There is a lot of good information on diamond quality on the Internet. De Beer's site, www.adiamondisforever.com is excellent. On their home page click on The 4 C's.
Today I want to address an issue that I rarely hear mentioned when conversations turn to buying an engagement ring.
The value of a long-term relationship with a jeweler.
If you play your cards right, not only will you be able to buy a nice quality diamond in a quality setting, but you will have 'purchased', for the foreseeable future, a jewelry store that will give you preferential treatment for all your service and buying needs.
Engagement rings need servicing.
This fact is not clear to many men. Rings get scratched and need periodic polishing and professional cleaning. Stones can get loose and need tightening. Prongs bend and need straightening.
Women sometimes gain or loose weight, especially when having children, and the ring needs to be sized. Who are you going to trust with the ring? The place you bought it from.
The convenience of local stores shouldn't be underestimated.
When the time comes you will go and see if they have wedding rings that you like. If so than you can expect a nice discount.
Same thing for the first anniversary, the first baby, etc.
Buying in the city, flea-markets, or places you don't feel that comfortable with, but think you're saving a few hundred dollars, will turn into a net loss when you add up the cost of not having someone more local, giving you discounts and service for years to come.
Look for articles in the months to come -
Differences between gem labs and their certificates.
Which settings should never be sized.
How to compare quality and price without having the actual stones.
How can you tell if you are you buying a second hand ring?
How to care for your diamond
What's the difference between platinum and 14k white gold