If you’re getting ready to pop the big question, you’ve already done the hard part — finding that special someone to spend the rest of your life with. Now it’s time to seal the deal with the perfect engagement ring. If you’re like most people who are about to get on one knee, you’re no doubt nervous and perhaps a bit confused about the process, especially when it comes to picking the rock. This is a piece of jewelry your partner will potentially wear for a lifetime, so you want to get it right. No pressure, of course.
But there’s one problem: Shopping for engagement rings can be extremely overwhelming and downright confusing if you don’t already have a foundation of jewelry knowledge. Luckily, Verragio is here to help you pick out the perfect engagement ring for your spouse-to-be. From settling on a setting to picking the ideal cut, this guide will take you through the entire process step by step so you can feel confident your partner will say yes when you finally open that box.
Step 1: Figure Out What Your Partner Likes
This is arguably the most expensive piece of jewelry you’ll ever buy, and your partner will likely wear it every day for years to come. That means, quite simply, that you’ll want them to love it more than any other item they own. Determining your partner’s ideal ring style is crucial to getting the choice right the first time, but this can be a challenge if you want the ring — and the proposal itself — to be a surprise.
Mastering the engagement ring selection will involve a little bit of sleuthing, so get ready to tap into your inner James Bond and put your spy skills to use. Here are some simple ways to get an idea of what kind of ring your partner will like.
- Talk to their family and friends to see if they have the inside scoop on which ring styles your partner prefers. If they don’t have any answers upfront, ask them to bring up the topic in a casual way to see if they can gather some key information. The most important things to consider are style, stone shape and material, but the more information, the better.
- Check out their social media favorites to see if they’ve saved any pictures of ring styles they like. Many people have boards on Pinterest or saved folders on Instagram filled with ring styles and designers they prefer. You can also look at who they follow to see if they’ve added any jewelers or jewelry designers.
- Peruse their jewelry box and look for pieces they have bought for themselves. Take note of the material, as many people have steadfast preferences on whether they prefer silver-, white- or gold-toned jewelry. Be sure to take note of style themes as well. Do they tend to prefer the chunky, dainty, blingy, antique, unique, simple? This will help guide you towards a general aesthetic.
- Hit the jewelry store together. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with outright asking your future spouse about their ring preferences and possibly even going to the jewelry store together. Hey, there’s a reason why one in three couples picks out the engagement ring together. Browse rings online or go to your local jewelry store to see ring settings in person. If you decide to shop for the ring together, it will still be a big surprise if you wait a few months or even a year to propose.
Step 2: Set Your Budget
Budget is one of the first things to consider before settling on an engagement ring, and though it will have a huge impact on the final choice, it’s not as prohibitive as you might expect. This is especially true if you are flexible on what you want. For example, you may be able to get a larger stone with a lower price tag if you compromise on clarity or opt for gold instead of platinum. You can also save money by shopping for engagement ring settings online and having your local jeweler supply the stone.
So how much is too much or too little to spend on an engagement ring? There is no right answer to this question. Traditionally, jewelers recommended the three-month rule — spend three months’ salary on the engagement ring — but that metric is becoming less and less popular among modern brides and grooms. Today, the average engagement ring costs around $5,500, but plenty of couples spend much less or much more than that. It’s important to get something special that holds its value without spending more than you can afford.
Step 3: Nail Down the Details
When looking at diamond engagement ring settings, you’ll notice that there are a ton of different shapes, styles and stones from which to choose. On one end of the spectrum, there’s the classic solitaire: picture a slim, white gold band with a brilliant round cut diamond. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the elaborate, antique and unique, like a two-toned engagement ring with a marquee-cut or oval diamond surrounded by smaller stones.
This means you’ll have a huge variety and a lot of features to consider. It seems overwhelming, but it helps if you break it down into categories and look at your choices on a micro level. The most important things to consider when shopping for engagement rings are setting, shape, stone quality and material. Whether you design a custom ring from scratch or find something pre-designed at your local jewelry store, understanding these components will help you achieve your exact vision.
- Setting: All-Out Bling or Chic Solitaire — Which style does your partner prefer? While a solitaire engagement ring is a seemingly simple choice, you’ll still need to think about things like the metal material, stone cut and the width of the band. Consider the shape, style and stones on the band, as well as whether you prefer the center stone to stand apart or be complemented by side stones. The setting gives the ring its overall vibe, so make sure it fits with your vision.
- Shape: Round, Square or Totally Unique — The center stone(s) of the engagement ring is, quite literally, the crown jewel of the ring and the thing everybody will notice right off the bat. The most popular stone shape, accounting for about half of all diamonds sold, is the round diamond. It’s the most sparkly shape of all and has the unique ability to toe the line between trendy and classic. But round is not the only choice! Square, princess, cushion, pear, oval and heart-shaped diamonds are fabulous in their own right, so don’t count them out. Not sure which stone to choose? You can always choose from our selection of semi-mount ring settings and have the center stone added later.
- Stone: Get to Know the Four Cs — Once you’ve selected the stone shape, do a bit of research on the four Cs — cut, color, clarity and carat. These facets will help you settle on a high-quality stone that looks gorgeous and retains its resale value for years to come. What’s more, they’ll help you determine which size stone is best for your budget. Try to figure out where your partner’s priorities lie. For example, your partner might care more about size than color or clarity. This will help you determine where to focus your budget. Meet with your local jeweler and look at a few stones to get an idea of the size, color and quality of stones in your price range.
- Material: Is It Always Best to Go for the Gold? — It may seem inconsequential, but the metal material is extremely important to the aesthetic and feel of the ring. More importantly, it’s important to choose the metal your partner prefers so that it beautifully complements their skin tone and matches their other jewelry. The most popular metals for engagement rings are white gold and platinum (silver-toned), but your spouse-to-be might love the classic or unique look of yellow or rose gold, so make sure to consider all options.
Step 4: Decide Where to Buy
It won’t surprise you to learn that the majority of brides and grooms start their engagement ring search online. Just like anything else we buy, the process often starts with a simple Google search or an ad that pops up on social media. But is it OK to buy an engagement ring online? The answer, surprisingly, is yes, as long as you know what to look for. Browsing engagement rings for women online is a great way to start, but that doesn’t mean you should count out your local jeweler.
Outside of shopping fully online or in-store, you can consider buying the ring setting online and having your jeweler supply the center stone. This is a creative way to get the exact ring you want without the risk of buying the most expensive part — the main stone — online. Engagement ring diamonds are extremely valuable and they vary greatly in terms of quality and aesthetic, so many people feel more comfortable shopping for them in person and getting to inspect the stones themselves.
Step 5: Get Your Partner’s Ring Size
Before you pull the trigger and make the big purchase, try to get an idea of your partner’s ring size so they can start wearing it as soon as you propose. If the element of surprise is non-negotiable for you, you will need to figure out a crafty way to get your partner’s ring size without them knowing. There are many great ways to get this information without outright asking (but, hey, outright asking is perfectly fine, too).
A simple way to figure out what size ring your partner wears is to borrow a ring from their jewelry box and take it to a local jeweler to size. Make sure it’s one you have seen them wear recently to ensure the sizing is still up to date. If you don’t want to take it to the jeweler, trace it with a pencil and a piece of paper and measure the size. You’ll find sizing charts online that will help you determine which size to choose.
Still not sure? When in doubt, size up. It’s a lot easier to remove material from the band than it is to add it back in, so always err on the larger side when sizing. If you’re looking for a smart way to adjust the size of the ring after she says yes, consider Fit-Right by Verragio. This simple yet revolutionary system allows you to size down from .5 to 1.5 sizes without altering the original design of the ring or risking damage.
Get Ready for the Big Proposal
There’s no feeling quite as rewarding as choosing the right engagement ring and knowing you nailed it. But this is only the beginning of life with your partner! Once you’ve settled on that picture-perfect piece of bling, it’s time to start plotting your proposal. With the right ring in hand, you’ll feel confident and excited when you finally get down on one knee.