» How to Choose an Engagement Ring

How to Choose an Engagement Ring

How to Choose an Engagement Ring

The above engagement rings are from Carl Blackburn’s previous engagement ring collections. To order a custom-made engagement ring from Carl Blackburn in San Diego or nationwide, please contact us today for a free consultation.

How to Choose an Engagement Ring She’ll Treasure Forever

Choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting task, and many times, it’s a man’s first foray into a jewelry store. While a degree in metallurgy and a deep knowledge of diamonds isn’t required, there are a few things to be aware of before buying the most important ring you will ever purchase.

Shop for the Engagement Ring Yourself

Some contemporary couples shop for engagement rings together, but where’s the romance in that? This is the one chance you’ll have to completely surprise your bride-to-be with your romantic thoughtfulness, so the best option is to do some homework and pick the ring out yourself.

The first thing you’ll need to know is her ring size. You certainly don’t want a poorly sized engagement ring ruining that special moment. You can ‘borrow’ a ring from her jewelry box and have a jeweler measure it, or you can make a pencil outline of the inside of a ring.

While you’re sneaking a look in her jewelry box, see what kind of style she prefers. Does she wear gold or silver? What kind of stones does she prefer, and what shapes? Is her style plain and simple or elegant and flashy? If you can trust her friends to keep a secret, ask them for input. They might even know what specific kind of engagement ring she might prefer.

Choosing The Engagement Ring Band

Engagement rings are generally made from one of three types of precious metal: yellow gold, white gold, and platinum. Yellow gold is the most popular. Available in 14 and 18 karats, these rings can show scratches, but repair easily.

White gold is silver-like in appearance, and easily matches most other jewelry. The plating on white gold can wear, and may eventually need to be re-plated. Platinum is silvery in appearance, very hard, and resists tarnishing. It is also the most expensive, and difficult to repair if damaged.

How to Choose the Engagement Ring Setting

Settings are simply how the stone is attached to the ring, and include many styles. Again, allow your knowledge of her style to inform you decision. Also be aware of current and past engagement ring trends–understanding the difference between what is trendy (and will fall out of fashion) and styles that always remain a classic.

For example, in 2015, engagement ring designers such as Carl Blackburn are harkening back to the past with naturalist motifs and regal European touches that are truly timeless and never go out of style.

Also be sure to listen to your fine jeweler. The right combination of the stone’s shape and the setting are vital to the overall impression the ring will make.

Choosing the Diamond for Her Engagement Ring

Though other stones are used occasionally for engagement rings, the traditional diamond is by far the most popular. When choosing the diamond, shape should be the first consideration. Hopefully your jewelry reconnaissance has given you a clue about what shape she would prefer, but traditional round and princess shapes are always safe options.

The four Cs are where your real education about diamonds begins: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

The cut has the greatest influence on the overall beauty of the diamond. A diamond cut with the right proportions reflects light back up through the top of the stone, what we generally refer to as sparkle.

Round diamonds are graded by independent laboratories, but in other shapes the cut grade is more subjective. Choosing a high cut grade maximizes the beauty of a diamond for a given carat weight in your engagement ring.

Color doesn’t refer to a whether a diamond is pink or black, but rather the color of a white diamond, from colorless to yellow. The clearest diamonds are rated D, E, or F, with the next tier being G, H, I, and J, all the way down to Z. Typical color grades for engagement rings are F-H.

Clarity refers to a stone’s “inclusions,” or imperfections from internal mineral deposits or slight fractures. Many inclusions can’t be seen with the naked eye, so a flawless diamond won’t look that much better to the untrained eye than one with some inclusions.

Clarity ratings range from F, for flawless, to I3, for the most inclusions. Diamonds with slight inclusions, rated SI1 and SI2, are used in many engagement rings. They are not nearly as expensive as flawless diamonds, and will still sparkle brilliantly.

Carat is simply the weight of the stone, and heavier stones carry heavier price tags. Certain shapes, like marquise or pear, can appear bigger than round diamonds as more of the stone typically sits above the setting of your engagement ring.

The Engagement Ring Price Tag

The old standard budget for an engagement ring, “two to three months salary,” is an outdated myth popularized by diamond giant De Beers 35 years ago. Buying an engagement ring is a huge emotional purchase, but there are financial considerations.

There’s always a tradeoff between size and quality with diamonds. You can afford a bigger stone, but you’ll sacrifice on the quality. Since ‘sparkle’ is what we see, color is thought to be the most forgiving quality. Color grades of G-I have little or no color to the unaided eye.

Another money saving tip is to buy just under the ‘landmark’ weights of half carat and full carat. A diamond of 0.95 carat weight can cost up to 20 percent less than a full carat stone.

The best ‘rule of thumb’ is to buy the nicest ring you can afford without breaking the bank. Set a realistic budget and stick to it.

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