If you're shopping for an engagement ring, then you probably have a lot on your plate. The last thing that you need is the stress of trying to figure out on your own which ring will give you the best value. To help you out, here are some tips that you should keep in mind when shopping for engagement rings:

Focus on the Setting and Not the Rock

When shopping for diamond engagement rings, you might have noticed that the cost of a ring largely depends on how valuable the diamond is, rather than the setting. Of course, the setting does factor into the cost, but settings will often be drastically cheaper than the diamond itself.

If you are tight on money or just want to get a ring that has good value, then you should take a long look at the setting. Small differences in diamonds can create vast differences in value, but the average person might not even be able to tell the difference between a good diamond and a great diamond. On the other hand, a nice hand-crafted setting can really make your ring stand out. In fact, a good setting can cover up the fact that your rock might not be the most expensive in the world.

Remember the Four C's

Anyone who is buying diamonds should have a passing familiarity with the four C's that determine a diamond's quality:

  • First is carat (or karat), which is the simplest to understand. Carat simply refers to the weight of the diamond. For reference, 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Whether or not the size of the diamond is important will vary greatly from person to person, but there are ways to make smaller diamonds appear more attractive. For instance, you can find a setting that accentuates the shape and size of your diamond. A diamond that strongly resonates with its setting will look good, regardless of how big it is (within reason).
  • Next you have color, which is also pretty easy for the average layperson to observe. In general, the less color that there is in a diamond, the more valuable the diamond will be. However, some colors are more valuable than others. Red tends to be quite valuable, while yellow is not.
  • Finally, you have cut and clarity, which are pretty hard for anyone but a professional to really identify. Of course, you can probably see some physical differences between a flawless diamond (no inclusions or blemishes) and an included diamond (which does have visible imperfections under a certain level of magnification), but the differences between similar diamonds can really only be seen by a trained professional.

Since you can't easily judge the value of a diamond based on the cut or clarity, if you are shopping on your own or if you are buying second-hand rings, consider asking a professional for assistance.