engagment

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Engagement Ring

May 13, 2022

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Did you meet “The One?” All that time you spent together to get to know each other, dating, and enjoying each other’s company.

If you feel that you met the person to spend the rest of your life with, you’re going to have to make some decisions. It’s not only about whether or not to ask that special someone to marry you.

About 70% of people who propose choose the ring less than two months before they pop the question. This is the other big decision that goes into a proposal.

Choosing an engagement ring isn’t always easy. There’s a lot of pressure on you to pick the perfect engagement ring.

The ring you choose will get shown off to everyone, from family members to social media followers. It has to be the right fit for your future spouse, too.

Don’t get stressed out about it because you’re in the right place. Read this guide to learn about different ring options and to make sure you get the right ring.

  1. Your Budget

The first step is figuring out how much you can spend on an engagement ring. You don’t have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars like a celebrity.

The average cost of an engagement ring is between $3,000 and $6,000.

There are guidelines that say you should spend about two months of your salary on an engagement ring.

That doesn’t make sense if you already have student loans and other bills to pay.

Look at your disposable income by subtracting your expenses from your take-home income.

At least a portion of the amount left over should go towards an engagement ring.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on an engagement ring, that’s OK. There are ways to make the ring affordable without sacrificing quality.

You can also look at financing options to make the purchase. Think carefully before you take this step because you don’t want to take on debt if you already have a lot of it.

  1. The C’s of Diamonds

There are a few things to know about engagement rings. The first thing is the type of stone used. This is usually a diamond ring.

The 4 C’s of diamonds help you determine the quality of the diamond. You won’t need to guess and hope that you have a quality gemstone.

The 4 C’s are carat, clarity, cut, and color. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Carat

Carat is a measurement of weight, and each carat is .2 grams or 200 milligrams. To make things a little confusing, carats have 100 points, which equals .01 carats.

There’s the weight of a diamond, and there’s the size of the stone. A diamond gets listed in both. So you might see a half-carat diamond that measures 5 millimeters.

The diameter is 5 millimeters and it weighs 100 milligrams.

Clarity

Remember that a diamond is a gem that gets mined from deep under the earth’s surface.

Some diamonds carry those marks of the earth. They’ll have spots, blemishes, or other imperfections.

Clarity measures the imperfections of the diamond. There’s a scale that ranges between practically perfect (Loupe Clean) and far from perfect (Pique 3).

Cut

The cut of the gem refers to its ability to reflect and refract light. It’s what makes an engagement ring sparkle.

If you get a diamond with a bad cut, it won’t shine or play with light at all.

Cuts are categorized into polish, symmetry, and proportions. The categories get ranked according to quality, from excellent to fair.

Color

You might think that a diamond is crystal clear. It isn’t. Diamonds that don’t have color are very rare, which is why they’re more expensive.

The other diamonds range from near colorless to yellow. These get graded on a scale between D and Z, with D being colorless and Z being yellow.

It’s best to get a diamond that’s between D and J. Keep in mind that diamonds closer to J are more budget-friendly.

engagement ring

Diamond Alternatives

Do you have to buy a diamond? While a diamond is the most common stone in engagement rings, the market is shifting. Right now, diamonds account for 80% of engagement rings.

That’s only due to slick marketing.

Diamonds weren’t that popular, and even engagement rings weren’t common in the early 1900s.

That changed in the late 1940s when diamond company DeBeers sold the world about diamonds being forever. They had celebrities wear diamonds in public, creating exclusivity.

A diamond became a symbol of everlasting love. If a ring didn’t have a diamond, your partner could think that there’s something wrong with the relationship.

Initially, the company suggested that ring buyers should spend one month’s salary on an engagement ring. That was bumped up to two months in the 1970s.

All for a product that doesn’t truly last forever. Diamonds can chip, break, and get damaged over time.

You don’t have to buy into slick marketing campaigns when you buy your engagement ring. Take a look at alternative gems. You might be surprised by what you find.

For instance, take moissanite. They’re almost as hard as diamonds and rarer than diamonds. The gem is formed by silicon carbide, which is rare in nature.

It’s also cut differently than diamonds, so it maintains the sparkle and shine.

Even though moissanite is rare, the perceived value is less than diamonds. That makes this gem a gem of a bargain.

Cubic Zirconia is another common gem that’s used in engagement rings. It’s not as durable as moissanite and it doesn’t have the reputation that diamonds and moissanite have.   

  1. Their Style and Ring Size

There’s a personal side to choosing an engagement ring along with knowing the technical side of ring-buying.

The ring choice should reflect your special someone’s style. Look at their jewelry collection.

Do you see a lot of silver, platinum, or white gold? Are there vintage items or does the collection have a modern look?

Don’t be afraid to get advice from those around you. If there is someone who knows you both well, reach out and get another opinion.

You can make the ring personal by adding a message or having a symbol engraved in the ring. You might not have a big budget, but a little extra thoughtfulness goes a long way.

This can turn an ordinary engagement ring into a unique and special item.

  1. The Types of Metals

There are a few choices available when it comes to the metal band of the ring. The common ones are rose gold, white gold, yellow gold, and platinum.

Let your partner’s style dictate the color choice. If they have a lot of yellow gold in their jewelry collection, then go with yellow gold.

If they have silver jewelry, white gold is the better choice. It’s more affordable than platinum and it requires less maintenance.

You’ll notice that gold also comes in karats. The spelling is different from carats and so is the meaning. Karat measures the percentage of pure gold in a piece of jewelry.

For instance, 18k gold means that there’s about 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. There are 18 out of 24 parts that are pure gold.

With 14k, 14 out of 24 parts, or 58% are made from pure gold. Jewelers tend to recommend 18k because it’s more affordable and it has great quality.

  1. The Ring Setting

What is a ring setting? The setting is what attaches the gem to the metal band. There are many choices to consider.

The standard setting is the prong setting, where tiny arms attach to the band and up to secure the gem in place. This setting is used because it lets light into the gem, and you’ll experience that shine.

Bead settings are similar to prong settings. They’re round, which makes the prongs look like beads.

A channel setting has gems mounted inside the band. The main gem has a prong or bead setting.

Each setting influences the style of the ring. A modern style uses prong settings and vintage designs often have beaded settings.

  1. Warranties and Insurance

You’re about to spend a lot of money on a ring. You need to have assurances that you’re not getting ripped off.

As you shop for engagement rings, get a lab certificate if you’re buying a diamond ring. These get issued by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), International Gemological Institute (IGI), and other institutes.

The certification tells you about the quality of the gem and how it rates on the 4 C’s. Keep in mind that certifying bodies use different standards to grade the quality of a gem.  

Find out from the jeweler what kind of warranty they have. A warranty covers minor issues and regular maintenance.

A prong might need to get replaced or you need to have the gem cleaned. These are things covered by a warranty.

Very few people have insurance policies that cover jewelry. Yet, it’s one of the best protections you have to make sure you don’t lose the investment.

Think about the cost to replace the ring. That’s why you need to have a good insurance policy to protect against loss, theft, acts of God, and damage.

  1. Shop Around for the Perfect Ring

At this point in the buying process, you should have a good idea as to what you want for an engagement ring. Now it’s time to go shopping.

Buying an engagement ring has never been easier thanks to ecommerce. Reputable vendors like Tiffany and Cartier offer online shopping.

Whether you shop online or in person, do some research about your options. Check out the websites of different retailers and read online reviews.

Look for sites that offer what you’re looking for. You might be convinced that a moissanite gem is the best option. In that case, check out Flawless Moissanite and Charles and Covard.

Compare the quality of engagement rings, customer service, and prices.

Tips for Financing an Engagement Ring

You have the perfect engagement ring. It’s time to pay for it. Engagement rings aren’t cheap, so you might have to look at payment options.

When you set your budget, take a look at your credit report. A good credit score gives you a greater chance of getting approved for financing.

Most jewelers offer financing at reasonable terms. Some have zero percent interest for six to 12 months. This seems like a great deal.

It works when you pay off the ring when you have zero interest. Otherwise, you might get hit with high interest rates.

A personal loan is another option to finance the engagement ring. If you have a good credit score, you’re likely to get approved at a low interest rate.

It’s best to put down as much as you can for the ring and finance the rest. This reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay.

Try to avoid credit cards and other forms of debt that have high interest rates. They make the engagement ring much more expensive.

The Guide to Choosing an Engagement Ring

Do you feel like you’re ready to make your love official? Choosing an engagement ring takes a lot of thought and planning.

This guide showed you what you need to look for in engagement rings. You know how to spot quality gems, pick the right metal band, and how to pay for it all.

Lastly, don't forget to use a ring protector afterwards to protect your wedding band and engagement ring. You still have day to day activities, sports, gym, work environment that could scratch your ring. So it's a wise idea to protect from unwanted knicks if possible.

Did you get a lot out of this article? You’ll enjoy the others on the blog. Be sure to check them out today.

 



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