Engagement Ring Shopping? Here's Everything You Need to Know
So, you're ready to take the next step and purchase an engagement ring. Congratulations! For an engaged couple, buying an engagement ring and wedding band is an exciting time, one that should be cherished, not stressed over. With education, research, and help from the diamond experts at Agape Diamonds, you'll be able to find the perfect diamond engagement ring in no time. Whether you're planning to incorporate the element of surprise or shop with your fiancé, here's the ultimate guide to finding your dream ring.
Buying an Engagement Ring 101: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Right Engagement Ring
The process of buying an engagement ring is unique for every couple, but this guide can help you break it down into easy-to-follow steps.
Step 1: Set your budget.
Before you start shopping for jewelry, set a price range. If this is your first time shopping for a diamond engagement ring or a wedding ring, a diamond ring might seem like a big purchase. Having an honest conversation with your future fiancé is the best way to keep your expectations the same and decide how much money you're willing to spend.
The widely accepted rule is that an engagement ring should cost about the same as your three months' salary. Of course, you don't need to follow this rule, but it's good to know the expectation. Additionally, if a real diamond is a bit out of your price range, then you can look into other options such as synthetic diamonds, cubic zirconia, or even moissanite. All of these options offer beauty and brilliance comparable to that of a diamond at a far lower price.
Additionally, there are other precious and semi-precious jewels that make for adequate substitutes. Ruby, Emerald and sapphire make a bold statement and lend a personal touch to a beautiful engagement ring. At the end of the day, just be sure that the love of your life is okay with sacrificing tradition, as departing from the standard diamond is not to everyone's taste.
Step 2: Research the 4Cs.
Whether you plan to go with a larger diamond or smaller diamond, the 4 Cs will become your new best friend. Cut, color, clarity, and carat weight are the four general terms to classify a diamond ring. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the 4 Cs before you start shopping. If you haven't done your homework yet, here's a quick review of the 4 Cs:
Cut: The cut grade refers to the fluorescence, fire, and sparkle that refracts from within the diamond, which can only be achieved by faceting and polishing the stone. A well-cut diamond offers better sparkle and shine. If clarity isn't your top priority and you're interested in stretching your budget, a VS2 or SI1 diamond might be your best option.
Some popular cuts include the princess cut, emerald cut, marquise cut, pear shaped cut, cushion cut, round cut, oval cut, and asscher cut. Ask your jeweler to run through these varieties to figure out which stone shape is the perfect fit.
GIA (Gemological Institute of America) rates cut from poor, all the way up to ideal.
Color: Colorless diamonds, also known as white diamonds, lack any hue. Color is highly valued, meaning the less color a diamond has, the more valuable it is.
Clarity: Clarity refers to how clean or clear the stone is. In the diamond industry, the clarity of the stone can make a significant difference in its value. Nested under clarity are also a stone's inclusions, imperfections (a knot, for example) which occur inside of the gemstone.
Carat: Carat is the measure of how much a diamond weighs. Carat is also related to the size of the diamond. Depending on the shape and cut of the stone, two diamonds with the same carat weight can be different sizes.
When you start engagement ring shopping, the first step is let your jeweler know how much money you're willing to spend. This will help them guide you through your options when it comes to the four Cs. Whether you're shopping through an online store or local jeweler, you'll be asked if you have any personal preferences, such as a bigger diamond or more sparkle, to help you get a better deal for your budget.
The diamond experts at Agape Diamonds are well-versed in the four C's, and we'll take a buyer's budget, desired diamond shape, and personal style into account to help you find the perfect engagement ring. At Agape Diamonds, we take pride in our customer service, and we aim to exceed your expectations by helping you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Step 3: Decide on the diamond shape and type.
Every diamond engagement ring purchase is unique—whether your heart is set on a natural diamond or a lab diamond, it's important to do your homework on different types of diamonds. A simulant diamond is a man-made single crystal, which can be manufactured with different materials and designed to simulate the appearance, but not duplicate the characteristic properties of a natural gemstone.
Unlike simulants, lab-created diamonds, do duplicate the chemical properties of natural diamonds. According to Business Insider, lab-created diamonds offer various advantages over mined diamonds, including peace of mind, a lower price, and durability. However, it's important to keep in mind that your engagement ring should represent your unconditional love and commitment to your future wife. So, before purchasing your dream diamond, decide whether natural diamonds or man-made lab-created diamonds are right for your future fiancé.
If you're concerned about the look of your stone, another important thing to consider is that man-made lab-created diamonds resemble the same optical characteristics as natural diamonds to the naked eye and can be shaped into all of the same cuts and shapes. In addition, every lab-created gemstone purchase from Agape Diamonds comes with a third-party Certificate of Authenticity from GIA.
In most diamond experts' opinions, a lab diamond is a superior alternative to earth-mined diamonds. With the same clarity, cut, color, and carat size, you can purchase fine jewelry from Agape Diamonds for a fraction of the price. As a wholesale online retailer, Agape Diamonds makes it possible for you to buy a beautiful ring at lower prices than other major jewelry stores in the diamond industry, retailers such as James Allen and Blue Nile.
Step 4: Choose the ring size.
Before we tell you how to choose an engagement ring, you'll want to figure out what ring size your future spouse wears. The easiest way to determine your fiancé's ring size is to measure a ring they already own that they wear on their left-hand ring finger. (The right hand comes later!). Use the Agape Diamonds Ring Sizing Guide or bring one of their rings to a jeweler for help.
If you're planning a surprise proposal, get one of your fiancé's friends or family members to help. Ask them to take your significant other ring shopping ‘just for fun’ or ask their mother to see if her own ring fits on your future wife. Generally, you should go up in size if you're unsure, as it's easier to resize a ring smaller than it is to go larger. If you choose the wrong size, don't worry—Agape Diamonds offers free ring resizing on every type of ring, ensuring that the first ring is the right ring.
Step 5: Pick an engagement ring setting.
There are multiple important factors to consider when deciding on a ring setting, including the collection/type, color, type of precious metal, and the number of prongs. If you're not sure where to start, color is often the easiest to choose.
According to a recent engagement study, the most popular choice of metal in the United States is white gold, followed by rose gold, platinum, yellow gold, and sterling silver. Platinum and white gold engagement rings are the easiest to pair with other jewelry, while rose gold is perfect for the future wife with a bold personal style.
If you decide on a gold ring, including white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold engagement rings, you'll also need to pick between 14k and 18k gold. The difference is simple—14k gold contains less pure gold, is a bit harder, and costs less, while 18k contains more pure gold, is softer, and is typically more expensive.
There are four main engagement ring styles: classic, solitaire, halo, and vintage. Classic settings are ideal for a traditional engagement ring with a timeless style, while solitaire is a great choice for the future spouse who loves simplicity. The halo set is popular due to its row of accent diamonds that encircle the center stone, making your gemstone appear larger than it actually is. A vintage-style engagement ring tells a story of the past, making it the ideal style for a family heirloom.
Some other popular settings include the bezel setting, Tiffany, and pavé. You and your future spouse's style of engagement ring ultimately depends on personal preference and your partner's style.
Step 6: Pick the perfect diamond.
If you're searching for a loose diamond for an engagement ring setting, keep in mind that the shape of the diamond will be more limited because some ring settings can only fit certain diamond shapes. As one of the most popular choices, round diamonds can fit almost any setting.
Agape's lab-grown diamonds offer a high degree of flexibility. Using Chemical vapor deposition (CVD), our diamonds are grown from a diamond seed, using a lab that mimics the natural high temperature, high pressure processes that occur deep in the earth. The physical properties of these diamonds are identical to earth-mined diamonds but come at a better price point. These are a good deal for those looking for a custom engagement ring or other diamond jewelry. Additionally, each of our stone engagement rings comes with a GIA certificate, ensuring its quality and authenticity.
Pro tip: If your heart is set on a unique diamond shape such as a cushion cut or rectangular shape, it's a good idea to shop for the perfect loose diamond before committing to a ring setting. Next, narrow your search to only look at settings that can accommodate your preferred diamond shape.
If you have any questions about different shapes or choosing the perfect center stone, the diamond experts at Agape Diamonds can help you choose a flawless diamond that matches your personal style.
How much should you spend on a diamond engagement ring?
Although some people have strong opinions on the three month's salary rule, your price range shouldn't be decided by anyone except you and your future spouse. As previously mentioned, it's important to have an honest conversation about diamond prices with your future spouse. Decide on a price range based on your financial situation and personal preference rather than the average engagement ring cost.
What makes Agape diamonds an ethical choice?
If you've ever heard the term blood diamond, then you're likely familiar with the violence and turbulence that diamonds have been a part of. Without sacrificing the quality of the diamond, Agape offers a wide array of diamond simulants, lab grown diamonds, and ethically sourced diamonds, all of which include a certificate from GIA, ensuring that your stone ring is conflict-free. Additionally, we offer the best price when compared to retailers such as Blue Nile.
What separates Agape from other jewelry stores?
While there are plenty of places to purchase unique rings in the United States, Agape gives buyers the experience of a local store. When compared to James Allen and Blue Nile, jewelry industry experts routinely recognize Agape as one of the best places to get a great deal on diamond simulants, and stones not harvested from diamond mines.
How can you choose the perfect ring?
With a variety of metals, diamond shapes, and cuts available, picking the perfect ring can be a daunting task. One of the first things to do is choose whether to buy your ring from an online jeweler or local jeweler. If you're not sure what ring setting or precious stone to choose, turn to your partner's closest friends and family members for help.
If you're shopping for your ring and struggling to choose your favorite kind of jewelry, consider trying a few different ring styles or ordering a custom piece. Figure out if you want a classic look, a bigger stone, an antique ring, or a unique style that's all your own. Trying a different kind of ring can help you narrow down your search and choose one based on how it looks on your right hand.
Ultimately, the important thing to remember is that choosing an engagement ring shouldn't be stressful. Take your time, follow our guide, and have fun shopping for the perfect ring. You and your groom have a honeymoon to plan! Just as every love story is different, so is every ring. A good jeweler will help make sure that the shopping process is equally enjoyable.
If all else fails, Agape Diamonds offers a generous No Questions Asked 30-day free return policy, in addition to free shipping.