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Engagement ring 101 - Everything you ever wanted to know about buying an engagement ring

Contrary to popular belief, there is no right or wrong to go about any of this. Finding an engagement ring can be daunting for many customers—not only because it both signifies and is often the first step of a very important life decision, but  because the process of shopping for a ring can seem intimidating. We want to help make it as stress-free for you as possible.

Here are a few guidelines from “the experts”

The typical representation of a proposal is the asker down on one knee, ring box in hand. Is this how you always dreamed of asking someone to marry you? Do you think your partner wants or expects that? It’s arguably the most important question that you’ll ever ask someone, so don’t be afraid to make the moment your own. If it works for you and your beloved, then by all means propose on a baseball scoreboard, in front of the Taj Mahal, while riding a tandem bike with a diamond ring nestled inside a corn dog, etc., but don’t feel pressured to make it extravagant or excessively clever. It just needs to be sincere and reflect your relationship.  It should be something a little special, but popping the question will be plenty memorable without piling on lots of grandeur.

With that in mind, you should also think about whether you want to propose with a ring or shop together. (Yes, people can be engaged without a ring!) There are pros and cons either way. On one hand, there’s the romance and the element of surprise with presenting a ring; but with that comes a certain amount of guesswork, and that can sometimes bring about pressure and anxiety. Whereas if you choose the ring together, it may take a little spontaneity out of it, but it can also be less stressful AND you can be absolutely sure that s/he got their perfect ring.

Some people still want to put something on their betrothed’s finger, so they might use a stand-in ring for the proposal. It could be something playful like a ring out of a gumball machine, or a family heirloom, or a ring purchased at a store that can serve as a placeholder. (That’s where we come in!)  You can buy anything on display and use it to get engaged with. Most people wind up keeping the original ring, but this way you have the option of making an exchange.

If you have something special ordered, you can customize all the details:  Metal color, finish, stone shape/size, etc., but then it’s final sale.

So, if you ARE going to propose with a custom made ring, here are a few things to consider. Would s/he prefer yellow gold or white/platinum? Would s/he want a diamond or a gemstone? A solitaire, a band with diamonds/gemstones, or no stones at all? If s/he has requested “no diamonds”, is it based on aesthetics, ethics, or both? Does that literally mean no sparkle on the ring, or just not a stereotypical flashy rock?  As you can see from our website, we have a large range of styles—everything from very traditional engagement rings to very unconventional ones and we can provide a lab grown diamond for your setting. 

Another important detail to consider is your budget. “Two months’ salary” is by no means a hard-and-fast rule—in fact, it’s merely a very effective advertising slogan—but there are necessary factors that go into pricing. These include the cost of gold or platinum, size & quality of stones, and craftsmanship. Because our rings are handcrafted, they are a bit more expensive than ones manufactured in China. We try our best to offer a little something for everyone. We’re not selling rings for their prestige value; we’re trying to accommodate a wide range of tastes, and lots of customers shop here because they’re looking for something unusual. If you’re shopping within a budget (like most people), we will work with you to find a beautiful ring that your partner will love. We have all sorts of clever ways to get you the ring you want, for what you can spend. For example we are partnered with The Diamond Foundry, a company that makes lab grown diamonds in California. These stones are 30-40% less expensive than traditional diamonds.  That being said, a large, high-quality mined diamond will be pricey no matter where you go, because that is a comodity that is controlled by outside forces. 

It can be hard to guess to get a sense of your partner’s taste if s/he doesn’t wear rings or jewelry. It can also complicate things when people might like very basic day-to-day jewelry, but see themselves in something more fancy or traditional for an engagement ring. I would say that if you have "no" idea, then it’s a safer bet to start with something simple. We encourage you to at least go out on a recon mission with your partner. Many of our couples will come in initally together, to look try on samples and get a feel for what s/he would like to wear. After the initial visit, the rest of the process is completed by the proposer. 

If you need clues about the style, you can always bring his/her friends or relatives on board. They may have a sense of what s/he might like. Ultimately, though, it should give you peace of mind to know that the ring is an accessory to the proposal itself.  Most people are blown away in the moment, and will love the ring because they love you, and you took the trouble of picking it out for them.