Engagement ring shopping is exciting! You’ve finally found the one and now you’re on the hunt for the perfect ring to pop the question with. While engagement ring shopping is a lot of fun, it can also be a little confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before. To help you get educated before you say “I do” to a ring, here’s our list of 10 things to know before buying an engagement ring.
1. Settings and Diamonds are Often Sold Separately
Let’s start with something many people don’t know: settings and center stones are often sold separately. So when you shop for an engagement ring, you’re often shopping for two things, your center stone (usually a white diamond) and your setting (the metal framework that holds your center stone).
Some rings do come pre-set with a center stone. For example, pretty much all antique engagement rings will come fully complete, and many modern jewelers make preset rings. However, it’s more common today for jewelers to sell settings and center stones separately, so be aware of this when you’re shopping.
2. Know the 4Cs
If, like most people, you’re looking for a diamond engagement ring, you’ll want to understand the 4Cs before you buy your diamond. The 4Cs are quality gradings given to a diamond. Here’s a brief overview of the 4Cs:
Cut: A grading of how well a diamond is cut, which affects how it captures light.
Color: A measurement of how colorless a white diamond is.
Clarity: A grading of how flawless a diamond is, both internally and externally.
Carat: A weight measurement that can give you an idea of how large a diamond is.
Learn more about the 4Cs on our 4Cs Education Page.
3. Jewelry Experts Say to Prioritize Diamond Cut
Though each of the 4Cs is important, jewelry experts usually recommend prioritizing cut when you evaluate a diamond. Wondering why? If a diamond has a poor quality cut, it won’t reflect light well, which will make it look dull and dim.
4. Shape and Settings Set Style
The two things that have the largest impact on the style of your engagement ring are your center stone’s shape and your setting style. Shape refers to your diamond center stone shape (like round, oval, princess, emerald, etc.) and each shape has a different style. Your engagement ring’s setting will also impact its style. Settings can be classic, vintage-inspired, modern, unique, and so much more.
5. Order in Advance
Unless you’re buying a preset engagement ring, your jeweler will need some time to place your desired diamond in your engagement ring’s setting. Additionally, some engagement rings are made only after you order, which can take a bit of time. So, to make sure you have your engagement ring by the date you want to propose, order your ring well in advance. A good rule of thumb is to order 6 weeks in advance, which gives you plenty of breathing room, but consult with your jeweler on the exact time it may take for your ring to be completed.
6. There’s No “Right” Amount to Spend
You may have heard that there’s a certain dollar amount you need to spend on your engagement ring. Commonly, people say that you should spend the equivalent of 3 months salary on an engagement ring. However, there’s really no “right” amount you need to spend on an engagement ring. You should only spend what you’re comfortable with. Your budget is a personal decision, so think about your unique financial circumstances instead of following old fashioned “rules.” Then, feel free to spend as little or as much as you want on your engagement ring.
7. You Can Always Upgrade Later
If you can’t get that large, flashy ring you want when you get engaged, remember that you can always upgrade down the line. It’s very common to upgrade engagement rings for anniversaries or birthdays so, if your dream ring isn’t in your budget right now, know that you can always upgrade your diamond or setting later.
8. Know Your Precious Metals
Engagement ring settings come in many different precious metals. And, often, the same setting style can be made in different precious metals. The most popular precious metals for engagement rings are platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Your choice of precious metal will affect your ring’s style and how much upkeep it may need.
9. Warranties are Not the Same Thing as Jewelry Insurance
People commonly mistake warranties for jewelry insurance, when these things are quite different. Generally, warranties like our Peace of Mind extended maintenance plan, protect you from manufacturing defects and everyday wear and tear on your ring to make sure your jewelry always looks showcase new, while jewelry insurance can protect you from things like accidental theft, or loss.
10. You Can Go Custom
If you can’t seem to find your dream engagement ring, you can always have a custom engagement ring created. Creating a custom ring is easier and more affordable than you might think. And it’s well worth the extra time it may take to have something custom designed and created. At the end of the process, you’ll have a ring that will be unlike any other, just like your love as a couple.