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).

Working out what ring she would like

One of the logistical challenges of getting engaged is trying to work out what type of ring your fiance, sorry, prospective fiance, would like.

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It's not something you necessarily think about until you start looking at engagement rings. It's only then that many people realise that they should really be thinking about what their partner would most like in a ring.

So how do you find out what type of ring she would like? Well, there are a few techniques and observations that will help you make a good decision.

Observation is the name of the game. Over a period of time, try and pay attention to the type of jewellery your partner wears. Pay special attention to the type of metal that she tends to wear – is it white, or yellow gold.

Getting the colour of metal right is one of the major steps towards picking a great engagement ring for your partner.

Now we get onto more subtle observations. Does your partner like to wear thick, chunky jewellery? Or does she tend to wear thin, petite jewellery? This will help you narrow down what type of ring setting to get. For example, if she wears petite jewellery, you might get her a very thin banded engagement ring to match her style. Conversely, if she wears solid, thick jewellery, some of the engagement ring settings with plenty of metal would be an option.

You can also call upon your partner's friends and family. When your partner is not around, have a chat to them and ask them whether your partner has any particular preference with regards to style of jewellery. Just don't try and do this during a family picnic – Murphy's Law suggests that your partner will come back at an inopportune moment and the jig will be up.

Also consider your partner's lifestyle. If she is very active such as playing a lot of sport, there are certain ring settings that handle rough treatment better than others. Consider not only her lifestyle, but her job – if she has a manual job, the same rule applies.

Of course, the easiest solution is to discuss it with your partner. In today's modern world, it's quite common for the ring choosing to be a mutual shared activity. She can come along to stores and see what she likes with you present. Just stay away from pushy salespeople who try to use high-pressure tactics on couples.

Of course, for some the idea of removing the surprise is unacceptable. One compromise which is what some people do is to talk to their partner and get some general guidelines about the metal colour, style of ring and amount to spend. Then you are free to go and choose a ring which you know she'll like because of the guidelines she has given you. At the same time, it will be a surprise because she won't know exactly what the ring is going to look like.