A princess cut diamond.

When you’re ready to purchase a diamond, how do you even know what you want to buy? To make that decision you are going to want to determine your preferences and budget. There are a lot of decisions to make when it comes to an entire engagement ring, necklace, or earrings, but we’ll stick to the diamond itself. What size stone do you want? Which diamond shape and cutting style do you like best? There are a variety of shapes choose from, such as round, square, heart, rectangle, or horse head—I am not kidding! The best way to get a feel for all of the shapes is to window shop. Seeing them in person or at least doing some online searching is a great start.

An asscher cut diamond.

You will find that the distinctions between the look and feel of the diamonds are not only because of their outline shape but also in how they were faceted, or cut. You can have a square-shaped diamond such as an asscher cut next to a princess cut, and while the outline is similar in shape, the difference between the step cut of the asscher and the brilliant faceting of the princess gives each diamond a very different personality. The step cuts are rectangular while the brilliant cuts are kite and triangular in
shape. The difference in faceting bends the light hitting a diamond in different directions, changing its fire (prismatic effect), scintillation (sparkle), and brilliance (light and dark contrasting). As diamond-cutting technology has improved over the years so, too, has the precision and detail of faceting.

A Crisscut diamond.

More options are now available than the traditional cuts. A personal favorite is the Crisscut, which is a branded cut like Hearts on Fire, where the facets themselves are faceted.

Now, if you are shopping for your (hopefully) bride to be, how do you know what her preferences are? You may have received subtle—or very blunt—hints, but if you have no idea, ask her friends or family for help. I have also seen an increased popularity when it comes to couples shopping for rings together, or at least doing some preliminary shopping together. While you want it to be a surprise, knowing her general preferences will assist in the buying process. You can also ask yourself some basic questions: is she modern, organic, vintage, classic, etc.? She will be wearing this diamond ring every day, and you want her to look down at it and love it, forever.

Once you’ve determine general style, figure out what do you want to spend on the diamond. Here, too, you want to keep her overall preferences in mind. Some women want a simple, understated ring while others want a ring large enough to be seen from

across the room. This may play a role in how you determine what you can afford and/or want to spend on the center diamond. There is a saying that an engagement ring should equal three months of your salary, but what your budget really should be is a number you are comfortable with.

You may find during your search that your preferences and budget may change, but at least you have determined a good starting point to narrow down your choices. Let’s say you have determined you are looking for a $2000 cushion-cut stone. Well, there are going to be a lot of diamonds that fit those criteria, and they are all going to be different. But you can start with that selection and dig deeper, using some more complex buying techniques, like the 4C’s….


Read on: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part III: What You Are Buying

Read on: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part IV: Who to Buy From

Go back: Buying Diamonds 101 – Part I: An Introduction


Bye for now,
Alicia Gardner Kozikowski, G.G.