A wedding proposal is pretty much the most exciting moment of a relationship. But before that comes the challenge that is buying an engagement ring. You have to consider the shape, colour, cut quality, clarity, and carat weight of the diamond. There’s also the style of setting and the type of metal to use for the setting.
So, finding a ring that your partner will adore for years isn’t exactly easy. And considering that engagement rings don’t come cheap, you still have to get it right. This is why many people feel overwhelmed and stressed when ring shopping. They feel that there is a lot at stake with little room for error.
Fortunately, you don’t have to experience any of that. With the right advice and expert guide, you can quite easily get a stunning engagement ring for your partner. That said, here is our actionable, specific advice on how to choose the best engagement ring for your significant other.
It’s generally easier to shop for something that you understand. That way, you can understand what’s considered best by the industry and what suits both your needs better. A good place to start is with the four C’s of diamonds; Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. These play a major role in the quality and beauty of a diamond.
A diamond’s cut is often associated with its shape. This can be round, marquise, heart, oval, pear, etc. But the cut is way more than the shape; it is the top decider of a diamond’s beauty. This is because it determines the stone’s reflective qualities, facets, symmetry, and dimensions. These, on the other hand, determine a diamond’s brilliance and fire. The finer the cut, the greater the brilliance and fire of the stone.
On the other hand, the colour refers to how the diamond’s body appears. In this regard, diamonds are graded from D-F, G-J, K-M, N-R, and S-Z. D-F are the most colourless grades, while the rest gradually adopt a yellow body colour all the way to the most yellow S-Z diamonds. Colourless diamonds are rarer and more expensive than coloured ones, except for some fancy natural colours.
Clarity refers to the degree to which a diamond is free of imperfections. These are tiny natural blemishes and inclusions present on the exterior and interior of a gem. Diamonds with few or no imperfections get grades FL IF, while those with the most imperfections are graded I3. In between are the VVS1 VVS2, VS1 VS2, SI1 SI2, I1, and I2 grades, respectively.
The Carat is the standard unit of measurement for weighing diamonds and other gems. One carat equals 0.20 grams and is typically divided into 100 points. Thus, a diamond weighing 25 points = 0.25 carat(ct).
Now that you know the technical terms you’ll come across when shopping, let’s look at the buying process.
When choosing an engagement ring;
You may not realise it, but the budget is one of the biggest considerations you’ll make when choosing a diamond ring. You’ve probably heard or read that a good engagement ring should be costly. But perhaps, a good ring should be one that you can afford. You don’t want to spend months’ worth of your income on one thing when you have a wedding on the horizon.
Thus, it’s important to consider your financial situation as you decide on the perfect jewellery for your partner.
Getting a stunning diamond ring is great. But buying one that complements her style is even better. The ideal engagement ring should match your bride’s individual style. Of course you can always ask them, but how do you tell if you’re planning a surprise?
The easiest way is to look at her other favourite jewellery. These should give you a general understanding of the designs that she prefers. You can even look at her clothing and accessories for more inspiration. Often, one’s preferred jewellery style is designed to match her fashion sense.
Ask yourself, how does her general style look? Is she sharp and sleek? Is she subtle, or does she like making a statement? Does she prefer vintage designs over modern ones?
If you’re still in doubt after peeking through your companion’s jewellery, clothing, and accessories, you can talk to her friends and family. Insight from her best friend, sister, or mom will prove valuable when looking through potential engagement rings. Even better, your partner may have already shared their style preferences with them.
With the partner’s style in mind, it’s time to pick the shape of your diamond. This can be quite challenging since there are a dozen popular diamond shapes. These include Round, Princess, Emerald, Cushion, Asscher, Pear, Oval, Heart, Radiant, Marquise, Baguette, and Trillion.
Choosing a shape will be significantly easier if you’re shopping with your partner. But if it’s a surprise, you have to consider their personal preferences. So again, look at her style, other jewellery, and fashion sense and consult with her friends and family when you need an extra pair of eyes.
Apart from appealing to your partner, the diamond’s shape will also dictate your ring’s setting style (more on this later).
Now that you know your partner’s preferred style and shape, you can start looking for the perfect diamond for her. Here, you’ll have to consider the cut quality of the diamonds, which influences the brilliance and fire of a gem. This is what gives the stone its beauty and wow factor.
If you’re looking for something stunning, avoid shallow cuts. Light usually hits the pavilion of shallow-cut diamonds at a low angle, causing the light to exit through the sides rather than reflect through the table. Thus, the diamond’s brilliance and fire are reduced.
You should also avoid very deep cuts. These have a sharp angle of reflection that dulls the light, resulting in a less radiant diamond.
Other factors to consider are the clarity of the diamond. The clearer it is, the more stunning it’ll be. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay premium cash to get this. Go for the lowest clarity diamond that manages to look clean to the naked eye, such as those in the SI1 or SI2 grade.
The same applies to colour; purchase the lowest colour diamond that still looks colourless to the naked eye. This is typically in the G-J colour grade. But if you have the money, you can always go for a flawless D-color diamond.
A brilliant stone has a matching precious metal. This setting metal is often either platinum or gold, which can be yellow, white, or rose. Choosing the perfect ring metal adds to the design and can even enhance the look of the gems.
Platinum is the strongest and most durable ring metal of the two. It’s usually 90 to 95% pure and doesn’t cause any allergic reactions on the skin. However, platinum is 30 times rarer than gold and, thus, more expensive.
On the other hand, gold is too soft to be used in its pure form in engagement rings. Thus, jewellers typically use other pure alloys with gold to ensure durability. These are 14K and 18K gold.
14K gold is 58.3% gold and 41.7% other pure alloys. It’s the most durable of the gold option and offers the best value in terms of cost. 18K gold is 75% gold and 25% other alloys in colour. It’s the softer alternative but offers a richer, yellow colour than 14k gold and thus, costs more.
You should also take care to choose a ring metal colour that complements your partner’s style. For example, if she likes colour, pick rose gold, and if she wears a lot of silver jewellery, white gold should suit her well. White gold also looks identical to platinum, making it a less expensive alternative to the rare metal.
The ring setting style refers to how the centre diamond is mounted on the ring metal. There are a variety of settings to choose from, and your preferred one should reflect your partner’s style. The most popular engagement ring settings include Channel, Solitaire, Bezel, Prong, pave, Three-Stone, Halo, Vintage-Inspired, and Split Shank.
Get the right size of ring from your fiance to be. It might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised at the number of people that return engagement rings for resizing after a proposal. This takes anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks and does little to preserve the excitement of the proposal.
Thus, look for an engagement ring that will easily slide into your fiance’s finger but retain a little resistance, so it doesn’t fall off. If you’re shopping for a surprise, you need to measure to estimate or measure your partner’s fingers to get the correct ring size. You can use their other jewellery to do this or use a string to measure it while they’re asleep.
Alternatively, get help from her close friends and family. They might already know your partner’s ring size or will help you figure it out.
Now that you know how to choose an engagement ring, how about we get to buying one? This is pretty easy; all you need to do is find the right vendor and pay them for the perfect engagement ring. Still, here are a couple of buying tips that should prove useful during your buying process.
Compared to physical jewellers, online vendors offer the best selection and value for jewellery items. You get a wide variety of jewellery options to choose from at a relatively lower price than you would in a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, most physical stores charge between 20% and 100% more than trusted online vendors for similar jewellery pieces.
Making comparisons is the best way to get the perfect engagement ring for your partner. Don’t just settle on the first ring you think will impress your fiance-to-be. Instead, consider alternative designs, cuts, pricing, and sizes before settling on an engagement ring. That way, you’ll be confident in your final decision.
A diamond’s certificate is proof that the stone has the cut quality, colour, clarity, and carat weight that it’s advertised to have. It lets you know that you’re paying for exactly what you’re getting. Thus, avoid diamonds without any type of certification.
Note that not all certificates are reliable since some grading laboratories have been shown to overstate the stone’s quality. This allows a vendor to sell diamonds of lower quality at an inflated price.
The most trusted diamond certifiers in Australia are the GSL (Gem Studies Laboratory) and DSLA (Diamond Certification Laboratory of Australia). Internationally, the GIA (Gemology Institute of America) is considered amongst the best.
Ideally, you should start looking for an engagement ring around two months before the proposal date. This gives you enough time to look for the perfect ring without the pressure that comes with last-minute buying. You can comfortably compare rings and vendors, reducing the risk of making a poor decision.
Starting your shopping early also lets you order custom pieces if existing pieces don’t meet your standards. You have enough time to consult with your vendor and have the engagement ring made and shipped before the proposal date arrives.
Buying an engagement ring may look daunting, but it’s actually easier than it seems. As long as you understand the basics of diamond jewellery and know your partner’s style and tastes, you should be able to get the perfect ring in no time.
Speaking of the perfect ring, Rad Fine Jewelry has the finest engagement rings on the internet. Explore our exquisite engagement rings here and get yourself or your partner some bold and passionate jewellery.