Are you preparing to pop the question? If you’re ready to propose to your beloved, then chances are you’ve already started shopping for the perfect engagement ring. There are thousands of styles to choose from, depending on what style, metal, gemstone, and ring size your bride-to-be will prefer. So whether you’re surprising her, or letting her choose the ring, here are 8 tips to help you find an engagement ring that fits your personal style and budget.
1. Start searching early: Don’t underestimate how long it can take to find the perfect ring. It can take anywhere from three to five months to actually get the ring in your hands, so the best thing you can do to improve your shopping experience is to start earlier than you think. This extra time will also give you the flexibility to order a custom engagement ring, should you choose this option.
2. Set a budget: An engagement ring should be designed to be worn throughout your partner’s entire life. So you won’t just be paying for the style of the ring, but its long-lasting quality as well. There is an old wives tale that says you should pick a ring worth 2-3 months of your salary. In reality, you can find a gorgeous ring at a much lower price point. Expensive doesn’t always mean better, especially if you shop from smaller brands or local jewelry who don’t mark-up prices the same way larger big-box stores will. One-carat solitaires can cost as little as $1,500. And if you can’t afford a gemstone right now, a simple band also offers room for extra additions later on. The most important thing is to consider what you can afford--not what you should be paying.
3. Think about metal and stone: When it comes to the actual design of the ring itself, the metal and gemstone are the two most important factors. Gold is the most common metal choice, and you can now get a variety of gold finishes, from white gold to rose gold. However, you can pay extra to have a platinum band, which is a more durable metal. Diamonds are obviously the most classic stones to select for an engagement ring, but colored gemstones like sapphires are also becoming more popular.
4. Get to know the 4Cs: If you’re shopping for a diamond ring, make sure you know the 4Cs, which are used to distinguish good-quality diamonds from poor ones. Diamonds are graded based on cut, carat, clarity, and color. Cut does not refer to ring shape, but the “sparkliness” of the diamond. Carat measures the size and weight of the diamond. Clarity measures how many natural flaws (tiny black or white flecks) appear in the diamond—the more imperfections, the lower the price. Color is ranked on a scale from D (no color, very expensive) to Z (yellow, less expensive). Any variation along these 4Cs will produce a different diamond in terms of look, feel, and price!
5. Assess your partner’s personal style: If you are ring shopping with your partner, ask them what types of metals, gems, and shapes they prefer. On the other hand, if you’re looking to surprise your partner, do some undercover investigating. Pay attention to the jewelry they already wear. Is it more classic, or modern? Is it gold or silver? You can also ask their best friend, parent, or sibling for help (but make sure they can keep a secret!)
6. Consider your partner’s lifestyle: You should also consider your loved one’s lifestyle and profession. If your partner has a manual job, or leads a very fit lifestyle, then they might prefer a thicker ring band made out of platinum. Similarly, if your partner is a homebody, then something thinner and daintier could be a better fit.
7. Know where to look: National jewelers offer huge selections and a variety of financing options. Trunk shows at local stores, on the other hand, can help you get your hands on a specific designer (sometimes at a discounted price). Or if you have a very clear idea of your dream ring, and don’t want to waste time browsing your options, then consider custom designing a ring with a private jeweler. You’ll often find better pricing and a more personalized shopping experience.
8. Shop safe: Need to assess the reputability of a designer, store, or jeweler? Ask for recommendations from friends and family. Don’t forget to check jewelers for their accreditation. Stores that are affiliated with the Jewelers of America or the Gemological Institute of America tend to be more trustworthy. Always check for a store’s return policy. You should be able to exchange your ring’s stone if your partner ends up wanting something else. Also, diamonds over a certain size should also come with a GIA certificate. Ensō prides itself in providing this certification for our custom engagement and wedding rings.
Looking to find the perfect engagement or wedding ring? We are currently taking custom ring orders. Our team knows how stressful it can be to find the ring of your dreams, so we provide a personalized one-on-one consultation service to help you navigate this process.
Just started planning for the proposal? Or searching for a wedding band just one month out from the wedding? No matter what you need, our experienced jewelers can turn anything into reality.
Choose Ensō Los Angeles for your next celebration of love and life, and book a consultation with us today!