T Nation

Purchasing an Engagement Ring


I tried using the search function but didn't really find anything...google searches have turned up some useful info but mostly advertising BS.

For one who's looking to purchase an engagement ring, what are the key factors to pay attention to if trying to get good quality but also affordability? Ive read a little into the "4 C's" (carat, clarity, cut, forget the last one for now). How about buying the diamonds seperately and then getting them set? Mom and pop store or large chain for a better deal? If asking for a certificate (GIA?) how the hell do you know if the diamond you are looking at corresponds with the report? Does it get inspected while you stand there? Sorry if that's a retarded question...I haven't even been out to a store yet but I just wanted to get some preliminary advice.

Thanks to anyone who can give a helpful response!


I think there is a convention where you are meant to spend either 1 or 2 months salary on the thing.

Make sure you get her ring size. Dont want to buy one thats too small or too big! If it slips on just right, well it'll be like anything that slips on or in just right wink wink.

Shop around, see what deals you can get though, go to a few places.


From others I heard 3 months...
I guess it depends who your hearing it from haha...

Also, you should first know what her favorite cut is...

If your not sure where to purchase your ring, go with a large scale retail, don't go to the mom and pop shop, they usually overcharge...

ie one of my friends parents owns a jewelry shop and he says they mark up the prices soo high, that they still give "discounts" to make the customers feel like they are getting a gooooood deal. But i always bought it from my friend's shop, cause I always got the real deals..

Just shop around and compare prices....


The best thing you can do ....if you want to save money....is to look on craigslist and find a ring that has papers to back it up, or go to an appraiser before the sale.

You can save 40-70% through a private party. I was luck enough to find a woman who isn't materialistic and told me she'd kill me if I spent retail. Some women are good with that. Others don't like the idea of having "someone elses" ring from a non enagement or failed marriage.

Other, materialistic bitches beleive the amount you spend equates to how much you love her, but in reality it's a "One Up" for her to show off to her friends. Beware of these women......


Spending one or 2 months salary on a ring is fucking absurd. Personal opinion I suppose.

A few guys I know bought their rings online ( http://www.samarajames.com/ if I'm not mistaken)- you just need to find a reputable online dealer and then get the diamond checked out afterwards to check it's what you paid for.

Also depends how much you are going to spend. You can buy a slightly larger diamond and get a VVS2 or a smaller one that is higher quality (VVS1 or IF). You just need to find a balance.

Go into a jeweler if you are unsure and speak to them.


The 4th c is color.

A good quality stone will be a clarity of at least SI or better. Clarity grades start at the bottom with Included(I), and go up to Slightly Included(SI), Very Slightly Included(VS), Very Very Slightly Included(VVS), Internally Flawless(IF) and Flawless(F)

If you're looking for a relatively white stone, get one with a color grade of I or better. Diamond colors are graded starting with D being complete lack of color to Z being a strong brownish or yellowish.

As far as the cert goes, there will be a plot on it like a little map that shows various clarity characteristics that the jeweler should be able to show you under a microscope. GIA certs have this as well as AGL, EGL, TGL and a few others. those are the four I trust, tho.

Sometimes you can get a better deal on a stone if you buy it loose, but only if you have a bit of knowledge. But by all means, stay away from the big box stores(Kay, Ben Bridge, Robbins Bros., etc.) way overpriced. Go for the Mom and Pop operation.

Sorry if thats alot of info, I'm a jeweler and I'm a bit anal retentive about that kinda stuff.


Dude, a diamond's just a rock. Get her some CZ. Or better yet, give her a lump of coal and tell her to put it under her pillow and wish and prey that one day it turns into a diamond...

When it doesn't turn into one you can just blame her that she's not doing it right.


Oh boy... they are everywhere...


I appreicate all the posts so far, and this one was very informative especially. As far as color...I was cofused with one of the articles I read but now it's obvious that the closer to "D" the better. I've also heard that the smaller family owned stores are better.

For me, 2 months gross salary is 10k...no way in hell I'm spending that much...I've already discussed this with the GF and she does NOT want me to spend crazy money. If anything, I will end up spending half that and she will be very happy.


I made a thread a while back.

I bought mine off ebay (the store is located in NY with 100% feedback). Fiance was thrilled with the ring.

It's "enhanced" but she didn't care, appraised for $9k, paid slightly less than $3k.

I was able to get insurance on it from a place located on bluenile.com with the appraisal that the ebay store sent me.

If you want, I can try to locate the stores name on ebay


Honestly, if you want the best deal. start a "jewlery store company" it costs about 100 to 150 bucks to fill out all the paper work. Then, take your girl and go to california to one of the nation wide whole salers that only let store owners in to purchase. Find the diamond you want. Buy it, have it set in a ring and get it re-appraised.

My friend did this and ended up with a ring appraised at 15k and spent a total of 7 on it....

Honestly though, as a materials engineer I find it mind boggeling that people spend so much on diamonds. They are compressed carbon, and if you give them long enough, they will (millions of years) revert back since they are no longer under intense pressure. Hell, in the grand scheme of things, diamonds are not even rare, humans just put a high value on them because they are shinny. Get a noble topaz or something... atleast they are actually rare....

/end rant

gl with the whole proposal thing by the way.



I just got engaged two weeks ago. I spent a few months researching- my fiance works in the jewelry business- so I had some good info to go on.

Couple of thoughts:

  • The 1-2 months salary thing is pushed by DeBeers- not surprisingly- so you'll spend more on a diamond. I spent just under one months' salary- but got a nice rock. Don't feel pressure to spend more than you want because of some bogus diamond wholesaler marketing campaign

  • Don't bother with any clarity above SI1 or SI2. You can not see flaws (inclusions) with the naked eye. How many times will you look at the ring under a gem scope? You got get a lot more rock for a lot less money if you go down to SI1 or SI2- and again- you'll not be able to tell the difference.

  • Find out the cut your girlfriend likes. Mine wanted round cut- apparently it reflects more light- and it a bit more classic. But- to each their own.

  • I would take issue with the advice above to go to one of the big retail stores- I found their prices to be way too high. My fiance works at one and concurs with that assessment If you look at some of the online retailers- like Blue Nile- where I eventually bought from- you'll find loose stones that are much cheaper than the branded diamonds sold by retailers.

  • As for color- D and E will be expensive- I bought G and it has no color to the naked eye.

  • Make sure whatever diamond you buy comes with some kind of certificate- it'll be necessary for the insurance appraisal. It will be appraised at more than what you paid for- that's standard. The insurance company can charge you higher premiums that way.

  • Say a 'fuck you' to the English Prince who begin the practice of giving a diamond ring for the purposes of engagement- and a 'fuck you' to DeBeers for driving up prices by hoarding supply (which they still do to this day).

Good luck in your search


For 5k you can get a pretty solid rock. I recently got engaged myself and spent about 3500 on a really nice ring.

Also, don't let the jewelers fool you with their bullshit. The price you end up paying is absolutely negotiable. A few people already mentioned to shop around and that is key here. At the same time, when you are serious about a purchase then make sure the jeweler you happen to be at understands very clearly that you are serious and 'ready to buy tonight'. More than likely they do get commission on your sale (regardless of what they tell you), so they have an incentive to fleece your ass on the price.

If you tell them you're ready to buy now, but you know in your mind that you will leave the store if you don't like the price, then you'd be surprised at what extra 'discounts' the jeweler may find for you as you're walking out of the store.

I would imagine their may be more room for negotiation at the mom and pop stores, but I got mine from Kay and was very happy with the quality I received at the price I paid.



Didn't read all the posts so my apologies if this has been stated.

I used Blue Nile for my wife's ring and couldn't have been happier. Great prices and customer service. A lot of info on the site and you can play with the four C's on a sliding scale to see what you could afford. I think they offer your money back in 30 days if not satisfied. As far as certifications, mine had papers but was also laser engraved with the corresponding paper's number.

I would never buy from a chain store. Possibly a small operation only if I knew the jeweler. You can't beat the prices online at Blue Nile.


"Bitches be like rabbits, wanting Diamonds and Carats, see my house, see my car, and they think I'm gonna share it...."

  • Too Short


Thanks for the post!

I'm curious, what made you trust ebay with such an important purchase? When you bought your's, were you evaluating the 4 C's to get exactly what you wanted and if so, again, how were you so trusting with an on line vendor? I would never have thought of using ebay but it's worth considering based on your testimonial.


I would definitely consider this...I live in California. Do you have info on the name/ locations of wholesalers? Where and how do I get the paperwork? Not only does this sound like a good idea, but it would also make for a good story afterward on how I went about it...I would be sure to give credit where it is due though lol. Thanks for the idea, I'd appreciate more info if you don't mind.


I can see your apprehension. The vendor easily had over 1,000 transactions (maybe more), and had 100% feedback, figured it was trustworthy.

I did a lot of research on the 4 C's, and probably got better than what was needed. Of the top of my head it was E color, VS1-2, 1.10 center stone, it didn't list the Cut though, but the picture looked great and it looks amazing in person.

larrysfinejewelryinc is the vendor name


You beat me to it.


Not to hijack, but seems like you're one of the few to agree. That's pretty sad.