Engagement Ring Guide
When you have found the right person, asking for their hand in marriage doesn’t even come along with any second thoughts. We wish we could say the same about deciding on the perfect engagement ring. But the truth is- if the whole pressure of getting it all right doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed lately, is it really ‘the engagement ring’ that you’ve been looking for?
The peer pressure from everyone around flaunting the perfect proposal rings on their social media and the desire to pop the question with a betrothal ring that speaks deeply of your feelings don’t spare anyone from feeling strained. But fret not! We feel you and are only here to walk you through the whole process of arriving at an engagement ring that your one and only cherishes for life. Come, let’s breakdown everything you need to know:
Firstly, let’s get to know an engagement ring…
Technically, it is a ring adorned by diamond(s) or any other gemstone(s) that a person presents to his or her partner by getting down on one knee and asking for their hand in marriage. Beyond the aesthetics, you’ll look at it as the emblem of your love, promise of your lifelong commitment, and fruit of the hardships that you’ve endured to finally be together. Apart from commemorating the perfect proposal moment, it will forever remind you of the unique love story that you share and tell tales of for generations to come.
As far as the Western traditions go, people like to flaunt the engagement ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. That’s because- legends have it that a vein from this finger connects to the heart directly which gave birth to this convention. However, this belief has lately been home to some contradictions since some consider the left hand to be slightly unlucky and as a result, prefer wearing it on the right one.
The Ultimate Guide to Shop for Engagement Ring the Right Way
- The Budget
If you have given a bit of thought to this aspect and have done your share of research here and there, you’d be familiar with a traditional adage.
It suggests spending salary worth of 3 months on the engagement ring. But if following that requires you to step out of your comfort zone, we’d only label it as an inconsiderate notion that is far behind the times. Putting yourself through a financial strain (that probably your future self has to pay for) is the last thing you’d want to do. Remember- an engagement ring is the reflection of your love and commitment, which is anything but monetary.
Come up with a budget that aligns with your financial condition and is something that both of you will be happy with. To not only stick to it but also make the most of it, make sure that you’re prioritizing the right manner. Along the way, we’ll share some super handy tips and tricks to do so.
- The Center Stone: Conventional Diamonds or Colorful Gemstones?
See- if Diamonds and engagement rings are like hand and glove to you (which makes them the clear choice of center stone), we aren’t here to question that. We understand that conventions have a lot to do with your choices when it comes to such milestone occasions. And especially if you’re all about the sparkle, no better choice than Diamonds. But remember- a Diamond can sometimes cost you an arm and a leg. So if you’re running slightly short on budget, it’s better to look for alternatives. Moissanite has proved to be the new women’s best friend for that very matter and is lately getting the honor of commemorating the big proposal day.
Other than that, if a playful pop of color speaks to your aesthetics, going with colored gemstones can prove to be your best choice. Colored Gemstones not only cost far less than diamonds, but also carry their own symbolism along. For instance, a Red Ruby epitomizes love and passion, whereas blue sapphire signifies loyalty, happiness and love. Both are different but beautiful in their own sweet way.
- Styles of Engagement Ring
Style is a make or break for any ring, let alone the engagement ring. The right style greatly varies from person to person. But the rule to swear by is: consider your partner’s lifestyle and sense of style above everything else, and you’ll be on your way to the perfect engagement ring style. Here is the breakdown of many kind of ring styles that you can choose ‘the one’ from:
- Classic & Conventional
If your partner’s aesthetics are all shades of classic, nothing better than an understated Solitaire Engagement Ring to do the job. Just how the name suggests, it is characterized by a Single Center Stone of a Diamond/gemstone. We have seen this style rule over the hearts of traditional to-be-weds for centuries. Typically, it is set in the Prong Setting to maximize on the brilliance since it allows the center stone to catch most light.
- Vintage & Old School
A Vintage Ring is nothing short of a piece of art. The kind of art that visually makes us revisit the eras bygone and as a result, carry a story. So, if your future spouse is more likely to fall for something like that and is kind of old school with aesthetics, a Vintage- inspired Ring may be the one for him/her. The many options in this category include- Art Deco, milgrain detailed ring, or the ones that feature ornate designs such as filigree.
- Sparkly and Stylish
Sparkles are never enough! Especially when your one & only is all about the bling, Halo or Pave Diamonds/Moissanite beautifully add the oomph factor. In Halo, the center stone is often encircled by petite stones of sparkly Diamond/Moissanite. While in the case of Pave Setting, the main stone is accompanied by side-stones of Diamond/Moissanite. Not only do they dazzle, but also deceive your eyes by making the center stone appear larger than it already is.
If your partner loves to keep a tab on all the latest trends, then chances are that he/she secretly wants a proposal ring that perfectly reflects a fashion-forward aesthetic. Fair enough! And lucky for you- there are all sorts of chic, unique, modern, and unconventional rings out there. Some are fancy in shape (pear and marquise cut rings for instance), while some feature more unique bands such as a double band or the ones with beautiful engravings. Aesthetics of contemporary rings can never fail to excite one. One such ring is- the nature-inspired ones that have lately surged to popularity. (remember when you were mesmerized by the aesthetic appeal of floral, leaf motif ones?)
- Bold & Symbolic
Why settle for one stone when you could have multiple, right? Keeping up with that spirit, Two Stone and Three Stone rings have rose to popularity. They are a beautiful blend of bold and dramatic, but above all, they carry an endearing symbolism. Twin Stones reflect on the couple’s union as one. Three Stones, on the other hand, shed light on the couple’s unique love story with each of the stones representing their past, present and future together respectively.
- Classic & Conventional
Note: Apart from that, remember- there is nothing that works quite like a customized engagement ring to make the proposal more personal and unique. You always have the option of imbibing both of your initials, a significant date (of maybe when you two first met), or anything that holds great deal of emotional value to the two of you.
- Master the 4 Cs
We’re always talking about what the 4 Cs are, the difference they make, but we forget to discuss- how to actually master the art of splurging on them the right manner. Let’s understand categorically:
We have labeled it first because Cut actually comes first. In the sense that among the 4 Cs, a Good Cut ought to be on your priority list while shopping for the ideal engagement ring.
First things first, Cut reflects on the gemstone/diamond’s faceting, proportioning and polishing. All of it is inclined to ensure that the stone is at its best in terms of brilliance, which is determined by how well it interacts with light.
Shedding light on its importance, a perfect color grade or a flawless clarity can make no difference (and still appear dull) if the stone isn’t cut well. That’s why we’d always recommend you to make it a point to splurge on a good cut and consider everything else afterwards. In the case of Diamonds, try sticking to excellent to very good cut range and you’ll see the big difference that it makes.
The color you go for ultimately boils down to you and your partner’s personal preference. But in terms of desirability, people usually prefer a deep and rich color in the case of gemstones. While for Diamonds, it’s the other way around. The Diamonds that carry no tints of any color are considered most desirable.
Before you select a colored gemstone, get to know your partner inside out. What is their favorite color? Are they more basic and understated with their choices? Or do they like to go bold and beyond the ordinary? Depending upon that, the choice of colors in gemstones are endless. It ranges from subtle colored stones like Aquamarine, morganite to deeply hued ones such as blue sapphire, ruby, emerald.
In the case of Diamonds, always remember- the shape largely impacts the color of the Diamond. Shapes like the Round Brilliant are great at masking some color spots (so you can move a grade or two down), while others like oval or marquise/pear (at the points) are likely to show off more color (so the color grade needs extra attention). Thus, in case you’re thinking of saving some bucks here, this shopping tip will help you splurge smartly.
For Clarity as well we’d say, your choice of preference would ultimately lead you to the perfect grade. Some people like their stone to be flawless, while some believe that imperfections lend it uniqueness. It’s all about how you perceive it.
In simple words, Clarity refers to the lack of inclusions or blemishes in the stone. If we talk generally, yes- crystal clear stones (devoid of any flaws) are considered more desirable. But if you’re slightly tight on the budget, we wouldn’t ask you to get your hands on the highest clarity grade stone. Shopping smart doesn’t work that way. In fact, if your stone is on the higher end of cut and color, clarity doesn’t necessarily have to be flawless under 10 X magnification. You can move a grade or two down as long as the inclusions aren’t visible to the unaided eye.
If you ask us, in the case of Diamonds- you can move down to SI1 grade since you’ll never detect imperfections with naked eyes in them. While for gemstones, if the color saturation is good, that can also mask a good number of inclusions so you can splurge on the clarity accordingly.
By definition, Carat is nothing but the unit of measurement used to weigh the diamond/gemstone. Figuratively, one carat equals 0.2 grams of weight.
Carat weight, again, is a matter of personal preference. If your partner is slightly over the top with choices, a lofty carat weight would work well. But if they are not as much of a fan of ‘going big,’ a decent carat weight can do a nice job.
Remember to manipulate the carat weight in your favor in case you’ve a set budget. A handy tip to do that is NOT going for the diamond/gemstones that hit the full or half carat mark. Instead, try working your way down by just 0.1 or 0.2 carats (so in spite of going for 2 carat ring, maybe go for 1.9 carat one). It might seem like just a matter of few decimals that can’t possibly make any difference, but trust us- while aesthetically it can’t, but the price difference will only help you go much easier on the pockets.
- Ring Size
The beautiful part about love is that you know the tiniest of details about your one and only. But this time- since it is the engagement ring size that we’re speaking of, you just can’t afford going wrong. The foremost step towards the perfect proposal ring is having your partner’s ring size on your tips. So, hit the ‘shop’ button only once you’re a 100 % sure about the size.
Try resorting to some tried and trusted measures for that. While they’re not looking, take notes of the size of the ring your significant other wears. If you’re smart with conversations, maybe try creating a false scenario where you need some help for your friend who is hunting for an engagement ring for his future fiance. In between conversations, you could get him/her to slip on a few rings in her fingers as well. Also, don’t forget to take help from your friends and family. (who could maybe take your partner out window shopping for rings)
Ideally, the approximate ring size for women is commonly considered between 6-6.5, while for men it is around 10. We have also curated a ring size guide to help you measure accurately.
We know how you’ve been too occupied deciding on the center stone, style and stuff, but don’t let choosing the right metal for your ring be an afterthought. For engagement rings, Gold is the clear winner among the many metal choices. It’s classic, conventional, luxurious and everything in between.
But did you know once you’ve made up your mind to go for gold, you again have to make a choice? Yes, a choice among the many color tones in gold: white, yellow, and rose gold. Let’s break them down for you:
- White Gold: If your partner likes to stick to basics and is somewhat understated with choices, look no further than white gold.
- Yellow Gold: Hailed as one of the most traditional choices, yellow gold oozes luxury and class thanks to its warm yellow tone (if that’s what your partner’s aesthetics are about).
- Rose Gold: If you have found your significant other to be into a more soft glam look and often seen her crush on everything feminine and romantic, she will fall just as much in love with rose gold.
Apart from that, make it a point to consider your partner’s lifestyle to get your hands on the right gold purity. While 10K gold is considered as the most durable (though not as pure), 14K and 18K are known to be a lot more desirable thanks to being on the higher end of purity (but unfortunately, they are not as durable). We have assembled a Metal Guide to take you to an in-depth tour of various metal options and help you pick accordingly.
- White Gold: If your partner likes to stick to basics and is somewhat understated with choices, look no further than white gold.
- Ring Setting
If you wish to save yourself from the worries pertaining to the security of your center stone, make sure that you’re investing in the right ring setting. Along the way, it can also uplift the aesthetics of your ring to a great extent.
By definition, a ring setting secures your center stone at its place to the metal band, thus (often) placing more spotlight to it. Make sure that you consider your future fiance’s lifestyle before deciding. Here are the many engagement ring settings you’re most likely to decide between:
Hailed as the go-to setting for engagement rings, a Prong Setting clasps the center stone from the corners, lending it a more classic look. Meanwhile, it also helps the stone shine at its best by maximizing the play of light.
If you were looking for the most secure setting out there, your hunt ends here. In a Bezel Setting, a layer of metal (termed as bezel) wraps around the entire circumference of the stone to secure it in place. But remember- it doesn’t let the center stone shine solo (as is the case with Prong Setting).
A Pave Setting may be your best bet if your significant other is all about the sparkle. In Pave Setting, side-stones of a bunch of petite diamonds/moissanites accompany the center stone half or all the way around the band.
In Channel Setting, you’ll witness a number of stones embedded between the boundaries of the metal band (often called the channel). You’re getting the dazzle similar to pave setting and security of bezel setting, in case you want the best of both worlds for your partner.
Last but definitely not the least, a Basket Setting (just how the name suggests) is a basket of several metal prongs that are bent inward from the sides of the ring to hold the stone in place. If you wish for the center stone to take all the center stage and sparkle at its best without any added security concerns, a Basket Setting is one of your best shots at it.