Not so long ago, choosing an engagement ring required just a few questions: princess or emerald cut? White gold or yellow?
These days, there’s a lot more to consider when figuring out when, where, and how to buy an engagement ring. Here, the best tips for making this monumental purchase.
Don’t get caught up in a trend
An engagement ring should be a timeless, classic symbol of your love that will last forever, so the goal should be to find the stone that is the perfect match for your future fiancé. Look at their current jewelry to see what would best suit his or her style. Are they a gold or a platinum person? Do they wear statement jewelry or instead opt for minimal pieces? Take cues from their current style to inform how you pick the piece they’ll want to wear every day for the rest of their lives.
A stone doesn’t have to be perfect on paper
Diamond experts often site the “Four Cs” (aka color, cut, clarity, and carat), but certificate grading should be just one of the many factors in your decision-making. You don’t need a D Flawless stone to create a beautiful ring. It’s better to judge a stone by the feeling it gives you rather than the GIA grading (diamonds are graded from D to Z by the Gemological Institute of America) it received. The grade can serve as a starting point, but should not be the sole determining factor.
Size matters only if you (or your future fiancé) think it matters
Go big or go home shouldn’t be the mantra, unless you think it’s the most important thing to your future spouse. In that case, weigh your options. Perhaps placing more of an emphasis on size and less on color and clarity is worth considering.
Even those in the jewelry industry have noticed this trend. I think there’s less pressure to have a showy ring now, Now, the ring is more of an extension of someone’s personal style, and sometimes that means intentionally opting out of ‘bling.’ I love that women feel more empowered to go against the traditional jewelry store [mold] and find something that speaks to them on a personal level. It feels like a feminist choice.
Know where the stone came from
clients appreciate jewelry with backstories—especially when those backstories involve ethically sourced gems. you must search high and low for mines and suppliers who can prove their diamonds, metals, and gemstones have been sourced sustainably—and are completely traceable from mine to market. I think people really want to know where their jewelry is coming from, People really like that we go and search for stones for their custom pieces. We look for stones that are different and interesting, and come back to discuss their options.
The setting shouldn’t be an afterthought
After you’ve fallen in love with a stone, the next step is figuring out what to put around it. You can be bold and do something different and unique, but it is important that the ring reflect the style of the person who will be wearing it. Find an expert whom you trust, give them an idea of what you want, and let them guide you in the right direction.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and choose an entirely unique ring
Millennials want everything they buy to feel special, and for a ring’s vibe to match up with their own. It’s becoming more common for women to eschew diamonds and traditional settings entirely and opt for something personal, unique and unexpected. People are yearning for something different. They want something that feels ‘fashion’ and relevant, but also timeless—not basic, boring, or predictable. They come to us for a ring that’s unusual but still clean and sleek so it won’t go out of style.
Consider working directly with a jeweler
Custom feels more special than just walking into a store and picking something a lot of people now want something that walks the line between vintage and modern. It’s not so much about a big diamond anymore—they want quality over size, or a unique shape, like a rose cut. And a lot of people are ditching diamonds all together. I made a really beautiful ring with alexandrite, which is a color-change stone that is greenish blue in the daylight and purple in incandescent light. Engagement rings aren’t one size fits all anymore.
Don’t go it alone
Engagement ring shopping can be a daunting task—get by with a little help from your friends. Ask those who’ve gotten engaged for jeweler recommendations and call upon someone who knows you and your future spouse and whose taste you love and respect for their opinion regarding aesthetics. Nine times out of ten the person you’re buying for has an idea of what they want in their head and may have expressed it to said friend (or added to a Pinterest board).
Unlike the matrimonial commitment you’re hoping to make, try to avoid entering into a binding agreement with the jeweler. Worst-case scenario, if your intended hates what you’ve come up with, you should be able to exchange it for something else. You want your future spouse to love both you and the jewelry you buy forever.
It’s not about the price tag
During the Depression, in a campaign that would’ve made Don Draper proud, De Beers’ advertising geniuses started running an ad pushing men to spend one month’s salary on a ring if they wanted to be “responsible.” By the 1980s, it jumped up to two months. These days, the rule of thumb that’s often referenced is that one should fork over at least three months’ salary when purchasing this piece of forever jewelry. This is all just clever marketing. The truth is there’s no exact science when it comes to how much to spend on an engagement ring, and some women prefer smaller, less expensive diamonds (or want to forego diamonds altogether). Some are going the vintage or secondhand route (eBay’s ring market is up 58 percent); Get the ring that’s perfect for the woman, not the ring whose price tag aligns with an arbitrary algorithm.