Engagement ring buying guide
Learn the essentials of choosing the right ring
You’ve fallen in love and decided to make it official. Use our engagement ring buying guide to find the perfect ring for that perfect someone.
Know your budget
First, have an idea of what you can spend and your target price range. Keep in mind that a debt-free future is more important than spending your life’s savings.
Find out her ring size
If you’re picking out the ring alone and planning a surprise for her, it’s imperative you know her ring size. If you are choosing the ring together, get her ring finger properly measured in-store. However if you’re planning to surprise her, take notice of a ring she wears on her ring finger, take it from her jewelry box when she is sleeping, or when she's out, and get it measured at your local jeweler. Be sure to put it back as soon as possible so she’s not suspicious!
Research her style
To find a ring that represents her personal style and taste, notice the types of accessories she wears every day. Does she prefer gold or silver, big and glitzy, or small and simple? Look at the items already in her jewelry box and what she likes to wear day-to-day. Also consider her lifestyle and regular activities. Knowing her personality and style will help guide you to find what’s right.
Choose the band
Engagement bands come in a variety of metals including yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum or silver. Understanding the differences between metals will help you choose the best option for her.
- Platinum: The most durable of the metals, platinum will last a long time; however, it can dull quicker than gold.
- White gold: Gold tends to be easier to buff and polish because it’s a softer metal. Because of this, it can wear down faster and after 15-20 years it may have to be replaced.
- Silver: If she prefers a silver tone, choose sterling silver or Mexican silver; traditional silver is too soft for a ring that will be worn for several years. More durable alternatives include platinum or white gold. Sterling silver will need to be polished more frequently than the other metals.
- Yellow gold: For an eternally classic style, choose a traditional yellow gold band.
Select the diamond
Finally it’s time to choose the right diamond. Use the “four C’s” (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) to guide you in your choice. These four features will influence the cost and quality of the diamond. Work with the sales associate to find the right options for you.
- Cut: This refers to the angles and proportions of the stone. A well-cut diamond reflects light and projects light through the top of the stone. Diamonds cut too deep or too shallow leak light through the bottom and thus loose their sparkle.
- Color: Diamonds come in a variety of colors although colorless diamonds are the most rare and expensive. Although white diamonds are the most popular, the right color depends on her style and taste.
- Clarity: The more clear a diamond is, with fewer imperfections, the more expensive it is. The jeweler may refer to the clarity by “inclusions.” Inclusions are the other minerals or tiny fractures in the diamond. The fewer inclusions in the diamond the better. Clarity is measured on a scale. Look for a diamond in the SI1 and SI2 range.
- Carat weight: Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. The heavier the stone, the more you will end up paying. Through proper mounting and shaping a great jeweler can make a diamond appear larger than the carat weigh may suggest.
Select the diamond shape
After deciding which size and color of diamond she would like, you’ll want to choose the shape. Educate yourself on the various shapes available including princess, round, oval, pear, and heart.
- Princess: One of the most popular shapes today, princess cuts are square and look fantastic in any setting.
- Round: Round diamonds are circular, timeless and classic.
- Oval: Oval diamonds are great for an original and unique style.
- Pear: A pear shape is oval at the bottom and it meets at a point at the top.
- Heart: As its name suggests, this is a fun option for the girly girl who wants something special.
Choose the setting
The setting is the way a diamond is placed on the band. You can create a variety of different settings and looks with one of the following settings:
- Tiffany: Originally from the store itself, this timeless setting sets the ring up a little higher on the band and typically uses a single diamond.
- Eternity: Creating a fluid string of diamonds, an eternity setting has small diamonds placed next to one another, circling the band.
- Bezel: Held in place with a metal frame around the circumference of the diamond, this setting can make a diamond look larger and is good for protecting the girdle (the edge around the outer circumference of the diamond).
- Channel: In this type of setting, the diamonds are set flush between two strips of metal holding them in place with no prongs between the stones. This is a very secure setting and is less likely to get snagged.
- Pave: Pave refers to a band that is covered in clusters of diamonds, so much that the metal barely shows through.
- Cluster: A cluster setting sets diamonds close together. Often the stones can be arranged in an abstract shape or formation of a flower.
- Bar: A bar setting uses a thin bar to hold the diamonds in place on either side. When several diamonds are in a row, you see a bar between each.
- Tension: A tension setting provides a more modern, sleek style and creates the illusion the diamond is floating.
Give yourself some time to dive in and consider the vast variety of different settings, cuts and clarity of diamonds. Pay attention to what your partner likes and let your instincts lead you the rest of the way. Good luck – and congratulations!