Our Guide to Buying the Perfect Engagement Ring
*Originally published December 2016
Buying an engagement ring can be a daunting and overwhelming task, but can also be a fun experience if you are prepared. Here are some pointers to get you started in the right direction – – some practical, some romantic, and some steeped in history & tradition. We should know a thing or two….we’ve been helping happy couples for over 100 years. Once you know your stuff, check out our engagement ring selection and start your journey towards the perfect ring.
Give yourself plenty of time.
Most people typically shop 1 – 3 months prior to their planned date of proposal….give yourself plenty of time so that you don’t feel pressure and have time to plan the perfect proposal, too! You may decide that you want a custom-designed one-of-a-kind ring, and that takes extra time…it’s always best to be ahead of schedule so that you can enjoy the selection and buying process.
Know the bride-to-be’s style.
What kind of jewelry does she already wear? Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Simple or ornate? Observe her demeanor, her body language, her dress, and any references she makes about jewelry, fashion and style. She will be wearing this ring 24/7 every day of her life. It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear and everything in between.
Separate fact from fiction.
There are many factors to consider when making this lifetime investment. Good online resources for unbiased and knowledgeable information are: www.gia.edu and www.adiamondisforever.com. Trust in your jeweler is critical so be sure to shop with reputable establishments who can provide both a great shopping experience and valuable education about your purchase.
Have a sense of your budget before shopping.
You don’t need the exact number, but have a range in mind, be it monthly payments on an installment program, financing the entire purchase, or any combination of either. You may be pleasantly surprised that financing offers now allow you to find the perfect ring for less than you may have imagined. In the end, try to purchase the nicest ring that you can afford and be sure you’re comfortable with the payment or expense; being uneasy about debt is not something you want on your mind right now.
YES, the 4 c’s are really important.
You don’t need to obtain a gemology degree, but you should have a basic understanding of what contributes to a diamond’s value and appearance. And as fundamental as it sounds, there IS a fifth “C”…. Confidence in your jeweler. Ask for referrals – – be sure you’re buying from a reputable jeweler who is a member of either the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the American Gem Society (AGS).
The order of things.
First, select the gemstone: traditional diamond or something different? There are no rules…follow your heart and dare to be distinctive! Then select the shape – – that will help you determine the best possible setting to showcase the fire and brilliance of your gem. Lastly, select the metal of the setting, also sometimes called the mounting, and you can begin to narrow your search. Precious platinum is a great option for many because of its durability and lasting value. A great way to preview different designs is to use a Ring Builder tool that will let you digitally create a ring step by step.
Consider a personal touch.
There are many things that you can do to add a very personal element to your ring: perhaps someone in your family has gemstones that you want to include in the design of your ring. Or consider a beautiful engraving crafted inside the ring. A really distinctive option is to have your diamond laser engraved with a special message – – work with your jeweler for a creative solution that suits your style.
Protect your investment
After all that hard work of finding the perfect ring and hearing the all-important “yes”, you now need to be protective of your investment. You shouldn’t assume that you have coverage in case of loss – – always check with your insurance carrier. Your jeweler can coach you here as well to be sure you are safeguarding this very special purchase.
Hamilton Jewelers has been helping couples create their dream engagement rings for over 100 years and we are happy to share our expertise with anyone looking for guidance. We hope you found these tips useful in your search for the perfect ring. If you would like to learn more about our engagement ring and bridal services, feel free to visit our online Bridal Salon, or visit us at our locations in Princeton, NJ or Palm Beach Gardens, FL.