Are you ready to propose but are an engagement ring noob? Join the club, we're all clueless when it comes to rings at first. Fear not, we've got some tips to make ring buying a wee bit easier including budgeting, thinking outside of the diamond market, and options like customization. Save these engagement ring buying tips for your shopping trip and feel a little more secure. Oh, and good luck with that proposal. Tell us about it, eh?
Pick a budget and stick to it
Salespeople can be hardcore, so pick your budget early and try to keep to it. Remember: ring size is not dick size. Figure out how much you can afford to spend, and throw out the antiquated “two months salary” price rule.
Think outside of the commercials
You can find quality jewelers creating unique and beautiful rings not found in those big box jewelry stores you see in commercials. A lot of them focus on more ethical diamonds and creation practices, which feels good, too. Just make sure the store is accredited by the Jewelers of America or is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Oh, and definitely keep an eyeball on their return policy and any online reviews. We've even got a whole list of awesome vendors with whom we work.
Do some homework
Take a look at what options you'll be encountering at the store (or online): metal options, gemstone options, setting options… don't go in too blind. If you're surprising your partner, try to gauge their style ahead of time so you can match it.
Common metals and materials
Silver tones: platinum (bright white tone, very durable), palladium (silver-white metal, less dense than platinum), titanium (greyish and can be polished black), white gold (a more cost-efficient metal, customizable colors), and sterling silver (inexpensive, but won't last as long).
Yellow and pink tones: yellow gold (gets combined with different metal alloys for strength), rose gold (pink-tinted with copper alloy).
Non-conductive materials: wood, resin, ceramic, and silicone.
Choose a stone
You can sometimes get a better deal if you choose your diamond or other stone separate from the setting, so don't automatically consider a complete ring. We LOVE us some non-diamond options, too. Consider some colored sapphires, topaz, moissanite, pearls, and even gemless rings.
Choose a setting
Consider what kind of setting you'll want: solitaire, filigree, side stones, etc. This is where you'll just want to do some online browsing to see what's out there.
Some of our favorite vendors specialize in super customized rings. How do you think couples get their adorkable rings, right? You can often find really easy ways to get the ring hidden in your imagination with a store that works with your designs.
Consider antique rings
Engaged to a vintage fashion fan? Antique rings bring a whole level of awesome to fans of the past. Or look to your family for heirloom rings.
Look for ways to cut costs
Buying a non-diamond is a killer way to save money, but if you're going whole hog with a diamond, you can still save some cash. Ask for a stone with more surface area which will make it look bigger. Or ask for stones that are slightly less than the next carat (0.9 instead of 1, for instance). The difference in size will be minuscule.
Figure out the ring size
If you're not shopping together, you'll need to figure out your partner's ring size. You can always sneak a ring that you know fits their ring finger.
We've got lots more tips over here.
Bring a friend (or go with your partner)
Ring stores can be scary and you may want a second opinion. Grab a friend or family member with some idea of your partner's taste to handle the salespeople as a team. Or forgo the surprise and shop with your partner to really ensure they'll love what gets chosen.
Leave least six weeks
An ordered ring can take as long as six to eight weeks to arrive, so unless you're buying in store, leave some time to receive the ring with some wiggle room for errors.
Get it in writing and insured
Diamonds one carat or larger should be inspected by a diamond-grading report issued by an independent gemological association like the GIA or the American Gem Society. You might also get a “fingerprint” of your ring, which would include the stone's 4 Cs, shape, dimensions, and any other enhancements. Also include any other information that might affect its value. Then, unless you're going super budget-friendly, get it insured.
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