It should be one of the most memorable moments in your life. You pull an engagement ring out of your pocket and ask the love of your life to be your wife. You desperately want her to say yes and fall in love with her ring too, right?
You can make sure that happens if you follow these tips to pick out the perfect engagement ring:
Peek through her current jewelry to determine her general preferences.
Choosing a ring is a tricky proposition — you want to get something she loves, but also keep it a surprise. The best way to do this is to see what other rings and jewelry she loves to wear. You don’t have to be an expert in jewelry. Instead, keep your eye out for the following trends:
- Style: Does he prefer colorful, vibrant pieces or understated, austere, and traditional styles?
- Color: What color stones does she seem to gravitate towards? Does she lean towards color, or does she generally keep things simple in whites, silvers, and golds?
- Bands: The band is the metal holding stones in place. Does she aim for silver, gold, or white? Or is she interested in funkier, more out-there designs and materials?
- Size: How big are the stones or pieces on most of her jewelry? Does she like smaller, more inconspicuous jewels or big and flashy rings?
Choose A Gemstone
You know that the most classic engagement ring style features a center diamond, but you may not know whether your girlfriend craves that style or wants something more unique. We can tell you this: close to 90% of engagement rings feature a diamond, and sapphires are the second most common engagement ring gemstone. If your girlfriend’s taste runs to the unconventional, then she may prefer something other than a diamond or sapphire engagement ring—but based on the numbers, a diamond or sapphire is a very safe bet.
Diamonds and sapphires are also the hardest gemstones (Diamonds rank 10 and sapphires rank 9 on a 1-10 mineral grading scale called the Mohs scale of hardness) meaning that they’ll hold up well to the everyday wear required of engagement rings. Sapphires cost less than diamonds, so choosing a center sapphire allows you to get a bigger gem for your budget. Although you probably think of sapphires as being a deep blue, they also come in yellow, pink, and a variety of other colors.
Know Her Favorite Shape and Cutting Style
If she hasn’t made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else’s engagement ring), keep these thoughts in mind when considering shape:
She will be wearing this ring every day of your married life. It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear. If you’re uncertain about her diamond shape preference, it’s sensible to stick to the classics, such as a round or square shape. They became classics because they appeal to most people most of the time.
Certain shapes pair more successfully with other shapes in multi-stone rings. Round, oval and marquise shapes work well sitting side-by-side. Pear and heart shapes are more challenging.
Preference in shape may be reflected in other aspects. If she prefers clean, modern lines in furniture, for example, it’s likely she’ll react well to the same aesthetic in rectangular or square shapes. If she tends towards the traditional, a round shape rarely misses. Are her tastes eclectic or bohemian? She may favor more unusual shapes, like a triangular or marquise shape.
A diamond’s cutting style refers to its facet arrangement, rather than its shape. Round-shaped diamonds, for example, are cut in the brilliant style − an arrangement of 57 or 58 facets designed to maximize the diamond’s sparkle and minimize the appearance of inclusions. The fewer the facets, the more visible any inclusions will be, so a cutting style such as a step cut (a.k.a. emerald cut), for example, requires higher clarity in the diamond.
Decide On A Setting
Consider her lifestyle and how well a certain setting design will fit into it. If she’s more active or outdoorsy, look for lower profile, less ornate or more secure mountings, which are less likely to get knocked against or caught on things. If she’s more of a glamour girl, look for statement settings, with a higher stone profile, more intricate ring detailing or a unique motif.
While there are endless design choices you can make for her ring, there are some basic setting types you are likely to encounter:
A single stone and still the most popular style choice in engagement rings. If prong set, the head secures the diamond and the prongs allow the diamond to catch the most light. A six-prong setting is more secure than four prongs. A bezel setting is even more secure and protects the girdle of the stone, but allows the diamond to catch less light than a prong setting.
Smaller diamonds or other gemstones that flank the larger center stone for additional sparkle or color. Popular sidestone settings include prong, channel (which protects stones by keeping them flush), and bar-channel (which allows more light to enter the sidestones).
Typically, the diamonds are the same shape with the center diamond larger than the two sidestones.
The center stone is surrounded by tiny gemstones in a pave (pah-vey) setting, usually diamonds, to add sparkle and to give the appearance of a larger center stone.
Consider Metal Options
From bright platinum white to yellow and rose gold, there are a plethora of metal options though it all comes down to personal preference. If you wear lots of yellow gold, you might want to stay in that metal family. If your everyday accessories tend to be silver, platinum seems like an obvious choice. Also, consider what looks best on your skin tone. Don’t forget, you can always mix up your metals by introducing a different metal within in your wedding-ring pairing.
According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed 18,000 US brides and grooms married that year, Americans are spending an average of $5,871 on a ring.While the rule of spending two to three month’s worth of salary on a ring is long outdated, couples should still seriously consider finances before buying a ring.
Vardi and Plessner urge Catbird customers to spend what works for them: “Find a ring you love that is perfect for your partner, but it’s only half of what you planned on spending? Who cares! That’s more money to buy a beautiful [wedding] band to go with it later. Or, go on vacation. No matter your budget, you’ll be able to find something special.”
Choose the right size.
Choosing the ring size of the band is an important part of choosing the right engagement ring. One way you can figure out her ring size is by sneaking out one of the rings she wears a lot to have a jeweler figure out the size — as long as she doesn’t have time to miss it. If you can’t get a ring out, try:
- Tracing the inside of the ring on a piece of paper, then using that for sizing.
- Placing the ring on your finger, then marking with pen or sharpie how far up it slides.