If you’re in the market for an engagement ring, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the choices you have to make. What kind of stone should I get? How big should it be? Where should I buy it? Before you start browsing rings, keep these nine things in mind when shopping for an engagement ring to help make your experience as pleasant as possible.
1) Diamonds are Forever
The first and most important thing to remember is that diamonds are forever. While it may be tempting to shop around online or at other jewelers for a better deal, keep in mind that there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to an engagement ring. After all, diamonds are one of nature’s hardest materials and will outlast you and your loved one. If a jeweler can get away with selling you something less than perfect (and they certainly will), then do yourself a favor and buy from someone reputable who stands behind their work (check out Fergus James). Your romantic gesture shouldn’t come with regrets or worries about being ripped off.
2) The 4 C’s
When most people shop for an engagement ring, they focus on what I call the 4 C’s. Cut, clarity, color, and carat. What’s important? Let me explain. While you want a diamond that is cut well (to maximize brilliance), it should also be relatively colorless (or close to it) and have enough fire or sparkle.
The higher quality of these characteristics, the more expensive your diamond will be. Carat refers to size – how big is your diamond? And finally, clarity refers to how many flaws there are in your stone. Most jewelers will have different grades of diamonds based on these four characteristics: SI1-SI2 Clarity, G-H Color; Excellent Cut; 1-5 Carats, depending on your budget! A 5 Carat SI1 Excellent cut Diamond would cost $15K-$20K at wholesale prices but retail between $30K-$50K!
3) Colored Gemstones
The average man doesn’t know a lot about engagement rings—and that’s totally OK. After all, knowing about diamonds and colored gemstones is as much of a passion for most women as it is a need for most men. That said, there are some things you should know when it comes to colored gemstones; here are nine things you need to remember: The 4 C’s: Color, cut, clarity and carat weight make up what we call the 4 C’s of diamond grading. As far as colored gemstones go, emeralds are given their own grading standards. However, these standards still fall under the same categories: color (emerald green or blue-green), clarity (inclusions), cut (proportions), and carat weight (size). The GIA also grades sapphires in color (blue or red) and inclusions (clarity). A jeweler can help you understand how each stone will affect your purchase price based on these criteria so that you can choose one that works within your budget.
4) Design Elements
There are a lot of design elements you’ll want to think about when selecting a ring. Start by considering your partner’s preference in cut and color, what type of stone you want (diamond, sapphire, ruby, etc.), and how big it should be.
If you’re unsure what type of setting your partner would like or if she prefers three or four-stone settings over solitaires, ask her girlfriends what they like; chances are at least one is engaged and knows exactly what kind of ring she wants. For more guidance on designs to choose from, check out popular styles here. But don’t worry too much about getting caught up in all things engagement rings—the most important thing is that your fiancé likes it!
5) Not All Rings Are Created Equal
Do you have a vision of your ring? Don’t just settle on what looks nice. That four-prong solitaire might be beautiful, but if it doesn’t fit her personality or style—if she would never wear it or wouldn’t look at her finger twice—then skip it.
You should both love your ring, so consider what qualities matter most when choosing a ring that fits who she is and how she wants others to perceive her. If you can’t find anything, consider getting a custom design made by someone with experience in creating unique rings.
6) The Right Fit
Be realistic about your budget. How much do you want to spend on a ring? You can pay more than anticipated if you let yourself get caught up in looking at expensive rings while shopping.
Think about where you’re likely to shop and what prices you can expect. If you decide on a specific piece, be sure that it has all of the qualities that are important to you (cutting, color, clarity, and so on). Finally, after narrowing down your selection, ask for information about any additional costs—like taxes or appraisal fees—that aren’t included in your price quote.
7) Budget Is Important
Saving up is a key part of buying a ring. Everyone knows diamonds are expensive, but so much more goes into them. You’ll need to factor in your budget and your partner’s style and what she likes, as well as store policies that may or may not give you discounts for paying upfront (or whether you can break up your payments).
All those factors will affect how much money you save at each point. Plan accordingly by setting a goal amount and coming up with a timeline. If possible, see if any financing options could help make things easier.
8) Materials Matter
While a sapphire, diamond, or another gemstone might catch your eye, it’s important to do your research. Different stones have different qualities and weaknesses. Also, consider what sort of band style you want. Something simple like a platinum band could prove much more cost-effective than one with diamonds all around it. You should also think about how you’ll be wearing your ring every day—if it needs to be durable or will see rough conditions (gardeners can get grease on them), for example.
9) Buy from a Reputable Source
There are some businesses out there that sell fake diamond engagement rings. Some of these stones can look very convincing, but they are worth a fraction of what real diamonds are and often contain lead or other materials that could cause you harm if you handle them too much. When shopping for an engagement ring, always buy from reputable sources to ensure you’re getting what you pay for; otherwise, your fiancée will have one heck of a surprise at her doorstep!
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Try new jewelers, play around with different styles and think about your love life. The perfect ring is out there, but you have to research and explore. And remember that engagement rings are part of a big event! Don’t rush into buying anything just because it looks pretty—you want something you can both cherish for years to come.
Featured Photo by Katelyn MacMillan on Unsplash