Unlike the flowers, the cake or the bride and groom’s limo ride, the engagement ring is one of the few wedding-related items that’s going to be with you a very long time. That means it has long-term investment value. It also means you want to choose a ring that’s top quality, in good taste and, above all else, that she absolutely loves. This guide was designed to help you do just that.
Not only can this guide help men choose the ideal engagement ring, but it can be useful for fellows who want to surprise their long-term spouses with a special anniversary gift. You’ll find a rundown on all details you need to know for purchasing the ideal ring, along with strategic tips that help you keep the purchase a secret.
Key Things to Remember
While you have multiple choices when it comes to gemstones, diamonds are by far the most popular and cherished stones used in engagement rings. Invest in a quality diamond and you’re investing in a valuable stone that dazzles her in the present while it promises to endure for future generations.
Before you jump into that investment, however, keep a few key things in mind:
- Diamond value is determined by the 4 Cs: cut, carat, color and clarity
- The setting protects the gemstone while giving the ring its personality and sense of style
- Selecting a ring that meshes with your beloved’s style shows you really know her – while helping to ensure she’ll be delighted to wear it
About the Ring
Despite the dozens of details surrounding the purchase of an engagement ring, the ring itself is pretty simple. It’s made up of two components:
- The stone
- The setting
The center stone is the focal point of the ring, accounting for a large portion of the ring’s overall cost. The setting refers to the precious metal around the stone that holds it in place.
About the Diamond
The value of diamonds is determined by reviewing the 4 Cs.
- Cut: While many automatically think of a diamond’s shape when referring to the cut, the cut is actually about how well the diamond’s facets, or faces, are able to interact with light to produce an intense sparkle.
- Carat: Carats refer to the weight of the diamond, with a metric carat weighing 200 milligrams.
- Color: The most precious diamonds are actually lacking in color, with overall quality reduced by increasing amounts of color in the stone.
- Clarity: Clarity refers to the absence of external flaws known as blemishes and internal flaws called inclusions.
Like the setting, the shape of the gemstone plays a role in the overall style and personality of the ring. Shapes range from classic to modern, and diamonds generally present you with six basic options from which to choose.
- Round: Simple, elegant and an eternal classic, round diamonds are a highly popular choice that can align with a variety of styles and personalities.
- Princess: The princess shape is square. While it still meshes well with a variety of styles and personalities, it has a slightly edgier feel than a standard round shape.
- Oval: Oval shapes are considered fancier than round shapes; they also take more time and effort to cut. Like the princess, the oval can work well for giving a slightly modern edge.
- Emerald: Emerald shapes consist of rectangular gem with the corners cut off. Bold and distinctive, emerald shapes are good at making a can’t-miss statement.
- Marquise: Long and lean, marquise shaped gems are feature thin, elongated stones that come to a point at either end. The sides are gently curved, and the overall effect can be striking.
- Pear: Pear shaped diamonds have a fatter, fuller base that tapers up into a point at the top. This teardrop shape has an underlying classic vibe with a bit of unique flair.
The setting is where protection and another layer of style get added to the ring. Solitaire settings feature a single center gemstone or diamond. The center stone can be surrounded by smaller side stones, or it can remain as the ring’s only gemstone.
Four basic setting styles can be used to hold the main gemstone in place.
- Prong: Prong settings feature very small wires that hold the main stone in place, allowing the full brilliance of the gemstone to be admired from every angle. This classic style has a wide appeal for a variety of personalities.
- Cathedral: Also called the contour setting, the cathedral setting has a rising slope on either side of the gemstone, offering a protective barrier on two of the sides. Cathedral settings fall into the traditional category, serving up an elegant and timeless vibe.
- Bezel: Bezel settings surround the entire gemstone with a protective frame of precious metal. As one of the most secure settings, it’s also one of the most modern, ideal for women with active lifestyles.
- Tension: Tension settings place the gemstone between thousands of pounds of pressure that hold it in place. The stone appears to be floating, providing a unique and bold look.
- Side Stone Settings
If you’re considering a ring that features a main diamond surrounded by side stones, you also get to choose from a variety of side stone settings. Side stones are found around the band, where they can enhance the vibrancy of the ring without distracting from the beauty of the main attraction.
Four basic side stone settings are typically at your service.
- Bar: This setting features thin metal bars between each of the side stones, a configuration that holds them secure while still allowing light to pass through. This traditional setting gives off a classic vibe.
- Channel: The channel setting places the side stones in a channel of sorts, with the stones nestled between two parallel strips of precious metal. Understated and gorgeous, this setting can work well for women who appreciate subtle beauty.
- Flush: Small stones surrounding the main gemstone are secured inside tiny holes. Simple yet eye-catching, flush settings often appeal to those who enjoy a no-nonsense, authentic style.
- Pave: Each side stone is held in place in its own individual setting featuring tiny metal beads. This setting is usually a big hit with women drawn to vintage and antique styles.
Choose a Finish
The finish refers to the overall sheen of the precious metal used in the band. Choosing a finish that matches the personality of the ring and your beloved gives you one more way to customize her engagement ring. Rings generally feature one of three different finishes.
- Polished: Shiny and glossy, polished finishes emit a sparkling glow that generously refracts the light. Polished finishes can be an ideal choice for the bolder, high-impact rings.
- Matte: Smooth yet gently brushed, matte finishes are still alluring but far less shiny than their polished counterparts. Matte finishes generally work well for less showy styles.
- Satin: Satin finishes feature an even finer texture than the matte finish, giving it a softer and gentler overall look. Satin finishes can add the perfect touch to delicate and understated rings.
Regardless of the finish or the precious metal you choose, keep in mind that all precious metals are prone to scratching sooner or later. Repeated wear will also build up a patina on the ring, which is a soft finish that develops over time.
Jewelers can usually minimize scratches while restoring the ring to its original shine, along with making any other adjustments or repairs required over the life of the ring.
What Women Want
Now that you have the rundown on the different shapes, setting and finishes available, as well as insight on the most important key points, you’re ready to put it all together to select the perfect ring. Or at least you’re almost ready.
Reviewing a few more details will help ensure you pick a ring that best matches your beloved’s style, personality and desires. The easiest way to ensure you’re getting your future fiancée what she wants is to straight-up ask her. But that tends to put a damper on the surprise. You can instead check out a few tips that will arm you with essential information without revealing your intentions.
Select the Metal
White gold is generally the most popular choice for all women across the board, with platinum taking second place. Both metals are ideal for showing off the brilliance of the diamond without giving off any hint of color as yellow gold tends to do.
Know her Ring Size
If a family member or friend can pull it off discreetly, they can always ask for her ring size. Otherwise, you can borrow one of her rings to have it sized, trace its outline on a piece of paper, or put it on your own finger and mark where it sits. Bring the info to a jeweler who can take it from there.
Talk to Friends and Family
If you think asking her friends or family members about rings is too obvious, you can ask questions about her general taste in jewelry. They may not only fill you in on her favorite pieces but also offer suggestions.
Watch for Hints
Your beloved may be dropping hints just for you, such as admiring someone’s ring while you’re in earshot, leaving magazines with jewelry photos where you can find them, or even bringing your attention to a specific ring in some roundabout way.
Consider Her Style
Here you can assess a range of information, such as:
- Is your beloved drawn to lace, frills and girly details, or is she more of a tough, outdoorsy type?
- Would you consider her more traditional and classic or modern and edgy?
- How would you classify her clothing style? Is it bohemian? Cutting-edge? Sporty? Ultra-feminine? No-nonsense business?
- What’s her existing jewelry like? Bold or subtle? Sparkly or streamlined? Shiny or vintage?
Compile a style profile and bring it to the jeweler, who can then use it to help you select a ring that fits right in.
The engagement ring is the big first step, but it’s not the only step when it comes to ring decisions. You can save yourself hassle down the road if you start thinking about the wedding band at least six months in advance.
Your wedding bands should match your individual tastes, and plenty of options help you customize the bands to your liking.
Profiles: The band profile can either be flat or round. A flat profile features a flattened interior and exterior, while a round profile features a slightly raised, domed appearance on the exterior.
Band Width: Standard band widths range from 2 millimeters to 6 millimeters, although thicker widths can be ordered. Wider rings more easily allow for embedded stones and other embellishments.
Finishes: You already met three finishes used on engagement rings, and wedding bands have several other options.
- Polished: High-shine surface
- Matte: Brushed, smooth surface
- Satin: Brushed, finely textured surface
- Stone: Coarsely brushed surface with slightly rugged look
- Hammer: Textured surface created by round end of ball peen hammer
- Cross Peine: Engraved surface with lines running around, across or diagonally along the band
Little Details: Your wedding bands can also be embellished with details that include a weave, beveled edge or diamonds.
- Weave: Raised design that gives the appearance of woven metal strands
- Beveled Edge: Angled edge that can feature a complementary or contrasting finish
- Diamonds: Diamonds can be set in the wedding band a number of ways. Two of the most common are the flush setting, where diamonds are sunk into the band, and the channel setting, which features a row of diamonds without any metal bars between or among them.
One more item to note is the overall impact her new engagement ring or anniversary gift will have. The investment you make today is going to reflect the time, effort, thought and care that went into choosing the perfect option just for her. This guide gives you a great place to start, and your favorite jeweler’s is the ultimate place to take the decision to the finish. For more information about your wedding and engagement rings visit https://www.jewelerstradeshop.com/