Choosing your engagement ring is one the most important – and stressful – purchases you will ever make. Whether you are the one trying to get the perfect ring to suit your partner’s style and personality, spending enough to impress, and balancing tradition and modern values – OR you are working as a couple to really nail that perfect ring to symbolize your love, it’s a lot to get right.
There are certainly many things to consider, so we thought we would put the ultimate seven-step guide together, that would summarize all these decisions, and really try to help you get it right. Work through this one step at a time – and if you get stuck, just remember, the expert consultants at Shimansky will always be there to help you out and provide all the answers you need.
ONE: Choose the Stone
This is the part that everyone knows is the most technical and that all decisions you make are going to be judged. The stone you choose will be seen as a symbol of you and your esteem for your bride-to-be and your relationship. So, the 4Cs of diamond grading is critical reading ahead of your purchase – know why carat weight, brilliance in cut, colour of the stone and purity of clarity are important and how they impact the value of the stone you choose.
Also, make sure that the jeweler you are buying through is licenced, ethical and knows both the origin and provenance of the stone you are purchasing. Ensure you have all the certificates for the gem, and that they accurately reflect the specifications of what you have been told you are buying.
A diamond is the obviously choice for an engagement ring, but diamonds can also be fancy in color, or you could go for something even more rare than a diamond and select a Tanzanite stone. Whatever you choose, all the above apply, so do your homework properly. If you are shopping together as a couple for the ring, having this knowledge will be impressive and you will feel secure that whatever you both choose will be an investment in your future together, and the ring itself.
Diamonds are cut into a variety of shapes, so before you get too caught up in all the other decisions, make sure that the diamond shape really suits your love’s style and looks great on the hand. Some of the most popular cuts include an emerald cut, an oval diamond engagement ring cut, heart cut, pear cut, or even cushion cut engagement rings. Each one comes with unique qualities. So, if you want a lot of sparkle, a round cut may work for you. An experienced jeweler like Shimansky, will be able to talk you through your options. You can read our full guide on choosing the cut here.
TWO: Choose the Metal
Now that you have decided on a stone, the next decision is to choose which metal the ring is going to be made from. This decision is definitely more about preference, personality and style than the stone, but it is always helpful to read up on the various rare and precious metals that are available, so that you can make an informed decision.
Some of this is about what color will suit the skin tone, some is about whether you are a more traditional or modern thinker, and some it about your lifestyle. Are you an active, on-the-go person who uses your hands a lot during the day? Or are you someone who is generally swayed by style over practicality. One of the most important pieces of information to have to hand, is whether the wearer has any skin sensitivities or allergies, as this will also guide which metal is best suited to your ring. And then there is whether you are someone who invests and takes care of your possessions over the years, or if you are someone who will change things up as the years go by. The metal you choose for the ring needs to take all of these elements into consideration.
We have provided a full guide on all these decisions in our guide on choosing the ring metals, here.
THREE: Choose the Style
And so, to the style. This is really a personal choice and there isn’t much to say except that it is always a good idea to have pictures of rings that appeal and resonate, in a personal folder or Pinterest board, to reference when you are on the hunt for the ring. Being able to articulate what you like and don’t like is often hard – also, style only really comes alive when you pop the ring on the finger and see it in situ, so the more reference pictures you have, the better.
Many jewelry sites like Shimansky have an email or ‘drop a hint’ function on their product pages, so use this with your partner to make sure that you are both aligned on the vibe of what is going to work. Sometimes people need a little help with these things, so it is only fair to make it as easy as possible for them, right?
Getting the style wrong may be the least expensive mistake to make, but it could make the biggest difference in whether she really loves the engagement ring, or just thinks it’s fine and lovely because it comes from you. Style is something you can discuss and play with, but in the end, it is essential to get it right. For more about styling of wedding jewelry, you can read some more here.
FOUR: Choose the Band
An engagement ring is not a solo act, it definitely comes with a backing band. There are really three rings to consider; the engagement ring, the wedding band for him and the wedding band for her. Do they all need to work together in harmony? Or can you jazz things up a bit with some free-flowing style choices that are non-traditional?
Well, generally it is important that the engagement ring and the wedding band are able to live on the same finger together – unless she opts to wear just the wedding band alone, as many women are choosing to do these days. And while the wedding band is actually the more important of the rings (and worn closest to the hand/heart), the design is usually driven by the choice made on the engagement ring. So, we strongly recommend that you make the decision at the same time, buying the engagement ring with the wedding band already in mind.
And while you are making a decision about her engagement ring and wedding band, you may as well make the decision about whether he is going to wear a man-gagement ring or wedding band – and what these will look like. They definitely don’t need to match her rings, although this is a seriously levelled-up romantic move! For more on wedding bands you can read our guide here.
FIVE: Get the Ring Size Right
You could have smashed it on the stone, the setting, the style and the color of the metal, and still fail with this ring if you get the size wrong – and it’s a ring that can’t be resized. Most rings can be resized, with varying levels of difficulty, but we always recommend that you get the size right the first time if it is at all possible.
To this end we provide you with a helpful ring size guide that you can use to make sure you nail it. Generally, it is a good idea to get the assistance of the bestie on this task as well, as they are far more likely to be able to accomplish the task without giving the game away. But if it all falls to you, simply take one of her favorite rings and use it as the model to measure the ring size. You can do it!
SIX: Choose the Proposal Location
Just like the engagement ring, the actual proposal, as you present the ring to your heart’s desire, will become the memory that defines your relationship, as you move forward in life from here. Aside from the ring, this is the most important question that is going to be asked of your partner as you announce your engagement – so we say, go big and go memorable. The ring and the location will become one unified memory that will continue to make you both smile as the years go by, so its worth the effort to get right.
We believe in destination engagements. And in this Instagram age, making sure that the proposal location is just as photogenetic as the ring, the view just as spectacular as the diamond, the food and wine just as delicious as your love for each other, is all essential to get right. For a guide on the most exciting, beautiful and spectacular locations for the perfect proposal, you can read our blog post of the best places in the world to propose. Although of course we would always recommend Cape Town as the most spectacular of them all.
SEVEN: Ask for Help if You Need It
And if all else fails, the supremely experienced and passionate team at the New York, 5th Avenue showroom of Shimansky, are always eager to help you out. We invite you to make a booking to visit the Shimansky showroom for a consultation to ensure you find that perfect ring, for the perfect one. They will personally guide you through all the steps above.
And don’t forget, to add a personal touch to your jewelry, Shimansky offers a free engraving service. Why don’t you put the date and location of the proposal on the inside of the ring to complete the proposal in the most perfect way.