Shopping for an engagement ring is incredibly exciting, but it can also be a bit nerve-wracking. Most people want to make sure that they find the perfect ring, a ring their partner will absolutely adore. So, it’s normal to feel some pressure when you’re making your selection. Then, once you actually start shopping for an engagement ring, you’ll find that there are a lot of elements you need to decide on for your ring, which can be a bit overwhelming.
Engagement ring shopping can work up your nerves-- but it doesn’t have to. If you arm yourself with some basic knowledge about buying an engagement ring before you start shopping, you can have a much more pleasant shopping experience. So, to help you get prepared to buy your dream engagement ring (and have more fun doing it!), here are eight tips that will help you understand more about the engagement ring shopping process.
1. Center Stones and Settings Are Usually Sold Separately
If you’ve never shopped for an engagement ring, you may not know that jewelers usually sell center stones and engagement ring settings separately. So, when you shop for an engagement ring at a jewelry store, you’re typically shopping for two things: your center stone and your ring’s setting, which is the metal mounting that the center stone is set in.
2. There’s No Amount You “Have” to Spend
It’s a very common myth that you have to spend a certain amount on your engagement ring. Most often, people throw around the three months salary “rule,” which dictates that you should spend the equivalent of three months of your salary on your ring. But, really, there’s no certain amount of money you need to spend on your engagement ring. You should simply decide on an amount that feels appropriate and is comfortable for your financial situation.
3. The Center Stone Sets the Style
As we mentioned in our first tip, most people shop for their center stone and their engagement ring setting separately. Generally, we recommend making some decisions about your choice of center stone before thinking about your setting, since your center stone sets the overall style of your ring. First, decide whether you’d like a diamond for your center stone or a gemstone (such a blue sapphire, a ruby, a morganite, etc.). Then, decide on your center stone’s shape. Diamonds and gemstones can be cut into many shapes, including round, princess cut, asscher cut, oval cut, cushion cut, marquise cut, emerald cut, and so on. Your choice of gemstone or diamond shape will have a major impact on the style of your ring and which settings could be paired with your stone, so it’s ideal to decide on your shape early in the shopping process.
4. Choose Your Setting Second
Once you’ve decided on your center stone’s type and shape, move on to looking at settings. Engagement ring settings come in so many different styles. There are classic 4 prong solitaire settings, glamorous halo styles, elegant pave band settings, romantic vintage-inspired designs, bold modern settings, and much more. When you shop for a setting, think about what would best suit your partner’s style and which ring style would pair well with your center diamond or gemstone.
5. Know Your Precious Metal Options
On top of choosing your center stone and your ring setting, you’ll need to pick out the precious metal for your setting. Engagement ring settings typically come in one of four precious metals: yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum. When selecting your precious metal, you’ll want to think about whether or not your soon-to-be fiance has a preference between these metals, how your choice will affect your ring’s style, and how your choice will affect future upkeep.
6. Understand The 4Cs
If you’ll be choosing a diamond for your engagement ring’s center stone, you should get a basic understanding of the 4Cs of diamonds (cut, color, clarity, and carat) before you buy a diamond. Understanding the 4Cs will help you find a diamond you’re happy with more easily. It will also allow you to feel more confident when you make your final purchase. A good jeweler will consider many other aspects of the diamond than simply these four, but this will allow for easy explanation. If you’re unfamiliar with the 4Cs of diamonds, here’s a quick overview:
Diamond Cut: A grading of how well a diamond was cut, which affects a diamond’s sparkle.
Diamond Color: A grading of how colorless a white diamond is.
Diamond Clarity: A grading of how flawless a diamond is, internally and externally.
Diamond Carat Weight: A weight measurement that can give you an idea of a diamond’s size.
7. Give Yourself Time
It takes time to pick out an engagement ring. Then, it also takes time for your engagement ring to be made. It can take up to 6 weeks for an engagement ring to arrive after you’ve placed your order with a jeweler. So, be sure to start shopping for your engagement ring well before your planned proposal date so that your ring will arrive with plenty of time to spare.
8. You Can Go Custom
If you can’t find your ideal gemstone or diamond engagement ring when looking in stores, know that you can always go custom. Creating a custom engagement ring allows you to bring the vision of your perfect engagement ring to life-- and designing a custom engagement ring or wedding band is much easier than most people think it is. If you’re curious about how creating a custom engagement ring works, click here to learn more about the simple, streamlined custom bridal design process at Diamond and Design Jewelers.