How to Choose an Engagement Ring in 4 Steps

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Like many aspects of prepping for a lifetime of bliss, finding the perfect engagement ring can be a dizzying adventure with its fair share of bumps and challenges along the way. That's why it’s important to have a game plan in place prior to choosing the perfect ring.

Before you start shopping for specifics, you should get a clear sense for how to choose an engagement ring. Words like "cut" and "clarity" are about to become regular parts of your vocabulary, so get a sense of the basics. From knowing what you love to knowing how to find it, here’s a simple guide to finding the engagement ring you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Read on for everything you need to know about how to choose an engagement ring.

Get inspired

Since the advent of Pinterest, there’s no such thing as ignorance when it comes to your dream ring. Start window-shopping immediately, and sink into the process of scouring the internet for your favorite looks. Save the nitty-gritty details for later; right now is the time for bold impressions, broad-strokes curation, and relentless vision boarding.

Do your research

Perhaps the most important stage of choosing an engagement ring is conducting research—an essential step to finding the perfect piece. The core of engagement ring research boils down to the four Cs: carat, color, clarity, and cut. These criteria run the gamut from size and weight to visual style, and a strong familiarity with these elements will help you hone in on the ideal blend of quality and aesthetics. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) offers some outstanding resources in diamond education, so take a look around. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to find the perfect piece.

Think long-term

Trends come and go, but (as that famous jewelry campaign has so indelibly noted) a diamond is forever. Give yourself an edge by envisioning how you’ll feel about your ring in 10, 20, even 50 years. While this doesn’t mean you can’t decide on something unusual, thinking long-term is vital to choosing a ring that you’ll enjoy wearing for years to come, and that will never feel dated.

Consider going custom

For those who seriously know what they want, a custom ring can be the perfect tailor-made solution to choosing an engagement ring. Of course, going custom doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start by shopping off the rack. Talk to dealers and artisans you trust, and establish a clear sense of your vision, from settings and metals to stone shapes and sourcing.

Custom rings can also offer a brilliant alternative to traditional diamond designs, mixing in colored gemstones like rubies, sapphires, and opals. Whether you find an existing piece or wind up creating something entirely from scratch, it’s important to choose a ring that authentically reflects your own style and personality. 

By following these simple steps for choosing an engagement ring, you’ll be far more likely to discover a ring that you (and your partner) will truly love.

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Up next, keep reading for the new rules of engagement ring etiquette.