Diamond Engagement Rings Guide for Clueless Men

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Diamond Engagement Ring Buying Guide

If you're a clueless guy looking to buy a diamond engagement ring for your loved one but don't know where to start, well you've come to the right place. I can definitely empathize with you as I too was in the same position, scratching my head and wondering where do I start.

After talking to many of my recently engaged/wed friends and through my own research, I'd like to share with you my knowledge and experience so that you can be more informed about your purchase. 


Before you start

You need to know what is your budget going to be. Forget about the concept of 2-3 month's salary - that's just a marketing gimmick to get you to spend lots of money. Instead, come up with a budget where you will feel comfortable spending (no buyer's remorse), factoring also that you will also need to fork out a lot of money for the wedding, reception and honeymoon (hopefully she says yes!).

Something to think about is also the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) where you can get your 10% GST back when you travel overseas with your engagement ring. Money saved - win!

I would also recommend looking for a diamond wholesaler rather than a retail jeweller as they generally tend to mark up the price substantially. A great place to start is to ask your friends and family!

The 4 C's

The key to knowing how to buy diamond rings is simplistically found in the 4 C's to purchasing a diamond: Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat. The grading systems referenced here are from Gemological Insititute of America (GIA).
Diamond's Cut
The cut of a diamond affects it's brilliance and sparkle. What it means essentially is each facet of the diamond is cut to exactly perfect proportions to maximize the amount of light coming in and reflected out.

You should always aim for an excellent cut as you really want that rock to shine!

On the left, you can see the sparkle difference between a well cut diamond versus a poorer cut.

Diamond's Colour
The colour of a diamond is graded from D to Z (according to GIA's standard). The grading determines how much yellow/brown colour is in the diamond.

Colourless diamonds (D grade) are the rarest, hence fetch the highest price and the prices can drop substantially as you go down the grade scale.
Depending on your budget, I would obviously aim to go towards colourless.
Diamond's Clarity
The clarity of a diamond is defined by how many inclusions, generally on the inside of the diamond, but can also extend to surface imperfections.

Inclusions are defined by the size, not colour. Hence, it's better to go for white inclusions (less visible) than black ones.

The grading system used is from Flawless, Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slight Inclusion (VVS1-2), Very Slight Inclusion (VS1-2), Slight Inclusion (SI1-2) and Included.

Again, prices vary according to rarity. Most people usually go for somewhere in between VVS to SI.

I would highly recommend you ask your jeweller for a 10x magnification device to see the inclusions for yourself. Generally, a good jeweller will help you with this.
Carat Weight
Diamond's carat
This is probably the most popular term people know about which defines the size of the diamond.
The size and the price of carat is not necessarily a linear relationship, meaning, a 0.5-carat diamond may cost $4,000 while 1-carat diamond may cost like $10,000 (not double).

Larger diamonds are harder to come by, hence fetch a much higher price, especially the ones with high grading on clarity & colour.

Generally, 1-carat diamonds are priced much higher since it's marketed that way, so it may actually be worth going for something a little bit smaller like 0.9-0.95 carat. Visually, it's hard to tell the difference from the naked eye. If anything, it's more of an ego thing "Look, I have a 1-carat diamond!".


Handy Tips

When you're with a jeweller looking at diamonds, I'd highly recommend you to compare diamonds of different cut, colour, clarity and carat. Sometimes these aspects are hard to tell from the naked eye and is helpful to have a comparison.

For example, it's probably impossible for you to tell the difference between a D and F grade diamond colour as they're both quite colourless. However, it becomes more evident when placed next to each other.

Also, it's probably a good idea to get some sort of certification & valuation for your diamond. The most popular ones are from GIA and AGSL.

Ethical Diamonds

You should make sure the diamonds you're buying are ethical diamonds. What does this mean? It means the diamonds are not sourced from conflict (i.e. blood diamonds), labour exploitation, environmental exploitation and human rights abuse. 

It's very important that we do our bid to ensure we purchase our diamonds responsibility and help make the world a better place - economically and socially.

Finally, remember to stick to your budget and I wish you all the best with the purchase of your engagement ring! If you've found this guide helpful, please vote this guide as being helpful at the top.
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