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Everything You Need to Know About Choosing an Engagement Ring

Choosing to purchase an engagement ring marks a huge milestone in a relationship and is often one of the first big purchases a young person makes. This step in a relationship is a big one and marks the beginning of a life together, so you want to be thoughtful and smart about the ring you choose. From deciding between mined diamonds or lab-grown diamonds to figuring out which shape and metal the ring will be, read on for everything you need to know before you go to the jeweler.

The Gemstone

The stone is the most important part of the engagement ring. It’s the focal point of the ring, so you want to find one that is perfectly suited for your partner. Diamonds are the traditional choice for engagement rings, but you can choose whichever gemstone you want for the ring, especially if you know your partner has a specific stone in mind.

If you are looking for a diamond ring, there is one tip that’s important to know that impacts cost. Mined diamond rings tend to be rather expensive. If you are looking to save money or are on a tight budget but have your heart set on a diamond ring, consider lab-grown diamonds.

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Lab-grown diamonds—often referred to as synthetic diamonds—are made of the same material as mined diamonds but are produced in a controlled scientific process. Lab-grown diamonds look very much the same, if not identical, as mined diamonds, but they are between 30–40% cheaper, more ethically produced, and better for the environment.

Know the 4 Cs

When shopping for a diamond, you need to know the 4 Cs, which refer to the quality grading of the diamond.

  • Carat is a weight measurement that refers to the size of the diamond.
  • Clarity is an internal and external grading of how flawless a diamond is.
  • Color measures how colorless a white diamond is. You can, however, choose a colored diamond, in which case this criterion would not necessarily be of importance to you.
  • The cut is a grading of how a diamond is cut and usually affects how it captures light.

Understand the Precious Metals

Aside from the stone you choose for the engagement ring, you’ll need to decide on the setting. In some cases, the setting and stone are sold separately, so you have some luxury in crafting a ring. The most popular choices for engagement ring precious metals are platinum, yellow gold, white gold, or rose gold. While you can choose this based on the style preference of your partner, you also want to take into consideration the cleaning requirements for each metal to ensure you take proper care.

Style and Ring Size

While understanding the different materials and criteria of engagement jewelry is a key piece in shopping for an engagement ring, you need to keep your partner in mind. They will be the person wearing this jewelry for the rest of their life, so you want to ensure that it is something they will love. In addition, keeping their style in mind is very important. Do they prefer dainty jewelry? Are they more of a gold jewelry wearer, or is platinum more their style?

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In addition to style, you will want to know their ring size. This can be difficult to learn without tipping them off, but a good rule of thumb is to find a ring in their jewelry box that they wear often. Then, bring that ring with you to the jeweler and have them check the size. Rings can be easily sized correctly, so if you aren’t able to get the right size, it’s not a huge deal. However, your partner will likely be excited to wear their new ring, so it helps if it does fit them right away.

Stick to a Budget

There is a lot of pressure surrounding engagement rings, particularly on spending a great deal of money. On average, Americans spend about $5,800 on engagement jewelry. You should only spend what you feel comfortable with. Before you go to a jeweler, it’s a good idea to set a budget to avoid overspending. You can share this information when shopping to ensure you only look at items you can afford.

Try not to be too discouraged if you can’t afford exactly what you have in mind. You always have the option of upgrading the ring in the future when you can afford it. It’s very common for couples to do so, keep that in mind as you’re looking.


Proposing to the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with is nothing short of thrilling. Purchasing an engagement ring is the start of this next relationship stage, and while it can feel like a ton of pressure, you now have a solid idea of what to expect. So stop into a jeweler with confidence to find an engagement ring worthy of an emphatic “yes!”