Shopping for an Engagement Ring: 7 Do’s and Don’ts

7 do's and don'ts when shopping for an engagement ring

Marriage proposals are always highly anticipated moments for couples. They’re also highly delicate—and, let’s face it, more than just a little bit demanding and stressful. shopping for an engagement ring

A proper proposal (meaning a successful and accepted marriage proposal) requires both careful planning and an informed investment. Just like love, there’s no carefully calculated, scientifically-proven formula or perfectly-planned path that leads to discovering the ideal ring. The entire process is a delicate balance of detailed research, obsessive organization, and attentive listening to your gut instincts. Here at the myzillion blog, we like to think of it as something else, too.

An art form. 

As you prepare to find “the one,” it’s best to start by learning some helpful tips—as in the top seven do’s and don’ts of engagement ring (and engagement ring insurance) shopping.

1. Do Give Yourself Time

Do you have a couple of months to prepare before proposing to the love of your life?  Consider dropping subtle questions about jewelry to your partner as a primary part of the “run-up” process. To fully inform your engagement ring shopping strategy, you’ll also want to collect some strong jewelry-focused advanced “intel” from your partner. Ask him or her for jewelry gift recommendations and favorite brands—but don’t betray a strong impression that you’re shopping for…them. Tell them you’re interested in buying gifts for your sibling, parent, or best friend. You can even earn “brownie points” by complimenting your partner’s style the next time he or she wears jewelry. Perhaps you even ask what brand they’re wearing (maybe it’s Tiffany & Co.). Altogether, what is the goal here?

  • Do learn and listen – let your partner do the talking
  • Don’t drop hints or ask frequent questions 
  • Do give yourself time (ideally a full 3-6 months) to collect “intel”

2. Don’t Spend Everything

While we’ve all seen extravagant engagement rings in magazines and on TV, don’t get caught up in believing you have to spend a massive amount of money on an engagement ring (or on engagement ring insurance). A recent study conducted by The Knot revealed that the national average spend for engagement rings in America was just shy of $6,000. However, a full third of the same survey respondents revealed they spent somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 on a less-expensive engagement ring. It’s no secret that engagement rings are costly, but what should be emphasized most here is that there’s many ways to consider which ring is perfect for your particular partner. When planning and finalizing your engagement ring shopping budget, strongly consider these questions:

  • Does your partner appreciate fine jewelry enough to increase the engagement ring budget?
  • Is there a “must-have” feature of the engagement ring that justifies a budget increase?
  • How much will be budgeted for the engagement ring and wedding band for you and your partner?

3. Do Your Research Before Shopping for an Engagement Ring 

When you begin your engagement ring shopping process in earnest, you’ll almost certainly hear about the 4 C’s of diamonds: cut, clarity, color, and carat. When shopping for the ideal engagement ring, these timeless features are amongst the first things to consider. These ring characteristics should all influence the price of your purchase. Use the insights you collect from your partner to answer questions like:

  • Which gemstone or diamond cut does your partner favor? (i.e. round, princess, pear, radiant, oval, heart, emerald, etc.)
  • What is their preferred color? (i.e. yellow diamond, gemstones, clear diamond, etc.)
  • Does carat size matter to your partner? (i.e. its weight)
  • Does your diamond need to be natural…or can it be a lab-grown diamond?
  • What influence does clarity have over your decision?

According to renowned industry leader Tiffany & Co., poor diamond clarity grade has several inclusions which directly affect the sparkle of a diamond ring. Clarity is a measure of the diamond’s purity and rarity, assessing just how flawless it is (or isn’t)—both to the naked eye and while under a 10-power magnification lens. Of course, a jewelry powerhouse like Tiffany & Co. has high standards and only accepts .04% of the world’s gem-grade diamonds.

4. Do Schedule Appointments

In-person visits to jewelry stores provide an invaluable, insightful, and truly “hands-on” (or on-finger) opportunity to learn about a specific jeweler and their specialty collection of diamond engagement rings. Just remember, only you will know which ring is “The One”—though experienced and helpful jewelry experts will be there to answer questions about their jewelry and better understand what you’re looking for. While virtual jewelry try-ons are beginning to evolve from futuristic concept to modern reality, they’re still a work-in-progress for most national jewelers. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your in-person appointment goes as smooth as possible:

  • Mention your budget. This is a milestone purchase. Unless it’s well within your means to spend big on a diamond engagement ring, generally there’s no reason to look at high price tags that you can’t afford.
  • Dress the part. Whether you’re meeting virtually or in person, consider this something like a “hot date”—or a first-time meeting with your future in-laws. Make sure to dress comfortably to feel as confident as possible.
  • Schedule worthy appointments. It’s not about how many appointments you make, but particularly which jewelers you talk to when shopping for an engagement ring. Quality over quantity. Try to narrow your list down to include just your top three favorite jewelers.
  • Explore online first. Before you meet with your jewelry consultant, investigate and explore the jeweler’s website to learn about past and new diamond engagement ring collections, metal colors, sourcing, and more.

5. Do Consider Ring Size

Diamond engagement rings are a pretty unique item. In many ways. Unlike clothes and shoes, they’re simply not items you can easily exchange if they don’t fit you right. In most cases, jewelry is resized to accommodate a better fit for the individual. The majority of jewelry experts will tell you it’s better to move down in size than to climb up a size or two. Still, how do you know what size to even consider  without asking your partner first (and risk giving away the surprise engagement)? Here are some ways to estimate your partner’s ring size without revealing your motives:

  • Have a friend or close relative find out for you. Have your partner try on a friend’s old rings—or have a friend try on rings with your partner during a shopping trip. The good old “this doesn’t fit me, does it fit you?” trick works well here.
  • Borrow a ring from their jewelry box and use it as a size reference. Just be quick about it—and stay strong if your partner notices it’s missing. You may have to leave it somewhere your partner would typically leave his or her jewelry.
  • Ask your partner for advice on someone who’s their size. Maybe ask something like: “I’m want to get my friend a silicone ring because their usual ring will get busted up when we work out. What size are they?”

6. Don’t Make Shopping for an Engagement Ring About Anyone Else

The more people who know you’re shopping for an engagement ring, the more you’ll receive opinions. Friends and family always mean well, but will typically try to interject what they know about your partner—and their ideal dream ring. The first thing to remember is, it’s your decision and opinion that matter most. An engagement ring is a unique gift from you to your partner. It’s valuable, rare jewelry that symbolizes commitment and love. Keep the focus on yourself and your partner by re-considering some typical thoughts:

  • If you think your budget is too low or too high, think about your intentions and preference. Remember, there’s a ring for every budget. Since you’re the one purchasing it, you get to decide what’s right.
  • If you think a diamond alone isn’t enough, consider an alternative setting or gemstones. You might even consider a “sustainable jewelry” option here.
  • If you think it’s better to play it safe…don’t. Choosing an engagement ring is an exciting and rare moment. Notice how you feel when you pick “The One”. If it doesn’t excite and move you, it’s probably not the right ring for you.

7. Do Take Your Time. And DO Purchase Engagement Ring Insurance!

Shopping for an engagement ring is an exciting moment, however it’s also a deeply significant and serious moment. In short, it’s a powerful, personal proclamation of undying and committed love. There are many jewelers to consider, but they’re easier to narrow down once you know the ring aspects and features that matter most to your partner. Don’t forget to keep your engagement ring secure for the big proposal. In the meantime, start thinking of creative and romantic ways to pop the big question. Your perfect engagement ring and happily ever after will be here before you know it.

Oh, and once you do decide on the ideal engagement ring for the love of your life, give strong consideration to adding an extra layer of protection and assurance by purchasing a diamond engagement ring insurance policy from Zillion. Just in case something does happen to that prized, priceless symbol of your love, one of our affordable, no-hassle, flexible jewelry insurance offerings can replace it. Detail-by-detail, cut-for-cut. Just how you fell in love with it the first time. Just remember:

Ring insurance is always absolutely worth it. So drop us a line today!

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