Tips and Tricks

8 Steps to a Kickass Engagement Ring

1.  Set your budget

Let’s be honest, social pressure is a big part of this ?? We often hear 2-3 months salary, but it’s really your call. Look around your social circles, consider her (and her family’s) expectations, but don’t go crazy. You’re never going to resell this diamond for more than you bought it for, and you can always upgrade later.

Based on the data from millions of searches on our site, here’s how much people in each state spend on average.

2. Pick a diamond shape

You’ve got to get this right - if you get a princess shape diamond and she was set on a round, it’s going to be an awkward 50 years. Check her pinterest, ask her friends, and heck, if you’re ready to, ask her.

Bringing our data to the question, here’s the popularity of each shape, from millions of searches on our site. Round will be the most expensive per carat, because of the sheer demand for this classic shape.

Use our ?? ring viewer tool to visualize the shapes on her hand.

3. Learn the 4Cs

You may have heard the term 4Cs thrown around. Read our hilarious articles and diamond buying guides from our diamond experts to get acquainted, because these factors really influence the diamond price:

  • Carat Weight: How much does it weigh?
  • Cut: How much will it sparkle?
  • Color: Is it colorless? Or has a slight yellow shade?
  • Clarity: Does it have visible imperfections?

Another C you really need to get right is Certification - we strongly recommend sticking to GIA (Gemological Institute of America), which is the industry gold standard. Other labs “overgrade” and your flawless diamond may not be so flawless ??

We also suggest you read about Diamond Fluorescence (does it glow under black light?), because having fluorescence lowers price, but in rare cases can make a stone milky looking.

4. Decide where to buy

Buying loose diamonds or an engagement ring online means a lot of choice and transparent pricing, and every retailer we list on Rare Carat passes our trust test and offers 30 day returns. Buying local means seeing the stone first, and having someone to work with face to face, though you’ll pay a bit more ??

(Side note, we’re rolling out Rare Carat Local in select cities so you get the best of both worlds, and can book risk-free in person appointments to see diamonds before you buy at trusted local jewelers.)

We thoroughly vet every retailer on Rare Carat, but for whichever retailer you are evaluating, read their reviews, return policies, financing options, and understand whether they’ll charge sales tax in your state.

Note: our site will be very helpful to you no matter where you decide to buy your diamond, even if at a retailer we do not work with.

5. Narrow your search

Our data suggests the sweet spot is less to get to a search ?? with less than 30 results - how do you get there? You’ve got your budget and diamond shape narrowed. Now, nail down the quality you’re after.

Diamond Cut is the most important. For round diamonds, stick to Excellent cut. For other shapes, leave the cut filter open - the secret is that GIA does not grade cut for non-round stones, so the retailers themselves label which non-round diamonds are excellent cut (not always helpful). Take a peek at our guide for your desired shape get the diamond cut right.

Now you’ve got to nail down the Diamond Color and Clarity. We recommend starting with a minimum of H color and VS2 clarity - this will be a diamond that is very white and without visible imperfections.

If you’re not quite hitting the carat weight number you want, you can drop down on color first - as low as a J or K if mounting in yellow gold, and then SI1 and SI2 clarity (you should view the diamond’s images, as some SI stones look horrible with big black specs all over, but some are not so bad). You can add more fluorescence as you go down the color scale (Very Strong is fine with an J color) to save as well.

Last - and most important - track deals for free to get alerts on excellent diamonds in your price range - and follow your favorite stones so we can email you when the price drops, also free ??

6. See if your favorites pass our test

We built this magical thing: our free Rare Carat Report ?? will provide unbiased AI and human analysis on any GIA-certified diamond sold anywhere, predicting it’s value and honestly pointing out flaws before making your diamond purchase. Oh, and we’ve got a bunch of professional GIA gemologists around to weigh in and give an independent review on your diamond. Check out a sample to see how awesome it is here.

We’ve got high standards - so if we give it a thumbs up, you’ve found a fantastic diamond.

Go back to our diamond shape guide to see which values to shoot for for advanced stuff like depth, table, and girdle. See where you struck out, and make the necessary adjustments using our advanced search filters.

7. Buy the diamond (with a setting?)

Every diamond listed on our search engine is at a retailer who would love to set it in a variety of ring settings, which you can browse on their sites. But you can also order just the diamond and have it set with a local jeweler. Buying it all together means less headache and they allow free resizing. The downside is that it’s done by mail, so resizing, cleaning, and repairs are less convenient ??

Scan the jewelers engagement ring style options to see if they have what she likes (try pinterest or her friends again - if not stick to a classic solitaire). Check out our ring setting guide here. Top three tips: remember to ensure the retailer uses side-stones of the same color as your center stone. Yellow gold setting will allow you to go lower on your diamond color (J or K). Finding her ring size is tricky, so ensure you have at least one free resizing.

8. Mission accomplished


What follows are the three best parts:

  • The smile on her face, when you propose with that kickass diamond ring (please make sure her nails are done).
  • The smile on your face when you get an independent local appraisal and find out you got a kickass stone at a great price (if you followed these 8 steps). You’ll likely need the appraisal to get the diamond insured - which you should definitely do.
  • The smile on our face, when you write us an amazing review and spread the word to your friends.
Ajay Anand
Ajay Anand
Ajay founded Rare Carat after having a difficult time buying a ring for his then girlfriend, now wife. He was the founder of an enterprise SaaS co used by the UN in over 50 countries to deliver aid saving 1m lives. He also was the third employee of and a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. He holds a Wharton MBA, Penn MA, and UMich BBA.