Buying an Engagement Ring 101

December 12, 2019
Buying an Engagement Ring 101

Engagement season is here and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t our favorite time of the year! What’s better than witnessing someone drop down on one knee surrounded by friends and family to ask the love of their life to spend the rest of their days with them? We can’t think of anything better either.

While many have been preparing for this big moment for months, even years, many are just starting to think about this big step. Inspired by the holiday magic created by true love, some will begin the new year planning their own proposal. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep reading because we’ve teamed up with Daniel Diamonds to answer all of your burning questions surrounding engagement ring shopping.

Daniel Diamonds is a family-owned small business located in Evergreen, Colorado. They offer personalized, one-on-one custom design services to create the ring of your dreams. Crafting the finest quality heirlooms for families for over 30 years, you’ll work with Daniel Diamonds from start to finish to create a ring that will be cherished forever.

In this day and age, anything goes. If you want to shop for an engagement ring together, do it! Or, if you want to leave some element of surprise, have your significant other narrow down their favorite 2-3 styles. This leaves the final decision up to the one proposing. 

Another option would be to pre-shop. Give your significant other criteria and let them do the rest. If you’d rather not be involved at all, that works too. Having an open line of communication with your significant other is important and will help you determine if he/she wants in on the process or not. 

Pro Tip: If she’s on Pinterest, there’s a high probability you’ll find her diamond and ring preferences there! You can also phone a friend for some insight. 

Anywhere from minutes, to months, depending on whether you buy something straight out of the showcase, or go custom. If you have your heart set on a solitaire, a halo, a 3-stone ring, or another classic design, there is typically no need to go the custom route. Even if your jeweler doesn’t have the exact style you want, they should be able to order it for you. If you have a design in your mind that you’ve never seen in stores, want to use your grandmother’s diamonds, or just love the idea of wearing a design that nobody else will have, then custom is for you.

Pro Tip: No matter the route you go, it’s never too soon to start planning! If you or your significant other is traditional, it may be important to factor in the timing of asking a parent’s permission for their child’s hand in marriage. 

It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole and overwhelm yourself using Google to research. My advice would be to find a local jeweler that you trust and feel comfortable with. Then sit down with them, compare diamonds in person, and decide what is most important to you. 

Often, many of my clients have no idea what the differences in cut, color, and clarity look like in person! 

Hint:
it doesn’t have to be flawless. 

Many people don’t know what they can get within their budget. If you’re a data-driven person and want to get nerdy, we’re happy to geek out with you over technical specifications. If you just want the biggest, most badass diamond you can get within your budget, and don’t care about the technical specifications, we can make that happen too. At the end of the day, what matters most is that the completed ring is sparkly and beautiful and makes you and your significant other happy. 

Pro Tip: We don’t recommend polling your Instagram followers either! Your significant other will have a style unique to their own. The internet may provide fast answers, but it doesn’t mean they are the right answers.

Getting inspiration online is a great idea, but it’s wise to do your shopping in person. As a jeweler, I never, ever buy diamonds or gemstones sight unseen, or from unknown sources. Even with my trained eye, it’s impossible to determine quality from a photo, so I wouldn’t expect my customers to do that either. Buying clothes online is always iffy, and jewelry is no different. You might think you love a certain design until you put it on your hand. You may even find yourself falling in love with a ring you never would have picked had you not tried it on. 

The jewelry industry is based on relationships and it is so incredibly valuable to build a relationship with your jeweler so you know exactly where to go when your ring needs cleaning, sizing, and maintenance. You’ll know that when you shop with your jeweler, you’re getting the best possible quality and customer service. 

Pro Tip: A better deal in price, doesn’t mean a better deal in quality. Don’t let good marketing or clickbait trick you into buying a poor quality diamond.

This goes with anything, but especially diamonds. Never get hung up on trends! Get what you love or should we say, make sure your significant other knows what you love. If you truly love a design, you’ll enjoy wearing it for years to come. 

However, if you get tired of it someday, that’s alright too. Your style can and most likely will evolve over time. Some people are sentimental, and some people aren’t. Some people will never want to change their original setting, and others will want to reset their center stone or get a totally new ring someday. That’s okay! Don’t feel like you need to fit into any particular box, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Ring shopping is meant to be fun!

Pro Tip: If you buy a style your now fiance doesn’t like, don’t fret — it’s not the end of the world. We promise. Bring it back in and we will work with you to find something they love!

Diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement ring center stones, but not everybody wants to be traditional. One of the main reasons diamonds are so popular is their durability. I recommend going with an alternative option that’s also extremely durable. 

Lab-grown diamonds are a popular choice, as well as moissanite. If you want a pop of color, we love both natural and treated colored diamonds, as well as natural sapphires. Both come in every color of the rainbow and are very durable, however, if you wear your sapphire every day for decades, you may eventually start seeing some signs of wear on the stone in the form of tiny scratches or chips. Many gemstones will, at some point, need to be re-polished or replaced if they are worn daily, so keep that in mind if you decide to go with something softer like morganite or tourmaline.

You could ask 10 different jewelers whether they prefer white gold or platinum, and the answers will likely be divided 50/50. White gold is just yellow gold alloyed with white metals, so it naturally has a yellowish color to it. Jewelers plate white gold jewelry with rhodium to make it bright white, but over the years the plating will wear off and need to be redone. It’s a routine job, but still, something to consider. Platinum is a bright, white metal, and is very strong, however it scratches and dents more easily than white gold. If having a shiny ring is super important to you, white gold may be a better option for you. Platinum is denser, therefore heavier, than white gold, and is also more expensive. 

You won’t likely be able to see any discernible difference between 14k and 18k white gold due to the rhodium plating that I mentioned above, however, you will be able to see a difference between 14k and 18k yellow gold. 14k is about 58% gold, and 42% other alloys. 18k is about 75% gold, and 25% other alloys. Because gold is a soft metal, 18k gold will scratch slightly more easily. 18k yellow gold also has a richer, yellower color than 14k. 

Pro Tip: Remember, while your jeweler’s opinion is helpful, the most important opinion will come from the person you’re proposing to with this beautiful ring! Often, this is a very personal choice. 

When it comes to diamond and gemstone shapes, trends change, but round stones always remain popular. Ovals are also popular because not only are they very flattering, but they tend to look bigger than other shapes of comparable carat weight. 

Round diamonds and gemstones usually cost more per carat because of the fact that they are always the most desirable, and because the gemstone rough material doesn’t always lend itself to the round shape. When more material is lost in cutting, the price for the finished gem tends to be higher. 

Oval and cushion-cut diamonds and gemstones are extremely popular, and pear shapes have seen a recent resurgence. If you’re torn between a round and a “fancy shape” (i.e. anything that isn’t round), and you’re on a budget, your money will go further with that fancy shape. 

First of all, don’t panic! Breathe.

Tiny little stones are held in by tiny little prongs, and if you knock them just right, they can move or break off altogether. Rebuilding prongs is routine work for a jeweler, and tiny little stones aren’t typically very expensive. We recommend getting your ring cleaned and inspected twice a year to prevent any tragedies, but here at Daniel Diamonds, we include a lifetime warranty with all of our engagement rings just to add that peace of mind (see us for details on that). We also provide an appraisal so that you can get your ring insured. Insurance covers loss, theft, severe damage, and lost center stones. It’s relatively inexpensive and worth every penny. 

Pro Tip: Get the insurance as soon as you purchase the ring! We have all seen the news, rings can be lost for good during an epic proposal…don’t let that person be you. Buy insurance. No ifs, ands or buts. 

Most rings can be sized, but not all. 

Eternity bands (i.e. rings with diamonds or gemstones that go all the way around) are particularly difficult to resize, so we highly recommend getting an accurate size before ordering. Rings with tiny little diamonds and tiny little prongs can also be very challenging to resize more than one size up or down. 

Additionally, ring sizes vary between your left hand and right hand, and the string method is highly inaccurate. It’s ideal if we can at least get an approximate ring size, but if that’s simply not possible, then we will help you choose a ring that can be easily resized. 

Pro Tip: Ask your jeweler for tips on how to discretely determine your significant other’s ring size. Often bringing in a ring they wear regularly can help us get some idea. 

Engagement ring shopping can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Let Daniel Diamonds guide you through a smooth and enjoyable process. 

Schedule an appointment today to start planning your forever!

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