Engagement Rings: 101
Everything you need to know about shopping for an engagement ring.
So, you’re ready to pop the question. No pressure, but this might be the single most important purchase of your life. People have been getting married since the dawn of time, but they didn’t have so many options to choose from! Most jewelers can provide you with trays upon trays of diamond rings, so it’s common to feel a little overwhelmed. To save yourself a few gray hairs, come ready to shop with a game plan! Your jeweler will most likely ask you a few questions to gauge what you’re looking for – let's go over the ones that are most important:
Set a budget
Some people say it’s not polite to start a conversation with “money talk”, but when it comes to engagement rings you have to have a starting point. By starting with a budget, your jeweler is able to show you viable options within your price range. Engagement rings can range in price from $500 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Without a budget, you might fall in love with a ring and realize it’s three times more expensive than you expected.
It’s not the 1940’s anymore, you don’t have to spend two months' salary on her diamond. Spend what you can and make choices to maximize your budget.
Need help deciding on how much to put aside? Check out our guide on what goes into pricing an engagement ring.
2. Choose a metal
The next step to choose a ring is easy, what color metal would she prefer? Is she a yellow gold girl? A white gold girl? What about rose gold? Platinum?
Yellow gold is the classic look, it’s the color most people think of when they picture gold and diamonds in their heads. White gold has seen a steady increase in popularity since the 1920’s and makes diamonds *pop*. Rose gold is new and trendy, and the pink tone looks great on multiple skin tones. These different colored golds typically come in 10K, 14K, and 18K variations – 14K being the most common, by far. Platinum is also an option, even though it isn’t gold, it’s a different metal all together! Platinum is known for its white-grey tone and solid heft. If this is all making your head spin, check out our gold guide.
Choosing the color of the engagement ring isn’t meant to be difficult – don't overthink it! The color and the karat of the gold do not affect its strength or shine. Take a peek through her jewelry box or the jewelry she wears every day, are her favorite pieces white, yellow, or pink?
3. Choose a look
So you’ve stalked her Instagram likes and her Pinterest boards (or we certainly hope you did!) and hopefully you have an idea of what kind of ring she likes. Or maybe she told you exactly what kind of engagement ring she wants! She might want a plain solitaire, or maybe she wants a halo, or maybe something a lot more intricate with lots of details and accent diamonds. Here’s a guide to engagement ring terminology. This is the part where having a photo reference can be extremely helpful. Your jeweler might have that exact piece in stock or in a catalog, or they might have something similar!
If you don’t know what style of ring she’d like, don’t worry, there are hundreds of different styles to choose from. You can browse everything your jeweler has to offer until you find the perfect ring.
If you really want that special, one-of-a-kind engagement ring, having a custom piece made is also an option. Just remember custom pieces are made from scratch, so they can take over a month to complete and typically incur a custom fee.
No matter the style you choose, we guarantee she’s going to love it!
4. Choose a diamond
Okay, we’re ready to talk about the most important part of the engagement ring – the diamond. Typically, the diamond is the last thing you’ll discuss with your jeweler since it’ll take the most time and take up the majority of your budget. It’s important to consider what cut of diamond she would prefer. A round diamond is most traditional, but fancy shapes like ovals and princess cuts are becoming increasingly popular.
Check out our diamond shapes guide here for a breakdown of different cuts.
Once you’ve decided the shape of the stone, your jeweler will sit down with you and discuss what sizes and quality of diamond fits within your budget. You’ll learn about the 4 C’s of diamond grading and take an up-close look at each stone. This process gets you familiar with each diamond so when you eventually choose your favorite, you’ll know everything about it! No two diamonds are exactly the same, therefore it’s wise to know the “fingerprint” of your stone, just in case.
A diamond is an investment, but it’ll last forever. Putting the effort into choosing the perfect stone can make all the difference.
Shopping for an engagement ring sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Reduce some of the stress by giving yourself plenty of time to shop, bring along a friend or two, and come prepared. Your jeweler is there to make sure the process goes smoothly and help you make educated decisions. It’s your job to make the final choice that is best for you and your future fiancee.
We’re always available to chat online or in-store if you have questions about popping the question. We’re here to get you through the process in one piece and we’ll help you through the other side – from the wedding bands and beyond!