Every groom-to-be needs a checklist for choosing a diamond engagement ring. Searching for the perfect engagement ring is an intimidating task, even if your fiancée has already accepted your proposal. This is one of the most important purchases you will make, as well as one of the most expensive, and you need to keep several issues in mind when making your decision. Everyone’s checklist is different, but these basic concerns will insure that you do not leave out any major considerations.

Budget Properly
First, determine exactly how much you can spend on an engagement ring. Bear in mind that you will most likely be paying for part of the wedding celebrations such as the reception and/or the sangeet as well as the honeymoon costs. Not to forget the costs involved with starting a new home and life together. Keeping all this in mind, it isn’t wise to go substantially in debt for the ring before other expenses are met. Budgeting for an engagement ring is a careful process and you should take plenty of time to ascertain your spending limit.

Educate Yourself
Before setting foot inside a jewelry store, research the basics of diamonds and engagement rings. Knowing the terminology, such as the four Cs of diamond quality, as well as the basic differences between settings, shapes, and types of engagement rings will keep your search efficient without ignoring unique options.

Choose a Jeweler
After you have educated yourself, it is time for the next step in your checklist for choosing a diamond engagement ring: choosing a jeweler. It is important that you find a reputable, trustworthy jeweler. You can ask for recommendations from friends and relatives, or start with a local jeweler with a long history. When in doubt, ask to see the jeweler’s certification and other credentials.

Choose a Metal
Most engagement rings are platinum, yellow gold, or white gold. Platinum is the strongest metal and is considered rarer than gold. While it doesn't wear, is resistant to damage, and won't tarnish, it can be difficult to repair if it is damaged. Platinum is also significantly more expensive than gold.

Yellow gold is the most common and traditional metal for both wedding and engagement rings. 24-karat gold is pure gold, while 18-karat is 1/4 alloy. The higher the purity, the softer and more flexible the metal, making it more prone to damage. Most engagement and wedding rings are either 14- or 18-karat gold. Gold Engagement Rings eventually show wear such as nicks and scratches, but are easily repaired.

White gold is measured by the same standards as yellow gold, but is treated to retain a white, silver-like finish. This finish eventually wears off and must be periodically reapplied. White gold is an excellent choice for a unique ring that will match any other jewelry.

Choose a Setting
Selecting a setting can be one of the most confusing parts of the checklist for choosing a diamond engagement ring. There are many different engagement ring settings. Common settings include solitaires and bridal sets, while channel settings, three-stone rings, and other designs are becoming increasingly popular.

Diamond solitaire engagement rings are single, elegant diamonds that may come in a variety of shapes (heart, marquise, round, pear, oval, emerald, etc.), settings (channel, bezel, flush, prong, tiffany, etc.), and sizes. If you haven't already determined what your sweetheart likes, you might want to take her window shopping to get a general idea. If you would like for the ring to be a surprise, however, you may want to enlist the help of a close friend or relative.

Accent Stone Settings
Accent stone or side stone settings include both a larger center stone as well as multiple small stones that embellish the engagement ring band. Many accent stones are set in channels to protect them from damage. Some people prefer a combination of round stones and baguettes (rectangles), round stones only, or trilliums (triangles).

Three-Stone Settings
Three stone engagement rings are considered nostalgic, with each of the diamonds representing the past, present, and future. The stones are set in a straight line without additional accent stones. Many people prefer to build their own engagement ring by choosing each of the three diamonds.

Ask for an Appraisal and Certificate
Your diamond should be issued an appraisal of its value. You should also ask your jeweler if the diamond has been treated with any fillers or other laboratory enhancements. If it hasn't, he should issue you a certificate of authenticity. This paperwork is essential if you choose to have your ring insured.

You also need to inquire about the warranty of your diamond. Some jewelers will continue to warranty the ring if you visit regularly for them to clean and check the setting of the ring. These basic maintenance tasks guarantee that your ring will remain as brilliant on your fiftieth anniversary as it was on your wedding day.

No matter which type of engagement ring you ultimately choose, by following certain tasks and approaching the purchase in an educated fashion, you will be pleased with an investment that will grow in value just as your love continues to grow throughout your marriage.