Quick and Easy Buying Guide

Carat weight: 1 carat = 200 milligrams = 6.5 mm diameter. Doubling weight doesn't double diameter.

Diamond clarity: FL/IF/VVS/VS = super expensive, near perfect. SI = best value if you can check a photo for obvious inclusions (defects).


Color: D-G = colorless, expensive, only if you have money to burn. H-J = best value. Can go lower in gold metal settings than white metal.

Cut: Better cut ratings let more light into a diamond, making it sparkle more. Very important property, don't skimp here.

Set a budget and minimum cut (Premium). Go J color for gold and I/H for white metals. Go searching for SI1/SI2 clarity diamonds at James Allen. Pick a diamond with small/no inclusions. Choose a ring setting and buy it risk-free (60-day returns).

How Much Should You Spend on a Diamond Engagement Ring

One of the biggest spending decisions many people will face in their lives, after buying a house and car, is that of buying an engagement ring. There's been a lot said on that topic, from anti-diamond company "you don't need an engagement ring" spiels to "spend three months salary". For some people one or other of these pieces of advice will be appropriate, but for most the best decision will lie somewhere inbetween.

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The best piece of advice I have for you is to spend an amount of money that is consistent with your beliefs and your lifestyle. I'll explain what I mean by that in the following paragraphs.

Beliefs and Values

First up, you should think about your beliefs and values in life. Do you think that beautiful things are worthy of spending money on, or do you think that they are worthless? Do you believe in the symbolism of gifts like an engagement ring, or do you like to live life with few material things?

Some typical large consumer purchases - where does an engagement ring fit in your view of life?

For someone who lives a non-materialistic life, but would like to have something symbolic as part of getting engaged, a simple piece of string might be everything they would desire. Some people have proposed with rings from cereal packets and kept that ring as something very meaningful.

For others, spending time and money to find a special diamond engagement ring is a crucial and important part of expressing their love.


The second major factor you should consider when working out how much to spend on a diamond engagement ring is how it will fit in with your lifestyle. If you're a cautious spender and don't regularly buy significant items, you might go for a low cost ring - that would fit with your lifestyle.

Conversely, if you are a big fan of capitalism and you regularly buy big ticket consumer items such as TVs, cars and so forth, then buying an expensive diamond engagement ring might make perfect sense within your lifestyle choices. The big question in this case is, how much should you spend?

The answer to that is simple in my opinion - think forward to six months in the future, and think about what you would feel comfortable about having paid for an engagement ring. For some, this might be the price of a bigscreen TV - so say $2000 - $5000. For others, it might be a week's wages at their retail job - maybe $400 - $1000.

For some, the 2 or 3 months of salary put forward by the diamond companies might be suitable. But importantly, spend this much money because you want to and it's consistent with your beliefs or lifestyle - not because it's the "done thing".

Borrowing / Going Into Debt

A lot of advice sites will tell you not to spend beyond your means, and not to go into debt over a diamond ring. Now, while I personally strongly believe in this mentality, the fact is a large percentage of the population does live on credit. So it's unrealistic to expect them to suddenly change their spending habits when buying an engagement ring, when they haven't on many other purchases.

But, if borrowing heavily to buy a diamond ring means you're going to be so stressed out afterwards that you can't relax and enjoy your new state of 'engagedness' with your partner - there's obviously something wrong. So don't do it!

In Summary

So, if I had to summarize my thoughts on buying a diamond ring, it would be this - make sure you're comfortable with what you decide.