Feature photo credit: giphy.com 

With so many styles of engagement rings available in the market, picking the right one for your partner can get really overwhelming. Apart from the design itself, there are many other factors to consider when determining which is the ideal ring for your significant other.

With that, we hope that this guide will shed some light on the pricing of different rings!

From our portfolio: Jonathan & Dorothy’s Solemnization

Topics Covered:

  1. The 4C’s
    1. Cut
    2. Colour
    3. Carat
    4. Clarity
  2. Shapes
  3. Metals & Setting
  4. Diamond Certification
  5. Where to Shop

1. The 4C ‘ s

Cut, Colour, Carat, and Clarity. These are the four characteristics that contribute to the overall value of the engagement ring. So, it is important to take all of them together into account when choosing your ring.

Understanding this may guide you to “the one” that makes your heart race and fits your budget at the same time.

In order of importance:

I. Cut

The cut is the most important characteristic of a diamond and is often mistaken for the shape (Princess, Heart, Round Brilliant, etc) of a diamond. However, it is actually the design guide used to fashion a stone such that it interacts beautifully with light.

In short, cut ≠ shape.

The cut affects 3 aspects of a diamond’s appearance – brilliance, fire, and scintillation.

Brilliance/Brightness:

Internal and external white light reflected.

Fire:

Flashes of light in a spectrum of colours.

Scintillation:

a.k.a sparkle or alternating contrast between light and dark areas.

The shape contributes to the cut as a diamond cutter has to take that into consideration when “cutting” the stone. With the right proportions, symmetry and polish, the diamond will result in a beautiful overall pattern and appearance.

Cut can be graded according to scales, from Ideal to Poor, and different diamond ateliers may use different grading systems for their diamonds. For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) cut scale.

GIA established the 4C’s, and sets one of the worldwide standards for evaluating the quality of diamonds.

Reference: https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/gia-diamond-cut-grade-six-things-to-know/

According to GIA, a cut grade is given based on 7 aspects – brilliance/brightness, fire and scintillation, and 4 other aspects which we won’t delve too deeply into (weight ratio, durability, polish, and symmetry).

An Ideal/Excellent grade scores best in all components but the most obvious aspects that sets this diamond apart is the brilliance, fire and scintillation. These diamonds reflect light off is surface effectively, with equal contrasts between its light and dark areas, resulting in a blindingly beautiful pattern.

Here’s a video featuring an Ideal/Excellent cut diamond:

As we move down the scale, a “Fair” or “Poor” cut diamond can be too shallow or too deep. A very shallow diamond results in a darker overall appearance in the middle. A very deep cut, may appear “smaller” or shorter than it actually is when viewed from above.

As these diamonds are lacking in the 7 aspects, they appear dull and glassy and lack a distinctive pattern. This is due light leakages at the bottom of the diamond as shown in this diagram:

Reference: https://australia-diamonds.com.au/the-5-cs-of-diamonds/

Some may choose to go for a deeper-cut diamond as they appear larger in size than an ideal cut diamond with the same carat weight. However, they may end up being a lot pricier than the latter.

To maximize your budget:

Go for a Very Good or Ideal/Excellent cut grade to get your money’s worth.

II. Colour

Colour is the second most important characteristic when considering a diamond.

Higher grade diamonds are colourless which are rarer and hence more expensive. In contrast, lower grades would have a noticeable pale yellow or yellow-brown colour.

Most colour grades follow GIA’s standard, ranging from grades D to Z – from colourless to more colour respectively as shown in the chart below:

Reference: https://www.jewellerymonthly.com/4cs-education-the-importance-of-diamond-colour/

Some experts recommend choosing at least a grade H or higher, or D to F if colourless diamonds are preferred.

To maximize your budget:

Go a step down in colour grade (e.g. E instead of D) as the difference colour is almost indistinguishable to the naked eye. However, do note that the yellow-tones in an H/I grade diamond will be more noticeable when placed beside one with D/E grade.

III. Carat

Next, Carat measures the weight of a diamond which contributes to its apparent size. The larger the carat weight, the rarer and more expensive it is.

It is imperative to take the diamond’s cut into consideration with carat. A diamond with high carat but poor cut may appear smaller from the top surface than one with smaller carat and a better cut.

Reference: https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/diamond-carat-weight/

To maximize your budget:

Go for a carat weight that’s slightly below a whole number (e.g. 1.9 carat rather than 2.0 carat). The slight difference will not be noticeable and will in turn save you a considerable amount of money.

IV. Clarity

Clarity is the assessment of visible flaws (blemishes), and internal defects (inclusions) on the stone.

The fewer the flaws, the higher the value of the diamond. As diamonds are stones formed underground, naturally, a few blemishes and inclusions may be apparent. Therefore, this makes clarity the least important of the four Cs, as the imperfections are microscopic and rarely affects the diamond’s beauty.

Reference: https://abbysparks.com/design-engagement-ring/diamond-information/diamond-clarity-chart/

To maximize your budget:

If budget is a concern to you, go for the lowest possible clarity that’s clean to the naked eye. You’ll get the best value from grades VS and SI (clarity grading scale), and from investing more in the previous three Cs (Cut, Colour, Carat).

2. Shapes

If you have gotten this far, you probably would have a better understanding between cut and shapes. Here, we will be elaborating more on the various shapes you could choose from.

Shapes are purely for aesthetic purposes so it depends on your partner’s preference.

For the most part of this article so far, we have been referencing the most common shape – the Round shape. This is also probably the costliest one as they require more work on the diamond cutter’s end, and has a much lower yield from a raw stone compared to the other (fancy) shapes.

Additionally, as round diamonds are the most intensively refined and studied shapes, you may notice in diamond certificates (e.g. from GIA) that that fancy shapes may not come with a cut grade.

Reference: https://www.totalprestigemagazine.com/diamond-shapes/

When evaluating the 4C’s for fancier shapes, experts recommend either paying for “Premium” or disregard the cut grade altogether. Some renowned jewelers may also have their own grading system in place for cuts on fancy shapes, like Blue Nile for instance.

An interesting thing to note is that colour may appear more visible in the corner of some shapes (Heart, Asscher and Princess) as compared to a Round diamond of the same colour grade.

3. Metals & Setting

The metal you choose to complement your ring is important as it may cause your colourless diamond appear yellow. To avoid this, it is recommended to choose a complementary metal to the colour of your diamond. For example, choosing white gold variants for colourless, and gold for slightly coloured diamonds.

Reference: https://coreyegan.com/blogs/blog/precious-metals-comparison

Setting is how the diamond is mounted on your ring. There are many different styles to choose from but it all boils down to your partner’s preference and lifestyle. For example, despite being one of the most common setting, a prong setting might not suit someone who has a more active lifestyle as it would snag onto fabrics and loosen faster with wear over time.

Reference: https://makehappymemories.com/ring-settings-guide/

For more information specific to each setting, check out The Diamond Pro’s article which lists the pros and cons of the various ring settings.

4. Diamond Certification (Grading Report)

Purchasing a diamond ring is a huge investment and you want to be reassured that the diamond is authentic. Hence, most diamonds purchased from jewellers come with grading report either from GIA or AGS (American Gem Society) – the most trustworthy sources for grading reports.

A grading report is similar to a diamond’s blueprint and it verifies your diamond’s authenticity. Typically, it contains information about the grading results for the 4C’s, shape and more and it is based on GIA’s International Diamond Grading System ™ or AGS’s counterpart.

Reference: https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/diamond-grading-report/

If your diamond not come with a grading report or certificate, you can always register your diamond online. Additionally, you can also drop by any of the 15 retailers in Singapore (as of 2020) to appraise your diamond based on GIA’s standards.

Additionally, with your GIA/AGS report number, you can always easily access your report or verify the report for assurance: GIA , AGS.

5. Where to Shop

Lee Hwa Jewellery, Tiffany & Co. and Jann Paul are some of the commonly known and tried and true jewellery shops in Singapore.

You might have also heard of some online-based jewellers like Blue Nile, Michael Trio and the relatively affordable man-made diamond jeweller, Orro.

Most engagement rings from these shops typically cost about $1000 on average for a loose diamond, setting, the necessary certifications, warranty, and allow for returns and refunds.

However, if you (&/or your partner) are not willing to splurge on an engagement ring, and prefer uniquely crafted, hand-made and one-of-a-kind rings, you could also check out engagement rings on Etsy.

Widely known as the marketplace for smaller businesses/boutiques looking to sell their handicrafts, an engagement ring on Etsy could cost you less than $1000 (excluding shipping and handling charges). If your partner adores all things handmade, unique and special, Etsy could also be the right platform for you to source that special engagement ring.

Etsy sellers may provide warranty and allow for return and refunds on your purchases but do note that some of them may not come with diamond certifications so you might have to bring them down to a certified retailer for appraisal yourself.


In summary, when picking a loose diamond, decide on the shape you want and find a good balance of the four characteristics that fits within your budget. There are a couple of websites where you can play around with the grades and of course, filter your budget range like Blue Nile and Michael Trio.

If it all gets too daunting and you still don’t know which to pick, ask your partner, or if they wear jewellery, reference what they have to get a feel of their preferences and match it to what they already own!


Senica Photos provides Pre-Wedding  / Actual Day Wedding Photography & Videography, Livestreaming and Photobooth services. Find out more about us,or if you’re interested to find out more about our services, feel free to drop us a message !

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