How to Upgrade the Diamond in Your Engagement Ring...Guilt-Free

Consider these five things first.

Updated 11/17/19

Photo by Cotton Weddings

Maybe your style has changed and a trendy marquise stone is no longer your vibe but a more classic cut is. Or perhaps you and your spouse have more dollar signs in your bank account than when you first wed. Whatever the reason you’re looking to upgrade your engagement ring, it can be a tricky area to navigate. How do you decide what you want in your new ring? Or, if you’re keeping the old one, how do you upgrade the diamond while maintaining your engagement ring's sentimental value? And just how do you convey your wishes to your partner? Before upgrading your engagement ring, be sure to consider these five things first.

01 of 05

Your Style

engagement ring

Photo by Rachel Owens

With endless options, it can be difficult to choose just one style. If you’re updating your ring because there’s something about it that doesn’t suit your personality, then use that as your guide. Swap a solid band for a pavéd one if you’re a little more glamorous, or a round stone for an emerald cut if you’re a little more fashion-forward. However, if you’re updating because you have a bigger budget, you may want to keep a similar style and just opt for a larger carat diamond.

02 of 05

An Appraisal

Photo by Mariel Hannah

Andrew Brown, president of WP Diamonds, recommends having your current ring appraised with a reputable and knowledgeable buyer. This will help you get the highest value to use toward your new ring. If you’re keeping parts of the ring and getting rid of others, still get the components you won’t be using—like diamonds, side-stones, band—appraised, as selling them can go toward financing your new piece.

An appraisal doesn’t take much—an appraiser can quickly determine the value of a ring with a photo and a few questions. “Swapping the old for the new can be seamless and simple,” Brown says.

03 of 05

Your Budget

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How much money are you willing to spend on the final product? “Evaluate your preferences on setting and stone so that budget can be broken down and best divided,” Brown says. “A typical setting will range anywhere from $600 to $4,000 depending on the total carat weight of its diamonds and the metal used, leaving the remainder for the star of the show—your center stone.”

If you’re on a budget, Brown recommends keeping the center stone and changing the setting. “This can dramatically impact the look of the ring at only a fraction of the cost,” he says. “By switching from a yellow gold solitaire band to a platinum split-shank band, for example, your ring will look transformed.”

Another great option is to sell the stone(s) to a reputable company that has great trade programs. “For instance, WP Diamonds has a variety of partners in place so that—should our customers choose to get a new ring at the same time they're selling their old one—they will receive a much higher value from our partners and can get more out of their old ring,” Brown says.

04 of 05

Finding Your Ring

Bride's hand close-up

Photo by Kristyn Hogan

Whether you purchase your center stone first and choose a setting that complements it or buy a completed ring that suits you, Brown stresses the importance of making sure the center stone comes with proper paperwork (such as GIA certification) and that the retailer/jewelry is highly accredited or recommended by reputable sources.

But what if you want to keep your current ring and only update your work? Consider upgrading the center stone. “Why not trade in your existing diamond for a larger stone or different shaped stone?” asks Brown. “Round diamonds and princess cut diamonds are by far the most popular shapes, however, oval and cushion-cut diamonds are currently very fashionable and in high demand. Keeping the setting or side stones allows you to maintain sentimental pieces while having the ring you really want right now.”

Another option is to customize your ring. “Consider adding inside stones or changing a simple band to a pavé band for extra bling,” Brown says. “Gemstones such as emeralds, rubies, or sapphires create a pop of color and will make a traditional ring feel more unique.”

05 of 05

Telling Your Partner

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“Don’t make this decision without involving your partner,” Brown says. “Not only could that be considered very hurtful, but this is also a great opportunity for you to choose a ring together.”

“Don’t forget that your original ring was purchased with love and may still be sentimental to your partner,” he adds, suggesting that you consider why you want to upgrade. Maybe your style has evolved over time or your current ring no longer fits your lifestyle. Or perhaps you always talked about making the change and now’s the time. Whatever the case, “Explain your reason for upgrading and make sure your partner knows how much you love and appreciate the ring they proposed with,” Brown says.

And no matter what you do, “Don’t rush this decision. Take your time to find the perfect upgrade.”

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