The troublesome part is over – you’ve found the love of your life. Now is the time to find the ideal engagement ring and plan a beautiful proposal.
For most people, choosing an engagement ring is their primary foray into fine jewelry. In the more than three decades that our family has been in the jewelry business, we’ve supported thousands of soon-to-be-engaged couples find the perfect diamond engagement ring, and we continue to share our knowledge with customers every day.
The method of buying a diamond engagement ring has changed since Archduke Maximilian I presented the first one to Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, in 1477. Now, with information at your fingertips, all it takes is a few quick taps on your keyboard to start researching diamond stones and engagement ring settings from around the world. Whilst you have ready access to diamond inventory online, there are still tried and true considerations when shopping for engagement rings. Here are our most important seven tips:
1. You Are Supposed To Know Your Budget
Setting a budget that works for your life stage and lifestyle is a significant first step. Historically, the industry has favored a two-month salary guideline. Today, this seems somewhat out-dated. Eventually, it’s a personal choice and one you’re comfortable with as a couple starting your life together.
When researching diamond online, you’ll find that you have access to an original inventory of certified diamonds and the ability to compare prices. As a result, you’ll have numerous choices within your budget. By prioritizing the 4Cs – carat size, color, clarity, and cut – you’ll be able to narrow your choices and find the best value for the diamond’s size and the quality characteristics you ask.
2. Begin Thinking About Style
In 1953 movie, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe impressed us with the iconic rendition of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”. But surely, not just any diamond will do. Most women have an idea of their preferred diamond shape. Some will also have a favorite for the ring setting style and metal type. You’ll want to choose a ring that not only symbolizes your love but also satisfies her fashion taste and personal style. Today, it’s not unusual for couples to shop together for an engagement ring. But if you really want to surprise her, you may consider enlisting one of her close friends or a family member to discreetly get the information you need.
If you decide to go solo, consider her style. Can you tell whether it is classic and understated, bold and colorful, or somewhere in-between? If she’s a traditionalist she may love the traditional, round brilliant diamond shape. If her style is highly individualistic, pink or fancy yellow princess-cut diamond may be a perfect choice. Moreover, take note of the jewelry she typically wears. Does she mostly wear yellow gold that looks beautiful against her skin tone? Or is she biased to cooler metals such as silver, white gold, or platinum? This will define whether she has leanings towards one color over the other.
3. Make Sure to Narrow Down Shapes
The popular diamond shapes are round, princess, emerald, asscher, radiant, cushion, marquise, pear, oval, and heart.
The most popular shape is the round brilliant diamond that is followed by the princess cut. If your fiancée is a traditionalist with standard tastes, she’ll love the round brilliant solitaire. If her style is minimalist and modern, she may prefer the emerald cut with its long lean lines or an asscher diamond that is a square emerald. 4.
4. Decide for a Metal
Early wedding rings, such as those ones from the Byzantine era, were thick, gold bands, and it wasn’t until about 1600 that designs began changing, enabling the center gemstone to rise to a primary level of importance. Now, the type of precious metal you choose largely depends on personal taste. The appeal of platinum is in its durability and the soft patina it grows with wear over time. Platinum’s silky sheen forms a soft backdrop to the diamond, letting the brilliance of the stone shine through. It is also less plausible to scratch than gold, making it the most durable of all the fine jewelry metals.
With the rising cost of gold in the last two years, the price differential among platinum and gold has narrowed, making it a more viable choice. Another point for those with sensitive skin is that platinum is the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95% pure, making it hypoallergenic.
Gold is the most flexible of all precious metals. For use in fine jewelry, gold is mixed with silver, copper, nickel and zinc to give it strength and durability for everyday wear. Gold content is included in Karats where 24 Karat gold is considered 100% pure gold. Both 14K and 18K gold are recommended for fine jewelry; they set durability with gold content. Both are over 50% pure gold with 18K jewelry having a greater gold content.
The types of metal alloys used and the percentage of each defines the various color shades of yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The color of the center stone – whether a color diamond or a canary yellow diamond – and skin tone are additional factors when considering a gold color.
5. Think about the Setting Options
Three popular styles of ring settings include the traditional solitaire, a fancy setting with side stones and a matching bridal set. When you select the ring setting that the diamond will be mounted in, remember to think about the wedding band and how it will look coupled with the engagement ring.
The simplicity of the solitaire setting makes it a timeless and traditional choice. A solitaire setting with four prongs allows the most light to access the diamond from all angles, maximizing its brilliance. Six prongs show slightly less diamond but produce slightly more security in holding the stone.
An elegant setting with diamond side stones adds an extra sparkle to your ring, complementing your center stone. The side stones are set equally with the band in a channel setting, bar setting or with prongs.
A bridal setting is comprised of an engagement ring setting and a matching wedding ring to create a flawless fit and uniform look. Bridal sets come in traditional solitaire settings or include diamonds. This also allows men to be more creative and personal in their own choice of a wedding band.
6. Make the Purchase an Unforgettable Experience
Your buying experience is best when it’s pressure-free. Plan ahead so you have enough time to learn about diamond quality and the characteristics that affect its price.
Shop around and price are compared to find the best value in your price range. Certified diamonds that come with an objective, unbiased grading report from the GIA, AGSL or IGI allow you to compare stones with similar carat weight and quality characteristics.
Make sure you understand your jeweler’s return policy and adherence to the Kimberley Process before making your final decision.
You ought to look for diamonds that are procured from authorized sources and validated through the Kimberley Process, a universal certification process that uses strict requirements to control the production of rough diamonds and prevent illicit stones from entering the legitimate diamond trade. Moreover, loose diamonds should be graded by the world’s most respected grading entities, including the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), the AGSL (American Gemological Society Laboratories), and the IGI (International Gemological Institute), so you and your fiancée can feel sure about both the social responsibility and the quality of your purchase.
7.Make Sure to Insure your Ring
The latest step before slipping the ring onto your beloved’s finger is to have it insured. Whereas the grading report for your stone offers a significant amount of information about the characteristics of your diamond, you’ll want to have the value of your ring appraised in order to establish insurance coverage.
You might even want to consider re-appraising the ring every few years.