The 5 Rules of Engagement (Rings)

Going engagement ring shopping? Congratulations! But make sure that sparkle is on point before you buy.

Here are our top five rules to help you pick the perfect rock:

1. What’s Your Honey’s Style? Traditional, Eclectic, Somewhere In Between?

Couples have been getting engaged for hundreds of years, but the tradition today includes a much broader array of options for engagement rings than just the traditional diamond solitaire.

An engagement ring consists of two main parts: the jewel and the setting. The setting refers to the actual band portion of the ring, while the jewel is the sparkly eye-catching central rock.

Options for the stone(s) of your engagement ring include diamonds, precious stones, semi-precious stones, crystals, and pearls.

There are so many beautiful types of jewels on the market: diamond, black diamond, sapphire, emerald, ruby, amethyst … the list goes on.

These jewels are broken down into categories: diamonds, precious stones, semi-precious stones, crystals, and pearls.

The design of the setting (or band) is also very important, but the stone is the main focus in picking an engagement ring, due to it making up the vast majority of the cost of the ring.

Once you have an idea of the right stone, think about how you want that stone housed.

The band is an excellent way to personalize the stone to the specific style of ring you are looking for. Metal, color, and shape are the main factors to consider.

Metals often used include gold, platinum, palladium, and silver. These metals all come in a variety of colors.

Did you know that the tradition of proposing with a diamond ringisrooted in a marketing strategy?

The strategy, which branded the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” in 1947, was invented by the De Beers Company. This company used advertisements featuring movie stars dripping in diamonds, which became massively successful by equating the durability of diamonds to the lifelong commitment of marriage.

Regardless of where it came from, diamonds are still a classic and popular choice for a large portion of engagement ring wearers.

It is important that your soon-to-be fianc loves the ring and it speaks to their style, you’re asking them to wear it for the rest of their life, after all.

2. The 4 Cs: Carat, Clarity, Color, and Cut.

You hear the 4 C’s most often in reference to diamonds, but these terms apply to precious and semi-precious stones, as well.

Let’s break it down:

  • Carat simply refers to the weight of the stone.
  • Clarity pertains to the subtle imperfections or lack thereof, that can be seen under magnification.
  • Color is relatively straightforward: this indicates the color of the stone based on a specific grading scale from colorless to obvious color.
  • Cut denotes to the stone shape: some terms you may have heard beforeare princess, pear, oval, heart, emerald, round, marquise, etc.

How do you pick? Prioritize.

If a huge rock is what your partner’s heart desires, you can make it fit into your budget by learning about the 4 C’s and prioritizing carat over clarity.

But keep in mind that bigger may not always be better. A huge ring can be cumbersomeand doesn’t fit everyone’s style. Maybe a smaller central jewel with an elaborate band is an excellent option as well.

Stalk her style, does she gravitate toward bands with several smaller stones, or does she like a ringwith a big eye-catching central jewel? What cut and color makes her heart skip a beat: something traditional or something bolder?

3. Budget Realistically

Getting engaged is one of the most romantic moments in a couple’s life, but don’t forget what comes after an engagement: a wedding, and if you didn’t notice, those can get expensive too.

Back to that famous De Beers marketing strategy: they declared that you should spend two months salary on a ring. That’s a pretty large percent of your annual income.

Be realistic on what you can spend, going into major debt probably isn’t the right choice, but if you have been saving for this moment, go for the gold (or platinum, or silver, or stainless steel- you get the point).

Many couples of today also split the cost of the ring, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is a big, long lasting purchase, so if splitting the cost is right for you and yours, don’t eliminate it as an option just based on tradition.

In addition to budgeting your money, budget your time, as well. It can take several weeks to get the ring picked out, mounted, and engraved. Make sure you plan ahead to meet your chosen deadlines to propose.

4. Insurance

Getting married means blending your incomes, responsibilities, and assets. One of those assets is the engagement ring.

Documenting the ring and its features is important. Get an independent gemological association to assess the ring and get a certification of its features and value.

Get the ring insured for theft, accidental loss, etc. That way, if one of these things happens, you won’t be out all of that hard earned money you spent.

It will likely save you and your honey a whole lot of tension if the ring goes missing as well.

In addition to insurance, it is a good idea to visit a jeweler often, every six months or so, to get the stone and prongs checked.

5. A Note on Social Media Announcement:

You may want to resist the urge to post a hundred close up shots of your gorgeous ring on every social media site in the world.

Just ask Kim Kardashian.

Remember that the ring is a representation of the person you are marrying: you’re not marrying the ring itself. Posting a shot that showcases the ring, as well as you and your love, is the way to go.

InStyle has some great tips for personalizing and planning the social media announcement.

Now, put a ring on it!

Now that you know The 5 Rules of Engagement (Rings), it’s time to start shopping! Check out a ton of gorgeous choices at!

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