Few pre-engagement experiences are more exciting than shopping for the ring. Whether you're heading to the jewelry store hand-in-hand or your partner is planning to surprise you with the big proposal, the engagement ring is an opportunity to show your love for each other. As Veronica Staudt, personal stylist specializing in jewelry and accessories and owner of Vintage Meet Modern, puts it, "an engagement ring is more than an investment, it's a symbol of your eternal love. It is also something that you'll wear every day, so it shouldn't be a fashion statement, fad, or a trend."
To help you choose wisely and ensure that your engagement ring will stand the test of time, read up on these expert tips for choosing a timeless bridal bauble.
Explore Your Personal Style
An engagement ring isn't a "for now" fashion choice, so it should reflect who you are and what you like. "A tried and true way to know what style is right for you is to take a look at your own jewelry box," suggest Staudt. "If you notice a particular style amongst the items you already own, look for that in a ring." For example, if you already own plenty of yellow gold, that might be the best metal for you. But if your personal collection is very eclectic or you are a minimalist and have never really put much thought into a ring, be sure to explore all the different possibilities.
Browse Pinterest, flip through pages of your favorite wedding magazines, and visit a few jewelry store to get familiar with the different options. "Whether you love artistic, contemporary, modern, or traditional styles, you need to see them and try some on," says Staudt. "Even if you choose to purchase it online or if your fiancé buys the ring without you later on, you should try on rings to see how certain cuts and styles look on your hand."
Don't be afraid to get to know the engagement rings you're presented with at the store. "Shopping for an engagement ring is different than shopping for other types of fine jewelry," says Staudt. For this reason, she recommends learning as much as you can about the piece of jewelry itself. Is it an antique or vintage ring? Does it come with a history? Is the style of the ring influenced by certain era or decade? Is it a designer ring? Is it made by an artist? "The more questions you ask, the more knowledge you will have which will ultimately lead you to confidently selecting the right ring for you," the pro adds.
Make Sure You're Buying from a Credible Jeweler
When buying a ring, you may be solely focused on the overall look, however, Slisha Kankariya, founder of Four Mine, urges buyers to make sure they're purchasing from a credible jeweler who offers a lifetime warranty, a repair policy, and certification for your diamond. "This way, you can be sure of the quality of the diamond and the longevity of the ring," she says.
Take the Color Choice Seriously
When most people start shopping for an engagement ring, they're often surprised by the number of different color choices. We're not just talking about the gemstone, but for the metals used to fabricate the ring, too. "To make something that looks great and feels timeless, choose the right colors based off of the skin tone of the person wearing the ring," says Richard Berberian, owner of Elyse Fine Jewelers in Reading, Massachusetts. If you have a tan or olive complexion he recommends going with yellow gold. "It doesn't matter what's in vogue now—if it's not the right metal choice for your complexion, you'll grow tired of it quickly," he explains. A neutral metals, like white gold and platinum, complement ever skin tone.
Decide on Size
It's important to have an idea of what size you'd like the center stone of your engagement ring to be, as this impacts the decisions around cut, clarity, and color. "I'm not suggesting that one sacrifice quality for size, but work to find the right balance between the characteristics of quality and size, whether you're buying a diamond or colored gem," says Barbarian. "The size must look appropriate for the person wearing it."
Let the Center Stone Speak for Itself
Berberian says you should select a setting that really shows off the stone. "Everything else should enhance the attributes of that center stone and draw attention to it as the focal point," he says. "Don't go for something that is stylistically too busy or the ring may look dated sooner than you think."