Top 8 Tips for Engagement Ring Shopping

Getting engaged is a huge milestone in a relationship. It’s when two people are ready to move forward in the next phase of their lives and get married! Buying an engagement ring is an important purchase that you want to get just right. It’s a ring your fiancé and soon-to-be wife will wear all the time. Every time she’ll look at that ring, I’m sure she will smile and think of you! Before you head off ring shopping, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Figure out Your Partner’s Style

Although some couples choose to shop for the engagement ring together, if you’d like it to be a surprise, it’s important that you know what ring style your girlfriend loves. Either ask her for a few pictures of rings she likes, spy on her Pinterest account to see if she has any saved images of engagement rings, or ask her best friends for tips on what ring she may like.

2. Ring Size

Ask your girlfriend for a ring she wears to get her ring size. If you want to be sneaky, “borrow” a ring from her jewelry box. You can also enlist her mom, sibling, or best friend to find out her ring size. According to Blue Nile, the average ring size for women is between sizes 5-7, and size 6 is the most popular. If you’re going with a guess, it’s a good idea to go with a larger ring size because it is easier to size down the ring later on.

3. The Important “4Cs” in a Diamond

The 4Cs of diamonds includes color, cut, carat, and clarity. It’s a universal standard for judging the quality and value of a diamond.

The color of a diamond is an important factor to consider. White diamonds range in color from a scale of D-Z. The highest quality diamonds are colorless (scale of D) and diamonds that have a  yellow or brown tint range lowest in scale. To get the best value and great quality diamond color, buy a G-H color diamond.

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The cut of the diamond is the most important “C.” The cut of the diamond influences how much light enters and reflects from the diamond. One thing you should never sacrifice on is the quality  of the cut. An excellent cut diamond provides the highest level of fire and brilliance, creating a magnificent sparkle.

Carat refers to the diamond’s weight, not the diamond’s size. Blue Nile recommends looking at the cut and carat together; “a larger carat diamond with a poor cut grade can appear smaller than a smaller diamond with a higher cut grade.”

Clarity evaluates the diamond’s small imperfections on the surface and internally. Diamonds with the least and smallest blemishes have the highest clarity grades. Most blemishes are unseen to the eye, so clarity is the least important factor to consider when buying a diamond.

4. Diamond Shapes and Metal

In addition to the 4Cs, pay attention to the diamond shape and the ring’s metal. There are different diamond shapes, including round, emerald, oval, cushion, and princess.  If you’d like the full list of diamond shapes, check out the Blue Nile website. Your girlfriend may also have a preference on the metal of the ring. Platinum, white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and silver are the typical metals you can choose from.

5. Shop Safe

Ask your friends and family for recommendations on a good jeweler. Find a jeweler that is safe and accredited by the Jewelers of America or is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).The GIA website has a retailer look-up tool where you can find safe and accredited jewelers in your area. Large chain stores, such as Shane Co., are also reliable, have additional perks such as free lifetime warranty, and offer a variety of ring and diamond styles.

6. Don’t Procrastinate

Don’t plan on going engagement ring shopping a week before your proposal date. Order the engagement ring at least 1-2 months before your proposal, since it usually takes 2-6 weeks for your ring to arrive or even longer if it’s custom designed.

7. Don’t Get Pressured

Be on the lookout for sales associates looking for a higher commission. If you get pressured to buy a ring, feel free to walk away and give yourself some time to think.

8. Save Big

Part of the 4Cs in a diamond, the color, clarity, and carat of the diamond are areas where you can save big. Get the lowest color diamond that will still look colorless to the naked eye (typically an I or J color will work good).

When it comes to clarity, buy a diamond that may have small scratches or blemishes on the inside that are not visible to the eye. There is a huge price difference between a flawless diamond and one that has a few blemishes that are not visible to the eye.

Another way you can save on a diamond without negotiating the size is getting as slightly smaller carat diamond.

To the eye, there is almost no difference between a 1.1 and 1.2 carat, but the cost difference is huge.