Your soulmate has stepped out of your dreams and into reality – congratulations! Aside from feeling a wealth of emotions, you also might be completely overwhelmed by the question of an engagement ring.
What if your special someone is just not into diamonds? Don’t worry – a diamond is not actually necessary! The whole idea of a 2 paycheck worth of an engagement ring was actually a marketing tactic made in the early days of the 20th century.
Fortunately, there are other choices – the most enchanting one being sapphire engagement rings.
Sapphires vs Diamonds
A sapphire engagement ring is not as unusual as you may think – many a royal can boast this precious stone on their finger, including the late Princess Diana!
In comparison with its deep, ineffable blue, a diamond might seem a little…bland. A good dazzle just doesn’t cut it – your soulmate’s ring, just like your soulmate, needs to have some depth to it. And while it’s wonderful to get lost in a diamond’s brilliance, one look at a sapphire enchants with its beauty, mystery, and enchantments. With a sapphire, size really doesn’t matter. A diamond usually needs to be on the large size to inspire adoring gasps, but just one speck of magical blue is all it takes to turn heads.
Just like diamonds, sapphires can be combined with any kind of metal – though we should point out that yellow gold would be a rare choice, it all depends on personal taste!
If you’re wondering how much is a sapphire engagement ring, the answer is less expensive than a diamond (in most cases).
Finding that perfect blue
If you’re planning to buy a sapphire engagement ring, the one thing you need to be absolutely sure about is the color.
Most sapphires will have very small traces of violet or green – in other words, they will have a secondary hue. Your goal here is to choose the one with the least noticeable secondary hue.
Another aspect you should consider is the strength of the color itself – the stone’s saturation. The untrained eye cannot easily discern this, so trust in your dealer is key. Ask for moderate or strong saturation.
So, if you look for a pure blue hue, with moderate to strong saturation you should be presented with a deep blue stone.
Cut, Clarity, and Style
Clarity, when looking at diamonds, is scrutinized – they need to be inspected by a magnifying glass. Sapphires, on the other hand, needs to be “eye clean,” meaning that any inclusions need to be invisible to the naked eye. Of course, the fewer inclusions, the better.
When it comes to the cut, sapphires are extremely versatile – an oval, a marquise, a pear or anything your (soul mate’s) heart desires will not affect the future value of the ring. What most important here is that you make sure the cutter is professional and skilled.
The style of the ring itself should be in accordance with your loved one’s taste – there really are no limits when it comes to sapphires! Paired with other stones (diamonds and sapphires make for a striking combination), set in a variety of metals, bold rings, delicate rings, art deco-inspired rings, modern rings – anything is on the table!
Remember, all you need to do is look for good color, a reputable dealer and cutter, and make sure the engagement ring you choose is in a style your soulmate loves! If you want to make it extra special, you can even create your own design – we at Santayana can offer you custom made jewelry. So, get in touch and make that leap to the happiest days of your life!
Should you get your special someone wedding anniversary jewelry? After all, it’s common that on your first wedding anniversary, you should receive something made of paper. Leather comes at year three, while tin or aluminum (as in a piece of jewelry) is set for year ten anniversary.
If you scratch the surface, you’ll find that each anniversary corresponds to a precious stone! Gold jewelry is traditionally given at both the first and 50th anniversary, pearl marks year two and 30, while diamond is for a happy year 10 and a happier year 75.
So, when it comes to the perfect anniversary necklace for her, it will definitely bring delight to your darling. And on that note, here are some anniversary jewelry ideas:
Wedding Anniversary Jewelry For Him
Oftentimes, people think there is something tricky about choosing men’s jewelry. The truth is, it is quite simple. Jewelry can enhance style – and it always has. A watch, a pair of cufflinks, a signet ring – any of these can be a perfect choice for an anniversary gift! Here are some great ideas when it comes to men’s jewelry.
- First Anniversary – Gold
Despite the prevalence of smartphones, a watch is still the mark of sophistication and professionalism. Impress your husband with gold, or even gold-toned watch – a gift that is both stylish and practical.
If your spouse isn’t the watch type, you can always get him a pair of cufflinks. Check out this handy guide – you might find something useful to help you make a decision.
- Fifth Anniversary – Sapphire
A deep blue sapphire can be a perfect addition to your husband’s style. With a signet ring, worn on the pinky, he can project the image of confidence and power to the world. If you know your husband would love that, we suggest a sterling silver Cuban crest ring – a perfect way to show heritage and style.
- 10th Anniversary – Diamond
Opt for a tie pin that can make your husband stand out in any situation. Tie pins, a former basic element of good style, have become rarities today, but they still remain an accessory that signifies success.
Wedding Anniversary Jewelry For Her
Does your loved one prefer earrings or necklaces? Or is her fav accessory a bracelet? No matter your wife’s style and personality, these ideas for anniversary jewelry gifts for her offer you plenty of options!
- First Anniversary – Gold
A 14k gold heart pendant can be a perfect addition to your wife’s necklace collection. She can choose when to wear it and with which chain, so it’s safe to say it’s extremely versatile. In that same vein, you can go for some medals.
- Fifth Anniversary – Sapphire
While you’re still at the very start of your marriage, the fifth year is still a big deal! If you want to impress your wife, you can go for an 18K white gold, .67 carat sapphire ring surrounded by .17 carat diamonds. Despite the lush description, it’s discrete enough she can wear it with almost any outfit!
- 10th Anniversary – Diamond
How do you get a diamond piece of jewelry that can rival your wife’s wedding ring? You can’t – but you can get quite close. Consider jaw-droppingly gorgeous diamond earrings – they can enhance your wife’s natural beauty while also projecting an image of elegance and confidence.
Is your partner unique? Do you know they won’t settle for something ordinary? In that case, you can check out our custom jewelry store or surprise them with custom jewelry! Get in touch with us, explain what your special someone loves, and we can make you a custom design that will make your spouse feel truly special.
Yellow sapphires are absolutely gorgeous and a perfect choice to bring a little light to your days! In all the excitement and anticipation, it’s easy to be fooled by fake stone. To help you avoid fraud, we’ve prepared a list of ways how to identify an original yellow sapphire!
Ask For a Certificate
Possibly the easiest way you can check the authenticity of a stone is to ask for a certificate. This way you are sure the stone was examined and approved by a trusted, official organization.
Certificates provided by some of the national gem societies (like the Gemological Institute of America or the American Gem Society) are good indicators that you have a pure sapphire on your hands.
Compare It With (Yellow) Glass
Many might claim that yellow glass and yellow sapphires are not so different. The truth is – of course, they are! One of the easiest ways to check if you’ve got a real gemstone is to compare it to a piece of yellow glass.
When placed next to each other, the difference between a real yellow sapphire and glass is drastic. The sapphire will be rich in shading and clearness, while the chunk of yellow glass will look pale in comparison.
Bubbles Or No Bubbles?
Any inclusion a yellow sapphire might posses shouldn’t be visible to the naked eye. So, if you notice tiny bubbles, or anything resembling liquid glass, inside your gemstone, it’s most likely fake.
Check for Scratches
Sapphires are unbending, hard stones that rank at 9.0 on the Mohs hardness scale. The only stone higher on the scale is a diamond, at 10.0! As a comparison, your fingernail ranks at 2.5.
Knowing this, it’s easy to check if your yellow sapphire is fake. If there are any scratches on your stone, it’s sadly not a real sapphire.
The X Sign
Carefully check the facets of your stone. An “X” cut, also known as scissors cut, is often present on fake (mostly synthetically manufactured) gemstones.
Is It Groovy?
If you’re in the possession of a 10x loupe, you can easily check for groves. A real yellow sapphire will be completely smooth, while a phony stone will have noticeable imperfections.
Under 10x magnification, you might notice grooves similar to that on a vinyl record. If that’s the case, the sapphire is synthetic.
Negative space and inclusions can be found in any stone – of course, yellow sapphire is not exempt from them. When cutting gems, these imperfections can “rip” and cause a small hole to develop.
Trustworthy jewelers will keep the hole intact, perhaps as proof of the sapphire’s authenticity. Jewelers of a different kind might choose to fill this hole with paste or glass to make the stone look as though it’s of a higher quality than it actually is.
Shine a light on your stone and examine it – uneven patches can be a good indicator the stone has been filled. Fillings in your stone are something you want to avoid.
Hold It Close And Check For Warmth
If you’re dealing with a loose stone, you can simply hold the yellow sapphire in your hand to see if there’s a chance of it being fake.
A real, natural sapphire should feel warm in your palm. If, on the other hand, you don’t feel anything in particular, you should suspect that the stone you’re holding is synthetic.
Whether you’re choosing a perfect yellow sapphire for an engagement ring, a necklace, or a bracelet, you can make sure you have the real deal on your hands using these tips. Drop by one of our jewelry stores in Miami and make your pick today!
And if you want to match your sapphire jewelry with your clothing we got you covered in our another article.
Scarlett Johansson’s fiance French journalist Romain Dauriac has unique taste! The dazzling Art Deco sparkler created a stir at the Venice International Film Festival, and rightly so-it features three round diamonds surrounded by a vintage rectangular setting with more diamonds.
This is one serious sparkler! Funny man Jason Sudeikis asked for Olivia Wilde’s hand in marriage with a round diamond surrounded by an emerald halo (to match her eyes!) and set in gold.
Fergie’s engagement ring from husband Josh Duhamel features a wide band with a 4-carat brilliant cut diamond. The H. Stern design also has cognac diamonds in a starburst pattern around the center stone.
Halle Berry’s fiancé Olivier Martinez popped the question with a diamond and emerald Robert Mazlo engagement ring.
Husband Jerry O’Connell proposed to Rebecca Romijn with a 6-carat yellow diamond engagement ring. “Since I had to get my ring resized when I was pregnant, I decided to change my setting with the help of my friend Lorraine Schwartz,” Romijn told InStyle. “There’s something sexy about a diamond dangling from your finger.”
Eric Johnson gave Jessica Simpson a 5-carat ruby ring in honor of her July birthday. “The ruby design for Jessica was perfection,” says Neil Lane, the celebrity jeweler behind Simpson’s engagement ring. “It’s a classic design with a twist because the side stones are pear-shaped.”
Angelina Jolie’s 10-carat diamond is a one-of-a-kind cut thanks to Brad Pitt. “Brad had a specific vision for this ring,” Beverly Hills jeweler Robert Procop said in a statement. “He wanted every aspect of it to be perfect, so Robert was able to locate a diamond of the finest quality and cut it to an exact custom size and shape to suit Angelina’s hand.”
As a sweetly romantic and commemorative gesture, Prince William presented Kate Middleton with his mother’s Garrard Jewelers sapphire-and-diamond ring. He explained his decision, saying, “It’s very special to me, Kate’s very special to me as well, I thought it only right to put the two together.” The 18-carat oval sapphire is surrounded by 14 diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold.
When you are ready to take the next step and get engaged, the first thing you might start thinking about is the ring. What does she even want in a ring? How will you make it special enough? This is a ring that she will be wearing for the rest of her life, and you’ll want to put a lot of thought into finding the perfect ring for her.
Now more than ever, people are really looking for something unique for that special woman in their lives – something that no one else has. But, one thing that is often overlooked in the quest to find that special ring is the possibility of custom designing a ring.
Custom engagement rings are becoming incredibly popular. It allows you to have the power to bring an idea to life and create something that is so unique and special. Custom designing an engagement ring is a great way to create a ring from scratch that no one else will have. It’ll forever be a one-of-a-kind ring that she can pass down for generations.
Curious to find out more? We’ve compiled a list of 7 ideas for custom engagement rings that’ll help spark your creativity:
1. Adding Colored Gemstones
To kick things off, you can always add colored gemstones to a ring in order to give it some personality and flare. It’s a perfect way to take an otherwise standard diamond engagement ring and make it colorful and unique!
Gemstones come in almost every color, but some of the most popular that are used for engagement rings include sapphires (blue), rubies (red), and emeralds (green). The gemstone can be used to replace a diamond as the center stone or it can be place next to the center diamond along the sides. The gemstone can even hold more meaning based on the color chosen or maybe a symbolic birthstone.
It can be difficult to find rings with colored gemstones, and the selection can often be limited. Talk to your jeweler’s design team to see how they can incorporate a pop of color into the engagement ring.
2. Getting a Vintage Inspired Look
Many people love vintage engagement rings. They are unique, one-of-a-kind and usually hand crafted. But, sometimes there can be some drawbacks to getting a ring that is actually vintage. The diamonds in vintage rings are a lot different than the ones that are used in more modern rings. Some of the charm and draw of vintage engagement rings is that they can be a little inconsistent because they were individually crafted. This may not appeal to some people, however, who would prefer their ring be new and more uniform.
A good solution for a woman who likes the vintage look but who may not want a vintage ring is to get a ring that is “vintage inspired.” These include rings that have beautiful filigree details and unique patterns and shapes. You could create your own vintage engagement ring look by working with a designer and adding newer stones.
3. Adding a Unique-Shaped Diamonds
If you have your heart set on adding a unique-shaped diamond to the engagement ring, it may be difficult to accommodate that diamond in average ring settings. A jeweler could certainly make sure that the diamond you want will be placed properly into a setting, but it may not look exactly the way you were hoping.
Using a unique diamond could also prove difficult if you want to add a diamond halo around it. This is when you really should consider creating your own custom engagement ring. That way, you could make sure the ring fits perfectly with the diamond shape that you’ve chosen. The below examples show custom ring designs that feature unique shapes like heart and a flower pattern with marquise diamonds. If any of these diamond shapes appeal to you, and you want to make sure the ring looks exactly the way you were hoping, then custom designs may be the way to go.
4. Accommodating Larger Diamonds
When you want to add a large diamond, over a few carats, you may want to consider creating a custom engagement ring for the diamond. In some cases, it wouldn’t make sense to add such a large diamond to a more traditional setting because the diamond might not be well supported. Or, the proportions could look off.
If you want to go all out with the diamond, create a custom ring that completes the big diamond look. Working with a ring designer, you could add large stones on the side of the diamond or put the diamond on a larger band. The examples below illustrate how a large diamond could look if you were to get it custom designed. Think big!
5. Incorporating Rare Diamonds
Fancy colored diamonds are all the rage these days. Everyone wants to find a ring that is unique, and one way to accomplish this is to add a fancy colored stone to an engagement ring. Fancy diamonds, like yellow or pink diamonds, are formed when there is an anomaly in the diamond forming process. Normally, a diamond that you would feature in an engagement ring would be colorless. Fancy yellow diamonds, however, are formed when there is an excess concentration of nitrogen in the diamond which adds a vivid yellow color to an otherwise colorless stone.
These types of stones are incredibly rare, making them a great choice for a woman who likes color. Because they are more rare, the selection of colored diamond rings that you will have to choose from will be much smaller than the selection of classic diamond engagement rings. Working with a ring designer, you can create a unique design for the engagement ring that features these beautiful colored stones in a way that really accentuates the diamond.
6. Using a One-of-a-Kind Setting
If you really want something that is creative and one-of-a-kind, you can work with a design team to think of a custom ring setting that is different than anything else you’ve seen before. You could walk in with an idea in mind or you could let the designer help you come up with something. This is an incredible opportunity to get her an engagement ring that would be truly unique and special.
Below are just a few examples of one-of-a-kind ring settings that you could create with a designer. But, the opportunities here are really limitless. You could mix and match different metals to give the setting a fashionable look or twist and turn metal to make the ring different than any other ring that currently exists.
7. Adding Sm all Symbolic Details
A great way to make the engagement ring unique is to add a small symbolic detail in the ring that will be meaningful for her. There are many different ways that you can accomplish this. You could add a love knot on the bottom of the ring that only you and her will know about. The love knot is made from two parallel cords that tie together in two interlocked overhead knots and is meant to symbolize eternal love between the couple. This is just one small way to add some unique personality to the ring.
Another idea is to add a small gemstone or diamond on the inside of the ring. Maybe it could be her birthstone or a color that is meaningful to both of you. Whatever the reason behind your choice in stone, you can have the jeweler insert these in hidden spots in the setting of the ring.
If you’ve received an heirloom jewelry inheritance that’s just not “you,” consider an extreme makeover to create something you’ll wear every day.
Heirlooms, by definition, are family possessions passed down from generation to generation. Heirloom jewelry exists in two forms — there’s heirloom jewelry made of high-quality metals and precious gemstones whose design exhibits exquisite craftsmanship, and there’s the heirloom that may be lacking in quality elements but has deep sentimental value.
Sadly, that heirloom, no matter what its form, may not be right for you. It may be an ornate brooch, and you just don’t do brooches — or anything ornate for that matter. It may be a pair of earrings in a gorgeous white gold setting with pieces of pretty glass instead of precious gems.
Talk to a jeweler
Instead of leaving heirloom jewelry to hide in a “junk” jewelry box, you can take your pieces to a trusted jeweler to have them made over. There are so many ways to bring new life to old jewelry, and a reputable jeweler can help make it happen. You can modernize an old setting or create a new one. You can take an element or two of the old piece and freshen it up in a new piece. You can mix elements of different pieces and come up with a whole new design. Achieving this transformation from old to new is a joy for someone who specializes in the art and science of jewelry design.
The possibilities are many:
- Turn a pendant into a ring.
- Repurpose a ring into a pendant.
- Take the diamonds from the bracelet of a diamond watch and turn them into a pair of earrings.
- Pearls can be restrung to a shorter length or combined with other pearls to create a whole new look.
- A quiet gemstone can be given a sparkly halo and get a dash of glamour.
- Is the setting gold when you want platinum? Keep the gemstone or gemstones and change out the metal.
An unworn engagement ring (and we’re not asking why) can be turned into a fashionable ring for your right hand or a pendant. A collection of gold hoop earrings no longer worn can become a unique pendant — or be redesigned into two pendants that can be passed down to two daughters. A gold necklace can be shortened and turned into a bracelet, accompanied by jewels that came from another piece.
What this means is, if you don’t like necklaces, you can own a couple of bracelets with a past! If you don’t wear rings, you can create a pendant with a future. Your options are only limited by your imagination and your designer’s skill.
Jewelry often holds deep, personal meaning to the owner, so you may want to keep the giver’s thoughts in mind if you’re thinking about redesigning a piece. If you’ve received your heirloom jewelry through an estate, this is not an issue (although some family members might be aghast at the thought of you “defiling” the past). But heirloom jewelry can be passed along while the owner is still living. Some givers bestow with no regrets, only joy at passing along their beloved past. Others may expect a gift (especially one they received as a gift) to stay intact. Only you can determine what’s right for your personal situation — it’s just a point to keep in mind if you might need to keep the peace.
Heirloom jewelry usually has a story behind it that makes it even more special or sentimental. Redesigning a piece that doesn’t work for you in its current style is a way to let you carry that story from one generation to the next. In this day and age, we recycle everything. Home designers use recycled barn wood to create ageless mantles for fireplaces. Recycled plastic takeout containers become decking for patios. Some of us compost at home or reduce our carbon footprints by diligently turning out lights and using more efficient types of bulbs. Instead of wasting a piece of heirloom jewelry that just isn’t right for you, consider recycling the past for a new and brilliant future.
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: You’re browsing jewelry stores with your one and only, but all of the engagement rings seem to look the same. In fact, you could swear you already saw that exact ring at three other stores. Yet none of them stand out – none of them are really you.
If those cookie cutter engagement rings just aren’t wowing you, getting a custom engagement ring designed by a trusted local jeweler might be the way to go.
Here are some helpful tips and things to think about when getting a custom design made from a local jeweler.
1. You might be able to transform a family heirloom into a modern masterpiece. Jewelers can often remove diamonds from old jewelry to create a new design. They’ll melt down the metal, take out the stones and create a brand new mold. If Great-Aunt Mildred’s antique ring isn’t your style, you can still keep the heirloom stone in the family while wearing a ring that’s much more your taste.
When I got engaged, I actually “recycled” my great-grandmother’s diamond ring. The jeweler removed the diamond, melted down the gold setting and created a beautiful two-tone setting that I loved!
2. You can shave some serious money off your ring purchase by cutting out the middlemen. Generally speaking, custom designs can be more expensive, but for an “out of the box” ring, an independent jeweler might be a better bargain. They often wholesale to retail stores, who mark up the pieces anywhere from 200% to 300%.
3. When you work with an independent jeweler, you’re getting years of expert experience and knowledge. Often, when you visit a retail store, you’re dealing with a sales clerk as opposed to a certified gemologist or custom jeweler. With all of that expertise, an independent jeweler can help you bring your dream ring to life through sketches and photos – a truly custom piece, designed from scratch. You can also pick an existing ring design and suggest a few minor changes with a jeweler!
4. An independent jeweler can create your ring in any metal you like – titanium, gold, platinum, etc. – because the molds are created for you. Plus, your jeweler will be very well versed in the current metal prices and will be able to advise you on how to get the best bang for your buck.
5. Getting a custom design and working with an independent jeweler might give you a little wiggle room on price but most importantly, you’ll be getting highly personalized customer service. Some jewelers will actually give you a credit upgrade should you want to get a bigger stone for your engagement ring down the road. So, if you have an independent jeweler design your ring now, and your other half wants to rock your world with a carat-size upgrade for your anniversary, that upgrade credit can go a long way to help reduce the impact on your wallet. You can also ask your jeweler about his or her policies on warranties, repairs and routine maintenance.
According to WeddingWire, an online wedding marketplace that connects vendors with couples and party planners, the criteria modern couples use to shop for engagement rings differs according to whether they’re on the giving or receiving end.
Associate Director of Creative Services Jeffra Trumpower shared the results of the company’s 2016 market research with show-goers at JCK Las Vegas Tuesday.
WeddingWire asked couples who were married in 2016 to rank different engagement ring shopping criteria in order of importance.
For those who were proposed to, they were most concerned with the visual big picture. The single most important aspect of the ring they received was its overall design and setting.
Next was the type of metal, followed by the type of stone, as in a diamond versus a moissanite or a colored gemstone.
Their fourth greatest concern was the cut of the stone, and the quality of it came in fifth place.
Their last concern was, somewhat surprisingly, the size of the stone.
For the proposer, the quality of the stone was the most important aspect of their engagement ring purchase, something that made sense, Trumpower explained, because the proposer had been educated by salespeople while ring shopping in-store.
So while quality was low on the list of importance for the person receiving the ring, the proposers were more educated about the value of diamonds, and therefore prioritized quality above all else.
The second most important criteria for proposers while ring shopping was the ring’s type of metal, which had also ranked second for the individual to whom they proposed.
Next came the engagement ring’s design and setting, followed by the type of stone. The fifth most important type of shopping criteria was the stone’s cut.
Proposers and those receiving the ring placed the same import on the size of stone–it ranked last out of all the criteria.
Trumpower went into more detail about the results WeddingWire’s research had yielded.
Though couples were in agreement that the size of the stone was the least important part of the ring they gave or received, that didn’t mean they necessarily wanted a small stone.
Forty-nine percent of those polled preferred a center stone that was between 1 and 2 carats.
Twenty-eight percent liked a stone that was less than 1 carat, a finding that was a bit more in line with the overall lack of priority when it came to size.
Nineteen percent said that a stone between 2 and 3 carats was their preferred size, while 4 percent indicated that a stone above 3 carats was their ideal weight.
When it came to the popularity of ring stones, diamonds were the stone of choice for 73 percent of people polled.
Nine percent preferred colored gemstones, followed closely by “raw diamonds,” which were preferred by 8 percent of the group.
Four percent wanted a pearl ring and another 4 percent marked “other,” a category that encompasses stones like moissanite.
Round brilliant diamonds have long been the most popular cut of stone in engagement rings and this held true in WeddingWire’s study, in which 22 percent of people ranked it as their cut of choice.
Princess cuts were a close second at 21 percent, with a big gap between it and the third most popular cut, ovals, which received 8 percent of the votes.
That was followed by emerald cuts at 7 percent and heart cuts at 6 percent. Cushion cuts, rose cuts, marquise cuts and pear cuts each received 4 percent of votes.
When it came to the process of ring shopping, WeddingWire’s survey indicated that 57 percent of people look at rings 1 to 6 months prior to proposing while 24 percent said they didn’t do research at all, though that was overwhelmingly because they were proposing with a family ring.
Both proposers and those set to receive the ring looked at an average of six rings in-store and 49 percent of women from heterosexual couples had tried on engagement rings prior to getting engaged.
Thirty-five percent of those who wanted a ring showed pictures of rings to the proposer from visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, and 66 percent of people had shared their engagement “just- said-yes” moments on social media.
Interestingly, while 47 percent of the proposers said that they purchased a customized ring, the person who received the ring had no idea if their ring was customized or not.
Trumpower also indicated that with so much information about weddings, engagements and rings available online and on social media, couples were having difficulty cutting through the noise, with most of them saying they had a hard time making decisions and felt stressed due to the amount of information available.
This underpinned a need for ultimately working with jewelers in-store when it came to engagement ring shopping, as human connection helped cancel out the digital-decision fatigue.
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An engagement ring signifies a huge milestone in a relationship, so it’s a purchase anyone taking that next step wants to get just right.
Not only is it generally one of the largest purchases a person will make — the average American spends $5,871 — it’s typically one that’s made by millennial males who have no idea what they’re doing.
While more and more couples are shopping for engagement rings together, it’s still good to have an idea going in of what you’re looking for and what you want to spend.
We talked with Rony Vardi and Leigh Plessner, the cofounders of a popular, Brooklyn-based jewelry shop and online store called Catbird to find out everything you need to know about purchasing an engagement ring.
Whether the ring in question is a classic diamond solitaire or something a bit less traditional, Vardi and Plessner have you covered with tons of incredible rings to shop and helpful advice. You can also check out Catbird’s engagement ring shopping guide on the company’s website.
Find out how much people are spending, how to determine her ring size, whether you need a GIA certification or not, and more.
And also check out our favorite engagement rings to give and get right now.
According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed 18,000 US brides and grooms married that year, Americans are spending an average of $5,871 on a ring.
While the rule of spending two to three month’s worth of salary on a ring is long outdated, couples should still seriously consider finances before buying a ring.
Vardi and Plessner urge Catbird customers to spend what works for them: “Find a ring you love that is perfect for your partner, but it’s only half of what you planned on spending? Who cares! That’s more money to buy a beautiful [wedding] band to go with it later. Or, go on vacation. No matter your budget, you’ll be able to find something special.”
The four C’s
One of the terms you see a lot when you start researching engagement rings, and particularly diamonds, is the “four C’s.” Diamonds are graded and priced based on the four C’s. These C’s are: cut, carat, color, and clarity.
They’re important to know because they help you understand the quality of a ring, and they also help determine its price. “While we are of the belief that if a ring is beautiful and feels right, things like this don’t necessarily matter, it’s still good to know what you’re paying for,” said Vardi.
Typically, you’ll want either gold or platinum for durability.
“We recommend choosing the metal of an engagement ring based on the metal type of her everyday jewelry,” said Plessner.
“For instance, if she wears a lot of silver, she would most likely want a platinum or white gold engagement ring. If she wears yellow gold, stick to that. As for rose gold, we would only recommend it if she wears a lot of rose gold pieces. Rose gold seems to be a real love it, or really, really don’t shade of gold.”
The stone (which doesn’t have to be a diamond)
Diamonds are the most popular stones for engagement rings, but they’re far from the only option.
A worldwide decline of diamond prices in the 1930s led De Beers to begin its world famous marketing campaign, “A diamond is forever.” The campaign helped to cement diamonds’ status as the prime engagement ring stone. Sapphires, rubies, opals, emeralds, moonstones, and pearls (or any combination of all the above) can also make a beautiful ring though. For example, Prince Albert gave Queen Victoria an emerald-studded serpent ring to mark their engagement.
“The key is just knowing your partner’s style and what they expect out of a ring in terms of everyday wear and durability,” Vardi told us. “Some stones are not as durable as diamonds or sapphires, so this is definitely something to take into consideration when choosing a stone.”
Think about the words you use to describe your partner’s style and what you already know she likes. “Isolating a few touch points about her aesthetic helps when going through ring options and allows you to focus on a smaller group of choices, making the process less overwhelming,” Vardi told us.
If you’re truly stumped, you should consider proposing without a ring or with an obvious substitute, and then embark on the actual ring-shopping experience together.
Ring sizing is not an exact science. “It depends so much on the shape of one’s fingers, how someone likes to wear their rings, the width of the ring, and so on,” Catbird’s cofounders told us.
“If you can, secretly slip a ring that she wears on her ring finger onto your finger and mark where it hits. If she wears it on her left hand (assuming that is her non-dominant hand), make sure to size down a ¼ size. You can use a ring sizer to see what size the ring is that hits that same mark.”
Things Vardi and Plessner suggest you keep in mind if you do not know her size:
1. After selecting the ring they want to propose with, some customers buy the floor sample for the proposal and then come in afterwards to get sized and order the exact size.
2. Some rings can be re-sized, some cannot be sized at all, and some can only be re-sized a little bit. Ask an experienced jeweler about the style you’re considering if you don’t know her size and they can advise you.
Ultimately, too big is better than too small. You can find more ring sizing information here.
Authentications and certifications
“When it comes to authentications and certifications, it really depends on what you are looking for in a ring,” said Plessner. “For instance, if you have your heart set on a full-carat, brilliant-cut diamond, then you’d want a GIA certification. If you are looking for something more along the lines of a colored diamond, such as a black diamond, a GIA certification is not applicable, as GIA’s grading scale is centered on evaluating a white, brilliant-cut diamond.”
“It is also important to be knowledgeable of where the materials used to make your ring are sourced. At Catbird, we are committed to carrying pieces that use recycled materials and are ethically sourced.”
Return and insurance policies
With a purchase as big as this one, you should really consider getting it insured. “Usually insurance companies will ask that you that provide a receipt of purchase, or sometimes even an appraisal, depending on the kind of coverage you’re looking for,” said Vardi.
Returns are more complicated, especially if you go the custom-made route.
“[Catbird] stands behind all the products that we sell, and if a repair is needed (it can happen), we always send rings back to the original designer so that they can be repaired in the best way. Some rings are returnable, but most custom-ordered rings are final sale. We can always work with customers and show them samples so they are 100% comfortable before having a ring made.”
Vardi and Plessner suggest soliciting help from her best friend, mother, or sibling — someone she may have discussed her preferences with — if you’re not already sure about what sort of ring she wants. “A surprising number of our wedding annex clients have also been tipped off by a Pinterest board.”
An engagement ring not only needs to fit her style, but it also needs to look good on her hand. Read on for tips for choosing a flattering ring for every type of hand.
Choosing the perfect engagement ring is not easy
First, it needs to match her personal style. And you also have to consider her lifestyle and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of her hobbies or work. And, of course, it needs to be within your budget.
But there is one other important factor a lot of people forget to consider.
And that is whether the ring will actually look good on her finger!
Fingers come in all shapes and sizes. And not every style is one-size-fits-all. You want to make sure it will be flattering on her hand. For example, if she’s got wide fingers, you don’t want to get a ring that makes them look chubbier.
So as you’re shopping for the perfect engagement ring, keep these tips in mind for her hand type.
If she has long, slender fingers, then your job is easy. Almost any style will look good on her. Long fingers can get away with small, dainty designs or large bold designs. In particular, a smaller center diamond with a medium-thick band is especially flattering, as it’ll help widen the finger a bit.
Stay away from: She can pretty much wear anything, but the marquise shape will make her finger look even longer.
Short fingers don’t necessarily mean thin – just short in length. To help short fingers appear longer, look for elongated diamonds, like the oval, pear, emerald, or marquise shapes. Keep the band thin and delicate, so it doesn’t cut off the fingers and make them look shorter. If she’s got short, wide fingers, consider a thin split shank to add a bit more width to the band without making it chunky.
Stay away from: Large round or square diamonds (they can make short fingers look stubbier), and thick bands.
These fingers are perfect for a bold statement ring. You can go crazy with angular or asymmetrical designs. You want as little skin showing on either side of the center design as possible. If she’s more traditional, a halo is a budget-friendly way to give the center more mass. Or a cluster setting is a relatively inexpensive way to get a large center.
Larger shapes like emerald, oval, and pear will look good on this finger type. A thicker band will also minimize the appearance of wider fingers. Or a split shank (like the ring pictured above) is a great way to widen the band without making it seem too clunky.
Stay away from: Narrow center shapes (like the marquise cut) and thin bands.
If she has thin fingers, then simpler rings with thin bands won’t overpower them. Also, diamonds with smaller carat weights will look better proportionally (so great news for you!). Small round, oval, princess, or heart shapes look especially good on small, dainty fingers.
Stay away from: Huge statement designs, large solitaries, and wide bands.
It’s all about proportion. So if her hand is small, a smaller diamond will look larger on her hand. Keep the design less elaborate; you don’t want it to look too imposing. A simple solitaire is best and makes enough of a statement on those tiny hands. A thin, delicate pavé band is a great way to add some extra sparkle without going over the top.
Stay away from: Large statement rings and thick bands.
On the other hand (ha!), larger hands will need a larger design to make the ring look proportional to her hand size. If you don’t have the budget for a bigger rock, a cluster or halo will give you more mass for the money. Funky designs and chunkier settings will also complement larger hands.
Stay away from: Small solitaries and thin bands, as they’ll look extra small.
Take these tips as general rules of thumb, not gospel. What’s still most important is that the ring is in a style that she absolutely adores and matches her personal taste. And, of course, don’t go over budget trying to get a large carat diamond for your sweetie with larger hands.
There are always ways to adjust a design. Like picking a wider or thinner band, going for a larger or smaller center stone, adding a halo or side stones, etc. So most importantly, get a style she loves, and then make adjustments based on her hand type.