Holiday Savings discounts will be applied at checkout. Save up to $150Learn More

Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Budget for an Engagement Ring

Buying a diamond engagement ring is one of the most important and emotional purchases you will ever make. The first thing you want to do is establish a budget. A starting point is usually 2-3 months of an annual salary. The classic engagement ring is composed of two parts, a diamond and a setting. For the best value, find the engagement ring setting she'll love then devote the remainder of your budget to a beautiful, certified diamond.

Anatomy of Your Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring Guide
  • The Stone will account for 75-90% of the overall cost of the ring.

  • The Setting holds the center stone. A strong precious metal is imperative in securing your investment.

  • The Band will endure the most wear over time since it's in constant contact with the fingers and everything that the hand touches.

Choosing the Right Metal

The two most popular metals used in engagement rings are 18k gold and platinum: The following provides a brief summary of the difference between the 2 metals. For enhanced security, all diamond engagement rings at DiamondWave are set with very strong and elegant platinum prongs.

Platinum
  • Strongest, most pure jewelry metal-composed of 90%-95%
  • More rate and more expensive than gold
  • Strongest jewelry metal
  • Resistant to damage and does not wear away
  • Won't tarnish
  • Develops a satin finish
  • Difficult to polish and repair
18k Gold
  • Most common engagement ring setting.
  • Less expensive than platinum
  • Composed of 75% gold and 25% metal alloys to give it strength.
  • Softer, malleable metal and more easily damaged
  • Tends to wear away over time

Choosing a Setting

DiamondWave features the most popular and beautiful engagement ring settings. The most popular is the elegant Solitaire Setting. The following provides key information about this setting:

Solitaire Settings

The Solitaire Setting is DiamondWave's most popular engagement ring setting. The prongs position the center diamond to catch the most light and it is dazzling. In a prong-setting, the diamond is inserted into metal prongs that form a basket-like base. Then the ends of the prongs are bent over and shaped so that they rest against the crown, just past the stone's girdle holding the stone snugly in place. The four-prong setting shows more diamond while the six-prong setting offers a bit more security in anchoring the diamond. Click here to view our solitaire settings.

Prong Setting Advantages

  • Prongs are tiny, so more of the diamond (or other stone) is visible.
  • Prong settings are fairly quick to make, so they are usually less expensive than more intricate settings.
  • Stones set in prongs are usually easier to clean.

Prong Setting Disadvantages

  • The girdle area of the gemstone is not covered, so prongs offer less protection for the diamond than other, more enclosed settings.
  • Prongs have a tendency to snag clothing and other items they touch.

Evaluating Prong Settings

  • The gemstone should be held snugly by the prongs, and not wobble around.
  • The prongs should be formed so that the stone sits at an even height, not up or down on any side.
  • Very thin, flat prongs can eventually break or wear away, putting the gemstone at risk.
  • Hooked prongs, where the prong end forms an open loop before it touches the stone, will open up in time.

Engagement Rings with Sidestones

Another popular setting is one with diamonds or gemstones for additional sparkle or color. Channel settings protect sidestones from abrasions by keeping them flush. The bar-channel setting allows more light to enter the sidestones, and creates a scalloped edge of brilliance. View our engagement rings with sidestones.

Three-Stone Diamond Rings

This classic setting features 3 diamonds chosen by you for a truly unique, individual design. The 3 diamonds symbolize the past, present and future. The stunning diamonds are set in an elegant three-stone setting. View our three-stone setting.

Settings with Matching Bands

Another popular setting is an engagement ring with a matching wedding band. If you'd like to wear your wedding on the same finger with your engagement ring, consider settings with wedding bands designed to match. View our settings with matching wedding bands.

How to Measure the Ring Finger

The following are simple instructions for measuring the ring finger so you get the perfect fit.

  • Wrap a piece of string or use a thin strip of paper around the base of your finger.
  • Mark the string or paper where it overlaps to form a complete circle.
  • Measure the length of the section of string or paper where it overlaps around the finger.
  • Compare your measurement with this chart to determine your ring size.
Ring Size Inches mm
4 1 13/16 46.5
4 ½ 1 7/8 47.8
5 1 15/16 49
5 ½ 2 50.3
6 2 1/16 51.5
6 ½ 2 1/8 52.8
7 2 3/16 54
7 ½ 2 1/4 55.3
8 2 5/16 56.6
8 ½ 2 3/8 57.6
9 2 7/16 59.1
9 ½ 2 1/2 60.3
10 2 9/16 61.6
10 ½ 2 5/8 62.8
11 2 11/16 64.1
11 ½ 2 3/4 65.3
12 2 13/16 66.6
12 ½ 2 7/8 67.9
13 2 15/16 69.1

Choosing a Diamond

An engagement diamond may be the most important purchase you've ever made. Our guide will provide the best information to help you select the best quality diamond and setting at an outstanding value.

Selecting the Diamond Shape

Your first step is to find out what shape she likes. The majority of diamond engagement rings today are set with a round diamond. The majority of the remaining rings are usually set with princess-cut diamonds. Other shapes included oval, emerald, asscher, marquise, radiant, pear-shaped and heart-shaped diamonds. The chart below provides an excellent view of the various shapes available.

Engagement Ring Guide

The 4 C's: Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut

The most important physical properties to look for in a diamond are referred to as the "4C's" - Carat, Clarity, Color and Cut. The concept behind the 4C's is that all of these qualities work together to create the best diamond for you.

Carat

Carat refers to the weight of a diamond as expressed in carats. The word carat originated from the carob tree - the tiny seeds of this tree are well known for their uniformity and consistent weight. Traditionally, diamonds and gemstones were weighed against these seeds until the system was standardized, and one carat was fixed at 0.2 grams.

One carat is divided into 100 points. A diamond weighing one quarter of a carat can also be described as weighing 25 points or 0.25 carats or 1/4 carats. Points are generally not used to describe weights over one carat. The larger or more a diamond weighs, the more rare the stone is. For example, a 1 carat diamond is much more rare (and much more expensive) than two diamonds each weighing 1/2 carat. On average, 250 tons of ore must be mined and processed to produce a one carat diamond of gem quality.

Engagement Ring Guide

Note: Carat is a measurement of weight, not size and so the overall diameter (mm) can differ slightly, either larger or smaller than listed in the chart above. Images are not to scale.

Clarity

A diamond's clarity refers to how pure the diamond is internally in terms of being free of flaws. To determine a diamond's clarity, an expert views it under 10x magnification. The number of flaws found internally is called inclusions and external defects are called blemishes. Inclusions can be a result of mineral deposits, irregular crystals, flaws or cracks. Blemishes include scratches or nicks on the outside of the diamond. Blemishes and inclusions are normally not visible to the naked eye. A diamond that is flawless has no inclusions or blemishes and is extremely rare. Generally speaking, the less flaws a diamond has - the greater the value of the stone. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) both have created the following scale to grade the clarity of a diamonds.

Color

Although diamonds appear to be clear and without color, most diamonds have hints of yellow or brown. When referring to a diamond's color, this generally means the internal color of a diamond. The GIA and AGS both have created the following system to color grade diamonds. The GIA's scale ranges from "D" to "Z" - from colorless to light yellow. The AGS's scale ranges from "0" to "10" - from colorless to fancy yellow.

A diamond without any color is considered to be very rare and the most valuable.
Fancy Color Diamonds

Natural diamonds can also come in a variety of vivid color including yellow, pink, blue, green, red, orange and black. Fancy colors are evaluated in several ways. The first quality is the basic hue or color (the rarer the color, the greater the cost) of the diamond. The second is the stone's intensity (the richness or saturation of the color). The third is the purity of the color (is the color is bright and clear, or clouded). These color characteristics form the basis for determining a fancy colored diamond's worth. The more intense the color, the rarer and more expensive the diamond. For example, a fancy light yellow diamond costs less than a fancy vivid yellow diamond of equal size, shape and clarity.

Cut

Cut refers to not only the shape of the diamond, but its proportions and finish, two key factors which determine the sparkle of the diamond. A diamond can only be cut by another diamond; therefore the cut is completely in the hands of skilled diamond cutter.

Cut Inset Image

It's possible to have two equal polished diamonds, both having the same carat size, color and clarity, yet they may look completely different. How is this possible? There are many different shapes and facets in a diamond. The way a diamond is cut affects the stone's brilliance. A stone's brilliance is greatly determined by the arrangement of its facets.

To extract the greatest beauty from a diamond, light should enter a diamond and be dispersed as it bounces inside, thereby producing the different colors and sparkly effect, and returning as much light to the eye as possible.

The most popular cut today is the round brilliant, however, there are many different cuts that are available as well. Some of these include, princess, emerald, pear, marquise, and asscher.

As you can see, there are many important factors to delve into when shopping for the perfect diamond. Just remember, to look into all four C's when going to purchase a diamond!

Diamond Certificate

The finest quality diamonds are accompanied by a diamond certificate (also called a diamond grading report) from a qualified, independent laboratory. This diamond grading report is your guarantee of the quality of your diamond's cut, color, clarity and size.

All loose diamonds at DiamondWave come accompanied by a diamond grading report from either GIA or AGS-- the most respected diamond grading labs in the industry.

Jewelry Appraisal

All preset diamond jewelry from DiamondWave come with an appraisal, which can be sent to your insurance company to acquire coverage. Coverage can be purchased to ensure against loss, theft, or damage. Your insurance policy should provide for equal replacement of your diamond jewelry item which means that the replacement item should be equal value, quality and appearance to the one which was lost.

45-Day Returns Policy

When purchasing something as valuable and important as an engagement ring, there should always be a no-questions-asked return policy. Before purchasing, make sure you can return the ring if you want to or need to for any reason. At DiamondWave, you'll receive a 45-day, no-questions-asked return policy-now that's purchasing with confidence.

After You Order Your Ring

After selecting the diamond and setting, as well as learning about the company policies, you'll want to know what happens after you order your ring. With DiamondWave, your selected diamond and setting are carefully inspected by our Quality Coordinators and presented to a master craftsman who will meticulously set the and create your unique and beautiful diamond ring. Then, the finished engagement ring goes through 3 different quality control process that ensure that your engagement rings is perfectly set and ready for shipping. Finally an appraisal of your stunning diamond ring is created for you and we are ready to ship at no cost. Build Your Own Ring