Engagement is in part romance and getting excited that you will finally be spending the rest of your life with your partner, and part wearing a beautiful ring on your finger.
Whether you are the one proposing or being proposed to, you want a ring that is beautiful, functional, and ethical (if that is one of your concerns). Beautiful in that it looks stunning, functional in that you can go about your daily activities without ruining it, and ethical in that it does not impact the environment or workers’ conditions negatively in its manufacture. Finding an engagement ring that makes you happy can be a breeze if you pay attention to the following:
Take your time
Surprises when it comes to engagement rings work out perfectly in movies but hardly cut it in real life. You have seen this a dozen times in romantic films where the hapless young man suddenly realizes that he should propose to his starry-eyed beauty. He rushes to the store or “salvages” an old ring that has been in his family for generations and in the most inopportune moment, proposes to her in a moment that reeks of romance. The ring fits (always does), she loves it, and they live happily ever after. That stuff will barely work in real life.
In real life, you should take your time to find the engagement ring. Try out a few styles and ring shapes before you buy to see what looks great on your hand. Measure the circumference of your finger so that you land on the right size. Learn about ethical diamonds and vintage rings. The bottom line is that there is a lot to learn about engagement rings before you dive in.
You will want to take into account the following important details:
- Metal type: Are you keen on diamonds or are you open to alternatives like Sapphires, Opals, Emeralds, Morganites, or Moissanite?
- Band material: You can go with platinum, gold, or an alloy material.
- The shape: There are a few choices to go for – Round is the most popular but you can opt for Emerald, Rose, Oval, or Asscher cuts for something more unique.
- Ring Size: Some rings afford you the luxury to resize if you get it wrong but others like eternity bands don’t. Measure your or your partner’s finger size beforehand even if you are planning a surprise proposal.
- The four C’s of diamond rings: These are the Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat. The cut is the shape, the color is the appearance, the clarity is the quality of the stone, and the carat is the size of the diamond.
Online or in person?
Are you buying at the store or are you better served buying online? There are valid cases for both. However, you would be best served going hybrid, by visiting the physical retail store then go online. It is a brilliant way to get the best of both worlds. First, you go to a retail shop to learn about color, size, shape, and other details, then you go online to check the price and compare. Even as you go online, be sure to use only reputable and credible sites. Rockher can be a nice place to start because they offer discounts and have a wide variety to choose from. Other online stores will offer you value but you need to do your research before you buy.
If you care about the plight of the people who mined the diamond/gemstone or the impact that manufacturing the ring has on the environment, you need to learn about ethical diamonds. Some of the stones are brought in from countries where the workers who mine them are underpaid, mistreated, or even killed. Boycotting such stones is your tiny but significant way of saying that it is not okay for your happy moment to rely on the suffering of other people.
Before you buy the diamond ring, ensure that the company followed “the Kimberly Process.” Buying exclusively handmade and lab-made rings is another way to ensure that you are not a participant in an oppressive system.
Vintage or Custom?
A few factors come into play with these two choices. Let’s break these down:
- Vintage: When you buy a vintage ring, it is ready when you first see it (unless you need to resize). The key advantage is that you will walk away with your ring when you buy it or after a couple of days if you are resizing.
- Custom: When you go with custom, bear in mind that it will take longer to get your ring, perhaps a few weeks, but you get something more to your tastes.
It is quite common for people to go with the “three-month salary” rule but it is better to just do it your own way on this one. If you are wealthy, you can splurge on a luxurious rock but if you are a bit restrained, go for something modest. After all, it is just a rock and the most important bit is how you feel about it.
An engagement ring is a significant investment in a large part due to the centerpiece of the whole thing; the diamond/sapphire/other minerals. You need to get it insured. If something happens to the ring and you lose the stone, you will thank yourself for taking out insurance. It is a safety net for when you lose the ring, damage it, or it gets stolen. Work something out with your insurer.
Buying an engagement ring is not difficult. Yes, it takes time and energy, but in the end, when you find one that makes you happy, it will be worth the effort. Although your partner can do the shopping himself or herself and surprise you with a proposal, it is usually more prudent to have some input from both of you.