Selecting an engagement ring for your partner is an enormous step in your life, and can be overwhelming with a market inundated with choices. With our step-by-step guide, we hope to ease the pressure off of picking an engagement ring for women.
Stay Within Budget
It goes without saying that living within your means is the most important element of engagement ring shopping. Shockingly, however, most people subscribe to the belief that these jewelry pieces should cost two months’ wages. This myth was, however, erroneously created by jewelry companies to sell higher-priced merchandise.
Don’t go into debt while choosing an engagement ring for her, and don’t wait on proposing just because you can’t afford an enormous bauble or elaborate band. Be firm with your jeweler or designer, who may recommend something out of your budget for their commission. A simple but unique engagement ring is a memorable token of your love, and you can always surprise your future wife with a more elaborate ring later.
Which Precious or Semi-Precious Metal Is Best?
Choosing the color of an engagement ring’s metal isn’t as simple as “silver” or “gold”. In fact, cost can be affected dramatically, depending on which metal you choose.
One of the best ways to determine the type of metal your sweetheart loves most is to view the latest pieces of jewelry she has purchased and/or wears regularly. From there, take her hobbies and profession into account before making a final decision, as certain metals hold up under stress better than others.
Though platinum is rare, it’s also extremely durable. It manages to maintain its distinct shine and color for years, with an uncommon ability to go without repairwork. Platinum is also one of the few metals with the least risk for allergic reactions (an excellent choice for partners with sensitive skin), but be warned that it takes more platinum than gold to create a custom jewelry piece. While it’s certainly the more expensive choice for jewelry making, there are incredible benefits for going platinum.
Regardless of whichever color gold you may choose, 14k to 18k gold is best for engagement bands. Not only do they withstand a great deal more impact than their higher-karat counterparts, but they are also much more affordable.
In the United States, white gold engagement rings are currently the most popular choice for to-be brides. They’re an excellent option for someone who loves the look of platinum, but with a much lower price. Unfortunately, rhodium plating on white gold jewelry requires replacement every decade, but such repairs are quite straightforward. If your betrothed prefers yellow gold jewelry, remember that scratches in gold rings will eventually require professional polishing and buffing.
Owing to their retro appeal, rose gold engagement rings have become an increasingly popular option. Created from an alloy of gold and copper, rose gold doesn’t require rhodium plating repairwork like white gold, and the addition of copper strengthens each piece. Though a cheaper option than white or yellow gold, individuals with allergies to copper should not wear rose gold.
Why Ethical Gold Is Important for Jewelry Pieces
Should you choose gold for your fiancée’s engagement ring, consider sustainability. Ore mining is notorious for poisoning entire ecosystems and water supplies in poverty-stricken communities. Children and adults alike are also paid incomprehensibly low wages for dangerous work. When you choose ethical and/or recycled gold for future jewelry pieces from a credible retailer, you’re encouraging safe and healthy environments throughout the world.
Palladium is an excellent semi-precious metal with a luxurious look and lower price than platinum and gold. Hypoallergenic and long-lasting, palladium is much harder to find (though we believe this is set to change in the coming decades).
Mixed Metalwork and Mokume Gane
There’s no reason why your future fiancée can’t have it all. Many engagement bands feature multiple types of metals in fascinating arrays and designs. These combinations often allow for unique fine jewelry rings.
For instance, the ancient art of Mokume Gane creates sturdy, intricately-patterned jewelry pieces that are just as unique as the bond between you and your future spouse. Mokume Gane jewelry also offers a variety of colors and metal combinations, allowing you to further personalize your Mokume Gane engagement ring.
Determine Ring Band Size
If you are creating a custom ring together, determining your partner’s ring size is a fairly straightforward process. You can go to any professional jeweler to be sized, and Jaume Labro even ships their brand-specific ring gauges anywhere in the world!
If you intend on surprising your beloved, however, we recommend enlisting the help of a close friend or family member. These trusted individuals can spontaneously take them to a jeweler to try on rings for fun. They can also casually slip a ring gauge on your beloved’s fingers by creating a contest to see who has ‘bigger’ fingers. However you want to discover the correct size, make sure you have a great actor on your side so as not to spoil the secret!
Choose the Perfect Gemstone
Now that you’ve chosen a band, you should decide which gemstone – if any – should be set in it. Diamonds are considered the most enduring and classic of gemstones, renowned for their ability to withstand breakage while remaining forever brilliant. Today, nearly 90% of engagement rings contain diamonds, typically solitaire styles.
While you may believe that all diamonds look the same, understanding the 4 C’s (cut, carat, clarity and color) will help you to find the best deal. Don’t dive into an immediate purchase: shop around, investigate diamond market prices and don’t be afraid to haggle if you spot something extraordinary in the jewelry shop case. Any respectable jeweler should be able to point out the benefits and flaws of any gemstone, and recommend a setting that showcases (or hides) them.
Any diamonds you find larger than 0.25 carat should come with a diamond-grading report from a gemological group like the Gemological Institute of America. These reports cover the 4 C’s of the stone, including any other information that may affect its worth.
You Aren’t Limited to White Diamonds
Though white diamonds are a popular option, your girlfriend may prefer something a bit different. For example, a yellow diamond engagement ring may be more affordable and striking than a white diamond band. Consider your partner’s birthstone or a gemstone in her favorite color for a unique and custom engagement ring.
Go with a Beautiful – but Sustainable – Diamond
If sustainability and human rights are important to your partner, ensure that your diamonds are purchased from legitimate sources. Ethical jewelry companies are vital for impoverished areas, whose wars and rebellions are financed by diamond mining. Find a jeweler who purchases only from ethical sources. Your significant other can be reassured that her engagement ring has only positive connections to it.
Is Custom Jewelry Difficult to Design?
While it’s simpler to buy the first ring you fall in love with, custom design should be considered. Inspiration could strike after seeing a unique bezel setting on one ring and desiring your grandmother’s diamond to be set into it. Any respectable jeweler will be happy to fashion your dream engagement ring. Custom doesn’t mean it isn’t affordable, though you can expect to wait 4-6 weeks should you go this route.
While many traditionalists believe that popping the question should come as a surprise, unless you are familiar with her aesthetic taste, it’s recommend working with your partner to build something unique that she’ll be sure to cherish. Though designing a custom jewelry piece for your loved one seems like a daunting task, esteemed jewelry companies should provide step-by-step assistance to design something timeless and beloved.
Should I Purchase an Engagement and Wedding Ring Set?
If you’re concerned whether your girlfriend’s engagement and wedding bands will look – and fit – perfectly together, consider purchasing them as a set. The design should allow them to be worn separately and paired, and many husbands-to-be also purchase a ring with similar design elements. Mokume Gane sets can be forged from the same billet, providing one-of-a-kind rings that can never be replicated.
At Jaume Labro, we work with you each step of the way to ensure a custom ring that mimics your special bond, and one that fits your future wife’s unique style. To start the inspiration process, browse our selection of fine engagement Mokume Gane rings.