Getting ready to get on one knee? Good for you! Finding someone you want to spend the rest of your life with is the hard part, even though the whole proposal and shopping for engagement rings thing seems a bit daunting. The reality is that you’re going to want to dazzle your spouse-to-be with a ring that honors your relationship — and your partner’s preferences — without spending too much time or money during the process. It’s a tough task, but not impossible, especially when you follow this guide. Ideally, you’ll only have to do it once in your lifetime, so you want to get it right!
• Decide Who Will Pick It Out — The first thing you want to do when shopping for an engagement ring is decide how traditional or nontraditional you want to go with the selection process. The reality is that engagement rings are expensive — one of the most expensive things you might buy in your lifetime — so you want to make sure your partner loves their ring enough to wear it every day, which may mean involving them in the decision. And that’s OK! About 42 percent of grooms say the bride influenced which engagement ring they purchased. Still, there’s something special about a surprise, and if your partner doesn’t mind you making the decision, it might be a good idea.
• Figure Out What Your Partner Wants — Regardless of if you plan to pick out the ring entirely on your own or if you envision a more collaborative process, you’ll want to spend some time figuring out what your partner envisions in a ring. However, rather than just outright asking, you can do a bit of sleuthing to get a general idea before you start shopping. We’ve listed some of the most important details — and how to get info without outright asking — below.
♦ What stone shape do they prefer? The diamond is quite literally the crown jewel of the ring, so it’s a good place to start. Semi-mount ring settings are a great choice if you can’t figure this out. They’re gorgeous rings without the center stone, which you can add after you propose.
♦ Does it have to be a diamond? A diamond is forever, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only precious gem to consider for the engagement ring! Your future spouse might like something more colorful — say a ruby, emerald or sapphire — rather than a diamond. They may also prefer alternative or lab-made diamonds, which are much less expensive.
♦ What metal does she prefer? Many people prefer white gold, yellow gold, platinum or another material because it looks best with their skin tone or doesn’t cause an allergic reaction. Take a peek at your partner’s jewelry box to see what kind of metal they prefer.
♦ What style does she prefer? This is the most important question of all! Does your partner prefer a classic solitaire with a single show-stopping rock or a trendy halo ring with plenty of dazzling mini stones? Are they all about the chunky dazzle or delicate and icy?
• Set a Budget — Now that you have some idea of what your partner envisions in the perfect ring, it’s time to start pricing it out. Of course, things like the size of the stone and the base material will greatly influence how much money you will need to stash away for the ring. However, while the national average cost of an engagement ring is about $5,500, plenty of people spend significantly more and significantly less. Browse diamond engagement ring settings online to get an idea of how much the ring portion will cost. You’ll then want to stop by your local jeweler to get an idea of the cost of the center stone.
• Browse Online — Just like with any big purchase, you will want to shop around online before hitting the jewelry store in-person. This will help you visualize the various options and narrow down the ones that you think suit you and celebrate your unique love story. Create folders on Instagram, Pinterest and elsewhere with some ideas of what you think they will like. Make sure to mark them as private so your spouse-to-be doesn’t see them or ruin the surprise.
• Visit the Jewelry Store — You’ve done your due diligence, and now it’s time to get in touch with the professionals. Nobody will be able to help you score the ring of your dreams like a jeweler. They will have access to thousands of unique settings and stones so you can create something that’s perfect and perfectly one-of-a-kind. Where possible, support your local family jeweler, as they will be able to provide you with something more original and they often have more wiggle room in terms of pricing. You’re also more likely to get a personalized experience with family-owned jewelry stores.
• Get Your Partner’s Ring Size — Before you pull the trigger, try to get your partner’s ring size in a sneaky enough way that they don’t even notice. A great and simple way to do this is to borrow one of her most-worn rings from her jewelry box and either bring it into the jeweler or trace it with a pencil and a piece of paper for them to reference. Don’t go too far to obtain this information, as you can — and, for the best fit, should — have the ring professionally sized after the proposal. Your jeweler will know to have the ring sized larger so it can be sized down to fit later.
Now Go Buy the Ring!
Although it seems rather complicated, shopping for an engagement ring is surprisingly straightforward once you know exactly where and how to look. With the help of a few online resources and your local jeweler, there’s no reason why you won’t nail the ring-shopping process and, in turn, the proposal! Use these tips and you’re sure to get it right the first time.
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