The other day, I ran into a girl at a store who commented on my engagement ring. And we got to chatting for a few minutes about how to best shop for those special rings you’ll rarely take off your finger. She said she really had no idea how to figure out what kind of ring she wanted. That got me thinking, so I figured I would do a quick little post here to give some helpful tips for those shopping for the perfect engagement and wedding rings. Of course, this is assuming you are helping to pick out your own ring, which I hear is the case more often than not these days. Not that there’s anything wrong with being surprised with a ring that your special someone picked out on their own. But your fiance should know you well enough to know if that’s what you would want. In my case, my husband knew that I have strong opinions on what I like and, knowing this ring will be with me for the rest of my life, he knew having me pick out my own ring would be for the best. And after walking around the first store, he said, “I’m so glad I brought you with me to help pick out your ring! I would’ve picked out something totally different!” Anyway, here are some tips that I hope provide a little help if you’re in this exciting stage of planning!
1. Narrow Down Your Choices
Do you tend to lean more towards white or yellow jewelry? Or do you like the idea of going for something a little less common, like a rose color? That’s probably the easiest choice to make, but will start the narrowing down process. And then get an idea of what shape you want. Keep in mind that the various shapes (or cuts) are priced differently and they each have a different price per carat. I didn’t realize back when I was looking at engagement rings that round cuts are actually the most expensive, with say, pear or marquis, for example, being less. So if you want a larger diamond (more carats), you might want to consider a less expensive shape. I had my heart pretty set on a round brilliant diamond, but I didn’t need a very large stone, so I was perfectly fine with getting a smaller diamond but one of higher quality. It just depends on what your personal preference is. And besides, since I have small fingers, a large diamond would’ve looked a little funny on my hand, so it is helpful to try on different shapes and sizes to see what looks best to you, instead of just making up your mind from a picture you fall in love with online.
Pro tip: You can save money by choosing a less common carat size. This is something else I didn’t know when I was shopping for my diamond. Diamond prices increase a lot when they fall into one of the most desired weights, like half and whole carat weights. Opt for a diamond slightly smaller than one of those common weights, you’ll save a good bit of money, and no one will be able to tell the difference.
2. Be Practical
Keep your lifestyle in mind. It doesn’t matter if it’s the prettiest ring ever, if it’s not comfortable. You’ll be wearing this ring every day, so it should be something that fits well with your life. For example, if you work with your hands a lot, opt for something more low-profile and a little less fancy. Personally, I knew I didn’t want my solitaire diamond to sit high up and risk catching it on things if I wasn’t careful, so I chose a beautiful trellis cathedral setting that allows the stone to sit lower on the ring while still letting light shine underneath, which is what makes rings nice and sparkly.
3. Think Long-Term
Being trendy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but make sure the style you choose is something you’ll still want to wear 20 years from now. That’s not to say you can never upgrade it down the road, but I know people who have been given the opportunity to upgrade their ring years after first getting it, but have opted to stick with their original ring because of the sentimental value attached to it. It’s the ring that will start your engagement and your new life with your partner, and will travel with you through lots of ups and downs and memories and experiences. Yes, it’s just a material possession and not nearly as important as the commitment you make to your spouse, but it is one of the few investments you will make that will travel with you everywhere for a long time, so try to pick something that you’ll still love down the road.
Of course, I get excited about photographing any kind of wedding and engagement rings my brides have, no matter what they look like. They’re such an important part of the wedding day and I’m happy to be able to create lovely images featuring these special pieces of jewelry that will be worn everyday. I still love looking down at my hand to see my beautiful wedding and engagement rings and having that visual reminder of the commitment to my husband.