By now you probably know about the 4C’s of buying a diamond… cut, clarity, carat + color. All four of these will greatly impact the cost of a ring which is why I encourage my clients to look at the engagement ring holistically, based on the priorities they hold in high regard rather than defaulting to ‘the bigger the better.’
Budget Tip for Diamond Cut
The cut (shape and quality) of the diamond will impact its appearance the most. Why? Because the cut determines the sparkle! If you sacrifice on the cut, you may end up with a dull diamond. I always remind my clients that while there are many ways to save money on a ring, the cut is not one of them.
Budgeting tip: Don’t plan to save here - stick with an excellent or very good cut to maximize brilliance.
Budget Tip for Clarity
Clarity refers to the natural birthmarks that diamonds get when forming called inclusions. Most of these inclusions are not visible to the naked eye which is why to grade clarity, the diamonds are put under 10x magnification and then assigned a score based on the number, size, type, color and texture of the inclusions. The GIA clarity scale ranges from I3 to flawless. VS are those that are very slightly included meaning that there are very small inclusions under magnification
Budgeting tip: Remember, no one is going to ever look at your engagement ring under a microscope, so don’t get caught up in details not seen by the naked eye. I recommend sticking with VS1, VS2 or even some SI1’s and SI2’s depending on the shape of the diamond.
Budget Tip for Color
GIA also grades diamonds based on their absence of color. This scale ranges from D, which is completely colorless to Z which is a light yellow/brown. The closer a diamond is to a grade D the more expensive it will be. Staying in the “near colorless’” range with a G, H, I or J diamond, will give you the best value, however it is important to keep in mind that shapes and cuts show color differently.
Budgeting tip: Shape matters! A round or emerald will hide color better than an oval or cushion. This is also personal preference, if you can’t tell the difference between a H or J, go with the J.
Budget Tip for Carat
This is the most well known C, and the C that I recommend sacrificing on to save. With carats, it is important to keep in mind that carat weights will always appear differently based on the shape… for example, a round 2 carat engagement ring will appear bigger than a 2 carat cushion cut even though they are both 2 carats. Rounds, ovals + emeralds appear largest while cushions appear smallest.
Budgeting tip: choose a carat weight right under the popular weights (1.5, 2, 2.5, 3). A 1.9 carat ring will be a couple thousand dollars cheaper than a 2 carat ring!
All of these tips will vary based on the client’s personal preference and the shape of the stone. When we begin the custom design process, my clients receive a personalized diamond education to ensure every question is answered and we are aligned in terms of where to allocate the budget with intention. This is one of the biggest benefits to using a private jeweler! DESIGN YOUR CUSTOM ENGAGEMENT RING TODAY.