WEDDINGS & EVENTS
What Kind of Engagement Ring Should You Buy?
Are you on the hunt for an engagement ring? Not sure what kind of engagement ring is right for her? This engagement ring guide simplifies the process for you.
It’s safe to say that one of the most nerve wracking things men have to deal with when preparing to marry a woman is finding her the perfect engagement ring. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional choice, like a custom gold ring with diamonds, or an unconventional one with colored gemstones, read on to learn about some of the most important things that help you make the right choice for her perfect engagement ring.
The Four C’s
If you’ve already begun your research into buying your future fiancée an engagement ring, you’ve probably heard the term “the Four C’s” or at least some of the C’s themselves. These are metrics that measure the quality and determine the price of a stone. They include:
A Cut Above the Rest
Cut is the quality of how the rough diamond was cut into the shape of the stone you’re looking at. You may have heard of the Brilliant Cut or Rose Cut. The cut determines how many facets a stone has, affecting the internal brilliance and sparkle.
Clear as Day
Clarity is the measurement of a diamond’s imperfections. Most times, blemishes are imperceptible to the human eye and only a jeweler with specialized tools would be able to see it. Nonetheless, even invisible imperfections lower the price of a stone.
With Flying Colors
The color of the stone is detectable to the naked eye and is graded from D (colorless) down to Z (faintly colored). The more colorless the stone, the better quality it is. Often, color also affects the type of metal that looks best with a particular diamond.
There is a different type of color that dramatically increases the value of a diamond, like pink or blue diamonds.
Weight in Gold
Carat is the measure of a diamond’s weight. Most engagement rings will measure the carat by the size of the center stone, but in the case of halo settings or cluster rings, each stone’s weight is included in the final carat measurement.
To really know what you’re buying, it’s best to look at GIA certified diamonds, as they are the foremost authority on these four metrics.
Antique or Modern
Sometimes antique or vintage pieces can be more affordable than brand new rings. They encompass the history and culture surrounding the creation time period, and they often have the added benefit of being conflict-free for those women who are socially and sustainably conscious.
A brand new ring is usually more customizable, and many people prefer the flexibility. Switching out stones, or modifying metals and band sizes, is easier when you don’t have to worry about preserving the integrity of the old design.
The Right Shape
In addition to cut, there is another thing that determines the look of a stone: shape. You can choose from multiple shapes that give a ring more personality including:
- Asscher Cut
- Cushion Cut
- Heart Shape
- Pear Shape
- Princess Cut
While some cuts are also shapes, not all shapes refer to the cut of a stone. Be careful when using the term to ensure you fully understand what you’re getting.
If your girl is a free spirit that doesn’t fit into a conventional mold, you may want to consider getting her an alternative gemstone instead of a diamond. Some of the most popular colored stones include sapphire, emerald, ruby, topaz, and opal. Other stones can lower the price of the ring and allow more of your budget to go into the size of the gem or the type of metal.
Going for the Gold
There are many choices for precious metals when looking for rings, and some of the most popular include gold (yellow, white, rose) and platinum. When dealing specifically with diamonds, the color they’re rated should affect your choice of metal.
Super colorless, D, E, or F diamonds should be set in platinum or white gold, as yellow gold would reflect color into the diamond and negate the colorless effect. Diamonds with a little more color often look good with the warm glow of yellow or rose gold.
When it comes to colorful gemstones, consider complementary and contrasting colors. Many people love the austere look of emeralds in platinum, while others prefer the warmer tone of emerald in yellow gold.
Set in Stone
Once the stones and metals have been decided, it’s time to consider the style of the ring. Top selections include:
- Solitaire: Single stone setting
- Three Stone: Three stones symbolizing the past, present, and future of the relationship
- Halo: A ring of smaller stones around the center stone
- Cluster: A seemingly random arrangement of multiple stones of different sizes
Making Your Choice
While surprising her with a stone is a huge romantic gesture, trying to figure out all the elements of a perfect ring can be difficult to do on your own. When you’re considering asking for her hand in marriage, try and learn more about her preferences, personality, style and taste so you can narrow down your choices to determine the exact type of engagement ring that she would love.
Lynn Lewis is a freelance writer and former buyer for her local jewelry store, based in Malibu, California. She usually writes about jewelry, specifically helping people learn more about engagement ring shopping. When she’s not writing, she enjoys running on the beach with her dog, Leo.
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