(Closed) Engagement Rings 101?

posted 5 years ago in Rings
Post # 2
2317 posts
Buzzing bee

I would start with a budget.  Set your budget and stick to it.  Then decided if this will be your forever ring or if you might want to change it at some point down the road.  If it is a forever ring look for a center stone that is durable and will last and find a setting that is equally as druable.  

You will find rings that you like. If that is enough for you get it.  Im the type that needs to  learn about them and see if its a good deal for the price or if Im getting ripped off.  

Post # 3
1165 posts
Bumble bee

Okay first things first.  There are almost limiteless options when it comes to your center stone–you must decide for yourself what YOU WANT.  More popular options here are diamonds, moissanites, morganites, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and so many other beautiful gemstones that I cannot even name them all. 

Tip #1: Choose a strong center stone.  Rings are worn daily and is in danger of being hit on doors, scratched, etc.  I would choose the hardness within the precious stones like diamonds, moissanites, sapphires, emeralds, etc., to make sure the hardness of your stone would fit your lifestyle. 

After you figure out your stone, then you can figure out where to buy it.  Reputable diamond spots are everywhere–blue nile, brilliant earth, james allen, etc.  Just search here on the bee.  Moissanite sellers are Betterthandiamond, moissaniteco, schubach, winkcz, goldsandgem, etsy, etc. 

Tip #2.  Do your research on the sellers, there has been some issues with rings from Etsy sellers lately so I would be aware of how I do transactions there.  Paypal has good protection so if you could use that, I suggest you do.

Timelesly unique is an oxymoron.  Most timeless rings–as implied by the name–are tried and true designs that  has withstood the test of time and has been worn for decades like tapered baguettes, Tiffany solitaire, halos, etc.  Unique, on the other hand, are more specialized pieces and maybe more modern than most rings.  I suggest TRY SOME STYLES IN PERSON, see what you like, and find it online.

These boards, pricescope, and such are good sources of information.  Just do your research. 

Post # 5
784 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2016 - Simsbury 1820 House

Budget first. Be careful of department stores trying to sell diamonds that aren’t of as good a quality. Go local if you can. Decide on stone shape first. That will help narrow everything down. Just ask them to take out of the case whatever draws your eye to it. It will be a bit of a gut feeling.

Post # 6
113 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I looove researching topics and getting to know everything I can about a subject.  I did weeks and weeks of reading up on diamond color, clarity, and everything else.  In the end, the hour or so I spent actually looking at rings was far more useful than all those hours spent online.  I am a huge nerd who places a high value on information gathering, so I am glad I did the background research, but if you just want a pretty ring at a fair price I would encourage you to table the research for now and just go shopping.  Shop for ideas only–just to get a picture in your head of what you like–and once you know what appeals to you then you can start looking for deals/vetting the deal you have found.  

Side note: people tend to place a lot of emphasis on the specs of a diamond, and those attributes are important considerations when choosing a stone.  However, I would caution you not to get too wrapped up in requiring a diamond that has such-and-such a color/cut/clarity/carat weight.  You aren’t wearing a certificate every day, you are wearing a ring.  What really matters is how it speaks to YOU.  (Specs are still a vital way to estimate fair market value and not get taken advantage of)

Post # 7
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

View original reply
cobeeyee:  While I don’t have a diamond, Brilliant Earth actually has a great jewelry buying guide: http://www.brilliantearth.com/about_products/

It will go over LOTS of stuff about all of this including a very detailed guide on the “4-C’s” for diamond buying. The general rule with diamonds is CUT matters most while shopping because it affects light and sparkle in a stone. A really white poorly cut diamond will not look as good as a slightly warmer excellent cut diamond. The more light it reflects the better 🙂

I’m a moissanite girl and learned a lot about moissys from Better Than Diamond and Moissy Co pages. We ended up ordering a stone from Schubachs and having it set and made locally into my ering. That is an option too.

Post # 8
294 posts
Helper bee

As far as figuring out what styles, cuts, shapes, sizes you like nothing is better than trying it on. Gp to somewhere that sells jewelry and try on everything that catches your eye. See if it’s comfortable on. Do you like it’s proportions on your finger? But make sure that you are strong enough nor to get roped in by the sales people.  This is an exploratory mission only. 

Post # 9
336 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

View original reply
saintpaulgal:  “You aren’t wearing a certificate every day, you are wearing a ring” – I love this advice!!!

Obviously you don’t want to get ripped off but at the same time, you want a ring that feels right for YOU. You don’t have to follow any type of tradition or what is “supposed” to be an engagement ring. Personally, I love my diamond solitare halo ring which looks very much like an engagement ring. But it’s up to you and your boyfriend. If you want something totally different and nontraditional that’s fine.

One thing I would suggest is that it sounds like you might like a vintage ring. You said you want it to be timeless and unique, which, as someone pointed out, seems to be conflicting characteristics. But a lot of vintage rings are both timeless and unique. Depending on where you live, maybe you can find some vintage rings. 

Post # 10
606 posts
Busy bee

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cobeeyee:  Definitely budget first.

My last piece of advise…go with an open mind, don’t listen to any of us.

I SERIOUSLY thought my whole life I want a square diamond on a band with little diamonds. I didn’t know what people meant when they tried on a dress or ring and this wave of emotions over came them and they realised it was “the one”, I KNEW what I wanted and these silly girls obviously were confused. WELL… I went looking, for fun, with my best friend (who’s reporting to my GF) last week and I fell in love with a ring that was everything I always said I NEVER wanted and I had this range of emotions over whelm me when I found it, THE ONE. As soon as I saw it all other rings were…..meh, it’s nice. 

Define a budget, walk into a store, tell them your budget, tell them “Diamond engagement rings only in this price range.” or “I’m open to diamonds or gem engagement rings in this price range.”

Honestly, that’s all you need to know. We will just cloud your judgement on our preferences. lol

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  lesbimarried.
Post # 11
176 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

May I suggest Etsy? Some Etsy artisans are amazing craftspeople with years in the jewelry industry. Some work with sterling silver and semiprecious stones (moonstone, amethyst, white topaz), but tons work with white gold, platinum, and diamonds. If you’re looking for affordable items that are consdiered “alternative engagement rings,” may I suggest the Etsy seller Jorgensen Studio? Joanna made our rings and my engagement ring, and I adore it.

Post # 12
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - Red Barn Farm

View original reply


I have a natural sapphire and diamond ring if you’re going for the gemstone look. 

From what I was told there is no difference between “lab-created” and “natural” sapphires besides the look. Lab created are the same hardness but tend to be a ‘royal” type blue versus the natural sapphires are pretty dark most of the time until they hit the right light.  Kay’s did have several options in colors of the lab-created sapphires! 


It seems that most ring places take at least 2-3 weeks to get ther ring, and sometimes that doesn’t include the sizing, if you’ll need sizing. It depends on the jeweler!

I also meant to say that lab-created are typically more cost-effective! 🙂  



  • This reply was modified 4 years, 11 months ago by  mrsdoodlebop.
Post # 13
1611 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - Cape May

My advice- concentrate on the center stone first, then the setting. Congrats and enjoy! Ring shopping was our favorite part.

1. Budget

2. Center stone ( diamond vs Moissy vs gemstone)

3. Metal type ( this will also affect your budget platinum is more $$$ than gold)

4. Setting ( you can always go simple now then reset later)

Post # 14
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I was in the same boat as you last year! I’m clumsy and didn’t care if it was a real diamond or mossy, etc. Definitely shop around, try stuff on.

I agree with many bees here:

1) Start with a budget. Don’t listen to the advertisements that say, “you need to spend 2-3 months of your salary on an engagement ring!”. It’s a marketing scheme. Don’t feel pressured, do what’s comfortable with you/your fiancee’s budget, and please please don’t go into debt for it! 

2) Try on different designs/shapes, in person. Prior to going into the stores, I had my heart set on a round halo, with a split shank pave band. …Until I tried it on. Both my Fiance and I thought it was too busy, too much going on. We ended up with a pave-band with a round stone. More simple and cleaner. We went to Blue Nile’s showcase, Robbins Brothers, and Ben Bridge.

3) Something to consider- if you work in a lab, or your occupation involves wear gloves, think about have a low-setting diamond. Ie, if you’re a nurse, imagine having a huge stone stick out- it’s difficult to take on/off rubber gloves.

4) Metals. You can worry about this once you’ve got your ring design(s) in mind. There are a variety of metals: 14k gold, white gold, sterling silver, platinum, etc. Take some time out reading about it. Platinum is going to be the most expensive, but it is more durable and you don’t have to pay for re-plating like the 14k gold metals.

I know this can be overwhelming, but take a deep breath and enjoy ring shopping!! 🙂 Make it into a fun weeknight date to go ring-shopping! Robbin Bros offers free beer/wine and cookies…

Post # 15
1444 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

View original reply
cobeeyee:  In addition to the other advice, if you like vintage and/or bargains, check out pawn shops 🙂

Good luck!

ETA: One other thing to consider is what kind of wedding band you might want, and whether you’ll wear them together, just wear the wedding band, or switch it up. Also whether you’ll want your rings to coordinate with your FH’s. 

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