The 7 factors to consider when buying an engagement ring

engagement ring

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Buying an engagement ring is an incredibly stressful decision. Not only will you have millions of options to choose from, but you’ll also be thinking about your proposal, your partner’s reaction, and social expectations of the entire event. It’s a lot to deal with.

The bad news is that there’s no straightforward, simple, and reliable method you can use to find the perfect engagement ring. There are simply too many variables to consider. The good news is that we can distill those considering factors down to the ones that matter most, and you can use those to make a better engagement ring decision.

The Most Important Factors to Consider

These are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing an engagement ring:

  1. The store. There are many online stores selling engagement rings, and most of them have an impressive selection of rings of different shapes, styles, sizes, and qualities. You may also want to visit a local store to see some engagement ring options in person, or talk to someone face-to-face. Spend some time reviewing the options available to you, considering the advantages and disadvantages of each, and look at the online reviews available for each brand. Are people satisfied with their purchases here?
  2. The style. Next, you’ll need to consider the overall style of the ring you want to buy. In some ways, this is the most important factor to consider because it includes so many individual variables, and the combination of these variables can determine the overall look of the ring. For example, do you want something traditional, or something more unique and original? Do you want something minimalistic and simple, or something that’s more lavish and ornate? Consider the personality of the person you’re buying for, and what kind of style would complement the things they wear on a regular basis.
  3. The stone. After deciding on the overall style of the engagement ring, you’ll want to think about the stone. Most engagement rings feature a strong central stone; traditionally, this stone is a diamond, but many nontraditional options have emerged and become popular in recent years. If you decide to choose a diamond, you’ll also need to consider the four C’s of buying diamonds. These are the color (referring to the presence or absence of color), the clarity (referring to the presence or absence of imperfections in the stone), the cut (referring to the shape in which the diamond is cut, including its symmetry and proportions), and the carat weight (referring to the size of the diamond).
  4. The metal. Most engagement rings include a band made of a precious metal. Each metal brings something different to the table, offering a different color and overall look. Gold is a common choice, as is platinum, but you may also choose an option like silver. In addition to looks, you may want to consider the malleability of the metal, since some metals are more workable than others, lending themselves to more ornate designs.
  5. The age and build. Some people like the idea of purchasing a vintage engagement ring, since the ring becomes an artifact with a long history. Others prefer something not just brand new, but designed from the ground up; this way, it’s shinier and more unique. There are good arguments to be made for every point along this spectrum.
  6. The cost. Some studies indicate that the average cost of an engagement ring is close to $5,680. Of course, this number is pushed higher by hyper-expensive rings. There are some “rules of thumb” suggesting you should spend a certain amount on an engagement ring, but don’t feel forced to follow these rules; spend whatever you think is appropriate, and whatever falls in line with you and your partner’s core values. Set a budget and try to stick to it.
  7. The proposal. As an extension of your engagement ring decision, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to propose. Do you want to do it in public or in private? Indoors or outdoors? Do you want to plan something elaborate and romantic, or present the proposal as more of a spur-of-the-moment thing? Again, there are many viable options here, so pick whatever you think would suit your relationship best.

Should You Have a Conversation?

If you’re struggling to choose the perfect engagement ring, or if you’re stuck on one of these variables, consider having a conversation with your partner about their preferences. In many cases, openness and honesty can help you come to a better decision. Of course, if you’re trying to keep the proposal as a total surprise, you can always talk to someone they’re close to instead, like a friend or family member.


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