How to Buy an Engagement Ring

How to Buy an Engagement Ring


Finding and buying engagement rings is an exciting time in anyone’s life. It marks a beautiful and monumental occasion: you’ve found someone incredible, fallen in love, and are ready to spend your life with them. Congratulations! Now’s the time to buy a ring, get on one knee, and start this amazing new adventure.

But once you begin shopping, you may discover that figuring out how to buy an engagement ring isn’t easy. There is so much to think about—diamond size, style, cost, clarity—and that’s before you even consider popping the question itself! It’s no wonder this process leaves many a shopper’s head spinning.

At Brilliance, we want to help you find the perfect engagement ring for your special someone—and we want to make it easy on you, too! If you follow our helpful guide, you’ll be able to find the ring of her dreams with confidence, and buy it without breaking a sweat.

scalloped diamond engagement ring

The Engagement Ring Budget

Once you decide you’re going to propose, you’ll need to consider your engagement ring budget. This will vary from person to person, as everyone’s financial situation is different. However, the most common rule of thumb is to spend at least two month’s salary on the ring. Remember, this ring is (hopefully) going to last a lifetime, so it is okay to splurge a little. But the most important rule is to stay within your means. Don’t feel pressured or bullied into spending more than you are comfortable spending.

Of course, you shouldn’t be surprised if you wind up stretching the limits of your budget. The engagement ring is a symbol of your love, and often times our eyes are drawn to the diamonds our wallets can’t support. We suggest making a tiered budget, so you have a little wiggle room to explore higher-costing rings. Who knows? You might find the perfect ring just outside that two-month window.

If your budget is strictly limited, don’t worry about it. Diamonds are priced proportionally based on many factors, which means there will be beautiful stones at every carat size. Let the jeweler know what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to be firm about price. You’re bound to find the diamond for your bride-to-be. You just have to stick to that budget and check out a variety of styles.


how much should I spend on an engagement ring?

The Center Diamond

When you first start searching, nearly all diamonds look the same; they’re sparkly, white, and either square or round. But while you may not see the difference, the partner you’re buying for probably does. Remember, shopping for an engagement ring is not the time to focus on your own tastes. Instead, take extra care to find something that you know she will love.

For years, round cut and princess cut diamonds have ruled the engagement ring world. Round diamonds are, obviously, cut into a round shape, with 58 facets. The multitude of facets in the stone reflect light and give the stone its sparkle. In fact, the round brilliant diamond is considered the most sparkly cut today. This may be why this style accounts for an incredible 70% of diamond sales. For example, tennis star Andy Roddick proposed to model Brooklyn Decker with a round cut diamond.

The princess cut is a square shape, with between 49 and 58 facets. Actress Kate Bosworth wears a princess cut diamond ring. These two stones are, without question, the most popular diamond styles available today, but there are some other styles rising in popularity. The pear diamond engagement ring, cushion cuts (like the one Kanye gave Kim) and emerald cuts (like the one Amal Clooney wears) have made big waves in recent years.

art deco oval diamond engagement ring


While you’re looking at rings, pay close attention to the type of jewelry your girlfriend wears. Look at her hands to determine the right type of diamond for her finger. Ask her friends or family members for suggestions based on things she’s told them. Eventually, all this sleuthing will help you discover the one diamond that she will cherish the rest of her life.


how to choose a ring setting

The Ring Setting

Finding the perfect diamond is not the end of your engagement ring search. Whether you’re buying loose diamonds or a preset ring, the setting is an important part of the final look. You can get creative with the ring during this stage. Do you want gemstones along the band for a pop of color? Do you want a halo around your diamond—maybe to make a small stone seem larger? There are many different options, so make sure you’ve examined a few different settings before making your final decision.

You’ll also need to decide on the type of metal you want for the setting. These days, your options range from metals like platinum and palladium to various shades of gold (white, yellow, or rose). Which one should you choose? Well, this is a time when paying close attention to your girlfriend’s jewelry comes in handy. If she exclusively wears silver and white gold, stick with the trends. If she mixes it up, you have a little more freedom—though most jewelry experts say you should use the metal that best matches her skin tone (yellow gold for warm tones, white gold/platinum for cool tones, and rose gold looks good on everyone).

art deco oval diamond engagement ring


You may have noticed that I mentioned white gold and platinum in the same group. Why is that, you ask? The two metals look incredibly similar, making them a great choice for anyone who prefers silver-toned jewelry. However, there is a big difference in the way these are made, as well as how much they cost.

Platinum jewelry features pure metal, with around 95% platinum in the setting. This makes the ring more durable, as platinum is one of the hardest metals on earth. On the other hand, white gold is often mixed with other metals. For example, an 18 karat gold band contains 75% gold. However, there is a benefit to purchasing a white gold band over a platinum one: they tend to be cheaper than platinum settings. The metal you choose will depend on your budget, but both options award you a stunning setting.  


how to buy a diamond online

Shopping Smart

Buying an engagement ring can be an emotional time. You’re spending a lot of money on something that carries a lot of symbolic value, so it’s only natural to want to protect your purchase at all cost. But how do you know if you’re buying from a reputable jeweler? Look for their credentials and certifications. Paying attention to this little detail just might save you a colossal headache down the road.

Before you make any purchases, read up on the jeweler you’re using. Most jewelers certify their diamonds and gemstones with the AGS (American Gemological Society) or the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The GIA is the jewelry industry’s most trusted laboratory, and the AGS is a close second. Make sure you get a certificate with your diamond verifying that your stone is the real deal. And make sure it comes from a legitimate third party grading laboratory.

Also, make sure you talk to your store about their return policy. Though you may not expect it, there may be a situation where you’ll want to return the ring or exchange it for a different one. This final, precautionary step just might save you a world of trouble if something unexpected occurs.

princess diamond halo white gold engagement ring


Finally, get insurance for the ring. This might come from your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, or an independent jewelry insurance company.

And just like that, you’ve bought an engagement ring! Congratulations on this exciting step in your life, and congrats on finding an incredibly beautiful ring. Now get out there and start planning that perfect proposal!

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