Tips on How to Buy an Engagement Ring
Take this expert advice from a local jeweler—who designs bling for Hollywood stars—on purchasing the perfect engagement ring.
Selecting the perfect engagement ring requires more than knowing about the 4 C’s of gemology. Understanding how the 4 C’s work together and represent the overall quality and value in a diamond or colored gem is critical. Once armed with that knowledge, it’s time to learn what other factors are involved in the process to assure you select a ring that is both timeless in design and well suited for your betrothed. Here are my go-to points and tips for creating the perfect engagement ring.
Go beyond the 4 C’s
Is it the shape of the stone? Design of the ring? Color of the metal? Defining what makes the “perfect ring” becomes a matter of understanding an individual’s style, lifestyle, and physical features. You then select both a stone and ring design that are crafted to complement those unique, individual traits, rather than following current trends. It’s a matter of personal style.
That is especially true if we’re talking diamonds and gemstones! I’m not suggesting that you sacrifice quality for size, but work to find the right balance between the gemological specifications and size, whether you’re buying a diamond or colored gem. The size must look appropriate for the person wearing it. For example, say your fiancé is tall and you have a fixed budget; if two stones are of similar cost, what will look best? A high clarity, colorless diamond at 1ct (regardless of shape) or a slightly included (eye-clean), near-colorless diamond at 1.50ct? Be assured that 5, 8, or 10-plus years from now, your partner will prefer to wear the 1.50ct stone over the 1ct. You can take that to the bank.
Let the center stone speak
After choosing the right stone and shape for the size of the hand and length of the fingers, select a ring style that shows off that stone as the centerpiece of the ring. Everything else in the ring should enhance the unique characteristics of the center stone and draw attention to it as the central focal point. Don’t go for something that is stylistically too busy, incorporates multiple shapes, or attempts to trick the eye into seeing something more than what is really there. Fall for a gimmick and the ring will look dated sooner than you think.
Your life is not mine
Is your fiancé a nurse or medical professional who takes gloves on and off all day? You don’t want a ring with a high setting; they’ll grow tired of the inconvenience this causes in their workday pretty quickly. Is she on a computer all day? Consider a ring style with a flat-bottom/European-style shank for comfort and durability. If she is an active person that likes to hit the gym, lift weights, or rock climb, the fine jewelry should come off before she engages in these activities. What’s good for your health is generally not good for jewelry.
Jewelry is like clothing
Something that is a trendy style today is seldom in style next season. Clothing that looks great online, on a model’s body, or on the rack at the store often transforms to an “oh no” look once tried on. Likewise, something that you may pass by on the rack can look like it was made specially for you once you try it on. Jewelry is similar. Your fiancé should try on lots of pieces in many variations, to know what best suits her. To be perfect and timeless, the ring should be easy to wear, comfortable, and complement your personality.
An engagement ring can be the most important and significant purchase you will make. The right piece is an emotional and financial investment. Don’t treat it like you’re buying a blouse or a pair of jeans online. See it. Touch it. Feel it. And work with a jeweler whose livelihood is dependent on people stopping you to ask, “What a gorgeous ring. Where did you get it?”