If you’re ready to pop the question to your partner and you need the right ring to go along with it, you’re in the perfect place! We’ve put together the ultimate guide for buying an engagement ring.
How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
It was once said you should spend two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring. This idea came from a marketing ploy back in the 1980s, but that’s been thrown out the window in today’s modern age.
Ultimately, stick only to what you’re comfortable spending.
If you’re shopping for an engagement ring online, you can set filters so you know you won’t go over your anticipated budget on the new rock.
How do I know what size engagement ring to buy?
While it’s helpful to know her ring size beforehand, it’s not always a deal breaker!
But there are ways to figure out her ring size instead of just hoping for the best.
- Ask her:
If you’re not set on a surprise proposal, you can ask her about her ring size. If she doesn’t know, she can visit a jeweller, and they will size her finger.
- Ask her friends:
If her friends don’t know it, they can be the ones to nonchalantly ask her about it.
- Take one of her rings into a jeweller:
You can take one of her rings into a jeweller, and they can tell you the size of it.
What are the most popular engagement ring styles?
You can completely customise an engagement ring to perfectly suit your bride-to-be.
The setting on a ring holds the diamond or gemstone in place. And while there are tonnes of options you can choose from, here are the top four most popular engagement ring settings.
The solitaire setting is a sleek style that consists of four or six prongs extending over the gemstone. This secures the stone in place while allowing light to hit it (making it extra dazzling).
A pavé setting has smaller stones along the band, creating more sparkle. The pavé setting gives the illusion that your gemstone is larger, which means you can save some money by buying a smaller stone.
The halo setting is a circle of smaller stones that surround the main gemstone. The biggest benefit to a halo setting is that it accentuates the main gemstone well and makes the ring look larger than it actually is.
A channel setting also has smaller stones that accentuate the main stone. These smaller stones are set in a “channel” of two bands of metal.
Although they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, it’s debatable whether it’s still true.
Alternative gemstones are becoming more popular for engagement rings. If you have an anything-but-basic bride-to-be, chances are she might like a ring with a colored gem like a sapphire or an aquamarine.
If you know she wants the look of a diamond but it’s out of your budget, a gemstone like moissanite is a perfect alternative. It’ll give you the same colour without the hit-you-over-the-head price point.
Typically what you think of when you think of an engagement ring, diamonds are the most popular choice when it comes to the centre stone. They are the most durable and stand up to everyday wear and tear.
Moissanites are almost identical to diamonds, but without the steep price tag (which means you get more bling for your buck).
These stones look stunning on their own in a solitaire setting, or they look dazzling with accent stones such as in a halo or pavé setting.
Although they’re usually thought of as royal blue, sapphires actually come in a range of colors such as pink and white.
Another hardy stone, sapphires hold up to the normal wear and tear required of an everyday engagement ring.
Aquamarine gems are beautiful pale blue stones that look gorgeous in a variety of ring settings.
If you’re considering an aquamarine gem, consider a white gold band, as their cool undertones pair well together.
The cut is the shape the gemstone is cut into. There are plenty of options to choose from, but these are the most popular:
The classic round cut is the most sought after. A round cut maximises the sparkle of a beautiful stone.
It’s also one of the most versatile cuts you can purchase, too. If you know the setting you’re going for, but you’re not sure on the cut, you can’t go wrong with a classic round.
Another popular style, this cut brings a modern flair to an engagement ring. With square sides, the princess cut adds brilliance to any ring style.
If you’re looking for something more subtle with a classic feel, consider the emerald cut. With rectangular sides and cropped corners, this ring doesn’t bring as much bling and is perfect for the modest bride-to-be.
The oval is an oblong cut that can display the same amount of sparkle as a round cut. It can help elongate fingers, and make them look more slender, too – hello, engagement ring selfie!
With pointed ends and a bowed middle, the marquise cut is clearly meant for the unique bride who doesn’t stick to trends. Its long silhouette gives the illusion that the stone is of greater size, and it elongates the finger.
With a sharp point on the top and a soft oval shape on the bottom, the pear cut is perfect for a vintage-inspired bride-to-be.
Just like your comfiest pillow, this cut is known for its square body with rounded corners. The shape of the stone means a cushion cut engagement ring is sure to be a sparkler.
With the cut, stone type, and setting out of the way, there’s only one choice left – the metal of the band!
Gold is one of the most popular options for jewellery due to its range of colours and versatility.
To learn more about different gold options, have a read through our ring buying guide.
Platinum is a rare, naturally white metal that is strong and durable and showcases the sparkle of an engagement ring’s stone beautifully.
How do I know what style of engagement ring she will like?
How do you take on such a daunting task of buying an engagement ring if your partner wants it to be a surprise?
Here are just a few recommendations that match an engagement ring style to her personality.
Classic, timeless, traditional
You can’t go wrong with a solitaire setting and a round cut stone. A setting and cut that doesn’t take away from the dazzle of her new rock will definitely be a hit.
If you know she’ll want a touch more sparkle, a halo or pavé setting is a great match, too.
A cut like the marquise or pear shape is perfect for the vintage-inspired, especially paired with intricate details like a pavé setting.
Modern, glamorous, stylish
The more modern styles like princess or cushion cut with a gorgeous halo or pavé setting are showstoppers, perfect for the modern and stylish personality.
Subtle, laid-back, minimalist
An emerald cut is an excellent choice for those who are laid-back and minimalist, as it doesn’t bring as much sparkle to the stone.
What do I need to look for when I’m buying an engagement ring?
Now that you’ve decided on an engagement ring style that matches her personality, it’s time to actually buy it!
So what are you supposed to look for? The 4 Cs, which stand for cut, clarity, colour, and carat, is a grading system every jeweller uses when looking at a stone.
Here, the cut refers to the quality of the stone’s cut rather than the shape. The sparkle and shine of a stone is measured only by the cut.
Cut is graded from “Excellent” to “Poor.” Since it doesn’t normally raise the price, jewellers suggest sticking to the “Excellent” and “Very Good” range.
Colour refers to the hue of your stone. For diamonds, colour is graded on a scale of D-Z, from completely colourless to a light yellow hue.
Depending on the cut you choose (we recommend choosing that first!), you can get away with a stone that isn’t as bright or has a slight off-colour to it. With the right cut, you won’t be able to tell the difference!
Contrary to popular belief, carat is not how big a stone is, but how much it weighs. One carat weighs about 0.2 grams, or roughly the weight of a paperclip.
To see a chart on carats, read our guide to buying rings.
Clarity describes the number of natural imperfections (called inclusions) in a stone and whether you can see them with the naked eye.
Diamonds and other precious stones are graded on a scale from Flawless (FL) to Included (I). A flawless diamond has no obvious imperfections with a 10x magnifier.
Certain cuts, like the emerald, will need a stone with fewer inclusions to give it the same amount of sparkle, while other cuts, like a round cut, can get by with more inclusions and still have the same brilliance as a flawless stone.
Should I get engagement ring insurance?
If the idea of your newly purchased engagement ring getting stolen or lost down the drain feels like a punch in the gut, consider insuring your ring.
Engagement ring insurance covers you financially in the event the ring is stolen, lost, or damaged. Usually, engagement ring insurance policies cost between 1% and 3% of the ring’s value.
While engagement ring insurance doesn’t bring back the original ring, it will soften the blow if it gets lost at the gym or is somehow damaged.
Now with your newfound knowledge (and confidence!), you’re ready to get to buying that perfect engagement ring! Shop engagement rings at Littlewoods Ireland!