The Essential Checklist For a Diamond Ring Purchase

checklist to buying diamond engagement ring online

A beautiful 6 prong comfort fit solitaire diamond ring.

So, you’ve finally decided to propose and you are shopping for the epic diamond engagement ring to make her say “Yes!”. But, buying a diamond ring can be a daunting experience especially when there are large amounts of cash involved.

Here at, we have used a proven process to help thousands of people make rational decisions while shopping for their diamond rings based on tangible information.

Below is a short-hand checklist that will help you prepare for what lies ahead and steer you away from common pitfalls in the jewelry industry. I’ve also included additional tips, references and information in each of the steps below.

1. Determine Your Budget

checklist for diamonds

Set a budget on how much you are willing to spend on a diamond ring and stick to it. This will form the basic parameter to narrow things down when you are shopping. You should spend within your means and shouldn’t get into debt for a diamond ring purchase.

Also, I often see people get talked into making significantly larger purchases due to hard-sell tactics in local stores. Having a predetermined budget will also keep you rational and prevent you from overspending.

2. Do You Know Your Partner’s Ring Size?

Although most engagement rings can be resized without any issues, getting the ring size right would reduce the hassle of having to send it back for a resizing job. It would also save you the embarrassment of proposing with a ring that doesn’t fit.

For most people, finding the correct ring finger size discreetly is probably the most challenging part of buying a diamond engagement ring. The easiest way to do this without her finding out is to “steal” and secretly measure a ring your partner wears.

I’ve written an article on this topic and you can use it as a reference to get more ideas on finding out her ring finger size.

3. Diamond Ring Style Preferences

Instead of blindly shopping around, find out what the recipient likes and what her styles are. Does she like a round, princess or cushion cut diamond? Would she look better with a solitaire, pave or halo setting? What kind of color/carat size is she expecting?

You could start by looking at her social media accounts to find out her preferences or ask her close friends for tips. You might also want to go through magazines, fliers or Pinterest boards to get inspiration.

4. Research And Educate Yourself

Buying a diamond is all about balancing the 4Cs since we all have to work with a limited budget. In my opinion, the diamond’s cut and carat weight should be of higher priority over the other 2 C’s.

When buying a diamond, it’s important to have a good understanding of the 4Cs (cut, carat, color and clarity) as these characteristics will affect the appearance and value of the diamond.

In my opinion, carat size and cut are the most important factors that you should place your priorities on. From a practical perspective, color and clarity are largely subjective factors as the casual viewer won’t be able to notice small differences in color or clarity ratings.

5. Look for a Reliable Jeweler

diamond listing checklist of information

Jewelers like White Flash offer video and light performance data to help you make a better analysis.

Working with a reliable jeweler is key to shopping with a peace of mind and getting a high quality diamond ring. Good vendors often place the interest of the customers as a priority and this can usually be seen in their business practices.

Here are some of the things you should look out for when choosing a jeweler.

– Do they sell GIA or AGS certified diamonds?
– Do they stand behind their products with money back guarantees?
– Do they provide indepth details like videos/light performance images in their listings?
– Do they have a good reputation and reviews from customers?
– What are their sales and upgrade policies?
– What are the types of ring setting styles they offer?

I’ve curated a list of the best places to buy an engagement ring and these are businesses that I personally made purchases from.

So, weigh out your options before making any final buying decisions. You might also want to compare after-sales services or any other form of value added services that a particular vendor may provide.

Did you know vendors like James Allen and White Flash offer free value-added lifetime services like prong tightening, re-polishing and re-plating? Besides that, they offer the most competitive prices in the industry.

6. Cherry Pick a Diamond



I recently bought this fantastic looking engagement ring with a super ideal cut diamond.

Contrary to popular belief, it is best to do your own research when selecting a diamond instead of relying on a jeweler with a vested interest to do it for you. That’s because most jewelers have little knowledge about cut quality or light performance.

The best way to buy a diamond ring that is suited to your needs is to pick out a diamond yourself and complete it with a ring setting. Using this comprehensive guide I’ve written, you can easily buy a sparkly and eyeclean diamond regardless of the budget you have.

7. Pay By Cash or Credit?

using a credit card for purchase

Should you swipe that card or not?

Paying in cash or via bank wire in full would get you a discount and that’s how I personally pay for purchases when I buy from reliable vendors. In any case, I don’t recommend financing or credit payment modes offered by jewelers.

Most of the time, these credit terms are excessively overpriced. i.e. the interest and other ‘charges’ are pretty high. If you had to finance a diamond ring purchase, it would be better to use your own credit card or make personal funding arrangements with your bank.

8. Be Mindful of Your Timeline

Before you commit to a purchase, you want to do a final check on the timeline you are on with the jeweler. Depending on the time of the year, the complexity of the ring design and the workload of the jeweler, it can take 1-4 weeks of waiting time for the ring to be made and delivered.

In general, I recommend you start shopping at least 8 weeks in advance to be safe. If you set aside a conservative 4 weeks to do your research and another 4 weeks for the jeweler to complete the ring, it would be just the right amount of time to get things done perfectly.

The last thing you want to do is to rush into an engagement ring purchase as it can cause you to make impulsive decisions or place undue stress on the jeweler to deliver on a tight deadline.

Last Words…

propose and make her say yes with a pave diamond ring

To recap, buying a beautiful looking diamond engagement ring isn’t that difficult as long as you follow a methodology that is based on tangible information instead of outlandish marketing claims.

The advantages of having a checklist are as follows:

  • You will be more confident in making a decision.
  • You stay focused on your buying process.
  • You will be more organized and save time.
  • You will get the best quality for your money.

With that, I hope you found this checklist useful. Happy shopping! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or require my help to pick out a diamond.

If you want to buy a high-quality diamond engagement ring at a competitive price point, make sure you check out James Allen, White Flash and Brian Gavin. All 3 vendors are reputable and offer GIA/AGS certified diamonds.

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  1. Donique Pugh-
    February 16, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Hello Paul,

    I will be buying a center round diamond in the range of 1.7-1.9 carats to be mounted on a very thick 14k or 18k yellow gold satin finish band that will be approximately 1/2″ thick. I had heard that since I was using a yellow gold band I could go for a higher color on my diamond to save some money without the diamond looking too yellow. Maybe a J or K color? Could I even go higher in color?

    Also, if I purchased a diamond with a higher fluorescence (maybe a Brian Gavin blue?), could that also help to offset the hints of yellow color?

    By the way, I love your website. It is so informative and I’m glad to have discovered when searching for engagement ring price rules to figure out a budget. Thanks for your hard work!

  2. Paul Gian-
    February 18, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Yep. You are right on all 2 points.

    Going with a J or K is perfectly fine. And fluorescence does help make a diamond face up whiter in many environments. But here’s the thing and what’s contradictory. If you are concerned about color tints, why buy a yellow gold setting in the first place? A D diamond will look yellow in it anyway.

    And if you are already set on a yellow gold setting, why are you worried about getting a diamond with fluorescence that helps make it look “whiter”? There’s no need to. Even if you place a D diamond in a yellow gold setting, the resultant appearance will still be yellowish.

  3. Tony Chow-
    March 7, 2018 at 1:34 am

    What are some due diligence you would recommend me to do if I want to know whether a jeweler is good or bad? Are there things to look out for? I am based in Malaysia and I don’t know if I can trust any local jewelers here as I have no prior experiences at all.

  4. Paul Gian-
    March 10, 2018 at 4:00 am

    You could do your own due diligence on reviewing vendors to work with. For example, you can cover the following:

    – Affiliation with recognized organizations.
    – Accreditation with the Better Business Bureau.
    – Diamonds with reliable certification from GIA or AGS.
    – Reputation.
    – Return policy that allows you to exchange or get a full refund within a reasonable time frame. In my opinion, anything from 30 days to 60 days is reasonable.
    – If you intend to buy from an online store, make sure they can provide analytical data like ASET/Idealscope images and also valid phone numbers you can call. You should also read up reviews of the business at
    – If you find a price discrepancy for the same item, cite the jeweler or store where you saw a similar diamond. You could get yourself a neat discount with proper negotiation skills.

    When you receive the goods, you can also check the item physically and compare it with the certificate. If there is something amiss, make sure you call up the store and raise this issue with them. FYI, this has NEVER happened to any of the thousands of readers I’ve helped.

    If you are still worried and want peace of mind, you can get your diamond independently appraised by a third party.

  5. Jake-
    February 5, 2019 at 4:54 am

    I’ve just been through one of the worst shopping experience in New York. I went into a self proclaimed wholesaler who told me they could offer me prices that no one else could match. I thought it didn’t hurt to take a look and when I realized they were selling uncertified diamonds, I asked for GIA certified diamonds. They showed me a couple of diamonds which had very low clarity ratings and looked cloudy. I told them I wasn’t interested and wanted to leave. At which point, the sales lady and manager become very aggressive and tried to peddle more diamonds which were IGI certified. I wanted to leave but couldn’t as they blocked my way out of the store and I threatened to call the police if they didn’t let me go on my way. Well, they did let me go but not without hurling some verbal abuse at me.

  6. Paul Gian-
    February 6, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    These days, online purchases are preferred as they have caught up and overtaken. It really depends on what you are comfortable with – whether you wish to see the diamond in person before you buy or you can go on trust. In any case, NYC is one of the worst places to shop for a diamond especially in stores on the street levels.

    If you don’t feel like a valued customer, or if pressure is being put on you, take your business elsewhere without any second thoughts. If people cannot treat you with respect when you are in the shopping stage, what do you think will happen if something were to go wrong after you bought the diamond?

    With online purchases, there’s no sales pressure on you and you are covered because of the return policies online stores have in place.

  7. Cody-
    November 16, 2019 at 9:33 am


    Your site is fantastically educational and straightforward, and I really appreciate the level of detail you provide on all facets of buying. I’m glad I found your site before wandering in to a chain store and getting rolled by a huge markup.

    I am looking at round Tri-EX diamonds, H or better color with a stone budget of around $3000-$3500 to be set in a size 6 platinum ring. I have found a few candidates and wondered if I could get your opinion on the best of them. ($3440) – Final Sale, but no images posted. I’ve requested images for this one, and they are waiting on supplier response. I’ve tried to locate it on other sites to see if there are pictures available but have been unsuccessful. Is there any chance GIA stores images of stones they’ve graded? I know buying blind is not recommended, but are there other avenues to get images? This one would face up the largest of all the options here and is IF clarity, but the lack of an image makes me think there could be issues caused by other factors. G-VS1 ($3490) This is my other choice at the $3500 price point. Slightly thick girdle and close to the same dimensions as the one above. Right now I’m thinking this is probably the best option overall. I’ve also found this one in a 360 degree view here. Report here: H-VS1 ($3170) – Based on the report, the lack of contrast exhibited in the image may make this one a victim of inconsistent imaging practices by the supplier rather than an issue with the stone itself–that sentiment was shared by the sales staff as well. The image just looks a bit “washed out” to me compared to others–all contrast lines are light gray as opposed to black, making the stone look more like a slightly foggy car window instead of a freshly cleaned mirror. From what I can tell, the central star pattern when looking through the table to the culet appears slightly more consistent than the one in the diamond above, though. Would you agree? The $320 price difference would help off-set the cost of the custom setting by about 10% as well. Do you notice any hint of yellow in this one when viewed from the side? I don’t think I’m overly sensitive to color, but the 20x magnification calls that sort of thing to my attention. Report here H-VS2 ($3230) Another where the star pattern seems pretty consistent. Slightly lower cut score, probably due to the 35.5 degree crown angle (all others are within your recommended specs). No fluorescence on this one, but faces up the smallest of these options and is about as small as is recommended for the setting I’m wanting done. However, it doesn’t appear hazy or yellow and the symmetry is consistent — I can make out a sort of “geometric sun” at the center of the star pattern when looking down through the table in this one.

    Additionally, I found a nice diamond search engine that helped me locate some good stones that weren’t coming up in my searches on other sites. It allows you to filter pretty stringently if you want, and even uses some logic to determine if a particular stone is a great deal or a rip off. It lists Brian Gavin, Whiteflash, and James Allen as some of its search sites

    Thanks again for your time and the wealth of information you’ve provided first time buyers like myself!

  8. Paul Gian-
    November 16, 2019 at 9:50 am

    I looked at all the diamonds and this is the best diamond out of the 4:

    It is decently well cut for light performance and the G color will give you a diamond that faces up white.

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