Buying an engagement ring for your future wife can be quite a bit of a deal. And although not everyone will want to hear it: It should be! After all the engagement ring will be the symbol of your marriage and ultimately your love towards your future wife. The engagement ring will remind your wife of your love whenever she sees the engagement ring.
I have created the ultimate checklist for you on how to design an engagement ring online.
I therefore encourage you to read through the entire article and to follow the links I provide. Treat the purchase of a diamond like the purchase of a car. Many men would certainly be willing to invest days and weeks for finding the best car that suits their personal budgets.
Engagement rings and diamonds should be no different and should even be treated with more care since they are the absolute sign of everlasting love!
I am going to share all the factors you need to consider in a systematic order in this article.
1. Know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring
You are reading this post because you want to create the perfect engagement ring for your future wife, right? So, you surely know the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring! If you do: great and skip ahead to the next point on my checklist! But I happen to know that many men actually don’t know the difference.
I will explain the difference to you in terms of its outter appearance and the meaning each of these rings has. An engagement ring is the ring you traditionally give to your girlfriend when saying the words: “Will you marry me?”
The engagement itself and the engagement ring are supposed to be a surprise and thus the man gets to choose the engagement ring. The engagement is the promise of marriage and as such a very intensive moment.
Therefore engagement rings are traditionally the flashy and more intense rings. This means that they usually consist of a diamond or gemstone in the centre of the ring. The ring setting very often consists of gold or platinum but other metal types such as silver, titanium or stainless steel would also not be too uncommon.
The engagement ring is placed on the left ring finger, which the Romans believed contained the “vein of love”. In western cultures it is common that only women get to wear an engagement ring.
On the other hand there are also wedding rings which are also referred to as wedding bands. Unlike the engagement ring normally you and your wife both get to wear a wedding ring. Wedding rings are exchanged during the wedding ceremony and are usually chosen together by you and your future wife.
Wedding rings are usually plain rings without any diamonds or gemstones and most commonly consist of white or yellow gold. A wedding ring is supposed to indicate to the environment that the wearer is married. At the same time the uninterrupted circle is a symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end and thus symbolizes never-ending and immortal love.
As the woman usually receives an engagement ring and additionally a wedding ring she often wears both rings. Usually she wears both rings on the ring finger of her left hand with the wedding ring being closer to the heart.
2. Set your Budget
Before even starting out to look out for the perfect engagement ring you should set yourself a clear maximum budget to which you should stick. I have written a separate post on how to set your budget.
I have It is easy when being confronted with a wide array of endless options to somehow get the impression that the ring which is above your budget looks better than the ring which is within your budget.
And then still you might find another ring which is even more outside your budget which you somehow think is even more beautiful. Chances are that this is just a human cognitive bias which automatically assumes that something must be more precious/beautiful just because it is more expensive. Don’t fall prey to this cognitive bias. Especially with diamonds you might be paying for premium features which you won’t be able to notice at all. You will certainly find a beautiful ring which is within your budget.
As far as the amount of money is concerned that you should spend on the engagement ring: It is entirely up to you! The engagement ring industry and especially the company “De Beers” did some good marketing in the past telling people that you should spend the equivalent of two months’ income on the engagement ring. Just have a look at this advertisement:
Over the decades this sneaky piece of admittedly great marketing went into the subconsciousness of entire generations and shows how strong the effect of marketing can be! Apparently, this is very much in the interest of the diamond industry. Please, don’t feel pressured by this kind of rule! Be aware that the two months’ salary rule is just one of the most ingenious marketing feats of the 20th century!
3. Where to design the engagement ring
I guess that you would like to design an engagement ring not just for fun. You actually want to buy it once you have come to the conclusion that you have designed an amazing engagement ring and the price is within your budget. Therefore, you should directly design the engagement ring at a place you know is trustworthy, safe and does not try to take advantage of you. Thus, the very first question you should actually ask yourself is where you should design the engagement ring.
Buying a diamond at a brick and mortar store store will usually cost you somewhat between 30% – 70% more than a nearly identical diamond with the same 4Cs parameters at an online store. This is simply due to the fact that most online stores have much lower operating costs. Online vendors have no need for fancy showrooms, salespeople etc. If you want to get the best bang for your buck I would therefore only recommend to buy your ring online.
My top recommended store for buying diamonds online is James Allen with their revolutionary 360° Diamond Display Technology. It is currently the only store that will let you view ALL of their diamonds in high definition videos in up to 40x magnification!
It is very important to never buy a diamond blindly! Just have a look at the two diamonds below. Both are SI1 diamonds but the one on the left is not eye clean and the one on the right is eye clean. Without real magnified images you would never know!
I will say the following, though: For one thing you have to know that not every ring metal complements each skin type in the same way. Yellow gold for instance does not complement rosy or pale skin tones. If your partner has a very pale skin tone yellow gold might therefore not be the ideal choice. White gold and platinum on the other hand do not complement olive and darker skin tones. Only rose gold complements any skin type.
If you consider buying a white gold or platinum ring setting it will be better to buy the setting in white gold. White gold is not only considerably less expensive but also not as prone as platinum to getting dull and scratched over time. Although rhodium platings in white gold rings need to be regularly replaced, a platinum ring will have to be cleaned more often than a white gold ring (every few years) and every time this happens some of the platinum will be stripped away. If you want to get more details on the pros and cons of the four main ring metals, please check out this link.
11. Test the ring and propose
If the ring arrives at your place, you should have 30 days to return it back for a full refund. This actually gives you enough time to check out whether the ring is really the ring that you have always dreamt about. If it is, go ahead and propose! I hope that I could help you out with my little checklist. If you should have any question do not hesitate to leave a comment or write me a mail. I will be more than happy to help you out!
Moreover, James Allen is also the only diamond vendor that offers free return shippings in case you don’t like the diamond. This means that you will not have to pay for the insured return shipping which can easily amount to around $100.
Nowadays with online vendors offering completely insured shipping, 30-day returns, free shippings, free return shippings and 100 % refunds there is hardly any downside to buying engagement rings online. The upside on the other hand of buying an engagement ring online is a considerable amount of money that you can save or invest in more carat weight!
4. Determine her preferences
Now you are on your way to designing the perfect engagement ring. If you don’t have any clue whatsoever what kind of ring setting she would like, you might consider buying her just a diamond without the ring setting. This way your future wife can be included in the selection of the ring and the stone can later be mounted upon her preferred ring setting. This is something she might appreciate as she will have to wear the ring (hopefully) for her entire life.
On the other hand most women would prefer her man to know what kind of ring she likes. She wants you to surprise her with a wonderful engagement ring with which she can fall in love on the spot. Getting some idea what kind of ring she might like is not even all that difficult.
The bottom line is that your girlfriend will certainly like a ring setting that is similar to a ring she is wearing or has worn herself or that is similar to another person’s ring she has liked. Maybe she has casually shown you a ring she liked when you were both window shopping? Or maybe you can recall a situation where she was raving about the ring of a friend of hers.
If you still don’t have any clue you could simply ask one of her best friends (of course you will have to make her promise not slip anything about your planned proposal) who will surely be excited about helping you out with such an important issue!
There are lots of ways to find out about her specific taste and unless it is impossible to pin down her preferences I think that you should rather buy a complete engagement ring.
5. Know her ring size – the best ways to find out
In order to design a complete engagement ring, apparently you will have to know her ring size. Just imagine how awkward it would be if you tried to slide the ring on her finger and it would not fit her. Of course, you would still be able to change the ring size later on but it would surely destroy the romance of the moment and turn the proposal into a hilarious situation.
You can read my post on how to find out her ring size.
The easiest way to get to know her ring size is to snitch away a ring she already possesses in a moment where she does not notice it, for example when she is taking a shower. Then just hold the ring against the ring size finder by James Allen.
This way you will quickly find out her ring size. If you girlfriend does not possess any rings that you could compare with the ring size finder just ask her mother or one of her best friends confidentially. They usually happen to know stuff like this.
If none of her friends of her family can help you, you will simply have to second-guess it. The most important rule you got to know in this context is that it is always easier to resize the engagement ring down to a smaller size than it is to make it bigger! Therefore, it is always better to choose a too large ring size instead of a too small ring size.
The average woman is 5 ‘6″ (168 cm) and 140 lbs. (53,5 kg) and has a ring size of 6. According to the overall weight and the slenderness of the fingers of your girlfriend you will have to estimate what kind of ring size she has. If her weight and the slenderness of her fingers are below average her ring size might be a 5.5 or a 5. And if the opposite is the case her ring size might well be 6.5, 7 or even 7.5.
Always remember: When in doubt get a larger ring size! At James Allen you even get a 60-day free resizing guarantee.
6. Know her style and look at the following hints
Now you will have to brainstorm her entire style in terms of rings. Apparently it is always a safe bet to design a ring similar to what she already owns! This is something you can orientate yourself. Look at all the rings that she has worn or liked during the years that you were together.
If she has a collection of her own rings look at these rings very closely. Women don’t buy any rings that they don’t like and thus the more rings she possesses that you can get hold of the more likely you will be to single out her true preferences. Bring all these rings in front of your inner eye and try to find some common denominators. Take this exercise seriously and just imagine that you are some kind of great artist who is going to find the perfect engagement ring.
Ask yourself the following questions: Are the majority of these rings modern or classic? Are they ornate or simple? Are they chunky or delicate? Sophisticated or feminine? Gold or silver? Diamond or sapphire? One stone or several stones?
Apart from the rings she possesses herself ask yourself what kind of rings she liked when other people wore them. Just try to make sure that she really liked the ring and did not just say it to another person as a well-intended compliment. This is why you should rather rely on the rings she has been wearing herself when estimating what kind of ring she would like. Other than that, try to remember all the times when she talked about rings with you.
The best way to get her talking about her taste in an inconspicuous way is to take her shopping and to just pass a jewellery store “by coincidence” and have her look at all the different rings. Most women will feel compelled to tell you which ring they like particularly.
If you don’t have any possibility like that to know her preferred ring style and don’t have any idea whatsoever, remember the great thumbrule: When in doubt stick to the classics! In terms of engagement rings that would most likely mean a diamond engagement ring consisting of a diamond in round or princess cut shape mounted on a solitaire ring setting of either yellow or white gold.
7. Which diamond shape to choose
Now that you have considered her style, you will first have to find the right stone. After all, the main advantage of designing your own engagement ring is that you get to choose a really perfect diamond. An engagement ring usually consists of at least one precious stone. Most engagement rings nowadays actually consist of a diamond.
At first you will have to choose a diamond shape which should not be confused with the diamond cut. The words diamond cut and diamond shape are often used interchangeably although they actually refer to something different. The diamond shape refers to how the diamond is formed, i.e. whether it is round, heart-shaped, pear-shaped etc.
The most classical diamond shapes for diamond engagement rings are round or princess cut diamonds. Read my post on the round cut diamond and my post on the princess cut diamond if you want to know more details on these diamond shapes.
If you do not have any indication whatsoever that your girlfriend has a fondness for a particular shape I would recommend to stick with round or princess cut diamonds. These are very classic and neutral shapes that no one could seriously dislike.
Furthermore, these two shapes reflect the most light and thus provide the maximum amount of brilliance, fire and scintillation among all shapes. The princess shape can be nearly as brilliant as the round shape although the round shape is the most brilliant one. But these differences in sparkle are hardly noticeable to the bare eye. Any well cut diamond can have a lot of sparkle, fire and brilliance. Thus, you should choose the shape which you think that your girlfriend will like most.
8. Know about the diamond 4Cs
Now that you have decided which diamond shape you want to buy, you will have to make sure that you buy a diamond of good quality. A diamond of good quality is a diamond that reflects the light in the best possible way and does not contain any visible flaws. In order to choose a diamond like that you will have to look at the so-called 4Cs.
Please read my guide on the diamond 4Cs.
The 4Cs are commonly acknowledged quality criteria for diamonds and refer to the diamond cut, carat weight, diamond clarity and diamond color. Making a good purchasing decision will simply come down to the knowledge that you have in your brain. And so I want to highly encourage you to get yourself educated on the diamond 4Cs.
9. Which ring setting to choose
Now that you have chosen your perfect diamond, you will have to mount it on the perfect ring setting. Here I can ultimately not give you any hint as to which ring setting to choose as it is a pure matter of taste. Every ring setting has different advantages and disadvantages and if you want to know more about a specific ring setting, please obtain detailed information from the ring setting section above. Additionally, I will give you my basic thoughts on ring settings and their general connection to the diamond that you have carefully chosen:
A thin band makes the center diamond appear bigger
How great anything in life appears is usually a matter of contrast. The same is true of diamonds mounted on a ring setting. If you want to enhance the optical size of a diamond it might be wise to choose a thin band with a thickness of 1.8mm to around 2.2mm. As you can see the diamond on the left side appears much bigger than the diamond on the right side although the size of both diamonds is actually the same. This is due to the fact that the ring setting on the left is only 2 mm thick and the ring setting on the right side is 2,5 mm thick.
A smaller amount of prongs makes the diamond appear bigger
A diamond is usually secured upon a ring setting with either 4 or 6 prongs. Having 6 prongs is more secure as the risk of losing the stone is lower in case a prong should be broken or bent. On the other hand though a diamond that is secured with only 4 prongs appears bigger to the eye because there is less metal coverage on the diamond. The diamond on the left side with only 4 prongs appears slightly bigger than the diamond on the ride side secured with 6 prongs. You will have to decide for your own whether you prefer the added security of two-extra prongs or the diamond appearing larger.
A Three-stone setting will make the center diamond appear a little less larger
The characteristic of a three-stone ring setting is that the center diamond is guarded on both sides by two other gemstones which can either be diamonds or sapphires. This setting is usually chosen because of its comparably high bling factor and for symbolic reasons. If you want to make the center diamond appear bigger, you might want to avoid this ring setting because usually the center diamond appears a little bit smaller next to the other gemstones. The center diamond in a three-stone setting looks blended together with the other stones and thus the focus on the center diamond is not that strong. This might contribute to the center diamond appearing slightly smaller than it really is. Although the other stones divert attention from the center diamond the overall combination has a very flashy effect.
10. Which metal to choose
After having chosen the ring setting, you will have to decide in which metal you would like to have the engagement ring. Although it mainly comes down to taste, choosing the right metal is partly also a technical question. The four main metals which are commonly used for engagement rings are yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum. As far as your and the taste of your girlfriend is concerned in terms of ring metals I will not make any suggestions.