Diamonds are priced per carat, so the more carats in weight, the higher the price. Larger diamonds are rarer, so they will cost more per carat than smaller diamonds just based on size alone. 250,000 tons of earth will be moved and one million diamonds will be mined for every 1.00 carat diamond that is discovered! Five million diamonds will be mined for every 2.00 carat stone that is unearthed! No wonder diamonds of a carat or more are so prized!
Where to Buy the Engagement Ring
When buying an engagement ring, you want to look for a jewelry store that is reputable and has been doing business for many years, like Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings Store in San Diego. Here, you can choose from new designer rings and unique vintage rings, or elect to have a ring custom-made by one of our master jewelers. We also offer interest-free financing, which can make a purchase this large much easier to manage.
Our expert sales associates will work with you to make sure that the engagement ring you select is one that will thrill your fiancée. Later we’ll help you both to choose the perfect complimentary wedding bands to complete the set. And our 30-day money-back guarantee means that if she had her heart set on an emerald-cut diamond and you chose a princess-cut, you can bring it back and exchange it for the one she really wanted!
When you’re ready to shop for one of the most meaningful purchases of your life, come to Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings store on San Diego Avenue. Meet with one of our experts who can show you everything you need to know about diamonds to help you make the best choice. Ask about our financing options and don’t forget, our 30-day money-back guarantee takes all the worry out of buying an engagement ring, so there’s no such thing as making a mistake!