4 Things to Consider When Engagement Ring Shopping

When I opened the little box in our room at the bed & breakfast, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Brooks and I had never gone shopping for an engagement ring. I never told him the exact size, diamond, and setting that I had been dreaming about forever. And I only sent him my wedding Pinterest board ONCE. But as I looked at the ring in my hands when he popped the question, I couldn’t help but think how perfect it was. He went out on his own to Waddington Jewelers, and he found a ring that made him think of me. It made me love the ring ten times more because it was so heartfelt.

I know that not every story plays out like this. There are many grooms-to-be that don’t have a say in the process at all. There are ladies out there who have the exact image in their mind about what they wantand there are some who have no idea. So whether you have visited the jeweler thousands of times before to gaze at your dream diamond through the glass, or you don’t know the difference between pronged or bezel settings, here are a few tips to help you find the perfect ring.

1. Who chooses the engagement ring?

It’s a long-standing tradition for a man to choose the engagement ring he thinks is perfect for his bride-to-be. Today, it is much more common for couples to go ring shopping together.It’s no longer surprising when ladies tell their man exactly what ring to buy and where! Let’s be honest, she’s the one that has to wear it for the rest of her life. Whether you choose to pick that special ring out together or go for a surprise, The most important thing is to discuss the decision ahead of time. Guys, if you want to surprise your lady, please make sure she’s not pinning a zillion dream ring styles and specific ideas on her Pinterest board. Ladies, don’t be afraid to drop subtle hints – or tell him exactly what you’ve been dreaming of.

Because we discussed it beforehand, I already knew that Brooks wasn’t going to let me point him in a certain direction. And I was okay with that. I didn’t have a long list of requirements or expectations, and I knew that I could trust his taste. And here I am today with this beautifully unique ring on the finger.


Learn your 4C’s! I’m talking about the diamond’s cut, carat, clarity and color. The Gemological Institute of America’s website is a great place to start, and shows you all you need to know about the 4C’s. (They even have some fun, interactive sliders to help you understand!)

Here are the basics:

- Cut: A diamond’s cut grade is all about how well it interacts with light.

- Carat: How much the diamond weighs. A carat is defined as 200 milligrams. In other words, how large the diamond is. Diamond price increases with the carat weight, but two diamonds of equal carat weight can have different values based on other factors.

-Clarity: The absence of inclusion and blemishes. The GIA Diamond Clarity scale has 6 categories from Flawless to Included, but most of these blemishes are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye.

- Color - A diamond’s color evaluation is based on the absence of color. A perfect diamond has no hue – which comes with a higher price.

The bottom line is to do your research on the 4C’s, and determine what characteristics are most important to you. The price of a diamond takes into account all four of the C’s – not just carat. Have this information in mind, including your budget, before you visit the jeweler.


3. Don’t forget the diamond SHAPE!

A round diamond is the most traditional diamond shape for engagement rings. It has the most cuts, so it puts off the most shine and sparkle. However, there are many options beyond the round shape. From Princess to Emerald and Asscher to Marquise, Oval or Radiant, it all depends on your taste and your personal style. Traditionalists who love a classic, timeless style may be drawn to a round or cushion cut, while edgy girls may fall in love with the geometric, art-deco inspired emerald cut center stone. Before Brooks proposed, I didn’t have a dream shape in mind. I probably wouldn’t have been a huge fan of a heart-shaped diamond, but if Brooks had asked, I don’t think I could have named a favorite. He went with a radiant diamond and a prong setting (which we will discuss next) and I couldn’t be happier.


4. Choose your setting:

Prong - The most common type of setting that has three to six ’claws’ holding the stone firmly in place. This kind of setting allows more light to hit the diamond from all angles and maximizes the brilliance.

Tension - This is where the compression-spring pressure of the shank holds the stone in place. It allows a lot of light to hit the stone, but resize and repair options are difficult because it is built to fit. This is only recommended for extremely hard stones such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies.

Bezel - This setting has a metal rim around the sides of the stone and it extends slightly above it. This is a very secure setting for your stone and it conceals existing nicks or chips in the stone’s girdle

There are so many things to touch on when making this huge decision, but having the 4Cs, shape, setting, and most importantly decision about whether or not you will pick the ring together down is a great place to start. Sometime soon we will have another post about what is in style. For now we will leave you with this: the newly popular rose gold (See Lauren Conrad’s gorgeous ring). 



A question we are often asked by our clients is whether or not you are supposed to wear your engagement ring during the wedding ceremony. This decision is totally up to you, but it is most common for brides to move their engagement ring to their right hand so that the wedding band will not be ‘upstaged’. Traditionally, your band should be the first ring on your finger where it is ‘closest to your heart’. Some brides leave it on their right finger during the ceremony, put the wedding band on the outside, and finally switch the position later on. There’s no set guideline here, but this is definitely something you should think about while planning your ceremony to avoid any awkward moments when your handsome groom is sliding the wedding band on!