When it comes to engagement rings, you just want something big and sparkly, right? Wrong! There is a lot to consider when choosing your engagement ring. We wrote about how to get your significant other to choose the right ring for you, but now it's time for you to decide what ring is right for you. But let's be real here -- you are going to have to be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your engagement ring. It's going to be almost (never say never) statistically impossible to find a flawless 3-carat diamond for less than $10 grand. Additionally, pricing for diamonds is never as consistent as pricing for, say, gas, so costs are going to fluctuate depending on where and what you decide to buy. The easiest way to determine the price of the ring you're going to buy is to determine your budget. Go as high as you can realistically convince yourself to go on your budget, and then stick to your hard limit when negotiating with jewelers. Waver only if you find the "perfect" ring and can afford it.
Now that you've established your budget, you are ready to look at some diamonds! To do this, we're going to go over the 4 Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat.
The cut of a diamond refers to the shape of the diamond and the number of facets. Facets are cut into the diamond to achieve the highest brilliance, so as much light as possible is reflected out of the top of the diamond. Some of the most popular cuts:
Four Seasons Magazine | Round-cut diamond
Jewels by Erica Grace | Pear-shaped diamond
Wedding bee | Heart-shaped diamond
StyleWatch | Blake Lively's oval-shaped diamond
Erstwhile Jewelry Co. | Marquise-shaped diamond
Style Me Pretty | Emerald-cut diamond
MCD Diamonds | Blue diamond
PriceScope | Yellow diamond
Ruffled | Purple diamond
Diamonds are often formed with slight imperfections known as "inclusions." A diamond's clarity is determined by the number, size, type and placement of the inclusions. The clarity scale ranges from flawless to obvious inclusions.
I think it's safe to say we all know what this one means - how big that rock is!
I recommend actually trying the ring to figure out not only what size looks best, but also what shape looks best on your finger. Sometime's bigger isn't better! It's really up to the wearer.
Now where can you buy one of these fabulously glorious doo-hickeys?
Well, there's the jewelry industry has a pretty extensive and lucrative history, which means that with some research and shopping around, you should be able to find a trustworthy and competent jeweler. Now where to start? That's where this list comes in:
- Chain Jewelry Stores: These jewelers are the big, BIG ones. Tiffany & Co., Zales, Jared, Kay Jewelers and the list goes on. These stores are VERY unlikely to cheat you in terms of the quality of the stone, but these stores might also mark or not mark up the prices of the rings depending on the brand recognition of the store.
- Local Jewelers: These are the smaller brick-and-mortar jewelry stores available. You've probably driven by one many times, and now it's time to pop in and shop around. Typically, local jewelers can either be very good at their trade and customer service or they can try to rip you off. One time, a jeweler had apparently tricked a customer into buying a moissanite stone and passed it off as a ridiculously cheap 2 carat diamond. Soooo, be sure to really ask around for the reputation of the jeweler. Have your friends recommend you some of their local favorites, and having a small local jeweler will be advantageous in the long run because you can establish a long-standing trustworthy relationship with them.
- Online Jewelers: Bluenile.com is a VERY, VERY popular choice, as it has several features on its website that will educate you on what sort of diamond is best for your money. Additionally, Amazon is a popular option for wedding rings that won't break the bank. If you're going to buy online, I would highly suggest that you buy from a large e-tailer -- that way, you won't trust anyone potentially shady with your credit card number and large e-tailers tend to place a higher emphasis on customer service to retain customer loyalty and good reviews. Bad news is that there really isn't a substitute for actually seeing the diamond in person. That's why it's crucial that you read the reviews thoroughly before making an educated purchase.
In case you're dying to try on some rings - virtually - check out this cool app that lets you try on wedding rings. Look where technology has taken us!
CREATE A FREE APP FOR YOUR WEDDING!