Did you know that the tradition of diamond engagement rings dates as far back as 1215 when there was a customarily long waiting period between the betrothal announcement and the wedding event? While that may be a little-known fact, it is more common knowledge that the jewelry business has become a very lucrative industry today. In 2020, the value of the jewelry market in the U.S. alone was 230 billion USD. The flourishing jewelry market translates to a world of options for brides-to-be, more and more of whom prefer to have the final say on the choice of their wedding trinkets. But with so many choices, shopping for the right engagement ring can take up a lot of time — something that flustered brides do not have the luxury of wasting. How then do you choose that one and only engagement ring that, just like your future husband, will be perfect for you? Check out these tips.

Budget for the bling

Before heading off to your mother’s trusted jewelry store, determine your working budget as well as your stretch budget. Your working budget is the total amount of money that you and your husband have agreed to spend for the entire wedding. Prioritize the non-negotiables before the nice-to-have items on your wedding prep list. You surely wouldn’t want to spend a large chunk of your honeymoon time discussing regrets over the financial decisions you made or worse, planning how to pay off all of it. At the same time, if your heart chances upon a one-of-a-kind ring that it especially yearns for, you would also want to be ready to know how far you can stretch your budget and still ensure that your fiance’s side of the family will have more than just appetizers to eat during the big day. By having a specific budget range, you can avoid over-the-top temptations and yet be able to take hold of that gem of a shopping opportunity (pun well intended) if it does come along.

Know thy Style

The number of styles for engagement rings is as countless as the grains of sand on the beach. Okay, that may be a bit too much. But there is no denying that jewelry designs have been made superabundant by the ingenious creativity of today’s generation of artisans. From a simple band that could be your wedding ring’s twin to a more ornate bauble, the choices are dizzying. To get a better grip of yourself — and your style, remember that an elegant affair is not determined in dollars but by how all the different aspects of the celebration come together into a coherent whole. More simply put, all parts should be in harmony, with nothing sticking out like a sore thumb. And that means that your engagement ring should be able to complement the overall wedding look that you are aiming to achieve. Remember that your wedding ring will be sliding onto the same finger that will be showcasing your engagement ring (traditionally the third finger of your left hand). Your choice should therefore complement the style of your wedding band as well. Here are other style considerations.

  •  Your Band Size

Decide on your band’s width and thickness. The average width would be about 2.5 millimeters. You can go as skinny or as wide as you want it to be, from 1.5 to 3 millimeters. Skinnier styles tend to be thicker. Give allowances on your ring size so that it glides over your knuckle with just a little resistance and stays put on your finger without you having to check periodically if it hasn’t fallen off during the wedding party.

  • Your Gemstone

Should you decide to go for a more bejeweled look, you can select from a lavish array of gemstones. Whether or not one agrees that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, no one can argue about the luxurious refinement that this stone can bestow on any occasion, more so on your very own wedding. If a more colorful concept is what you’re going for, there are a wide variety of gemstones in sumptuous hues to choose from. Many brides-to-be opt for colored stones as these may hold some significant meaning for them. Gemstone rings can also be great conversation pieces and can stand out beautifully in wedding photos. Just make sure you choose a ring with at least a 7 on the hardness scale to keep its beauty as lasting as you would want your marriage bliss to be.

  • Your Setting Style

Before choosing your setting style, one financially savvy tip for brides-to-be is to check out engagement rings that are sold in sets together with wedding rings. It is understandable though if you would want more customized jewelry for your special day. Choosing the right setting for your gemstones is key to enhancing their beauty. You may ask your jeweler for a unique design that matches your individuality, or you can choose from among the latest trends in engagement ring settings. One of the chicest choices is the Tiffany setting with a six-prong design that holds up your gemstones to the light and optimizes their brilliance. Another top preference is the Halo setting where smaller stones are made to encircle the center stone, thereby enhancing both its sparkle and size. Check on the pros and cons of each to see which one best suits your personal flair.

Craft your criteria

Your setting of choice will only enhance what is already there — your gemstones. Determine if your precious stones deserve being called as such by checking out their 4 Cs: carat, cut, color, and clarity.

  • Carat

Carat refers to the weight of your jewels. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams. Since different kinds of gemstones have varying densities, a smaller stone with a greater density can have a higher carat compared to a larger one with less density. One thing is for sure: The higher the carat, the heftier the price will be.

  • Cut

The cut of your stone refers to how it captures and evenly reflects the light to amplify its radiance. The most well-known and most expensive cut is the round brilliant. The reason for the premium cost is that jewelers need to start with a large rough stone and discard many of its pieces to come up with the many facets required to make this type of cut. Of course, there are a great many options available that will not necessitate breaking the bank.

  • Color

Color refers to the hue of a gemstone. One gemstone can have many tones (from light to dark) and color intensity (from neutral to vivid). While there may be some subjectivity in perception, the best way to know if you like a color is to wear the ring and hold it to the light.

  • Clarity

Clarity determines how pure and blemish-free your gemstone is. If there are any materials trapped inside your stone, it will affect its brilliance and weaken its structure, making it more prone to damage.

Culminate with credentials

All your diligent assessments for your engagement ring will be for nought without a certification.

Securing this document will assure you that you are making a sound acquisition. A certification will also allow you to get the necessary insurance and facilitate reselling in the future. Make sure you are receiving a verifiable document from a reputable institution or organization.

Sophia Young is a content writer covering lifestyle and fashion topics. She’s actively participating as a guest blogger for various lifestyle blogs and has been co-authoring some articles of her colleagues. She’s currently enrolled in a content marketing course hoping to expand her knowledge in digital marketing.

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