It’s finally time to take the plunge and pop the big question, but you’re missing one essential thing: the ring! Size, style, gemstone, clarity…with so many different options out there, it isn’t always easy to find the perfect ring right off the bat. So before you get frustrated of flustered, check out these 8 smart tips for buying an engagement ring to find the perfect fit for the lucky lady in your life.
Before you even start looking at all the extras, it’s important to plan out your budget first. Don’t be roped into a payment plan or ring loan—that’s a thing of the past! Big, small, or somewhere in between, you’ll be able to get a stunning ring at any price range thanks to the wide variety of options now available.
Nowadays, clear diamonds aren’t the only best friend a girl has! Rubies, sapphires, yellow diamonds, pink diamonds—anything goes when it comes time to commit. Young, stylish women are moving towards engagement rings with pops of colors. You’ll find lots of pink, yellow, blue, and even brown-hued diamonds on many a wish list. However, the traditional diamond rings shouldn’t be discredited! They come in many different cuts, styles, and shapes for the woman who desires classic style and elegance.
3. Lab Grown vs. Natural
According to CNN, lab grown diamonds and gemstones are chemically identical to natural diamonds—meaning that not even a trained expert can tell the difference between them 99% of the time! They come in many different cuts, styles, shapes, and colors. Not only that, but the techniques to create lab grown diamonds just get better and better every year. So if you choose to go the lab grown route, you’ll have a chemically perfect stone at a fraction of the price.
Natural gems, on the other hand, typically have a higher resell value. So while they may cost more up front, you’ll get more of a return if you ever decide to upgrade the ring years down the road. This option is best for couples who want to start small and size up as their love and years together grow.
4. Stone Size
Engagement ring stone sizes are measured in carats. The higher the carat, the larger the stone and vice versa. The average stone size ranges from 1.0 to 1.50 carats these days, though stones are available anywhere from .01 to 10 full carats. If you’re looking for a multi-stone ring, choose either a large center stone with small accents or a few medium-size gems bunched together. For a single stone ring, feel free to choose any size you wish! Just remember that sizes smaller than .5 carats aren’t typically prominent enough to be standalone gems.
Diamond clarity refers to the absence or presence of inclusions or blemishes within the stone. The stones range from grade F (flawless), to grade I3 (several inclusions). The more inclusions, the less bright and sparkly a stone will look. If you’re working on a budget, consider a stone with slight inclusions; you won’t be able to distinguish it from a flawless stone without a magnifier, but you’ll save yourself a pretty penny.
6. Band Style
There are several different classic styles of engagement rings. Three stone engagement rings feature one medium-to-large diamond in between two medium stones. Solitaire engagement rings have a single, prominent gem right in the middle of the band; these rings look better with a medium or large stone. A halo ring typically has one square-cut gem that’s bordered by several smaller carat stones. You may also choose a cluster engagement ring; these are great for ring buyers on a budget as they’re comprised of several tiny stones clustered together.
7. Band Material
Whether you’re looking for a traditional band or new-age color, engagement rings now come in a wide variety of materials to suit your needs. If that lucky lady in your life tends to wear cooler hues or silver jewelry, then consider a platinum, silver, or white gold band. Rings that feature both gold and silver are great for the stylish woman who loves to accessorize. Then there’s yellow and rose gold—perfect choices for a woman who loves wearing warmer colors.
8. Stone Cut
Round, princess, cushion, and oval cut stones typically come to mind when thinking of an engagement ring. However, there are many more unique styles to choose from! For the girly girl, retailers offer heart and marquise cut stones to reflect her inner style. Cushion, emerald, Asscher, and radiant cuts are best for the woman who desires a square or rectangular ring with soft edges. Oval and pear-shaped gems are desirable for solitaire or three-stone engagement rings.