So you’ve decided to pop the question, congratulations! Shopping for an engagement ring is a super exciting time in anyone’s life, but it can also be stressful if you go into the experience unprepared! Never fear; as long as you do your research beforehand and are confident in what you want, the experience won’t be nearly as stressful as it appears to be at first glance. So, if you’re ready to propose but don’t know the first thing about choosing a ring, check out these tips so you can step into your jewelry shop with confidence.
Before engagement ring shopping, the first and most important thing to consider is your budget. You must establish this before you ever set foot in a jewelry shop. Fortunately, many jewelers nowadays are flexible and offer payment plans, so there are potentially more options available to you now than in the past. When you go ring shopping for the first time, tell the jeweler your budget and have them show you rings only within that budget. It’s easy to fall in love with a ring and then find out that the cost is way out of your price range.
The Four C’s
Cut– The cut of the diamond is the most critical aspect to consider when choosing a stone. The cut of the diamond determines how well the light reflects through the stone, giving it that classic sparkly clear look. You want to go for a cut grade of “Very Good” or above to get the most bang for your buck.
Color– The color of your stone can be a little more flexible, depending on what color metal the rest of the ring will be. If the ring metal is platinum, white gold, or silver, it is best to go with a diamond with a higher color grade. D is the clearest and most pure color, but these diamonds can be quite costly. The letters increase as more yellow is present in a stone (D, E, F, G, and so on). Anything before H is perfectly suitable for a silver-toned ring; the yellow in these stones cannot be seen with the naked eye and is only really detectable by a jeweler.
If the ring you’re eyeing is yellow gold, you have much more flexibility when choosing your stone. You can go all the way done to an L in color, and the ring will still look perfectly clear against the yellow-toned setting. A yellow gold band is definitely a more budget-friendly option if you can’t afford a stone with a higher color grade.
Clarity– A diamond’s clarity is determined by the amount of “inclusions” in the stone–or slight imperfections such as cracks, feathering, specs, and dark spots. The fewer inclusions the stone has, the more light it reflects, which gives a diamond rings Australia that famous sparkle. IF (internally flawless) is the highest possible clarity grade, but these stones are very expensive. Any stones above VS2 have inclusions not visible to the naked eye–or are sometimes called “eye clean.” If you choose anything above this grade, you are making a smart choice.
Carat– This is the “C” that everyone knows! The carat of a diamond refers to its weight, not necessarily its size. This one is purely personal preference or what your partner likes. Some people like smaller, more dainty diamonds, while others prefer a good-sized “rock.” Of course, the larger the carat weight, the more expensive the stone. When choosing the perfect stone while still being budget-conscious, check out stones just below the standard carat weights. For example, if your partner wants a one-carat diamond, check out stones that are .90 and .95 carats instead. It is very difficult to tell the difference with the naked eye, and you will save a significant amount of money at the same time.
Does your partner like a plain metal band with a solitaire stone in the middle? Or do they prefer diamonds set along the band? Or perhaps a three-stone ring? A ring’s setting can drastically change the look of the piece and the cost. Of course, the simpler the setting, the cheaper the ring will be.
The Bottom Line
Choosing an engagement ring is a highly personal endeavor; there are so many different stones and settings that you will assuredly find the perfect ring for your partner. There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for a ring, but as long as you go in with a general idea of what you want and a firm budget, an experienced jeweler will be able to guide you in choosing the perfect symbol of your love.