These days, a lot of people choose their own engagement rings. While this isn’t as traditional as the groom-to-be popping the question with a ring he has chosen, it is, for many couples, a way to ensure that the ring is one the bride will truly love and be happy to wear for the rest of her life, and also to ensure there are no issues around size or other preferences. Whether the couple shop for a ring together or the decision on the ring is left solely to the bride-to-be, picking out the perfect ring can be something of a daunting prospect – after all, this is a piece that will be worn alongside the wedding ring at almost all times, and for the rest of the bride’s life (or at least, that is the intention when the ring is bought).
So Much Choice!
If you are currently gearing up to choose an engagement ring for yourself, it can be hard to know where to start. You probably have a budget in mind and may have some preferences already about things like the color of the metal or style of stone setting. However, even with those things giving you some direction, it can seem like there are millions of rings that could meet your criteria, and choosing the perfect one can be a scary task! Equally, you may be going into it without ever having really considered what styles or cuts of stone you like, or whether you are more a fan of platinum, yellow gold or rose gold, making your options even more numerous! This is why it is a good idea to sit down and work through some questions about what you want before you begin looking at rings online or in jewelry stores. Here are some of the things that you should be asking yourself to help you find some direction in choosing your ring.
What Kind of Jewelry Styles Generally Appeal To You?
You probably have never chosen an engagement ring before, but you have almost certainly picked out other jewelry, and this can give you a sense of what your taste tends to be, even if you’ve never really put that much thought into it before. Do you wear much jewelry at all? If you don’t, then you may find that a simple, minimalist ring is more in line with your lifestyle than something ornate. A solitaire with really good clarity and a simple platinum or white gold setting may make for a more practical ring for you than an ornate ring with lots of stones and details.
Do you favor more modern styles, or seem more drawn to things from a certain era, or prefer timeless classics? You will hopefully be wearing your engagement ring for many decades to come, so going with a modern trend is probably a bad idea as it may soon look dated. However, if you find you prefer more modern jewelry, for example, geometric designs, chunky bangles, and more sporty looking watches, then you might find that you would prefer things like princess cut diamonds, which are angular and modern looking, or perhaps a ring that uses rose gold, which has a nice modern look compared with traditional yellow gold. If modern isn’t your thing, consider your taste in other jewelry and even in things like art, clothing, and furniture. Do you love art deco styles or ornate renaissance styles? Perhaps there is something about vintage things from the Victorian era that you love. If so, you can use this as inspiration for your ring – or even consider seeking out a real antique ring from the period you love the style of!
Do you have any other pieces of jewelry you will always be wearing? Other than your wedding ring, your engagement ring is usually one of the only pieces you wear almost all of the time. However, some people do have things like lockets or pendants they always wear for sentimental reasons, or things like studs they have to wear all the time and rarely change because they have piercings. If you have anything like this, it will be important that your ring compliments the kind of style of that jewelry, to avoid looking mismatched and a bit messy. If you always wear a silver locket, a ring in a white metal would be best. If your locket is very ornately engraved, a delicate, ornate ring design will work best, so you may want to start by looking at things like pave diamond rings. If the piece you wear is simple in design, like a plain, chunky cross, then you can look for something with a similarly minimalist feel.
Is There Anything About Your Job Or Hobbies That Could Affect Your Ring Choice?
A lot of people never take off their rings or only take them off for things like swimming when they worry they might lose them. Other people need to take them off for sports, work, or hobbies, for example, people who do combat sports like martial arts or boxing, or people who work with machinery that could catch on their ring. For other sports and jobs, it can be a matter of preference whether you take off the rings or keep them on, but some styles of engagement ring are more comfortable than others for these activities if you do choose to wear your rings. A good example can be certain types of cooking and baking at home (for health and safety reasons you may be required to remove rings if you do this professionally). If you do things with your hands a lot as part of your lifestyle, rings that don’t have stones set around the finger can be more comfortable and will be less difficult to keep clean.
Another consideration is how much you want to spend. While you may have the budget for a very expensive ring, if you travel a lot or spend time in dangerous areas, then having a very expensive looking ring may make you more likely to be mugged, so something more subtle may be better. Equally, if you are very active and use your hands a lot, your ring may get damaged or come off and get lost, so it may be better to spend less and consider that you may well have to replace it one day – as well as, of course, getting insurance!
How Do You Feel About Alternative Styles Versus Traditional?
Mostly, we have looked at choosing a traditional diamond engagement ring in a style you will love, but it is also worth considering that you don’t actually have to go down that route if you don’t want to. Before you start looking, ask yourself whether you really want the traditional blend of precious metals and diamonds, or if something more unusual or unique would be even better. Many people associate alternative rings with being on a budget, but that may not always be the case and there is some beautiful luxury jewelry that uses different materials and stones. Rings can be made of titanium for a different look, colored stones like rubies and sapphires can be used, or even more exotic colors like pink and aqua can be achieved using tourmaline. Rings have even been made using surprising things like material from meteors, or metal reclaimed from things like ships. If you feel like you would like a ring that is unusual or tells a story of its own, then there are lots of things you can look at, so if you just want to be different or you simply aren’t keen on diamond rings, then look at alternative styles instead of, or as well as, in your search for the perfect ring.
What Sort of Wedding Band?
One thing surprisingly few people consider when picking a ring is how it will look with the wedding band – usually because the choice of wedding band comes later. However, these will be together on the same finger, so it will be vital for them to fit comfortably together and look good as a pair. You can choose a set where the engagement and wedding rings are actually designed to belong together, but if you would rather choose the bands later with your husband-to-be, then at least have in mind what sort of band you want (thick or thin, plain or embellished, with or without stones, and which color of metal), as this will help inform your engagement ring choice. You can do it the other way around of course and pick your wedding ring based on how it will look with your engagement ring, but if you are looking to help inform your engagement ring choice and are feeling a bit lost in all the options, then it can be easier to start with ideas about the usually simpler wedding band and allow these to help you refine your engagement ring options.
Once you have thought about these points, you should have some clearer starting points to help you narrow down your huge array of options and single out the ideal ring for you!
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