After two long years of dating, you’ve finally decided it’s time. You’ve planned the ultimate engagement surprise; one that you’re sure will make for an awesome tale at the dinner table for ages to come.
You head out to the jewelry store for the last – and maybe most important – a piece of the surprise, the engagement ring.You’ve been told nothing melts hearts more than a bright, sparkly diamond ring.
Unfortunately, when you walk into the store, you’re instantly bombarded with a ton of options to choose from. Some rings are bigger, others are smaller than you’d imagined, others cost more than your house, while others come in different shades and colors, leaving you dazed and confused.
Thankfully, you’re not alone. Buying an engagement ring is one of the most important emotional decisions you’ll ever make. In the United States, it’s also one of the largest purchases, with the average American spending about $5,871 on an engagement ring.
As such, it’s always advisable to have an idea of what you want before heading to the jewelry store, even if you’re planning to take your partner for the trip.
To help you avoid the pitfalls, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you find the perfect ring, specifically if you’re out shopping for a large diamond ring.
1. Start with the 4Cs
If you have no idea about diamonds or even how they find their way onto rings, then the 4Cs are a great place to start. Put simply, the 4Cs stand for Cut, Carat Weight, Color, and Clarity, which effectively help to distinguish between different types of diamonds, even the 3-carat diamonds.
While all four Cs are important considerations when buying any type of diamond ring, the cut is usually the most important when looking to buy any diamond ring. Cut determines the sparkle and beauty of a diamond ring more than its color and clarity, as you can see in this comparative example at Beyond4Cs.
Contrary to popular belief, the color and clarity of a diamond ring will only determine the rarity and price of the diamond and not how visually appealing the diamond is to the eye. So don’t be surprised to find a large-size diamond ring with the perfect cut going for less than one with the perfect color and clarity.
2. Look for certified diamonds
Diamonds are among the most expensive pieces of jewelry on earth. So, naturally, it’s an industry fraught with deceitful scammers who are always looking for ways of scamming you out of your hard-earned cash.
As a remedy, diamonds are often issued a certificate by gemological labs, notably GIA and AGS. And even though there are other certification bodies and labs out there, none have higher standards than these two gemological labs.
GIA or AGS-graded diamonds usually guarantee that you’re getting everything in the fine print, in terms of the 4Cs and overall quality of the diamond.
These are also often more expensive than other certified diamonds, largely because competitors often inflate grades and cut prices, giving you an illusion of a cheaper product with the same specs.
You should also be on the lookout for fake AGS and GIA certificates, and always report any certificates that look fishy.
3. Finding the right price
So, once you’ve determined the qualities of your diamond ring and confirmed certification, you can finally move on to the price. The price of a large-size diamond ring varies widely, with prices usually starting at a few tens of thousands of dollars and scaling up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So what sets them apart?
The price for all types of diamond rings will depend on a ton of factors, including certification, ring type, jeweler, and how the 4Cs have been put together.
If you’re looking for the best price, balancing out the 4Cs can help you knock off a few thousand dollars off the price of the engagement ring. For instance, an internally flawless diamond ring with the perfect combination of color and clarity will usually set you back about $250,000, an absurd figure if you’re on a budget.
However, instead of going for perfection at the clarity and color ends, you can go for a stone with better cut quality and improved light performance for just under $35,000, which might even look better than the $250,000 stone.
Choosing an engagement ring is never an easy task. For many, it ranks up there, next to buying a house and going to college. Therefore, it should never be an easy task, and certainly not one to be done in haste.
Do your homework before splurging and understand how merchants price diamonds. This way, you can identify features that push prices upwards and grab saving opportunities whenever they pop up.