Finding the right engagement ring for the one you love can often require just as much thought as how you will pop the question. Because most people don't have a lot of experience navigating the world of gemstones, it can seem overwhelming to make the right decision.
So, how can you choose the right stones for your fiance? Here are 3 basic tips to help you shop.
Learn the "Four Cs"
Choosing a diamond is usually all about the so-called "Four Cs" -- clarity, cut, color, and carats. Here's what that means:
- The clarity of gems like diamonds is the amount or type of flaws in the stone itself. These include internal "inclusions" and external blemishes. Often, these flaws can't really be seen by the untrained eye, but they will affect price and quality.
- The shape of the stone should be pleasing from every angle. It should have a liveliness, and light should dance off it from all viewing angles. There shouldn't be dull, lifeless spots.
- Contrary to what many people think, diamonds actually come in a variety of colors -- from colorless to light yellow and brown shades. Other gems can also come in different shades of their signature colors.
- Most gemstones come in a wide variety of weights, or carats. For many gems, then, your budget largely dictates the carats you will be purchasing. However, some gems have their own limitations. You may easily find a large-carat blue topaz, for example, but the same size ruby would be in a museum.
While all these elements are important, trust your instinct and reaction to the stones. They should make you happy, and that doesn't always require the most perfect stone.
Try Some Color
Diamonds are obviously the number one choice for engagement rings, but colored gems are gaining traction. You can choose colored stones based on a variety of things, such as birthstones, astrological signs, or special events. If you have a child together, for instance, adding that child's birthstone to the setting makes a beautiful statement about family.
When looking at colorful options, keep in mind the color of the band you will be choosing and the skin tone of your fiance. Bolder colors like sapphire, ruby, and emerald tend to favor cool skinned people who have bluish veins on their inner arms. Warm toned skin (with greenish hues in their skin) tend to look great wearing softer shades like garnet, yellow diamonds, or citrine.
Consider the Recipient
While you might expect to spend a lot of time looking at the actual ring options with your jeweler, you should also spend time thinking about aspects -- both physical and personality -- of the person who will wear the ring.
Is he or she a traditional person? You may want to stick with a diamond as the centerpiece with colored stones only to provide a splash of fun. Are they more fashion-forward? How about bucking the trend and opting for one or more vibrant, colored stones?
If the person tends to favor a certain type of jewelry -- such as silver instead of gold -- take note of that so you can choose a ring that blends well with their taste. Looking at the jewelry they already wear can give you a clue about what types of stones and colors will look best and make them feel great.
Planning for the big proposal is fun, but it should come with some time spent educating yourself not only about how gemstones are chosen but also how they will look on the hand of the person you want to marry. The result of this extra effort will be a ring that both you and your fiance love as you start your new chapter together.