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Buying An Engagement Ring? Expert Answers to Your Most Popular Questions

Written by Anna Currell
September 28, 2023

Planning to pop the question? Congratulations! Getting engaged is an exciting time, but picking out the perfect ring can feel overwhelming. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about buying an engagement ring, so you end up with a piece of jewelry your partner will treasure forever.

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How Much Money Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

How much to spend when buying an engagement ring is one of the most common questions for soon-to-be-engaged couples. You might have heard that the standard is to spend the equivalent of two months' salary, but that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. The average cost of an engagement ring in the United States is around $5,500. But a ring can range from a few hundred dollars to well over $10,000 depending on the metals and stones included in its design. Establish how much money you can comfortably afford to spend, and make the decision with your partner if your finances are shared and you plan to buy the ring together. 

How Do I Find My Partner’s Ring Size?

Finding your partner's exact ring size is an important part of picking out a piece they'll be excited to wear every day. If you want the engagement to be a total surprise, borrow one of your partner’s rings and have a professional jeweler determine its size. You can also casually ask what size they wear, but you might prefer to enlist a close friend or family member to find out so your partner doesn’t get suspicious.

What Gemstone Shape Should I Look for?

The most popular gemstone shape is round: 75% of diamonds sold are round. Round cut diamonds reflect light well because they have a lot of facets and a large surface area. But other shapes, like princess, cushion, oval, pear, and emerald cut diamonds, all have their own unique appeal. Consider your partner's style — if they tend toward classic and elegant, a round or princess cut may be best. If they like something more unique, an oval or pear shaped stone would be a great option. And while diamonds are the most traditional choice, they’re not your only option;  your engagement ring can feature any gemstone that your partner prefers.

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Should I Buy an Engagement Ring Online or In a Store?

Online retailers can sometimes offer significantly lower prices compared to physical jewelry stores. If budget is a primary concern, buying online will likely help you get a bigger, better quality diamond for your money. However, make sure to carefully review the return policy and warranty when you buy online. Shopping in person, on the other hand, gives you access to physical inventory you can try on and see up close and personal. You’ll also get help picking the perfect ring from a professional jeweler or sales associate whose job it is to make sure you and your partner are thrilled with your purchase. There are pros and cons to both types of shopping, so follow the path that makes the most sense for you.

How Do I Propose with a Family Heirloom Ring?

Proposing with a ring that has sentimental value can make your engagement even more special. If you’re proposing with a family heirloom, it’s a good idea to have it professionally cleaned, appraised, and assessed for any potential issues before you pop the question. Make sure the ring is the right size for its new recipient. And if it's an antique, the ring might need a few repairs before it's wearable. You can propose with the heirloom on its own, or pair it with a brand new diamond band for a unique stacked look. Another option is to use the diamonds or stones from the heirloom ring to create a custom design that incorporates elements of the original, getting you the best of both worlds.

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How Many Carats Should the Diamond Be?

When it comes to carat weight, a good guideline is to match the size of the diamond to your partner's hand. A 1-carat or 1.5-carat diamond will look impressive without overpowering a medium-sized hand. A 0.75-carat stone may fit more nicely on a smaller hand. Larger diamonds of 2 carats or more will make a bold statement. Also consider the color and clarity grades, not just carat weight — sometimes a 0.9-carat stone of higher quality can look better than a lower-grade 1-carat diamond. Aim for the highest combined cut, carat, color, and clarity ratings that still stay within your budget.

What’s the Best Metal for an Engagement Ring?

Choosing the right metal is key to selecting a ring your partner will love. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Yellow or white gold: Classic, timeless, and very durable. White gold has a shiny silvery appearance and yellow gold is a warm, buttery tone.
  • Platinum: Extra strong, heavier weight, with a lustrous gray hue. Platinum is one of the most expensive metal options.
  • Rose gold: Distinctively pink. Rose gold is a great choice if your partner likes unique jewelry.
  • Silver: More affordable than other metal options, made to last, and typically requires more frequent polishing.

Talk to your partner about their metal preferences, or take a peek at their jewelry collection to see what kind of metals they wear most often. Picking the right base will help ensure you end up with a perfect ring that your partner never wants to take off.

What’s a Lab-Grown Diamond? Should I Get One?

Lab-grown diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, but they are created by scientists in controlled conditions. The main difference is that lab-grown diamonds don’t have any of the flaws that most naturally occurring diamonds do. Lab-grown diamonds also cost about 30% less than mined diamonds on average. As technology improves, lab-grown diamonds are becoming a popular ethical, sustainable alternative to mined diamonds. Make sure to buy certified stones from reputable brands. Overall, lab-grown diamonds are a great option if you want quality and brilliance on a budget.

How Do I Make a Custom Engagement Ring?

Making custom jewelry allows you to reflect your partner's unique style. Schedule a consultation with a jeweler to discuss your idea for a custom engagement ring. Bring inspirational images, rough sketches, or notes to describe your vision. Jewelers can craft a ring from scratch or use aspects of existing designs you like. Another option is to customize a setting around a particular gemstone, like a family heirloom diamond. Customization can add to the overall cost of your engagement ring, so remember to incorporate that into your budget. You should also make sure to schedule enough time — custom jewelry production can often take around 4-6 weeks, but certain designs or materials can take even longer.

Want to design the one-of-a-kind engagement ring of your partner’s dreams? Work with our expert team of bespoke jewelers at Quick Jewelry Repairs to create the perfect design for your soon-to-be fiancé.

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