Confused about where to start when engagement ring shopping? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here is a complete guide to everything you need to know about buying an engagement ring.
Setting your Budget
Before you go shopping, you’ll want to set a budget. This gives you a good guideline when looking at rings and it speeds up the process, since you won’t have to spend a lot of time looking at rings that are out of your price range. Remember that guidelines such as “two months’ salary” or “three months’ salary” are not firm rules, but merely guides. Do what works for you and your financial situation. Remember that there are great-looking rings in nearly all price ranges and don't forget that you can always upgrade the ring later on.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have an unlimited budget, you’ll likely need to prioritize what you’re looking for in a ring. What is more important to you? A large diamond? A high-quality stone? An intricate design? Think about what your significant other values and do some research into stones and rings before you shop. That brings us to our next point.
Finding the Perfect Stone
When you’re buying an engagement ring, it’s obvious that one of the most important aspects is the stone. If you’re looking for a diamond ring, you’ll want to make sure that you understand the 4 Cs of diamond quality. This refers to:
- Carat weight
All of these factors are important, but the cut of a diamond best determines its sparkle. A well-cut diamond is one that's cut so that its facets interact with light in way that makes it sparkle and look brilliant. A smaller diamond with an excellent cut will look much nicer to the eye than a larger one that is poorly cut.
Picking a Diamond Shape
Keep in mind that there’s a difference between the cut of a diamond and its shape. While cut refers to the symmetry and proportions of the stone, the shape refers to its physical shape.
Round (often called “Round Brilliant”) is the most popular shape, but there are several other great-looking options including:
- Princess cut
- Cushion cut
- Emerald cut
- Asscher cut
- And many others
When you are picking a diamond shape, remember that there is no “correct” shape and that one shape isn’t better than any other. It all comes down to personal preference. Look for a shape that best identifies your partner’s personal style.
Pick a Ring Style
Once you have an idea of what sort of diamond you’d like, it’s time to consider the ring style. While a classic solitaire is one of the most popular and enduring choices, there are many options other than this timeless design. For instance, the three-stone design is also very well-liked and a halo is a popular choice as well. You may even wish to enhance your ring with side stone accents. It all depends on what look you’re interested in as well as your budget.
Getting the Right Jeweler
Choosing the right jeweler is important. Not all jewelry stores are created equal. There’s often a big difference between the national chain in your local mall and a smaller independent jeweler. Not only will you likely find a different level of service, but each jeweler will carry different collections and different styles of rings as well.
If you’re buying a ring from a brick-and-mortar retailer, go in and talk to the jeweler in person. Discuss what you’re looking for in a ring and see how helpful they are. The right jeweler is one who cares about helping you get the right ring for you, not one who is just interested in making a sale.
You will also want to check out online jewelry stores as well. These jewelers are often able to offer a wider selection of rings, since they don’t have to worry about having the physical space to showcase them all. This also means that they’re often able to offer lower prices as well.
If you’re shopping from an online jeweler, make sure to read reviews. You’ll also want to check out the policies of the jewelers, especially when it comes to resizing or returns.