How to choose an engagement ring ?
Engagement may be an important step in life, but it can be a real headache for the fiance.
Choosing THE right engagement ring you want to offer to your future wife isn't an easy task.
The issues to be faced are many :
- what style and ring design ?
- what's her finger size ?
- which stone to choose ? diamond or gemstone ?
- how to choose a diamond ?
- which metal will fit for the ring ?
- will my budget be enough ?
Buying the engagement ring that will please while respecting its budget can be a real way of cross, especially when one is not familiar with the world of jewelry or precious stones.
This article presents all the points to consider when making your choice, all summarized in an infographic at the end of the article.
Choosing the ring, manufacturing the ring, both take time
Know that on average, a man takes two months to choose the ring of his future fiancee.
Two months to choose the ring design.
Take into account that if you want to make this ring made-to-measure at a jeweler, the manufacturing time can be three months.
So if you want a custom engagement ring, take into account a 5 months delay to make your design choice and then start the manufacture of it.
Set your budget
All rings are different, either in design, by their metal or because of the number and cut of stones.
Prices vary so much depending on the rings.
We can say that there is an infinity of rings. So having an already defined price order for the engagement ring will help you make your choice much faster.
In France, the average price of an engagement ring is 750 dollars while it's more than 5000 dollars in the US.
Before choosing an expensive ring, make sure that it will be a ring that will please, corresponding to your fiancee's tastes.
Note that an expensive ring is by no means a guarantee of a more fulfilling married life as reported in this article.
Which stone to pick ?
Unquestionably, the most popular stone for an engagement ring is diamond.
This hasn't always been the case, know it !
It's since the advertising campaign initiated by DeBeers in 1947 : "A diamond is forever", that the diamond has gone from the "unseen" stage to the most coveted jewelry stone.
You'll learn more about the history of diamonds by reading this article.
The diamond cumulates the superlatives, it's the hardest stone, the whitest, the most brilliant and the most demanded in jewelry.
To make your choice of diamond, you'll have to familiarize yourself with the 4Cs of diamond (Cut, Carat, Clarity, Color).
To make it quick, the diamond quality is evaluated according to the purity of the stone (the absence of inclusion), the whiteness of this one evaluated by letters from D to Z and by the cut quality of the diamond. Quality is presented through a guarantee certificate drawn up by an independent laboratory.
The diamond price is defined by the cut and quality of the diamond.
Most uninitiated people base their choice of diamond on purity, color and weight totally omitting the cut quality.
This is a serious mistake since it's certainly the cut quality of a diamond that is the most important criterion of choice of this gemstone, as we explain in this article.
Note that there are also colored diamonds that offer durability and originality, their price depending on demand.
Blue diamonds, pink diamonds and yellow diamonds can be an option depending on your fiancee's tastes and your budget.
Following diamond, sapphire is currently the most requested gemstone for engagement rings.
With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, it's a durable and precious stone since the dawn of time that was in fashion well before diamonds.
Its quality is evaluated according to its purity, the uniformity of its blue and the presence or absence of non-natural treatment. It remains generally a gemstone much more affordable than diamond.
Like sapphire, ruby is a corundum, but it's a red precious gemstone, often used in jewelry. Nevertheless, ruby stones aren't much popular for engagement rings.
Of course if your future fiancée is a red enthusiast, it will certainly be the best choice of gemstone for her engagement ring.
Ruby is cheaper than diamond, it's in the same price range as sapphire.
Emerald is the most delicate precious stone, it's the least hard of the 4 precious stones with a hardness of 8 on the scale of Mohs and that which requires the most maintenance and care.
Emerald has for centuries been considered a precious stone and no other stone is close to the bright green color it offers.
Of course, its purity is a guarantee of quality but take into account that natural emeralds always have inclusions. Of course, fewer inclusions also mean a higher price of the stone.
Of course, nothing forces you to confine yourself to the only four precious stones since many colored semi-precious stones will give a very beautiful rendering and will be more suitable to the tastes of your fiancee.
Among the most requested, there are :
- Topaz stone, blue, yellow or imperial
- Moonstone (fr) with its captivating reflections
- Fire opal stone (fr) or noble opal (fr)
- Aquamarine stone of a light blue
- Amethyst stone
Cut shapes of stones
You probably already know the main cut shapes of gemstones, but there are many more, as you can see in this presentation.
The most common are the top six. The princess cut shape is full of symbolism as you can check here.
Which frame design to choose ?
All designs are of course possible depending on the fiancee's taste, but three particular designs are the most common :
Timeless classic, a simple elegant ring mounted with a single diamond. This design can be declined by playing on the gold colors of the ring and the frame to add a note of color and originality.
As indicated by its name, the ring includes a main diamond set in the center accompanied by small round diamonds set on the ring mount.
Another classic, the ring is set with three stones, diamonds in general. Main diamond is surrounded by two smaller diamonds.
Which metal ?
Many metal options are possible offering a wide choice of colors for affordable prices.
Metal is not the most expensive part of an engagement ring, so you can choose the one you like the most.
Precious metals come in three choices :
- Silver which is beautiful, simple and economical
- Gold that can be declined in 14-karat, 18-karat gold and different colors
- Platinum 950/1000 durable and also the most expensive
Did you know it ? Silver is the whitest metal after rhodium.
Maybe silver seems cheap, but well polished, silver has no equivalent. Only disadvantage, it gets tarnished with time and blackened because of the sulphides that react with the metal.
It must therefore be maintained with wipes so that the silver of your ring always has its best shine.
14-karat gold or 18-karat gold ?
I don't recommend 9-karat gold (375/1000), less than 40% gold, it's mostly alloy and it's often difficult to weld if you want to make a cut.
So, 14-karat or 18-karat gold ?
For a ring of 3 grams in 14-karat gold (583/1000), it contains 1.75 grams of fine gold.
The same 18-karat (750/1000) gold ring contains 2.25 grams of fine gold.
Difference in gold price is 0.5 grams so about 20 dollars, therefore this isn't the key price factor to make your choice.
Why I recommend 18-karat gold.
Gold is yellow, but it can take different colors depending on whether it's alloyed with other metals.
Gold can be pink, white, black and even take other colors detailed in this comprehensive article on the subject.
White gold is usually rhodium plated to be very white, especially when the alloy is not of very good quality. It's the reason why we say that white gold turns yellow and must be rhodiumed every 18/24 months.
Beware, a quality white gold, especially palladium white gold, is tinted in the mass, it's durable and doesn't require future rhodium plating.
Pink gold is gold alloyed with copper, tinted in the mass it's durable.
Black gold is gold plated with black rhodium, as explains this article on the subject (fr).
Platinum is a precious metal like gold used as a 950/1000 in jewelry.
Platinum is heavier than gold with a density of 21.4 against 19.3. Being used as 95% versus 75% for 18-karat gold, there is more weight of precious metal in a platinum ring than in the same 18-karat gold ring.
In addition platinum is more complex to work, its melting temperature is 176 °C against 1064 °C for gold.
For these reasons, platinum is the most expensive precious metal used in jewelry.
What is her ring size ?
If you don't know the answer, you'll have to measure one of her rings.
If you know which finger your fiancee will wear her ring (fr), then you just have to determine her size by measuring one of her rings that she wears on the right finger.
Difficult to take her to a jeweler if you want to surprise her, then you can follow this tutorial that explains you in video ( in French ) how to measure a ring size.
Ring engraving ?
Ring engraving (fr) is definitely the easiest and cheapest way to personalize your engagement ring.
If you are financially limited, think of a word or strong message for your couple that can fit around the inside of the chosen ring.
Infographic on the ring choice
As you see in this infographic, if you do it early, you'll have plenty of time to educate yourself and take stock of all the variables.
Remember that the engagement ring must imperatively respect both your budget and your fiancee's tastes.
One or more diamonds often represent more than 50% of the engagement ring total price, it will be wise to start by choosing it before everything else.
Measuring the finger size will be easy using one of her rings and applying the method presented here.
Ring engraving brings a romantic touch for a very low cost, don't deprive yourself to personalize your message.
You'll discover our engagement rings collection here.
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