How to Buy an Engagement Ring


A man surprising a woman with an engagement ring


We know that buying an engagement ring is one of the most important (and stressful!) purchases of your life, and we know that you spend months searching for a ring that she’ll love for a lifetime. We’re here to help guide you through the process to find the best value and quality for your money, while choosing a ring that she’ll be showing off to her friends and family for years to come! Below is a comprehensive guide which gives information about diamond buying (the 4C’s), choosing a ring setting to compliment her style, and the ring buying process so you’ll know what to expect at every step of the process. We’ve been helping men just like you select engagement rings for the past 35 years, and we’re ready to help you.


You may have heard of the 4 C’s, cut, clarity, color, and carat. Each of these factors is an important facet representing the value of a diamond. (Already know all about the 4C’s? Skip down to Metal information.)


The cut is the way the diamond is styled in terms of the shape and light refracting cuts. The most common diamond shape is round, followed by square or princess-cut, cushion-cut, Asscher or radiant cushion-cut, rectangular or emerald-cut, and pear-shaped. It is best to see various cuts in a store under lights to best understand how cut affects the sparkle.


The clarity refers to the visual appearance and purity of the diamond. A clarity grade is assigned to each diamond after undergoing a 10x magnification process rating the diamond’s overall appearance and ability to refract light through the gemstone.There are 11 grades that range from Flawless to Included. If a diamond is included in any way, it has blemishes like cloudiness and cavities that affect the overall appearance. The clarity scale starts at Flawless (F) and ranges to Included 3 (I3). The range is Flawless (F), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2), Slightly Included (SI1, SI2), and Included (I1, I2, I3). Diamonds that are graded closer to Flawless are more expensive than diamonds that have inclusions. To stay in a specific price point, clarity and carat size can become a sliding scale. You can view the grades in our stores to decide which attribute is most important to you. *Guy Tip: Unless you have Superman eyesight, you (nor she!) will see any imperfections in clarity in a VS1 diamond.


A perfect diamond has no color, however most naturally occurring diamonds have some level of color characteristic. There are 23 color grades that range from Colorless (D-E-F) to Light Yellow (S-Z). The Colorless range is D to F, Near Colorless is G to J, Faint Yellow is K to M, Very Light Yellow is N to R, and Light Yellow is S to Z. A more yellow appearance can decrease the value of the diamond because it appears less brilliant. This Light Yellow is not to be confused with Fancy Yellow diamonds which are rarer and have a vibrant and saturated Yellow coloring. Diamonds can be a multitude of other colors as well from blue to purple, and orange to red.


Consumers seem to be most concerned about the carat size when purchasing a diamond, but bigger diamonds are not always better. Valuing only carat size over all the other C’s is a mistake. If you choose the largest diamond for the budget and fail to take into account the other 3C’s, your diamond will be large but unimpressive, lacking shine, luster and brilliance. Carat is an important factor when choosing a diamond, but don’t become trapped by letting it be the only factor. *Guy Tip: You can achieve the look of a larger carat diamond with a halo styled ring. This means that there is a row of smaller diamonds surrounding the center larger diamond.


Now that we’ve covered diamonds, let’s focus on ring metals. Rings are available in a variety of metals beyond the typical yellow gold and white gold options. Options include platinum and the increasingly popular rose gold tones. Before deciding on the metal you want, consider the color. You can choose between the highly popular white tones, yellow or rose gold tones. If you need guidance in choosing, look at your future fiancé’s current jewelry – does she wear a lot of sterling silver of white tones? Does she mix colors, or does she gravitate to the traditional yellow tones? Once you know which color metal she will like best, budget often becomes the next consideration. There are pros and cons to each metal option. For the money-conscious, a white gold band may stretch your budget further than platinum will, but white gold rings are typically recommended to be rhodium plated every few years to restore the white-toned luster. We can further explore the virtues of each options in-store.

The Ring Buying Process:

Whether her style is classic, fashionable, bold or vintage, there is a selection of rings to fit the personality of every bride. There are three different options for purchasing an engagement ring.

1. You can choose a ‘complete’ ring which includes a setting with a center diamond for one price. At Mountz, we offer complete engagement rings starting at $1299.

2. You can choose a ring setting without the center diamond. This is known as a “semi-mount”. You then have the opportunity to hand select the diamond or gemstone to fit within it, or use an heirloom diamond that’s been handed down to you for the center gemstone. Loose diamonds at a quarter carat start less than $600. *Guy Tip: Don’t be fooled… most retail stores and online sites will feature what looks like a complete ring, but will quote you for the setting only. The rings shown feature a CZ (diamond replica) mounted in the setting to give you the full effect of the ring.

3. You can create a custom, one-of-a-kind ring.

The “best” option is the one that accommodates your vision and budget.

Whether you’re choosing option 1 or 2, we offer a large selection of designer brands from which to choose. View a sampling of our selection and explore what will fit her personality by visiting our Bridal Brand page.

If you choose option 2, you will have the opportunity to hand-select a diamond or gemstone to complement the ring setting. Unlike large chain stores, our on-staff Certified Gemologist Appraisers hand-select each diamond in our inventory so you can be assured that our selection of diamonds deliver the most brilliance and sparkle for the value. If you would like to see other diamond options, we can order a diamond for you to see which fits your desired cut and budget. All of our diamonds offer certifications detailing each of the 4C’s so you know what you’re getting.

If you have a specific ring in mind and choose option 3, we can help bring a ring to reality with our custom ring creator. Here’s how the process works: you sit down with one of our custom jewelry experts and describe the details you want in the ring; you can even bring pictures or ads that have characteristics that you want to see in the ring. We will work with you to immediately bring a ring to life on screen, and you can decide on each detail of the piece. Once you give approval, the ring will be custom made by an expert goldsmith.

You Chose the Ring - Now What?

Once you find the ring that fits her style and is within your budget, it’s time to consider financing and layaway. Mountz Jewelers offers special financing for 6 and 18 months with approved credit.  Ask about current promotions to find the one that’s best for you. If you’re not planning on proposing for a few months, you may want to consider our layaway program. We offer 6 months free layaway with a 20% deposit.

Once you purchase the ring, it’s important to get it insured immediately. We include an appraisal with all engagement ring purchases, as well as information regarding insuring the ring through an exclusive jewelry insurance provider. You can explore other options for insuring the ring as well. Most homeowner and renter’s insurance companies offer the option to have the ring insured through the original rider.

The Mountz Guarantees:

If she should need the ring to be resized, we offer complimentary, first time sizing.

We always offer 30 day exchanges or returns.

All Mountz locations offer complimentary lifetime cleaning of jewelry purchases, so her ring can sparkle as brightly as the day you give it to her!

Receive 100% of your diamond purchase price as a trade-in towards the new purchase of any other diamond of equal or greater value.

Mountz offers a one year guarantee against any manufacturer's defects.

Experience why we’ve been voted Simply the Best Jeweler in Harrisburg Magazine’s Reader’s Poll since 1998!

Read our reviews on bridal sites Wedding Wire and The Knot