How To Choose A Diamond

How to Choose a Diamond in Dallas

For the majority of people, purchasing a diamond and engagement ring is a new experience. With so many diamonds and rings available in the market today, finding the one that is right for you can feel overwhelming. However, Shapiro Diamonds in here to help you easily navigate through the market and available choices to help you find the perfect diamond and the perfect ring.

Our “How to Choose a Diamond” guide and tips below is designed to answer all your questions. These steps will tell you the best way to go about the process to find the best diamond for your budget. This information will provide you insider diamond tips a diamond’s characteristics, how those characteristics influence appearance and value, and which characteristics are more important than others. We certainly understand everyone’s diamond ring search is unique, but we are certain you’ll find this information to be a helpful start.

The First Step: Shape

When selecting a diamond for a diamond engagement ring, your first priority should be to select a diamond shape. This is the most critical and defining factor as the appearance of the engagement ring. Every diamond shape has a different aesthetic appearance. Most brides-to-be who receive an engagement have a specific diamond shape already selected. Nowadays, woman are actively searching Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and all social media sites in search of the perfect engagement ring long before the engagement occurs. This usually leads to her finding the perfect ring before the shopping begins. While other quality factors such as price and budget should be determined by the purchaser, the shaped of the diamond should include input from the wearer of the diamond. This is especially true for fancy shape engagement diamonds such as cushion diamonds, pear shape diamonds, emerald cut diamonds and princess cut diamonds.

Shape Buying Tips

The first tip is to learn your diamond shapes. This education can be found on our Diamond Shapes page. Below are some additional quick tips as reference.

  • Round brilliant diamonds make up about three-quarters of all diamond purchases. Rounds are the most popular shape for engagement rings.
  • Princess diamonds are second in popularity, offering the brilliance of a round brilliant diamond but with a more modern cut.
  • Round diamonds are the most expensive per carat. All other brilliant cut diamond shapes will be less expensive (per equal carat weight/quality) than a round cut.
  • Cushion cut diamonds and asscher cut diamonds are particularly thought of as vintage and romantic cuts and are often placed in vintage and antique engagement ring settings.
  • There are ten classic diamond shapes to choose from, but we’ve created settings using baguettes and trillions as center stones too.
  • Elongated diamonds will appear larger on the finger than squarer stones. Elongated diamonds include marquise diamonds, oval diamonds and pear shape diamonds.
  • Watch out for windowing and bowties in fancy diamond cuts. Learn more these two factors on our Beyond the Four Cs page.
  • Length to width ratio has a major impact on the shape (and the beauty) of a fancy diamond.
  • If you are not sure about your preferences, view several diamonds of various length to width ratios side by side to see which you like best. This could be a long and narrow oval diamond vs a more rounded, fat oval diamond.
  • Radiant diamonds are a great alternative to princess diamonds for those preferring a rectangular shape with high faceting.
  • Unless a particular preference has been expressed, consider a round diamond. Round diamonds have more brilliance and sparkle than other diamond shapes, they accommodate virtually any setting, and will never go out of style.
  • Asscher and emerald diamonds are step-cut diamonds. They offer a sleek, elegant appearance but emit less fire or sparkle than round diamonds because they are more transparent.
  • Marquise, oval, and pear-shaped diamonds will help fingers look long and slender due to their elongated shape.
  • Heart-shaped diamonds express your undying love and are often chosen by hopeless romantics.

The Second Step: Budget

De Beers popularized the diamond engagement ring when it launched its “A Diamond Is Forever” campaign in 1947. That campaign recommended buyers spend three month’s salary on an engagement ring. However, that standard is now generally considered an outdated idea. Whether or not you do adhere to this marketing plan will depend on your wish to conform to tradition. What does matter is that you select a ring according to what you can afford, so have a good idea of this amount before searching. If you’re just dying to propose and don’t want to wait forever, you can get her something you can afford now and opt for something more expensive at a later date. Though price should be a factor, it shouldn’t be the only important consideration. If it’s important to the girl, you shouldn’t let the price stop you from proposing indefinitely. We believe the three-month salary guideline is a myth. We advise our clients to set a budget they can comfortably afford and stick to it. According to, the average engagement ring costs approximately $6,900. However, we see young professionals spending between $3,500 and $50,000 for a diamond engagement ring. The budget is highly dependent upon what you are comfortable spending.

The Third Step: View Diamonds + Research

After deciding the shape of your desired diamond and setting a budget, the fun part of diamond shopping can begin. Shapiro Diamonds is a relaxed, fun, no-pressure environment where we allow you to view a large collection of loose diamonds side-by-side. We usually provide our clients between 8-15 loose diamonds within their exact specifications of diamond shape and budget – far more than you’ll find at any retail jewelry store. Seeing diamonds in person is absolutely essential. Like people, all diamonds have their own unique “fingerprint” and personality, and must be seen in person to be properly evaluated. It is especially critical to multiple diamonds side by side, unmounted to determine factors such as sparkle, brilliance, color, millimeter measurement (also known as carat weight) and other factors.

During your time at our diamond showroom, you will have the personal attention of a diamond expert and owner of the company, Lance Shapiro. You’ll be able to see various diamond sizes, colors, cuts, and qualities first hand; allowing for a more informed and confident purchase.

Diamond Viewing Tips

  • Always view loose diamonds on a white background. Black backgrounds don’t allow you to correctly gauge color.
  • Always consider the millimeter measurement of a diamond. Sometimes a larger carat weight diamond will appear smaller than a lower carat weight diamond.
  • Always view similar diamond shapes side by side. View all round diamonds together, view all princess cut diamonds together, etc.
  • Cut is the most important factor and should be considered first.
  • It is impossible to accurately judge the clarity and color of a diamond once it is set. Flaws are easily hidden under prongs, and color is obscured by the reflections from the setting itself.
  • A carat weight difference of 10% or less will be very difficult to detect visually on the finger.
  • Diamond Color shows more easily in certain diamond shapes. For example, comparing an H Emerald Diamond with a G Round Diamond will appear a bigger color difference than comparing two rounds or two emeralds.
  • If the diamond is both a brilliant cut and less than 1.50 carats, an I-J color may be perfectly acceptable when set in yellow gold.
  • If size is the primary consideration, you could consider a Good Cut in a fancy shape.
  • Remember that roughly 1/3 of diamonds have been treated in some way. While these treatments may make a diamond look better, they can have a negative impact on both the value and stability of the stone. Shapiro Diamonds does not sell any treated diamonds of any kind.
  • Always use a diamond loupe when viewing diamonds. If you don’t know how to locate the imperfections in the diamond, ask for the jewelers help.
  • Rotate the diamond to view it from different angles. You will see the most color from the bottom of the diamond going up to the table.

Fourth Step: Choose a Setting

Once you’ve selected the perfect diamond, it’s time to make it personal and perfectly hers. You want to pick a ring that fits your woman’s unique style and preferences. Selecting (or designing) an engagement a ring that she’s over the moon for will score you romance points that will last a lifetime. Many people, however, do not begin with a specific style in mind. For these people, the challenge is narrowing down the possibilities. With such a wide range of engagement ring styles, how do you choose? You could start by checking out our Ring Styles Guide. These recommendations match personality traits with various styles of engagement rings.

Still too many to choose from? Surprise her! The trend these days is for couples to ring-shop together, but if you’re more of a traditionalist and looking to surprise her with a ring she’ll love, be sure to do some reconnaissance. Ask her best friend for help — ask them if she’s mentioned any rings she’s specifically liked. Or, notice if she’s complimented or mentioned one of her friend’s new engagement rings. Pay attention to the jewelry she wears. Is she more of a platinum/white gold girl than a yellow-gold one? Does she gravitate to vintage jewels or modern geometric designs? Watch her for a couple of weeks and take mental notes to size up her style. Does she wear a lot of gold? Does she like simple, understated pieces adore the big, glitzy rings? Think about her personality and then check our or Engagement Rings Gallery to find the perfect ring for her.

One advantage of buying your engagement ring from Shapiro Diamonds is our ability to custom design the ring of her dreams. We offer almost every ring style imaginable – and if we don’t have a style you want, we can custom design a ring for you. Read more about our Custom Designed Rings here.

Insider Tips about Diamond Cut

  • A well-cut diamond can actually make it appear larger than a stone of equal carat weight with an average cut.
  • Shape and cut are often used interchangeably, however they are different. Shape describes a diamond’s form, such as round or oval. Cut is a grade that refers to a diamond’s light return and determines its sparkle.
  • All diamonds have varying degrees of brilliance, scintillation, and fire, but an Excellent-cut diamond will always appear beautiful.
  • Poorly cut diamonds will appear dull or glassy, and, in those areas where light leaks out of the bottom of the diamond, may have dark areas.
  • Diamonds with the highest cut grade are rarer, more expensive and also have more brilliance. They take 2-3 times longer to cut and require a much higher level of skill by the diamond polisher.
  • Cut grade is the most important factor in determining the overall appearance of a diamond.
  • A poorly cut diamond will seem dull even with excellent clarity and color.
  • A well cut diamond can have a slightly lower color (G-H) or clarity (SI1-SI2) and still look quite beautiful, due to its superior ability to create sparkle and brilliance.
  • Any culet size of Medium or smaller will be invisible to the naked eye, and have no negative impact on a diamond’s appearance.
  • For diamonds with a polish grade of Excellent to Good, any polishing defects are not visible to the naked eye, and should have no impact on the diamond’s overall appearance.
  • Visit the Shapiro Diamonds Diamond Cut page to learn more.

Insider Tips about Diamond Color

  • Our eyes tends to detect sparkle before color. This is why color is generally considered the second-most important characteristic of buying a diamond. Cut first, then color.  
  • As diamond size increases, color becomes more noticeable. This is especially important to keep in mind if purchasing a diamond of 1.50 carats or larger.
  • The type of metal in which a diamond is set can complement its color. Consider setting diamonds graded I or J in yellow gold.
  • Diamond shapes that reflect more light such as a round diamond or cushion cut diamond will mask some color in a diamond.
  • The visible difference between diamonds of one color grade, for example F to G or I to J, is so minor it is difficult to detect with the unaided eye. The cost savings, however, can be substantial.  
    • The vast majority of untrained eyes (non-gemologists) cannot distinguish a color grade from the one just above or below unless the diamonds are compared side by side. Changes in color are difficult to detect in I color and higher diamonds.
    • Color becomes much harder to detect once a diamond is set in a ring and placed in an environment that contains color, such as a restaurant or outdoors. For example, an G color diamond may look like a F Color diamond under normal lighting conditions.
    • For the best value in what would appear to the naked eye as a colorless diamond, look for G-J diamonds.
    • Because the fluorescent glow is usually blue (which is the complementary color to yellow) fluorescence can make diamonds of I-M color appear up to one grade whiter. Fluorescence may make an I color diamond face-up like a G color diamond.
    • Fluorescence should not be a major factor in the diamond purchase since its effects on appearance are negligible. The exception would be in investment grade diamonds.
    • Visit the Shapiro Diamonds Diamond Color page to learn more.

Insider Tips about Diamond Clarity

  • Most imperfections are so small they cannot be seen by the unaided eye – without a diamond loupe.
  • If your budget is tight, consider purchasing a diamond with a visible imperfection, but hide it beneath prong on the ring where it will never be seen.
  • Emerald and asscher cut diamonds are step cut stones. These diamonds are polished with long facets that emphasize transparency over sparkle. For these diamonds, we recommend purchasing a diamond with a clarity grade of VS1 or better to ensure the imperfections will not be visible.
  • As diamond size increases, the size of the facets (and sometimes imperfections) also increases. Because facets are windows into a diamond, the importance of purchasing a diamond with a higher clarity grade increases as the size of the diamond increases.
  • If you not want any imperfections whatsoever, (even ones you cannot see) choose a VVS2 or higher clarity diamond.
  • If you are primarily concerned with size and price, SI2 may be your best clarity option. While the inclusions are visible to the unaided eye, many customers find it to be well worth the sacrifice for what it affords in size.
  • Brilliant-cut diamonds (such as round, princess, cushion, oval, pear, and marquise) hide inclusions better than step cuts (emerald, asscher). When purchasing a step-cut, it is essential to upgrade one clarity grade if you desire the lowest grade that has no visible imperfections (e.g. purchase a VS2 instead of an SI1).
  • Visit the Shapiro Diamonds Diamond Clarity page to learn more.

Insider Tips about Diamond Carat Weight

  1. Carat weight alone will not give you an accurate view of a diamond’s size. Millimeter measurement across the top of the diamond and the cut of the diamond should also be determined. This will tell you how “big” the diamond is.
  2. Diamond prices jump at the full-carat and half-carat categories. To get the best value, look for diamonds just below these sizes, for example purchase a .98 carat diamond instead of a 1.00 carat diamond. Visually, you will not be able to see a difference, but your savings can be significant.
  3. A smaller carat weight diamond may have a diameter equal to that of a heavier diamond, making it appear the same size when viewed from above.
  4. Receivers of diamond engagement rings tend to have the strongest preferences when it comes to shape and carat weight.
  5. The most popular carat weights for Shapiro Diamonds engagement diamonds are between 1.00 carats and 3.00 carats. If a diamond under .75 carats is a budget necessity, consider a pear diamond, oval diamond or marquise diamond, which appears larger than other shapes of equal carat weight, due to their elongated cuts.
  6. Visit the Shapiro Diamonds Diamond Carat Weight page to learn more.