Buying a diamond engagement ring is (hopefully!) a once in a lifetime experience. 

It can be an incredibly exciting and emotional time that you will remember for the rest of your life. 

However, most people have never made such a large purchase before, and they have many questions:

Will she (or he) like it? What style should I choose?  What size ring is best? 

To alleviate some of the pre-engagement tensions we put together a few tips on how to buy a diamond engagement ring.

Many of the steps for buying a diamond engagement ring are the same as when purchasing a diamond or any other piece of jewelry.

1.  Know Your Budget! 

The most important step before buying a diamond engagement ring is to figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend on a ring (or any other piece of jewelry).  It is  easy to be swayed by sparkling jewels and a good sales rep once youve entered the jewelry store, so do your homework before you step out of the house, and stick to the jewelry within your price range.  You, and your wallet, will be happier in the long run.   

2.  Shop Around. 

Visit several stores before you make a decision on the perfect ring.  Or an even easier solution is to check out several online merchants such as so youll be familiar with styles, sizes and prices before you make a final decision. For example, has a fantastic feature that allows you to Design Your Own Ring.   Shopping from your desk is so much easier than standing in line and fighting the crowds at the mall!

3.  Do Your Homework. 

Familiarize yourself with the four characteristics of diamonds, known as "The 4 Cs": carat weight, clarity, color and cut These  tools will help you make an educated purchase of a quality diamond engagement ring. 

4.  Style. 

Style is the toughest item to give advice about because personal style is completely subjective.  Fortunately, there are a few pointers that may help you choose a ring that she will be happy and proud to wear every day for the rest of her life. 

a.  Hints.  Many hoping-to-be-engaged-soon ladies will drop hints regarding the style of ring they like, (just to help you out a bit).  For instance, has your soon-to-be-fiancee mentioned other recently engaged couples?  "Honey, John and Jane just got engaged!  Thats so nice.  John bought Jane a beautiful ring, did you see it?"  Or, "When I was at the mall the other day, I noticed the jewelry store is having a sale on all yellow gold.

b.  Other Jewelry This step is key to making a good engagement ring decision.  Take into consideration the other pieces of jewelry that your bride-to-be wears on a daily basis.  Are they big?  Small?  Flashy?  Conservative?  Yellow gold?  Does she wear a lot of silver jewelry?  (Tip: If much of the jewelry she wears every day is sterling silver, she may like a white gold or platinum ring, instead of yellow gold.)  Think about her personal style and try to relate it to ring style. 

c.  Size Of Her Hands.  We all know that most people (ok, women) think that diamonds are a girls best friend, and that size really does matter, but when buying a diamond engagement ring, you really do need to think about the size of her hands.  If your girlfriend is only 5 feet tall, a 3 carat diamond may overwhelm her hand.  On the flipside, if your girlfriend is 510", a thin band may be lost on her.  Try to accommodate size (and budget!) to fit your brides taste. 

No matter what diamond engagement ring you buy, as long as its given from the heart, your bride-to-be is sure to love it!