Needless to say, browsing for engagement rings is not your everyday shopping experience.
It’s not like choosing other types of jewelry gifts either. An engagement ring is meant to convey your love and faith, not to mention last a lifetime — but no pressure!
Seriously, it’s important to have an idea of what you want before you plunk down a big chunk of change on that all-important symbol of your hopes for the future.
And whether or not you intend to shop with your sweetheart, it’s important to have a game plan so you don’t wind up stressed out, or worse, with a ring you don’t truly love.
But with a little preparation, you can definitely enjoy this momentous milestone. Read on to learn the dos and don’ts of picking an engagement ring.
Do consider nontraditional rings
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but alternative and unique engagement rings have been gaining ground for years now.
Pearls, sapphires, emeralds and all types of gems are popping up on ring fingers everywhere, including Emma’s Stone’s.
No matter what type of stone you choose, try on a variety of shapes to see what best complements your hand. This will make it much easier to decide on the rest of the ring, including the setting and band.
Don’t get bogged down in the details
Rings may be small, but a lot of different parts go into their making.
To not get overwhelmed with the endless selection of stones, settings and bands, stick with the most important part.
In this case, that means the gem. Invest the bulk of your budget in the stone itself because bands can be altered or added to, and the gem can even be completely reset if your taste changes over time.
Also, don’t worry too much about grade or carats. You can tell a pretty ring from an unflattering one. All that matters is that you love it.
Do stick to a budget
Unless you’re one of the lucky few for whom money is no object, you need to set a spending limit.
Selecting an engagement ring can be a very emotional experience, so decide on a budget ahead of time and stick to it.
Be up front with the jeweler about your price range as well, so you don’t waste time looking at rings you can’t afford.
Don’t snap a pic without asking
While ring designs aren’t usually patented, they are often considered proprietary.
Understandably, many artisans do not want their unique designs to be copied. (Side note: This is also true of wedding dresses.)
Respect the artist and the shop and always ask before taking any pictures. Of course once you buy the ring, you’re welcome to snap all the ring selfies you want.
Do pick a color that flatters
Besides yellow gold and white gold, there’s rose gold and even green gold, not to mention platinum and silver.
Then there are different finishes, including polished, satin, sandblasted and hammered. Stones come in every color of the rainbow.
Do pick a ring shade that complements her skin tone, and don’t get caught up in what you’ve seen on other people’s fingers.
Don’t expect to take it home the day you buy it
This one can be a real bummer, but it is especially true if you’re in the market for a designer ring.
Creating a unique piece takes time and if your gemstone doesn’t fit a standard setting, it may be weeks before it’s ready.
Also, don’t expect to hit one store and be done. You definitely want to shop around, and be sure to check online where you can often get better prices. All this to say, don’t wait until the last minute.
Do try it on with the wedding band
It may sound obvious, but it can be easy to forget in the excitement of the moment that another ring will sit next to this one. Make sure the two rings fit well together.
Don’t ask for outside opinions
We all love our family and friends, but it’s hard enough to decide on your own. Extra input will only confuse the issue. Too many cooks spoil the pot, or in this case, the ring.
Do make it an experience
Plenty of couples go shopping together for engagement rings, but whether or not this is your case, make a day of it: dress up, go for a nice meal or hit a special café to celebrate.
Turn it into a fun adventure so you can look back fondly on this once-in-a-lifetime event.