Home » Checklist for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

Checklist for Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

Feel free to print this page.

Diamond Checklist:

☐ Read Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Diamond.
☐ Read The Strategist’s Guide to Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring.
☐ Commit to making an unemotional, well-educated, outcome-focused, patient, confident, and tradeoff-filled decision.
☐ Confirm that you’ll be buying a diamond and not another gemstone.
☐ Write down your upper budget, an amount that you will absolutely not spend more than.
☐ Write down the amount that you think you’ll actually end up spending.
☐ Read How to Evaluate a Diamond Engagement Ring.
☐ Decide whether how much you’ll be involving your future fiancée. The spectrum is anywhere from 99% surprise to she’ll be there when I buy the ring. Understand that there are a lot of great options between these two. Check one*:
⟶ ☐ 99% surprise (they always sort of know)
⟶ ☐ Get her size and basic preferences
⟶ ☐ Decide everything together and buy the exact ring she wants
☐ Read Why You Should Buy Your Diamond Engagement Ring Online.
☐ Have an initial conversation with your future-fiancée. Get initial answers to the following from your fiancée:
⟶ ☐ Ring size
⟶ ☐ Ring color and material
⟶ ☐ Ring style & setting
⟶ ☐ Diamond shape
☐ Prepare to visit a jeweler in person. Make a list of questions and know what options you’d like to see.
☐ Visit a high-end local jewelry shop near you. Avoid the big chain stores in malls with ads on TV. Worst case, go to your nearest Tiffany & Co. Your mission is education so come prepared, get your questions answered, listen to their pitches, try on a bunch of ring designs and styles, look at real diamonds with both your naked eye and at 10x magnification. Get a salesperson’s card or contact information so that you can ask more questions later. Buy nothing.
☐ Have a follow up conversation with your fiancée and continue to refine your diamond search criteria:
⟶ ☐ Certifier (GIA only)
⟶ ☐ Cut (“Excellent” only for GIA)
⟶ ☐ Ring size
⟶ ☐ Ring color and material
⟶ ☐ Ring style & setting
⟶ ☐ Diamond shape
⟶ ☐ Clarity range
⟶ ☐ Color range
⟶ ☐ Carat
☐ Perform an initial search for diamonds online so that you can see your options. Look at rings and settings as well. (As of December 2017, I can only recommend James Allen or Blue Nile, with a preference for James Allen)
☐ Call or email the jeweler you met with and ask for a few all-in quotes, including certifications for the diamonds. Ask about their return policy and any fees they charge for returns. Understand their resize and cleaning/inspection fees as well.
☐ Compare all of the quotes.
☐ Take a few days to think things over. Unless you’re in a huge hurry, a few days won’t matter and you might make a substantially better decision.
☐ Decide whether you’re comfortable buying a diamond online or not.
☐ Refine the amount that you think you’ll be spending (but not your upper budget). Double check that this amount works with your financial situation.
☐ Narrow down your ring styles to 1 or 2 options.
☐ Continue researching, reading, etc until you have clear answers to each of the following:
⟶ ☐ Certifier (GIA only)
⟶ ☐ Cut (Excellent only for GIA)
⟶ ☐ Ring size
⟶ ☐ Ring color and material
⟶ ☐ Ring style & setting
⟶ ☐ Diamond shape
⟶ ☐ Clarity range
⟶ ☐ Color range
⟶ ☐ Carat range
☐ Search for diamonds that meet your criteria.
⟶ ☐ Sort the list in various ways (by carat, by price, by clarity).
⟶ ☐ Eliminate any diamonds that have large inclusions or blemishes near the table or any of the largest facets. Keep only eye-clean diamonds.
☐ Make a final decision and place your order.
☐ Finalize any of the details for how you plan to give your future-fiancée the ring.

* From this point on, this checklist assumes that you’re going to have a few conversations with your future-fiancée about her preferences and that the two of you will go to try on rings at least once. You can adapt the checklist based on how involved you plan for her to be.