It's easy to get caught up in the romanticism of buying an engagement ring and planning a proposal but remember: an engagement ring is usually a significant investment, so you want to make sure you do it right.
Make a decision on the shape you want:
Knowing what kind of diamond shape your significant other like will help you narrow down your search for an engagement ring. Each carat costs a different amount; hence each shape is priced differently. The round cut is the most expensive, followed by pear and marquise. If a size is important to you, a shape other than the traditional round-cut will let you get more carats for less money. Study up on ring cuts and have one (or two) favorites in mind before going out to buy an engagement ring.
For the band, pick a metal:
Engagement rings (and wedding bands) have traditionally been fashioned of yellow gold, white gold, silver, or platinum, while rose gold has arisen as a new, modern option in recent years. While platinum has a similar appearance to silver, it is substantially more expensive due to its higher density (and is also rarer). Some metals scratch more quickly than others, so think about your lifestyle—as well as your budget—before deciding how crucial metals are in the end.
It would help to consider whether or not you want stones put in the band(s).
Consider the carat size:
The age-old debate over quality vs. quantity applies to engagement rings as well; some people prefer a larger stone to a whiter stone, while others desire the most precise diamond imaginable, regardless of carat count. According to Jaclyn Kirkorian of Jupiter Jewelry in New York, "the future spouse-to-be should have a concept of her (or his) stone size." "As much as people think size doesn't matter, it always can always alter color and clarity to find something within your budget."
If you choose a less standard carat size, you can save a lot of money. When diamonds weigh the most desirable weights, such as half and total carats, their prices skyrocket. "Buy a diamond that is just shy of these standard weights, and no one will know it's a.92 carats instead of a 1 carat," Emily Duke of Finesse Diamonds Corp. suggests.
Obtain the Correct Measurement:
It may seem self-evident, but make sure you both measure your ring fingers. You don't want a ring that's cutting off your circulation or, even worse, one that's loose enough to slip off. It should be tight yet not oppressive. If you're not shopping for engagement rings with your spouse, you can get sized at a jewelry store on your own and then casually mention your size the next time the topic arises.
Take into account how your engagement ring will complement your wedding band:
While it's easy to get caught up in looking for the right diamond, the engagement ring is only half of the equation (or less than half if you're going for a ring stack). The second half of your wedding band—you know, the real sign of your marriage—is sometimes ignored. Consider the style of wedding band that would complement your ring. Because some engagement rings restrict a mob from fitting flat against them, it's important to examine the benefits and drawbacks of prong vs. pave and channel-set stones before making a decision.
Always go for certified products:
An engagement ring is one of life's most expensive purchases, so take your time and choose properly. When you finally find the ring of your dreams, make sure you get a certified stone from an accredited laboratory, such as the American Gem Society for the Gemological Institute of America.
Make that the certificate corresponds to the diamond:
According to Duke, most diamonds have laser inscriptions on the girdle, which may check with a jeweler's loupe. "Many diamonds have inclusions, so examine the stone and determine if the faults correspond to the map on the certificate."
How to Bargain Like a Boss:
According to Michael Dobkin, creative director and founder of Rosey West, engagement rings can mark way beyond the minimum margins. Some rings have marked up by as much as 500%. Dobkin advises, "Really do your research before hitting the trigger, and don't be scared to negotiate." "A good jeweler will work within your budget to find you the greatest quality that meets your requirements."