Buying an engagement ring is a major milestone for the relationship and a serious financial commitment as well. You want the perfect ring...but you need it to be within budget. There are so many choices for engagement rings that the hunt may seem overwhelming. For those who are about to jump into the engagement ‘ring,’ here are step-by-step tips when shopping for that dream ring!
Step 1: Decide on a Centerpiece Stone.
Almost every engagement ring has a prominent centerpiece stone. If your mind is set on a diamond, then you need to figure out what shape you want for your centerpiece. Even gemstones are offered in a variety of shapes.
If you want to slenderize your finger, choose vertical shapes like oval, pear or marquise. Round brilliant, oval, radiant, and princess shapes offer amazing sparkle. Asscher and emerald cuts feature shiny step facets within their cut; while they don’t exude the fire of brilliant cuts, step facets are extremely sophisticated and chic and are the go-to looks for vintage inspired settings. The cushion cut is an old shape that also has a vintage appeal. And heart-shaped stones add whimsy and romance to a setting.
Step 2: Understanding the 4C's.
After you’ve decided on a shape, then the 4C’s are your next step! Cut, color, clarity and carat directly affect the price of diamonds. Diamonds that have been certified and graded by one of the leading gemstone laboratories can be assured to be authentic and of quality. Let’s take a closer look at the 4C’s:
Cut: For every shape, there are a certain number of facets that must be present in a diamond’s cut. These facets must be cut correctly and have the right proportions for the cut to be ‘ideal.’
Color: A diamond’s color is graded on a scale of D to Z. The letter D indicates colorless, whereas Z is light yellow. If your budget is tight, you might opt to downgrade this C as warmer hued diamonds may be masked in yellow gold.
Clarity: Clarity ranges from Flawless (FL) to Included (I). These grades are based on the diamond being viewed under 10x magnification. Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VS), and Slightly Included (SI) are all in-between grades.
- Carat is the fourth C. A single decimal point in carat weight can make a significant issue in the price of a stone. Prices will jump when buyers opt for a full-carat weight, but the difference in size between a 0.90 carat diamond and a full carat is barely noticeable.
Step 3: Consider Adding Some Colors.
Colorful gemstones don’t follow the same grading scales as a diamond. When shopping for gemstones, focus on color saturation and the hardness of the stone. The hue of a gemstone affects its value.
More vibrant colors—think rich reds for rubies—command a higher price. You also need to be careful when selecting softer stones (like opal) as a centerpiece for your ring. Softer gems can shatter and break easily, so daily wear may be a bit too much for these stones.
Step 4: Choose your metal and setting.
You’ve found that perfect stone, now check it off your list! The next step is discovering which metal to choose for your setting.
The most popular metal for engagement rings is white gold—it’s less expensive than platinum and offers a similar sheen. Platinum is the hardest metal choice…but commands a high price tag. Rose gold is a mixture of copper and yellow gold. This pinkish metal is very much on-trend, as rose gold adds a blush of romance to a ring.
Research different setting styles to find the best band for your dream ring.
Step 5: Decide on Details.
Do you want to add side stones next to your center stone? Or maybe you’d like pave diamond accents set within the band? It’s time to include any additional details for a personalized touch. Some buyers love to add birthstones next to a center diamond. Of course, diamond side stones always look amazing. Just be sure to choose a side stone that compliments the shape of your center stone. Adding a halo around a center stone also draws attention to the centerpiece.
If you’re happy with your ring and don’t want additional design elements, you may want to consider engraving a personal sentiment inside the band. Engrave anything your heart desires including initials, a monogram, a simple quote or perhaps the date of the engagement with “I love you.”