There could be a variety of reasons for upgrading your engagement ring. For example, you might want another setting for your stones, or you might want a band made of another metal or with a different design. You might also want to upgrade the quality of your diamond, or you might wish to add even more stones.
Whatever the reason for upgrading an engagement ring, here are the most important points you should pay attention to:
Upgrading the Setting of Your Engagement Ring
Changing the setting is a common request when upgrading an engagement ring. For example, if you are getting a significantly bigger diamond, the old setting may not be able to hold the new stone.
Another reason for changing the setting might be to get one that will hold the diamond more securely.
For instance, a bezel setting is safer than a prong setting.
Alternatively, you might want to switch to prongs from a bezel because a prong setting leaves more of your stone visible.
Whatever the reason, make sure you go over all possible options for upgrade with your jeweler.
Sometimes, changing the entire setting may not be needed, so don’t forget to ask if the current setting could be adapted or if it is possible to upgrade only some parts of it.
Be aware that even if upgrading the setting is doable, sometimes, doing so would be so expensive that it would be better to just buy a new ring and re-set the diamond in it.
So, before you decide to have a setting changed, ask about the price of buying a similar new ring, and compare it with the cost of the upgrade.
Upgrading the Ring’s Band
There could be many reasons to upgrade your band: You might want a different design, a more durable metal, a band of a different size, or something else.
Depending on the design of the new band, you might be able to keep your old setting and have it mounted on the new piece. In many cases, however, this will not be possible, and you will need to get an entire new ring.
It is common to get a new band made of a more durable metal.
For example, some people choose to upgrade from gold to platinum. The latter is more expensive, but it wears down much more slowly.
Also, prong settings made of platinum make it much less likely to lose your diamonds because the prongs are much harder to bend or break than those made of gold.
If you want a new metal for your band, make sure that you see beforehand how the diamonds will look when combined with it.
For instance, if your stones have yellowish tints, setting your diamonds in a white metal will make the yellow hues even more visible, so sticking with yellow gold would be a better choice in this case.
If the ring does not fit your finger well anymore, ask whether it can be resized before you opt for a new band. Whether resizing would be possible depends on the metal and design of the ring.
Some metals are very hard to work with, and resizing rings made of them is a pain. And some bands are designed in such a way that resizing them could distort the alignment of their settings and stones (channel settings are a good example).
Upgrading an Engagement Ring’s Diamond
If you want to replace the center stone of your ring with a diamond of higher quality, be sure to take into account how the new stone will differ in appearance when set in the ring.
For example, upgrading your diamond to a stone with a better color grade makes little sense if the diamond is set in yellow gold – the new stone will have less color, but this won’t be noticeable because the metal’s reflections will make the diamond look yellowish anyway.
In general, unless you expect to see a visible improvement in color, there’s no need to pay additional money for a perfect grade.
So how much do diamonds currently cost? Click here to check current diamond prices by cut, color, clarity, and carat.
If you are looking to upgrade the clarity of your diamond, you should look at stones of your target clarity grade and see if they really look noticeably cleaner.
Beyond a certain grade, improvements in clarity are visible only with a loupe, whereas to the naked eye, the difference is invisible.
Getting a bigger diamond is a common request from people who want to upgrade. If this is what you want, remember that a larger stone might look worse if its clarity and color are not up to par; that is, if there are flaws and color tints visible with the naked eye.
Imperfections in bigger stones are more noticeable simply because of the diamond’s size, so make sure that you are comfortable with the quality grade and appearance of such a stone.
Don’t forget to ask about any possible alterations to the band and its setting that might need to be made in order to accommodate a bigger diamond. The cost of these upgrades should also be considered because such changes can be expensive depending on the ring’s design and the carat of the new stone.
Upgrading your diamond to one with a better cut is almost always worth it. Stones that are cut with better proportions return more light to the eye of the observer. As a result, a more highly graded diamond cut usually results in greater brilliance and sparkle.
Tip: Before you buy diamond jewelry, always check the retailer’s upgrade policies. Reputable vendors like James Allen and Brian Gavin Diamonds usually allow you to upgrade your diamond under certain conditions.
Adding More Side Stones to an Engagement Ring
You might wish to put additional side stones on your ring in order to enhance its brilliance.
If this is the case, make sure that the new diamonds are uniform in color. They should also match the center stone in this respect because a significant difference between the color grades of the old and new stones will create the impression of dark and bright spots in your ring’s setting.
Not all ring designs allow for the addition of new stones. In some cases, you might need to buy a new setting. Be aware that depending on its metal and design, such a purchase might prove almost as expensive as the additional diamonds.
Unused Ring Parts: What to Do with Them
When you are upgrading your engagement ring, you can ask the jeweler if there are any pieces left over such as metal parts from the setting or small stones.
Some spare materials could be used in subsequent repairs or even in the making of new jewelry. Alternatively, you may be able to sell such pieces to jewelers who can reuse them.
Review Your Ring’s Warranty and Return Policy
Oftentimes, when an engagement ring is purchased, it will come with a policy that states under what circumstances it can be returned to the seller or exchanged for another piece of jewelry.
Don’t forget to check for such documentation and read its provisions. It might turn out that if you go to the original vendor, you could upgrade your ring under more favorable terms than if you go just anywhere.
Where to Buy a Diamond Ring?
For diamond rings, we highly recommend James Allen (read our review) because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in a ring.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.