Whether you’re planning an elaborate engagement event or a night for just the two of you, the engagement ring will ultimately set the tone for your mutual love and commitment as well as your partner’s personal significance.
When choosing the ideal engagement ring, you will want to look at ring size, style, retailer, and the best fit for your budget. This can be quite a task if you don’t know where to start.
We’ve compiled an engagement buyer’s guide to walk you through the steps as well as outline the various options when choosing a ring.
Though you'll see a lot of numbers thrown around when you ask this question, the true answer is it depends. If it's helpful, you can definitely use averages or outdated guidelines to help you get started. For instance, a persistent myth is that you should spend three months of your salary (some places say two months). A poll conducted in the past few years shows that, on average, people spend around $6,000 on an engagement ring. A study done by Brides found a big decrease in the average spending in 2020 compared to 2018. All these numbers really show that external factors can influence spending as much as internal factors.
Of course, you'll definitely want to set a budget before you shop for an engagement ring. Buying something you cannot afford is a surefire way to ruin the experience of getting engaged and could make wedding planning—as well as planning for your future together as a married couple—more difficult. On the other hand, letting only your budget dictate your shopping can cause you to miss out on the perfect ring.
Your best bet? Have a budget in place, but take a look at the rest of the factors discussed in this guide to help you find the perfect ring. You can work with a trusted local jeweler to get ideas and look at options that work within your budget—no matter how big or small.
One of the first questions you might have is, “what size does she wear?” This is a very common concern, especially if you’re popping the question as a surprise. Here are some simple steps to take and points to consider when figuring out her ring size:
Look at the Averages
Start with the average ring sizes for women to determine a middle ground for your significant other. For instance, the average height for a woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall, and the average ring size for a woman is between 5 and 7.
If your partner is on the slender side, her ring size may fit between 4.5 and 5.5. If she is large-boned or taller, her ring size may be between 6.5 and 7.5.
You may be able to find the right size just based on her height and weight. However, if your significant other is not in these averages, this may not be the best strategy.
Check Her Jewelry Box
This is probably the easiest way to get a gauge on her ring size. While she is away from the room, check her jewelry box for other rings she wears daily or on occasion. Here are some key points to remember:
The next step in choosing a ring for your beloved is to consider their ring style, fashion sense, daily work environment, and personal interests.
One of the most important things to know about buying diamonds has to do with the 4 C's. These are carat weight, cut, color, and clarity. Each of these has a direct impact on the price of a diamond, so learning about them will help guide you in your search for the perfect diamond engagement ring.
Read all about the 4 C's of diamonds here, then chat with your jeweler to find the right diamond.
Now that you have a general idea of what your partner prefers in a ring, you can narrow down the specifics of the design. Here are some categories to consider:
Diamonds are the most popular center stone for many reasons. They have a stunning presentation, and you can customize them using the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat).
You can also choose lab-grown diamonds, which have grown in popularity in recent years. These are diamonds that are manufactured in laboratories using chemical vapor deposition or high pressure high-temperature to create the look of an earth-mined diamond.
Color gemstones are known for their symbolic traits like love, healing, and courage. You can customize them with cut, color, clarity, size, infusions, and heat treatments. Some may choose to use their birthstone or a specific color to signify a sentiment.
When choosing the metal for the engagement ring band, the most popular options are platinum, white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold.
Ultimately, you will want to find the best retailer that fits your needs, budget, and style desired for the engagement ring. You may want to ask for a referral from a friend or a family member to find the right store. You may want to do some research on local jewelers and designers that have an established reputation.
If you’re buying online, you get to take your time browsing and researching, and it may even be cheaper than designing and ordering in person. Also, you can compare prices with other stores when browsing online. Plus, you get a chance to read up on diamond cuts, shapes, and settings, and take your time figuring out the best design for your loved one.