Whether you’re picking one out together or you want to surprise your partner, this guide will help you choose the perfect engagement ring.
When it comes time to shop for engagement rings, you hopefully know your partner well enough to know what they might like. But if you aren’t sure what your partner would like or you’re confused by all the unfamiliar words that get thrown around, don’t worry: we’re here to help. Make sure you start early. It can take time to order a ring and have it made to your exact specifications.
From picking the ring itself through to deciding on the gem, this all-purpose guide will be your best friend while you find the perfect sidekick for your proposal.
Where to buy your engagement ring
How much should an engagement ring cost?
This is always the first question that most people think about when they decide to pop the question, and the thing is, the answer will differ for everyone. You should consider your partner’s preferences and style when deciding: someone who’s a minimalist might not be thrilled about lugging a huge rock around. Your financial situation should also be a consideration: you don’t want to start a new marriage and be behind before you even start.
Now don’t get us wrong. If you want to splurge on your potential future spouse, go right ahead. There are definitely ways to finance an engagement ring if you’ve got your heart set on one a little out of your budget. There’s no hard and fast rule about how much you “need” to spend on a ring and it really depends on your budget, your partner’s taste and your situation. Just don’t forget, once the ring is out of the box and you’ve popped the question, there’s still a whole wedding to pay for.
Which finger should the engagement ring be worn on?
Traditionally, the engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of your left hand. Make sure you don’t buy a ring that’s too small! The average women’s ring finger is a size 6 or 7. The average man’s ring finger tends to be between sizes 8 and 10. Think about whether your partner is larger than smaller than the average joe when you’re picking out a ring size. Make sure the jeweler has a policy in place in case the ring doesn’t fit, or that the ring you choose is able to be sized to fit your partner’s finger.
Which metal should I choose?
This is the best starting point for choosing a ring. Take a look at the rest of your partner’s jewelry and figure out which metal they normally wear. Trust me, if you buy something in yellow gold and they only wear white gold, the ring won’t match the rest of the jewelry they already have and love, which is a serious problem. If your partner has a mixture of metals, you could even try a multi-tone ring that features more than one hue.
Yellow gold is the traditional choice so it will definitely be the easiest choice if you’re looking for a variety of options. Almost all jewelry retailers sell yellow gold rings and you can get pretty much any stone or setting in yellow gold, since it’s the most popular.
White gold is a popular option for people who prefer silver jewelry but want the longevity and prestige of a gold ring. Nearly all jewelers will have white gold as an option. Even if the display ring that you like isn’t in white gold, it can often be made to order.
Rose gold is another option that has become more and more popular over the last few years. Its pink hue creates a much more feminine look. Rose gold is becoming more and more common in stores. It creates a look that isn’t quite as traditional as yellow, but it’s still elegant. When you’re shopping for rose gold rings, make sure to ask if the ring is pure rose gold or just plated. Plated rings can chip and lose their color with frequent wear, and engagement rings need to be durable enough to be worn everyday.
Which gemstone should you choose?
Choosing a gemstone is one of the most exciting parts of picking out the ring. Not only do you have to decide whether your love is a traditional diamond or nothing kind of person, but you can also experiment with color and find something that works for your price range. Maybe your future spouse is a bit more daring and prefers onyx or pearl to the traditional gems. No matter what you’re after, all of these stones are incredibly popular and easy enough to find in stores. Make sure you’re purchasing an authentic gem and research which stones are most durable.
Which cut should you choose?
This is where most people start to get a bit more confused. The type of gemstone cut refers to the shape of the actual stone in the ring. Traditionally most rings are round or oval, but there are plenty of alternatives if you want to get a little bit more unique. It’s also important to remember that whatever style cut you choose, you’ll have to find a wedding band that fits along with it.
- Princess: square or rectangular with an inverted pyramid on profile
- Cushion: square cut with rounded corners
- Oval: elongated/modified round cut
- Square: standard square shape
- Teardrop: rounded at the bottom with a point at the top
- Marquise: shaped like a football or boat with pointed ends and a wide middle
- Heart: standard heart shape
- Briolette: similar to a teardrop cut but with more facets
- Baguette: generally rectangular with step-like facets
- Emerald: cut in a square shape with step-like facets
- Round: standard circular shape
- Trilliant: triangular shape with facets
Do men wear engagement rings too?
There’s no reason why men can’t wear engagement rings, though traditionally they typically haven’t.
A lot of the traditions associated with weddings and engagements stem from a time period that was particularly patriarchal, but in a society that is far more accepting not only of men being more feminine, but also of LGBTQIA+ marriage and equality, there’s no reason you can’t get your man a ring. Even if you’re in a heterosexual relationship, there’s no reason the woman can’t be the one to propose!
Pro tip: If your guy works outside, opt for a ring made of titanium or tungsten. These metals are a lot more durable and will stand the test of time.
Dealing with diamonds
if you opt to go with a diamond, you’ll need to know a little bit more about how they’re chosen. Just remember the four Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, color and carat.
- Cut: as described above, the cut of the diamond affects its proportion and the dispersion of light
- Clarity: This is determined by the amount of flaws in the diamond as seen under strong magnification
- Color: Diamonds are available in a range of hues. A diamond that looks clear on its own could look yellow next to a different diamond
- Carat: This determines the rarity of the diamond and is determined by its weight
It’s also important to know that some people are against the use of diamonds due to the ethical concerns with diamond mining. If your love is environmentally-conscious and has a strong stance on human rights, it might be wise to choose an alternative stone or a lab made diamond.
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