By Allison Israel, GIA Graduate Gemologist at T-Bird Jewels
When purchasing your engagement ring, the most important decisions become size versus quality versus price. This is the magic equation standing between you and the perfect diamond ring. Think of it as a three-way seesaw that you are trying to balance.
In order to achieve this perfect balance, you should discuss what type of budget you have for both the diamond and the mounting. Today, many jewelers sell semi-mounts (the ring without the center diamond). For example, if your budget is $7,000 and you found the perfect mounting for $2,000, then you know you have $5,000 for the perfect diamond.
Once you have figured out how much you have to spend and have studied your 4Cs, it is time to visit several jewelry stores to see what appeals to your taste.
Some ladies prefer a larger diamond and are willing to sacrifice the quality of the diamond, to some degree. Others want their diamond to be as brilliant as possible and are happy with a smaller diamond. I always recommend discovering what appeals to your personal taste in diamonds as the first step. Spend some time looking at various diamonds to see if you like them to be larger, or do you find the brilliance of the diamond more appealing than the carat weight? Others can look at a diamond for the first time and see the differences in color and cut characteristics, while some may not.
Once you have determined what your preferences are, it’s time to remember your budget. If one bride-to-be decided that she prefers brilliance to carat weight, she should ask the jeweler to see the most brilliant diamonds possible within her budget. On the other hand, another bride-to-be may want to have the largest diamond possible; the quality of the diamond, to some degree, is not as important to her. She should share those feelings with the jeweler and see what the largest diamond in her financial range is.
It is important to ask your jeweler why one diamond costs more than another. If you are going to sacrifice quality for carat weight, inquire if the diamond’s durability will be threatened in any way. Sometimes clarity characteristics can actually cause damage to the diamond.
Finally, when you find a diamond that matches all of your parameters, compare it to a higher quality diamond. The visual differences will be more apparent when you see the two side by side. This may help you to visualize any quality issues that you may have thought weren’t important.
So … does the size matter? The only person who can answer that question is you.