SPECIAL MOMENT: You want your marriage proposal to be perfect, so do your research to find the perfect ring for your fiancée.
ISTOCK PHOTO SPECIAL MOMENT: You want your marriage proposal to be perfect, so do your research to find the perfect ring for your fiancée.

When you are buying a diamond engagement ring, what do you need to know?

Where do you start?

The first thing to do is to set a budget, and arm yourself with knowledge. This is the hardest part. 

n Know the four C’s — Carat weight, Clarity, Colour and Cut.

n Next, choose the setting. Choose the diamond shape and decide on the size, which of course depends on your budget.

n Pick the metal — do you want 14kt or 18kt, white or yellow gold, or platinum?

n Think about her lifestyle. If she is hands-on she probably does not want it to be too high of a setting as it could get caught on things. She may prefer it to be a lower setting.

Don’t overspend for quality that you or she cannot see. No one is going to look at the stone under magnification.

Good eye clean stones give great value if selected by a trained expert. So you get bigger and better for less.

Remember to purchase the stone you can afford today. Later you can bring it back to Swiss Timing and we will credit you for the diamond, to upgrade it to a larger one.

There is no limit to the amount of times that you can do this.

Know the shape of diamond that your girlfriend/wife would like, and what is suitable for her finger size and setting.


Ask the right questions. You might ask the following:

n Do you sell only certified diamonds with a Diamond Grading Report?

These reports are prepared by independent certified gemologists from laboratories around the world. 

A Diamond Grading Report will commonly include a plotted diagram of the diamond, including all of the four C’s.

n Can I get the Diamond Grading Report number inscribed on the girdle of the diamond?

Yes. A good reason for this is that it assures you always get your diamond back when you take it in for cleaning or a check — essentially important if you are taking it to a jeweller you are not familiar with.

n Can I get a custom stone and ring setting designed to my exact specifications?

For this large purchase you deserve to get exactly what you want. And at Swiss Timing we can design exactly what you want. 

Obviously it helps if you have some ideas and bring in lots of pictures.

Tips and warnings

Beware of advertising that proclaims only the carat weight and not the other qualities. These may be stones of an inferior quality and value.

Beware of stores advertising extravagant sales, such as 60 per cent off. Be sure to compare shops and prices before buying.

Some stores advertise extremely high regular prices so they can offer huge discounts.

Don’t assume that if it is on the Internet it must be a bargain.

The Federal Trade Commission found that many online jewellery retailers and auction sites were misrepresenting carat weights, not disclosing gem treatments, etc.

Coloured diamonds

What about coloured diamonds?

The scale starts at D – this is truly colourless. They are at the top of the diamond scale.

The closer the diamond is to colourless, the rarer and more valuable it is.

Some diamonds come out of the ground in vivid ‘fancy’ colours — well-defined reds, blues, pinks and yellows, etc. These are highly-prized and extremely rare.

Tips on saving money

Consider an alternative stone, or purchase a setting using several smaller stones instead of one large stone. 

You can achieve an amazing look for less money.  Sapphires for example — as Princess Diana and Kate Middleton have — are absolutely amazing and timeless. You don’t necessarily have to go with a diamond centre stone.

Swiss Timing, 95 Front Street, Hamilton. Contact 295-1376 or e-mail Website