So, you’ve decided to propose and want to find the perfect engagement ring that will make her say “Yes!”. But where do you start and how do you navigate the shopping process without getting overwhelmed?
In this extensive guide, we will reveal the insider tips to help you find the perfect ring and lead you through your options with different setting styles. You will also find out the important things to take note of and the best places to shop for a high quality engagement ring without breaking the bank.
Let’s jump right in…
Here is a list of topics we will be covering:
So, how do you pick out the perfect engagement ring that your partner will want to wear for the rest of her life? Well, the answer is actually very simple. All you need to do is to find one that she likes!
The most straightforward way is to have a discussion with the recipient about her expectations and preferences for the engagement ring. However, if the proposal ring is meant to be a surprise and you need to keep it a secret, then things will be trickier and require more effort on your part.
You can narrow down your search by paying attention to your partner when she drops hints or even turn to social media to do some sleuthing work. The most common places to start looking are Instagram saves or Pinterest boards where she might have bookmarked some jewelry preferences.
You can also get their close friends or family members to help you garner information without raising any suspicion. For example, they could casually chat her up over dinner or even pretend to ask her for help while shopping for some jewelry.
If we approach engagement ring shopping in a pragmatic approach, the entire process can be broken down into 2 main elements: the center stone and the ring setting. In the market, there are 10 basic types of diamond shapes available to choose from: round, princess, emerald, Asscher, cushion, radiant, pear, oval, marquise and heart.
The most popular shape is the round cut diamond and for good reasons. A well cut round brilliant diamond can display better sparkle and scintillation compared to other shapes. Geometrically, the round shape can also complement a wide range of ring designs and finger types.
While each of these shapes may convene different meanings and symbolism, the choice should ultimately be based on your recipient’s preferences. Personally speaking, my wife likes a heart-shaped diamond ring for its romantic shape appeal and that’s what I bought for her.
As for the style of a ring setting, there are literally thousands of designs available in the market to choose from. From simple solitaire designs to intricate designer rings, the easiest way to start browsing via online vendors where you can instantly access 1000s of designs.
I’ve written a number of articles that cover a range of different ring styles like solitaire, halo, pave, 3-stone, bezel and designer brands. Click on the corresponding links to learn about specific things to look out for and to see photographs of the best designs.
My advice here is to start with a budget in mind and you can quickly narrow down your choices based on her personal style. You should also take into consideration the lifestyle and daily activities of the recipient.
For example, if her occupation is a doctor or gardener, you should opt for a simpler ring with a low profile design. On the contrary, if she is a fashion designer or someone flamboyant, a bold looking halo ring can be an ideal choice.
Pro tip: If you are completely clueless about your recipient’s preferences, I would recommend a simple 4 prong solitaire ring setting with a round center diamond. This is an evergreen design that offers the safest choice and if need be, the setting can always be upgraded or changed to one of her likings after the proposal.
Besides the shape of the diamond, you would also need to take into consideration the 4Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) when making a selection. Obviously, your budget would be a big factor in determining what you can realistically get.
If you want the best of the best color and clarity (D color/internally flawless), you can expect to pony up and pay for these attributes. Likewise, if you want a large carat size diamond, you can expect to see an exponential increase in prices as the size goes up.
For people who want to get the best value for money, I would recommend a G color diamond with an eyeclean VS2 or SI1 clarity grade. This will give you a diamond appearance that will look similar to higher tier grades without breaking the bank.
Also, you should place your priority on cut quality because it is the factor that has the highest impact on the diamond’s appearance. A diamond with better brilliance and sparkle can help mask color tints and inclusions which indirectly “improves” the other Cs.
Pro tip: Having a carat size in mind would be the best starting point before you go shopping. That’s because size matters and is actually the first thing that most people think of when it comes to diamonds. Color and clarity grades can then be tweaked accordingly to find something within your budget.
I know this may sound obvious but one of the mistakes that I see people making is to get everything right except for the ring size. If you want your proposal ring to have a perfect fit when dropping the big question, you need to get this step done right.
While rings can be resized if you purchased the wrong size, you would be at risk of losing the ring if it is too loose or an extremely uncomfortable tight fit if it is too small. It would also be a bummer for the recipient to part with a newly received ring for a rework right after the proposal.
If you need tips to help you find the correct ring size while keeping it a secret, I have outlined some creative ways for you in this article.
What type of metal should you get for your engagement ring?
Most jewelers offer a range of different metals for their settings and the most common types you will come across are platinum, white gold, rose gold and yellow gold. Here’s a quick run down of the differences between these metals:
Platinum – A strong material that is more durable than the other metals. It is also denser (feels heavier) and more expensive due to its rarity. Platinum is also a hypoallergenic material that would be recommended for people with sensitive skin conditions.
White gold – The 14k and 18k versions of white gold are popular choices for engagement rings. White gold offers a white-looking appearance and more affordable option for people on a budget. Personally, I buy and recommend 14k white gold for practical reasons.
Rose gold – Similar to white gold, rose gold is an alloy that appears reddish-brown in color due to the presence of copper in its composition. Rose gold offers a unique appearance because of its color.
Yellow gold – Like white gold, yellow gold has very similar properties and prices. The yellow appearance that it exhibits can help to enhance a vintage style ring setting and create a color contrast with the wearer’s skin.
Pro tip: 14k white gold is the metal I would recommend for practical people who are on a budget. It feels and looks the same as 18k white gold and is relatively stronger due to its higher alloy content. I don’t see a need for platinum unless you are hypoallergenic.
Picking out the diamond is fun and easy with tangible data at James Allen.
A diamond engagement ring is one of the biggest purchases you will likely make in your lifetime and understandably, the process can be very stressful for first timers. However, buying an engagement ring can be easier than you think as long as you do some prior research by finding out her tastes and educating yourself about diamonds.
Finding a good jeweler to work with will also allow you to shop with confidence and complete peace of mind. That’s why I highly recommend reputable vendors like James Allen, White Flash and Blue Nile where they offer GIA/AGS certified diamonds and 100% risk-free return policies.
Buying an engagement ring online can save you more than 50% of a similar diamond ring compared to shopping in a traditional retail jewelry store. And if there’s any reason that you or your partner don’t like the ring, just send it back and you will get your money refunded.
With all that said, I hope this article has offered useful insights and help you find the perfect diamond ring for her finger. If you have any questions or require further assistance, feel free to reach out to me. Good luck and don’t forget to enjoy the shopping process!