How to Upgrade the Diamond in Your Engagement Ring

We interview top jewelers for advice.

Rose gold engagement ring placed in a velvet blush pink ring box

Photo by Cotton Weddings

Maybe your style has changed and the trendy marquise-cut diamond engagement ring no longer suits your aesthetic, but a more classic cut—like a round brilliant—does. Perhaps you and your spouse now have more money in your bank account than you did when you got engaged, and you want to celebrate a milestone anniversary by swapping out your original diamond for something a little bit bigger. Whatever your reason for wanting to upgrade your engagement ring, the process can be tricky to navigate.

How do you decide what you want in your new ring? Or, if you’re planning to rework your original bauble, 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

Consider Your Personal Style

Diamond engagement ring and wedding band placed on a white wedding invitation

Photo by Rachel Owens

With endless engagement ring options out there, it can be difficult to settle on just one style you love. If you’re updating your engagement 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 pavé one if you’re a little more glamorous, or replace a round stone with an emerald cut if you’re a little more fashion-forward.

If you’re updating simply because you now have a bigger budget, you may want to keep a similar style to what you currently have and opt for a larger carat diamond instead.

02 of 05

Get an Appraisal

Bride wearing a sheer textured wedding dress, diamond engagement ring, and wedding band

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, and band—appraised, as selling them can go toward financing your new piece.

Meet the Expert

Andrew Brown is the CEO of WP Diamonds, a leader in the online diamond purchasing and trading industry, where he is responsible for all pricing and financial matters.

An appraisal require much time or effort on your part—the appraiser you choose to work with should be able to quickly determine the value of a ring by looking at it and asking a few questions. Bringing your original GIA certification and/or the appraisal you had done when you first purchased the ring will be helpful, too. “Swapping the old for the new can be seamless and simple,” Brown says.

03 of 05

Figure Out the 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

Decide Whether You Want a New Ring or an Upgrade

Close up of a bride's hand wearing a lehenga, henna, jewelry, and an engagement ring

Photo by Kristyn Hogan

You can purchase your center stone first and choose a setting that complements it, or buy a completed ring that suits you. 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.”

Whether you're purchasing an entirely new ring or just upgrading the stone, make 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.

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

Talk to Your Partner Gently

Woman's hands wrapped around her significant other's shoulders while wearing an engagement ring

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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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