Much like finding your perfect partner, choosing an engagement ring can be a huge, nerve-wracking decision — how do you know when it’s The One? Luckily, the experts at J.F. Kruse have helped thousands of couples find the right engagement ring, and we’re sharing our top tips with you! Read on for our crash course in how to choose an engagement ring.
Know your size
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to know your partner’s ring size before making your purchase! A properly-sized ring should be snug but comfortable on the wearer’s ring finger. Don’t know your partner’s size? Ask! If your partner has never been sized for a ring before, be sure to both get measured by a jeweler prior to shopping or while shopping together. Many online jewelers will also send a free ring sizer to your home free of charge. If all else fails, bring a ring your partner regularly wears on their left ring finger to a jeweler — they can size it for you and set you on the right track.
Consider shopping together
If the ring of their dreams doesn’t need to be a surprise, consider shopping together for the perfect engagement ring pre- or post-proposal. Whether you choose to visit a jeweler together or browse online, your partner’s involvement in the shopping process will help guarantee you pick a ring that suits their personal style and preferences. You don’t necessarily need them to hand-select the final ring — though plenty of couples do go that route! — but ideally, you want to come away from the shopping experience with a better understanding of their metal of choice, preferred stone shape, and other key engagement ring elements.
Choose your metal, carat size & diamond shape in advance
Speaking of preferences: As you start looking for the perfect engagement ring, you’ll want to have a general sense of the engagement ring style you’ll be shopping for. We recommend narrowing down your choice of diamond shape and range of carat size before you begin your search. You’ll also want to know what type of metal you’d prefer for the setting; standard choices include white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, silver and platinum.
Again, your partner undoubtedly has opinions about these elements of their engagement-ring-to-be. If you feel asking them directly about their preferences would ruin the surprise, try asking your partner’s closest friends or family members about their preferences. You might also consider taking a look at the jewelry they wear regularly. What color metal do they seem to prefer? Do they lean toward pieces that are small, dainty and minimalistic, or pieces that are chunky and bold, with lots of personality? Being able to articulate your partner’s style to a jeweler can help them steer you in the right direction.
Make a list of must-haves — and compromises
Unless you have an unlimited budget, it is wise to prioritize just a few critical elements of your engagement ring design and compromise on the rest. It’s important to have an open conversation with your partner about which elements of the ring are non-negotiable and which are malleable so that both parties’ expectations are set accordingly. When it comes to diamonds, most experts recommend prioritizing the quality of the cut and the carat size, while compromising in the areas of diamond color and clarity.
When shopping for a diamond cut, it’s best to look only for diamonds in your preferred shape(s) that are rated Excellent or Very Good by the GIA. These are the stones that will offer the best sparkle and brightness.
As for selecting a carat size, this choice comes down to personal preference and budgetary restrictions. The larger the carat, the higher the price of your diamond. If budget is a concern, but your partner prefers the look of a larger stone, consider looking at diamonds in your price range with shapes that give the illusion of a higher carat size, like pear-shaped, oval-shaped and emerald-shaped diamonds. You may also consider setting styles that offer more bling for your buck, like a pavé setting or halo setting, which are designed to give the illusion of one large diamond with tons of sparkle.
Now for the compromises: By choosing the lowest color diamond that will still look colorless to the naked eye (typically a color rating of J and above, depending on your metal choice), you can save on the cost of your diamond and put those dollars to bear somewhere more impactful, like carat size or additional stones.
The same goes for stone clarity. Generally, for all diamond cuts except Asscher and emerald, diamonds ranking at SI1 (Slightly Included) clarity and up will have no imperfections that are visible to the naked eye. The cost difference between a SI1 or SI2 diamond and a flawless diamond is huge, yet there is no visual difference between them, so keep that in mind when choosing your stone to score major savings!
Consider going custom
If you’ve been shopping for engagement rings and have yet to find “The One,” or have a specific vision in mind that just can’t be captured by standard settings and stones, consider opting for a custom engagement ring. By designing a custom engagement ring with the help of a jeweler that specializes in custom pieces, you gain complete control over every element of the final ring, from the setting to the stones and beyond. The custom design process ensures that your partner’s engagement ring is truly one-of-a-kind and crafted specifically for them.
At J.F. Kruse, we’re experts in creating custom engagement rings and guiding clients like you through the process. If you’re curious about the custom design process and want to know more, schedule your free custom design appointment today! We’d be happy to talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have about custom engagement ring design.