There are three important things to consider when buying a diamond:
1) Quality – Determined in part by the clarity and color of the stone, but also on how expertly it was cut.
2) Shape – Which can be chosen to match a setting, or a setting can be found to match the shape you desire.
3) Weight – Measured in carats.
There is usually a compromise to be made between quality and weight. A quick search is a great starting point as it will reveal a range of stones with varying size and quality. Full details will be available for each stone including, if it’s certified, what certificate it has.
Jewelers will talk about 4Cs (Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat) when helping you make the right decision. The most popular cut is the round brilliant, but many others including the marquise, the heart shaped, and the pear-shaped (or tear drop) are available.
Clarity refers to the number and size of imperfections in the stone seen at 10x magnification. Truly flawless stones are rare and expensive, but many stones contain inclusions that are not visible with the naked eye.
Diamonds with no color are also rare and valuable. As with clarity, some color is hard to see and perfectly acceptable. Most diamonds used in jewelry is rated as having some color that is not visible after the stone is mounted.
The last of the four “C’s”, carat refers to the weight of the stone. Although most people refer to the carat as the sole determinant of value, all four, cut, clarity, color, as well as carat are important.
The true value of an engagement ring, however, lies in its attractiveness to the buyer. The prudent couple will consider affordability, wearability, durability, and value along with its overall appeal when making the right selection. It is after all an investment for a lifetime.