Buying Diamonds

The time has come for me to stop buggering about and get the missus'es engagement ring, is it worth going for a smaller, better diamond, or a larger lower quality one?

If anyone's got one using the clarity chart - what did you get and are you pleased?

Category - Grade

Flawless FL 

Internally Flawless IF 

Very Very Slightly Included VVS1 VVS2 

Very Slightly Included VS1 VS2 

Slightly Included SI1 SI2 

Included  I1 I2 I3

I'd ask the missus, but trying to keep it of the radar!

Cheers Folks.



  • Dont get lower than VVSI. Agree with kittenkat though - does she have another, colored gem that she likes? A diamond with an emerald, or a sapphire either side or it, or something like that might be nice? Think also about what she does with her hands, as not everyone can cope with a solitaire that sits proud of their finger - my engagement ring is a trilogy, but it sits flush with my wedding ring, if I had something that stuck up, I would get it caught on stuff and basically just not wear it.

    My only other piece of advice would be dont let yourself fall for the hard sell. Particularly:
    1) "How much you spend reflects how much you love her". This is clearly rubbish, although you will want to get the best ring you can, dont put yourself in ridiculous debt to get it - she wont find that attractive when you're married and both having to pay off the ring!

    2) "It's an investment for the future". Clearly ridiculous, as your investment is in HER, not the ring, and something is only an investment if you are planning on reselling it, which generally one doesnt with one's engagement rings, unless something goes horribly wrong!!

    3) There's nothing wrong with old rings (heirlooms etc), but generally having the stones reworked into a more modern style might be better.

  • Curly45Curly45 ✭✭✭


    Personally you cant go far wrong than to take a look at the ring finder on Tiffany's website...

    Remember it gives you the highest carat first so they are not all crazy expensive (you just need to select a smaller carat from the drop-down list). 

    Then once you have an idea you can go a look for something cheaper if cost is an issue. 

    Go to a jewellers to see the ring before you buy - clarity will vary between pieces anyway.

  • Hi Sprint

    Do you know what cut stone (shape) she prefers? Most girls have an idea of the engagement ring they would like, even if they haven't mentioned it.

    A friend of mine bought a cheap but pretty zircona (£30 job that looked like a diamond ring) to propose with, then took her to the jewellers to pick the ring herself.

    Good luck!

  • If you knew what margin jewellers got on every ring they sell you'd probably opt for Ebay. It's scandalous.
  • BB ✭✭✭
    I was wandering around the Lanes in Brighton the other day and there are some wonderful second hand rings. You get more for your money and no-one else can go and get another just like it. I presume no VAT too so a better stone(s). I chose my engagement ring. I think the idea of having a cheap ring to propose and then shopping together for the real thing is a good one - maybe throw in a weekend in Brighton? Good luck with itimage
  • For a bit of an adventure you (and the missus) could go to Antwerp and buy a stone (or two) and then have them made up into a ring.
  • BB ✭✭✭
    Of course if you want new they also have places like this where you can get lovely modern rings, or have something made
  • quality is better than quantity, in diamonds, as in so many other things.

    The cut and setting can make a massive difference to the way it looks. Make sure you know what sort of thing she'd like before you spend a fortune.

    Micro Dot wrote (see)
    A friend of mine bought a cheap but pretty zircona (£30 job that looked like a diamond ring) to propose with, then took her to the jewellers to pick the ring herself.

    This is an ace idea. We choose ours together, so it is what I wanted.

    I'd seriously look at second hand, the price differential is mahooosive! To replace mine with new we're looking at several times what we paid for it. image

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    Unless you are absolutely sure that you know what style of ring your lady would choose for herself, then don't buy one without her input.

    As said above, women often have an idea of their "perfect" ring, which you are probably not privy to.

  • MrsK8MrsK8 ✭✭✭

    Are you already engaged but there hasn't been a ring yet, or are popping the question? If it's the first, then I think it might be a nice idea to get her involved in the buying process. This is something she'll be wearing for (hopefully) the rest of her life so you want to make sure it's something she likes.

    If you want to keep it a secret though, maybe intrust in one of her female friends to discreetly find out what she likes.

    I agree what others have said, bigger is not better. If a diamond is too big it can look tacky & fake so definitely go for something smaller & therefore more classy.

  • Depends how small 'small' is though! A solitaire of up to about a carat or 1.25 carats looks very classy, depending on the setting. I have a 3/4 carat and two half carats, and they are gorgeous. I cant remember the weight of my earrings though. But if you can only get teeny, tiny ones (like smaller than 1/6th carat), personally I would want a larger stone in there as well, like a ruby or sapphire.

    But I think what you can conclude with absolute certainty from all the above responses, is that every girl is different, and you know yours the best (one would hope!).

  • M.ister WM.ister W ✭✭✭

    Lots of good advice here but I'll add my £0.02 worth.... most diamonds sold in high street shops are let down by ordinary and uninteresting settings.  The classic solitaire in a platinum clasp on a gold or platinum ring is really dull, however good the diamond.  So, if you really want to show how much she means to you either hunt down something interesting or design it yourself, which is what I did with Pink's engagement ring.  Then you can pick the stones she likes (it doesn't have to be a diamond) and design a ring in a style she'll like.  If you fancy designing one yourself I can give you the details of the company who made Pink's ring.


    If you do go for a diamond then remember that the size "in carats" actually relates to the weight so once it's in a setting a 1 carat diamond will not look twice the size of a 1/2 carat one.  A round cut 1 carat will be about 6.5mm across while a 1/2 carat will be 5.2mm.  However a 1 carat diamond will cost a lot more than two 1/2 carat stones.

    Quality is very important so I would go for a VS1 or better but a well cut poorer quality diamond can look better than a badly cut high quality one so use your judgement when you look at them.  There is no legal requirement for diamonds to be certified and the process costs money so if you trust the person you're buying from and can check the stone yourself there's no particular reason to spend the extra for a certification.  I would, however, want the jeweller's opinion on the quality written on a valuation for insurance.


    Pink also has her "stand in" engagement ring which is a large plastic monstrosity that cost about £5 from New Look.  It's really tacky but it does get worn on some occassions image

  • I had an idea (like wilkie said) about the type of ring and stone setting I wanted. White gold (not plantinum- too grey looking), round diamond, very simple ring style.

    My husband is danish and in denmark the buy the highest quality (usually natural) diamond they can afford. This means that most woman have a very small to small stone. A big stone is viewed as bad because women know it will be poor quaility.

    I went to 3 shops with my husband (he said if i couldn't find someting i liked after looking in 3 shops I would get someting he picked) and we looked at the type of rings I liked, and some loose diamond to pick the stone size's that would suit the ring type. In the end I told my now husband that I wanted a round diamond smaller than 0.18 carat, and definately smaller than 0.25 carats as I have very long skinny fingers. Just picture a twiglet and you'll get the impression.

    My husband went to the jewellers another day and decided what type of diamond he wanted, cut, colour clarity etc. The owner/jeweller has a workshop downstairs and his father makes some of the rings etc. they also buy in diamonds, you decide what quality stone you want and the owner buys it for you.

    I ended up with a 0.27 carat, colourless, round ideal cut diamond from de beers, in a white 18c white gold ring. The stone is bigger that I wanted and it took me awhile to get used to the size, (twiglet fingers remember) but I love it because it is really sparkly image  Typical female response.

    I would have been just as happy with a smaller stone and or something that was not as good quility but my husband was very excited when he was picking out the diamond so i ended up with something a lot better than i was expecting. I also insisted on paying for the wedding rings so i think he decided to boost the engagment ring buget.

    The diamond was sold as a VVS1 but was graded wrong and is actually IF. My husband had a very excited phone from the jeweller & diamond agent about this. They think the official de beers grader was tired when he graded it. 

    It's vital stats are

    Carat : 0.27

    Cut: Round brilliant cut (ideal cut) often called Heart and arrow, but most round ideal cuts will give you a heart and arrow pattern)

    Colour: Colourless, (Can't remember if it's an Exceptional white or an Exceptional white plus)

    Shape: round

    Fluorescence: none.

    The stone cost approx £1500 and the gold and workshop time pushed the price up to about £1800-1900.

    I'm thinking about getting some earrings made to match but will probably buy the stones myself from a internet shop called "blue nile" as they have very cheap stones and I don't want to pay stupid money for a pair of earrings.

  • M.ister WM.ister W ✭✭✭
    and..... make sure you choose the right metal for the ring.  If she doesn't wear gold there are a number of silver colour metals.  Platinum is pricey but popular.  White gold isn't actually white, it's brown and plated with rhodium so you may find it needs to be replated every few years.  Or consider palladium, which is becoming increasingly popular.
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭

    i agree with the the post above about it not having to be a diamond. i didnt get a diamond and am not paticularly bothered. i have an 18ct gold ring but with a large and 2 smaller cubic zirconia- everybody thinks it diamonds. to be honest if they were real id be worried as it gets bashed quite a lot at work and i often dont wear it .

    good points above are that does she really WANT a traditional diamond ring? ...i have a ring i bought in an antique jewellers on holiday which is silver, pink mother of pearl, and an unusual wide , swirled shape- i adore this ring and wear it more than my engagement ring!! there are some beautiful antique rings about , very unusual, interesting and  different - maybe ask her, OR another option have one custom made to what she wold like-again, it doesnt have to be diamonds or any stone in fact. perhaps a band engraved or and unusual design?..image id actually be quite chuffed if someone asked what sort of ring id like and id prob opt for the antuque suggestionimage-good luck!

  • CindersCinders ✭✭✭
    Another one here for not choosing diamonds.  Mine's Tanzenite.  I didn't want an expensive ring as I'd be too worried about wearing it and either losing it or getting it bashed!
  • MrsK8MrsK8 ✭✭✭

    Good point Mr W, I was just gonna mention about the metal too.

    Yellow gold seems to have had it's day, the silver colour metals are definitely the 'in' thing at the moment.

    To echo what Mr W said, I used to have a white gold ring. It started to tarnish after a while & turned a yellowey colour which didn't look good.

  • I echo what has been said above about involving her in the purchase - it was one of the most exciting shopping trips ever buying an engagement ring together.  That said, make sure your tastes are incorporated too - it's something that you both have to love.  When we went shopping for my engagement ring I was sure that I wanted an emerald cut diamond on a narrow band, but DTs was (and still is) of the opinion that diamonds have to be round because they sparkle more.  I ended up with a brilliant cut diamond in a fairly chunky setting, and it's perfect - I will concede that he was right about the shape of the stone.

    If you can spend some time looking at rings or stones by yourself before you go shopping with her it might be sensible.  To quote my father "time spent in reconnaisance is seldom wasted".  You can then work out what you can comfortably afford to spend and what it will buy you - maybe you could then give her the choice between bigger and lower quality or smaller and higher quality.  I was offered the choice and went for the smaller, better quality stone, but I know other girls who aren't as obsessive with the statistics and wanted something bigger.  When it comes down to it, you have to get down to SI2 or below before the lack of clarity will be noticable to the naked eye, and even then a clean diamond of lesser clarity will sparkle more than a grubby one (have just noticed how filthy mine is) of higher clarity.

    One thing to be aware of is how it will affect your house insurance (sorry to be dull, but it can cause dramas).  You may need to have it listed as a valuable item, or if you are spending a lot of money you may need to find a different insurer as many household insurers have a maximum item limit.

  • Your Dad was military then!

    Final point (from me!) on the metal setting - if she's going to wear the engagment and wedding ring together, generally people get the same metal. Nothing to say you have to, but it would be inadvisable to, for example, wear a soft gold ring and a platinum ring on the same finger, as the platinum would wear the gold away. I have my grandmother's wedding ring which is 22 carat yellow gold, and very very bashed (mostly by me coming off my bike!) because its so soft. My engagement and wedding rings are both platinum, which stands up to wear and tear a lot better (which is vital in my job).

  • We used these people:

    I knew what style of ring I wanted - and you can choose the carat, colour, cut and clarity of your diamond - mine was made for me. We chose a slightly smaller carat, but a flawless stone, and I couldn't be happier with it, it's beautiful. they also send a certificate with it for insurance. 

    Hope that helps.

  • My bit.  My ex and I had very different ideas of what to get (perhaps that's why he's now my eximage).  Also, as is so often the case, what you think may look good doesn't and what doesn't appeal in the display may actually look much nicer when worn.

    I ended up with an eternity ring containing diamonds and sapphires, the sapphires being the stone for the month in which we got engaged (method in my madness).  I tried on standard engagement rings, but they didn't look right.

    The jeweller also suggested getting a wedding ring to match at the same time, so that the shapes matched and the gold would be the same and hence same colour.

    I also got a (matching) diamond-only eternity ring post arrival of off-spring, it would have looked nicer in a white gold / platinum setting than yellow gold, but it had to match the engagement ring / wedding ring, which, at the time, were only available in yellow gold.

  • Wow, loads of help folks, thanks image

    I haven't proposed yet, but we have looked at a few together, so I've got a steer on what she's after.

    Sadly for my wallet she is a diamond girl through and through - Suggested other stones but it seemed a no-no!

    She's after a Solitaire Round or Square, platinum set.

    Quite taken with this one..

    but I'll take a look at some of the sites suggested above.

  • M.ister WM.ister W ✭✭✭
    That's a lovely design and not too dissimilar to Pink's engagement ring.  I'm trying to get a pic uploaded so I can show you. 
  • Lovely ring!  How would you get a wedding ring next to it though? 

    One thing that we did when shopping was try on all our preferred rings with a wedding band as there is only a short period when the e-ring is worn solo.

  • Len, that's a great site

    I'm coming round to the idea of a better smaller stone... makes sense

    Thinking of upto about £1500 budget, don't want to spend silly money

    She can fit the wedding ring to it, that's her problem image or I'll wander down to the factory and stick it in a vice image

  • Don't forget to check out blue nile It's similar to the other shops where you can customise the ring. It might be cheaper or at least be good for ideas.

  • MrsK8MrsK8 ✭✭✭

    We just so excited for you StlL!

    We want pics of the ring you eventually choose.

  • I got mine from the jewellery quarter in Birmingham.  A lot of the shops make the rings on site and they are much cheaper than the high street and can often customise it.  I found many of the shops really helpful - except for the one that told me I needed a bigger diamond cos I had fat fingers!  Suprisingly I didn't get it from there! 

     I did have a really specific picture in my mine of what I wanted and in the end got something completely different!


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