How to Buy an Engagement Ring: A Guide From A to Z

It’s a big step! Shopping for that oh-so-special diamond ring can cause a lot of anxiety. Aside from color, cut, clarity, you also have to consider karats and…budget! Because this meaningful task can be a bit intimidating, Kaeleigh Testwuide, Founder + Owner of The Diamond Reserve has shared an A-Z list to review before you buy an engagement ring. Because who doesn’t want these *just engaged* vibes pictured above by J316Photographic?

What’s more elementary and easy to understand than an alphabetical list?! Prepare to feel…more prepared about engagement ring shopping. Starting right now:

Engagement Rings from A to Z:

Are they the one?

When beginning the process of engagement ring shopping, the biggest question you must first ask yourself is: “Are they the one?” Your answer should undoubtedly be YES! Asking for another’s hand in marriage is the start to one of life’s greatest and most sacred chapters: symbolizing eternal love and commitment. Once you have decided that this truly is a chapter in your life you are ready to write, then it is time for the fun part, shopping for THE RING!


Before heading off to shop for the ring selection, a budget comes first! Don’t listen to the myths that it should be a certain percentage of your salary. Set a budget that makes financial sense to you. You don’t need to break your bank to buy a total dream ring. When you sit down with engagement ring experts, make it very clear what it is you would like to spend. Any great jeweler will respect your budget.


It is not recommended to sacrifice CUT grade when you’re selecting the perfect diamond. Everyone dreams that their engagement ring will sparkle so bright; that is why the diamond engagement ring is so beloved. Make sure to select a diamond with an excellent or very good cut grade to ensure luster at every single angle.

Should you buy a diamond?


While engagement rings are traditionally made with a diamond, you could also opt for gemstones like sapphire or emerald. Do some investigating to find out if your partner would prefer a diamond or a gemstone engagement ring!


When selecting a style for your engagement ring setting, think elegance. An engagement ring should emit a sense of grace and style. Today, engagement ring trends have a focus on showcasing the main diamond; a sense of neatness and simplicity, perfect for every wear.


Fluorescence is a term you want to look out for when selecting your diamond. Although it can sound fun, it is best practice to purchase a diamond with a fluorescence grading of none to faint. This grading will allow your diamond to scintillate its best!


Purchasing a diamond accompanied with a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) grading certificate is the best way to ensure the grading characteristics of the diamond are what indeed the jeweler is selling it to you as. There are many laboratories that grade diamonds, but the GIA is the only non-profit grading laboratory that has a mission to protect the consumer in this very BIG and important purchase.

H Near Colorless

Color grade is a very important diamond characteristic to pay attention to. The color grading chart starts at D and goes all the way to Z. Purchasing a diamond for an engagement ring in the D through J color range is best, but for many shapes, we recommend purchasing a diamond H in color or higher. For example, the oval’s shallow cut tends to carry color more predominantly. Purchasing H near-colorless or higher will ensure your diamond does not have a hue of yellow throughout it.

Engagement Rings are a Worthwhile Investment


Although purchasing a diamond is about love, it is also an investment. Natural diamonds hold their value and in some cases, their value can go up over time. Make sure you do your research and buy a diamond at the right price per the carat weight and quality before you purchase.


Before you go engagement ring shopping for the perfect diamond gem, do some research on your local jewelers. Read reviews, talk to friends and family who have already made this purchase, and check out social media handles. Don’t just visit one jeweler; take the time to meet with a few. Choose a jeweler you trust. They should take time to educate you about the purchase and be mindful of your budget while ensuring the ring is everything you dreamt of.


Not to be confused with carats. Karats is a measurement that indicates the proportion of gold in an alloy. When making an engagement ring in white gold, it is best to have it made in 18k white gold. Although 14k gold will save a bit in the budget, it will turn yellow very quickly. 18k yellow gold is typically used for fine diamond jewelry, but 14k yellow gold is a bit lighter in color. Be sure to view 14k and 18k gold side by side to see what you prefer.

What about diamond shape?

Length-to-Width Ratio

The length to width ratio is important to pay close attention to when purchasing a fancy-shaped diamond (any shape diamond that is not round). The cushion cut diamond can come in square dimensions or elongated dimensions. If you have decided to purchase a cushion cut diamond, make sure to view different length to width ratios to know what silhouette it has. The oval cut diamond can be short and wide, or long and thin. If your partner has long fingers, sticking to a longer and thinner oval may compliment their finger best. 


When designing the engagement ring setting, understanding how different millimeter widths look with your center diamond is very important. Thin bands are on high trend. If you are looking to have a thin band, focus on a 1.50 – 1.70 mm thickness. 2 mm would not be considered thin.

Are lab-grown diamonds good?

Natural Diamond

In recent short years, lab-grown diamonds have entered the marketplace. Lab-grown diamonds are more affordable than natural diamonds — enticing if you want a bigger diamond for your budget. Before purchasing a lab-grown diamond, you may want to have a discussion with your partner. Many people have high hopes of receiving a natural diamond that took billions of years for the earth to form; historically being seen by many as one of the earth’s finest creations.

Old European Cut

Old European cut diamonds are what many people consider antique diamonds. Old European cut diamonds are round and were cut in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These diamonds are known for having large cutlets, small tables, large crown angles, and big facets. Today, people seek Old European cut diamonds for several reasons. Each of these diamonds were cut by hand, and as time passes, they become more rare. They are also known for their ability to give off big flashes of fire due to their facets being cut larger.

Does the perfect ring exist?


Perfect, as what some would consider impossible. The perfect diamond does exist, although it is rare. A diamond would be considered perfect if it is D colorless, has flawless clarity, has excellent cut, and no fluorescence. A diamond with the perfect quality grading is rare, but time and time again it is magnificently created by earth. A very small percentage of people purchase a perfect diamond, but that doesn’t mean their diamond isn’t beautiful and it certainly can be perfect for them.


An engagement ring should not just embody your partner’s style but should be a representation of your love. The quintessential engagement ring should be built with care, thoughtfulness, and love. How can you make your engagement ring be representative of your love? Don’t just buy the first ring you see, take the time to figure out what your partner would love for years to come, find a jeweler who makes buying an engagement ring an experience, view a line up of diamonds, and select the one that speaks to you. When designing the ring, while still maintaining your partner’s style, add a subtle detail such as an engraving or hidden halo that makes their ring that much more special. All these little details will give your engagement ring a story, one that marks the beginning of one of life’s greatest journeys.

Not a Trend: Rose Gold Engagement Rings

Rose Gold

Although some see rose gold as a trend, we are here to tell you rose gold is here to stay! A rose gold engagement ring setting offers a more unique bridal look. Consider prongs made in white gold when designing an engagement ring setting in rose gold. This will allow your center diamond to maintain its colorlessness, and elude the diamond floating on a rose gold band.


The symmetry grade of the diamond you select is very important! Purchasing a diamond with an “excellent” or “very good” symmetry grade is recommended. If you buy an engagement ring with a symmetry grade of excellent or very good will ensure your diamond optimizes its interaction with the light and will have stunning brightness, fire, and scintillation.

When should you buy an engagement ring?


Time is of the essence when it comes to engagement ring shopping. Allow yourself enough time to do research, find a jeweler you trust, and find the diamond that is perfect for you. This is not a purchase you want to rush! If you are planning on designing a custom engagement ring, it is best to get started on the process at least one to two months before you plan to propose!


Some people dream of having an engagement ring that is unique, while others prefer a timeless and classic design. Before designing a one-of-a-kind engagement ring, either talk to your partner, or their friends and family, and make sure a unique engagement ring is something they will love for years to come.


When you are selecting a diamond for your engagement ring or designing a ring, you want to make sure the price is right! How can you ensure you are buying an engagement ring at the right value? Get on the internet and do some research to find out if your jeweler is priced fairly in the market.

When should you buy the wedding bands?

Wedding Band

When you are purchasing the engagement ring, you do not need to purchase the wedding band at the same time. In fact, it’s not recommended. Picking out a diamond and designing an engagement ring is hard enough, why complicate more for yourself? Most partners prefer to select their own wedding band and try different styles on with their engagement ring to see what style they like best. Shopping for wedding bands is something you can do together! Visit your jeweler a few months prior to your wedding date; this is one of the fun parts of wedding planning that you can do together!


Xesturgy, the polishing of a stone. Your diamond will have a polish grade, referring to the smoothness of each and every facet. After a diamond is cut, the polish brings out the shine and gives the diamond a smooth finish. It is best practice to purchase a diamond with a polish grade of excellent or very good.

Yellow Diamond

Yellow diamonds, though less traditional, give off a rare luster with a deep and intense yellow hue. Yellow diamonds are often accented with white diamond halos to enhance their yellow color.


Buying an engagement ring should be a zestful experience! You should be excited and feel an abundance of joy when selecting your diamond and designing the ring.

Now that you’re ready to bug an engagement ring, we have some beginner’s browsing all ready to go! From solitaire to vintage-inspired, here are some of the rings on our watch-list:

Oval Moissanite Engagement Ring Set

via Etsy

The Swan Solitaire 

via Catbird

Signature Hexagon White Gold Ring

via Ylang 23

Classic Round Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

round diamond engagement ring

via Diamond Mansion

Black Quartz Rutilated Engagement Ring Set

via Etsy


Violette The Swan

via Catbird

Cathedral Colorless Moissanite Ring

via Etsy