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).

Upgrading An Engagement Ring

At some stage during a relationship you may choose to upgrade your engagement ring. This may be because you consciously made the decision to buy an affordable ring when you first got engaged, but now have more money and wish to upgrade to a nicer ring.

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Other reasons for upgrading a ring include special anniversary occasions such as your 25th wedding anniversary, or other special events such as renewing your vows or the birth of your first child.

One of the typical and most common ring upgrades is to get a bigger diamond for a solitaire diamond engagement ring. For example, if you started off with a half carat diamond, you could upgrade to a full one carat diamond ring. In most of these cases, you can use the same ring setting and only have to buy the new diamond and pay for it to get set. You may also be able to recoup some money by selling the previous diamond if you are happy to not keep it.

You can add to your existing ring setting by purchasing a diamond ring enhancer or wrap, which add to the ring setting.

You can also buy a completely separate anniversary band that you wear on your ring finger.

The most extravagant option is of course to buy a completely new ring. Styles may have changed or the woman's style preferences may have changed over the years – buying a completely new ring is the couple an opportunity to update their ring.

You may also need to buy a completely new ring setting if you're upgrading the size of your diamond and your previous ring setting cannot adequately handle the larger stone.

If you are upgrading an heirloom ring, your options may be somewhat more limited. What you could do is take part of the heirloom ring and incorporate it into a new ring. For example, you may be able to take some of the stones from the heirloom ring and put it into a completely new ring setting. Just remember to check that this is okay with the family before going ahead – some families may prefer that you just leave the heirloom ring intact and buy a completely new ring.