Diamond experts share tips for buying the perfect engagement ring

Round, cushion, princess, emerald. 

Settings, prongs, engravings. 

Cut, color, clarity and carat. 

There are a lot of pieces that make up each and every engagement ring. 

The one you love is going to look down at his or her sparkling engagement ring every day — so, of course, you want to make the right decision.

But how? 

From the shopping experience itself (online or in person, with or without your partner) to the design of the ring, there is a lot to juggle with this all-important purchase. 

Below is a guide with all your engagement ring questions answered by experts who have helped clients create a dream piece of jewelry to symbolize their love. 

  1. Online versus in-person shopping
  2. How to determine a budget
  3. Engagement ring shapes
  4. The 4 C’s
  5. Should I go ring shopping with my partner?
  6. How do I know what kind of ring my girlfriend wants?
  7. What about customizations?
  8. Lab grown or natural?
There are a lot of pieces that make up each and every engagement ring. wavebreak3 – stock.adobe.com

1. Online versus in-person shopping

In the world of online shopping, engagement rings have hopped on the bandwagon. 

Even though shopping online may seem like an easy choice, there are things you should consider before buying that way. 

“I think engagement rings are just so personable. I think the in-store experience is so important with online shopping, to be able to touch the ring, to feel the ring, to see how it looks on your finger. You can’t replace that experience,” Anthony Zucco, a sales consultant at Mavilo Wholesalers in Tampa, Florida, told Fox News Digital.

“So booking an appointment, getting in, allowing the female, the male, to actually come in and see it in person without the retouch editing online. I think it’s an essential part

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The Lab-Grown Diamond Boom Is Over

  • The lab-grown diamond boom is over, jewelry industry experts say. 
  • Lab-grown gems are mainstream now and real diamonds are back in vogue, analysts told Business Insider.
  • Prices for lab-grown diamonds are likely to tumble amid a glut of supply. 

The man-made diamond boom is over, and prices for ultra-trendy lab-grown diamonds are set to tumble this year, industry veterans say.

Paul Zimnisky, a leading diamond analyst, foresees jewelers scaling back their business in lab-grown diamonds while ramping up their focus on natural diamonds over the next year. In fact, most jewelers aren’t even bothering to stock lab-grown diamonds in inventory, and are only purchasing them on consignment, he told Business Insider. 

It’s the exact opposite of what jewelers have been doing since 2018, when the hype for lab-grown diamonds took off. 

“Some of the fad is starting to fade a bit,” Zimnisky said, pointing to lower-priced retailers like Walmart and Pandora, who have started to “aggressively” push lab-grown stones. “I think it’s become a lot more mainstream.”

Prices for lab-grown diamonds will continue to fall over the next year, he said. Ziminsky didn’t have a price target, but said he believed loose lab-grown diamonds could see nearly the same price decline as they did in 2023, which the jewelry analytics firm Tenoris estimated to be about 20% in the 12 months leading up to November. 

Cormac Kinney, the CEO of the commodities trading firm Diamond Standard, believes the plunge could be even steeper as the hype over lab-grown gems fades. Man-made diamond prices could ultimately drop another 50%-80%, he estimated. 

“Fashion jewelry is always worth a small fraction of real jewelry,” Kinney said. “Only real is rare.”

Man-made

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What Is a Lab-Grown Diamond?: Lab-Grown vs. Natural Diamonds

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For people who want to get married, the diamond engagement ring is a tale as old as time—and advertisers and media companies alike make the rather expensive tradition seem inescapable. The slogans from South African diamond behemoth De Beers speak for themselves:

“A diamond is forever.”

“Is two months’ salary too much to spend for something that lasts forever?”

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“Show her youll love her for the next thousand years.”

On top of it, the marketplace for diamonds can be really confusing. There are grades of clarity and color that lead to an overall quality rating. And, of course, diamonds are very expensive. The International Gem Society reports that the average amount spent on a diamond ring in 2021 was $5,000. (At the iconic jewelry store Tiffany’s, a budget of $5,000 barely gets you into the diamonds, let alone the showy single diamonds people prefer on engagement rings.)

All of these reasons have driven consumer interest in lab-grown diamonds, and in lab-grown diamond engagement rings in particular. So, we spoke to an expert from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to learn everything you need to know about lab-grown diamonds—the production methods, the colors, the intangibles, and more. They say lab-grown diamond rings can cost up to 20 percent less than natural diamonds, which would knock that $5,000 ring down to $4,000. It’s not a Black Friday doorbuster percentage of discount, but that’s a lot of money to save.

Lab-Grown Diamonds vs. Natural Diamonds

Sally Magaña is a research scientist and the manager of diamond identification for the Carlsbad, California-based GIA, which now has locations around the world; the GIA creates and upholds standards and education for jewelers around the world. Today, one of its key concerns is telling apart lab-grown diamonds from natural diamonds,

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Pandora Proclaims ‘Diamonds For All’ By Expanding Its Lab-Grown Diamond Jewelry Range

With the global jewelry market in retreat, Pandora just delivered a solid second-quarter performance, with organic revenues up 5% to $850 million and like-for-like (LFL) revenues advancing 2%. This brought first-half revenues up 3.5% over the previous year to $1.7 billion.

Having expected challenges in fiscal 2023, Pandora initially guided on a -2% to +3% change in revenues this year, but given its strong performance so far, it raised guidance to between +2% to +5% by year-end.

“We outperformed the market,” CEO Alexander Lacik shared with me after the earnings call. “There’s a lot of uncertainty out there, with the Ukraine war, rising interest rates and consumer sentiment dropping like a stone. It’s a fact that people have less disposable income to go around, so against those macros, we showed sequential improvement.”

And Lacik is counting on that sequential improvement to pick up pace through the rest of the year after it drops three new collections of lab-grown diamond jewelry into the U.S., Canada, Australia and U.K. markets, with Mexico and Brazil to follow in time for holiday.

The new range includes rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces and for the first time, it is presenting lab-grown diamonds in its flagship charms, what the company calls the “universe that is at the heart of Pandora.”

“We have over 600 million customers coming to our stores and website every year and we know the vast majority of them are very interested in buying a diamond but can’t afford mined diamonds. That’s where Pandora

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My Girlfriend Wants a Real Diamond Ring. Can It Be Lab-Grown Instead?

My girlfriend and I have been dating for over two years, and I’m seriously considering proposing to her. In researching different types of engagement rings, I’ve begun to see, no pun intended, clear-cut differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds. While natural diamonds fall under a classic aesthetic, lab-grown diamonds are better for the environment and a better value (I could afford a larger carat) and don’t perpetuate the cruel abuses that take place during their mining.

For these reasons, I’m leaning heavily toward a lab-grown diamond. But I know that my girlfriend is only interested in a large natural diamond and would be extremely angry if given a lab diamond. I’ve considered telling her it’s a natural diamond, as the only way of being exposed is by a jeweler with an expensive loupe — or when she gets the ring appraised for insurance, which is, admittedly, a large risk. What should I do? — Name Withheld

From the Ethicist:

First, let’s acknowledge that there is disagreement about the environmental virtues of lab-grown diamonds; they’re often made in China, using electricity that comes mainly from coal. And you can source natural diamonds from places that regulate working conditions. Even if your assumptions were correct, though, the worldly consequences of your individual purchase, by itself, would not be significant. What is significant is your willingness to consecrate your union with a lie.

The giver of a ring should be concerned, foremost, with what the ring means to the recipient. You’re free to tell your girlfriend that you’re unwilling to buy a natural diamond. But the deception you’re contemplating would be deeply disrespectful of her and her desires — and a wildly inauspicious step toward marriage. That ring is a promise, and you would be establishing that you can’t

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Lightbox Now Offers Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings

In a move sure to further disrupt the jewelry industry already disrupted by consumers’ rapid turn to lab-grown diamonds, De Beers has introduced engagement rings under its lab-grown jewelry brand Lightbox, a category it once reserved exclusively for its Forevermark natural, mined diamonds. Now it offers a selection of 16 lab-grown diamond engagement rings priced from $500 to $5,000.

While the company positions the move as a limited market test, it is groundbreaking for De Beers, whose fortunes have been inextricably linked to natural diamond futures.

De Beers is the world’s leading natural diamond company, with its reach into diamond exploration, mining, grading, marketing and retail. It singlehandedly made the diamond engagement ring the symbol of everlasting love in its famed 1947 “A diamond is forever” ad campaign.

Into The Lab-Grown Diamond Fray

When De Beers first dipped its toes into the lab-grown jewelry market with Lightbox in 2018, it was positioned as fun, pretty, affordable fashion jewelry that “may not be forever, but is perfect for right now,” said Bruce Cleaver, then-CEO De Beers Group and now its co-chairman.

At the time, LGD were reserved for earrings and necklaces set with an emphasis on colored stones, but also available in clear-white diamonds.

Initial prices were set at $800 per carat, exclusive of the setting, and the company has held the line on per-carat price since then. However, it has since added a finest grade above its standard offering, priced at $1,500 per carat for LGD stones of finer cut and clarity with the clearest color rating.

It stepped deeper into the bridal waters

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