How to Pick an Engagement Ring: Shopping Tips

Choosing an engagement ring is probably one of the most nerve-wracking things anyone must do, second only to actually popping the question.

Most people don’t have any experience or background in jewelry shopping before picking an engagement ring. It also doesn’t help that shopping for one can be incredibly intimidating for novice jewelry buyers. And if jewelry store staff do help, it’s often under the guise of selling you the most expensive diamond ring they have.

But armed with some simple tips and knowledge, engagement ring shopping can be incredibly straightforward and even fun. Here’s how to pick an engagement ring for your special someone.

Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

First, let’s start with a few general engagement ring tips.

Please don’t get stuck on the notion that it has to be a diamond engagement ring. There are plenty of other gemstones that are just as suitable and durable. Some great alternatives include moissanite, which is nearly indistinguishable from a real diamond, or you can opt for colorful gemstones such as emerald, aquamarine, or topaz. The different colors can even complement the radiant personality of your future fiancé.

In the same way, don’t automatically go for the latest trend. Instead, look at your significant other’s personality and preferences for guidance. Remember, an engagement ring is meant to be forever, so make sure it reflects the wearer and not just what’s trendy right now.

Lastly, the most important tip of all – don’t spend beyond what you’re comfortable with. The age old notion that an engagement ring should cost a fortune to match your love for your fiancé is simply absurd. This, of course, is just a marketing ploy. Remember, your future fiancé loves you for you. Stick with your budget, and you’ll be surprised that there are plenty of incredible options within reach.

What to Look for in an Engagement Ring

When figuring out how to pick an engagement ring, you’ll no doubt hear about the “4C” Rule. These refer to a gemstone’s cut, clarity, color, and carat. Whether you’re going for a diamond or moissanite, these are vital to know as they will significantly influence the overall cost.

Let’s go through these 4C’s briefly:

Color is the visible hue of the gemstone. This often ranges from colorless (completely clear) to having a light yellow tinge. 
Cut is the shape. Round is the most classic option, while the Princess cut seems to be increasingly popular.
Clarity is a grade of how “perfect” the stone is. Gemstones with lower clarity grades will have minor blemishes or scratches. Diamonds are likely to have more flaws due to their natural formation, while moissanite is lab-created and doesn’t have the same scars. 
Finally, the carat refers to its size (technically, it’s the weight). The bigger the carat, the bigger the gemstone.

Now, most people would advise you to get the highest grade in each “C” category, but that would get expensive pretty quickly. So instead, it’s best to work on your budget and strike a balance. 

Sometimes, you can’t even tell the difference between the top grade and one that’s a few points down the line. For instance, the difference between the “IF” and “VS” clarity grade is almost invisible to the naked eye. Yet, there’s a considerable price gap between them.

And let’s make one thing clear – the size, or carat, of the gemstone isn’t the only factor. So unless your fiancé wants a specific carat, it’s best to spread out your budget to the other C’s.

How to Choose an Engagement Ring

Let’s now get into the fun part: picking the actual engagement ring.

First things first – you need to get your fiancé’s ring size. This can be a bit tricky if you’re not with your fiancé while buying, which is often the case. Fortunately, there are plenty of ring size charts available that can approximate the correct size. And it’s best to enlist the help of your fiancé’s family and friends.

Next, decide on the ring setting (how the gemstone is mounted on the ring). Popular options include the prong and pave. However, if you want the gem to be the star, nothing beats the simplicity of a solitaire setting.

Second, pick the ring’s precious metal. Platinum is a good choice, and its neutral color complements most gem hues. Gold is a more classic and timeless metal option with its elegant hue.

Lastly, decide on the gemstone, including the type and the 4Cs we mentioned.

How to Shop for Engagement Rings

Once you have the specs and features you want in an engagement ring, shopping for one becomes a pretty straightforward affair. You can go to any jewelry store with much more confidence knowing exactly what you want.

Ensure that the store staff knows precisely what you’re looking for, be it a specific cut on the gemstone or your budget range. Be sure to tell them upfront, as this allows you to focus on just a few rings and will significantly simplify the buying process.

However, to get the best price, consider cutting the middleman and approaching a jeweler directly. Not only can they offer less expensive options, but they would also be more willing to accommodate your request.

With that being said, don’t be afraid to negotiate! Markups for diamonds are astronomically high – sometimes as much as 500%! So, there’s always room for haggling.

Finally, unless your fiancé told you their ring preference beforehand, it would be difficult to nail the perfect engagement ring 100%. Or, maybe you got the ring size wrong and it’s not a snug fit (don’t worry, this happens all the time). Thus, it’s best to go with a jeweler that will allow you to exchange or modify the ring after purchase.

Make it a Moissanite Engagement Ring

To wrap this article up, we’ll restate the engagement ring advice we gave earlier – it doesn’t have to be a mined diamond ring.

Moissanite and lab diamonds are a fantastic alternative with the same clarity, luster, and brilliance, but at a fraction of the cost. In addition, the moissanite and lab diamonds we carry at Gema&Co are certified to be sourced responsibly and conflict-free.

Visit our website today and start designing your perfect moissanite or lab diamond engagement ring.


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