Read on to learn five specific questions that will help you determine your engagement ring style.
Are you engagement ring shopping? Yay! Maybe you’ve heard of the 4 C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. If you haven’t, then you’re in good company! I was clueless when I started looking at engagement rings!
So here’s the backstory: when Evan and I started the discussion about marriage, I couldn’t help but spend LOTS of time looking at engagement rings. Ok, maybe I was already looking, even before we started talking. But it’s a good thing that my Pinterest boards weren’t public, because no one, including Evan, would have been able to interpret my style based on my sporadic and ever-changing pinning. On one day, I’d be pinning a cushion-cut diamond with a halo set in rose gold, and the next day it would be a simple solitaire setting with an emerald cut diamond.
While part of this confusion was just loving ALL diamonds (I mean, how can you not?!), the main issue was that I didn’t know how to determine my engagement ring style. Figuring out the style of ring that you’ll be wearing for the rest of your life is kind of overwhelming, right?! That’s why I decided to write about it.
Let me start by saying this: there are a lot of questions when it comes to engagement ring style. While there are tons and tons of options for style, I’ve narrowed the list down to FIVE specific questions that will help you significantly narrow down the kind of ring that’s right for you!
Also, disclaimer: I wrote this post for girls like me, who had NO background in engagement ring lingo or design. If you’ve been eying up sparklers for a while and doing your research, some of the term definitions may seem a little elementary. Stick with me, because the main ideas are valuable for everyone!
QUESTION 1: Do I want a classic or unique setting?
First things first: do you want your ring to be classic or unique? The difference between classic and unique generally comes down to the ring setting, or in other words, the design of the band. Figuring out if you like the standard, classic band or a more unique-looking band is the first step in understanding your ring style!
Classic ring styles are usually less complex and more timeless. A simple solitaire setting (a setting with just one stone) is as classic as it gets, and it’s also more traditional. The setting doesn’t have complexities or unique features, but rather a timeless look that will never go out of fashion. A solitaire setting is also generally less expensive than something more complex, meaning your man can likely get you a higher-quality stone.
If you’re more interested in something unique and less classic, you’re probably more interested in a setting that has unique or interesting qualities. If you love the bands with unique design, additional stones, or filagree (that unique, intricate metalwork design within a band), then a more unique setting is probably right for you!
To determine what kind of setting is your style, pick three rings that you LOVE. How complex are their settings? You’ll likely see a pattern. If you’re stuck right down the middle, keep reading! There’s more to learn!
QUESTION 2: What cut do I like best?
After deciding what kind of setting is a good fit, it’s time to think about the shape of stone that you want – or the cut. This one was tough for me! I loved the unique shapes, but there were so many to choose from. Would some go out of style? Would they look good with every setting? It was a lot to think about!
Ask yourself this question before you go any further: do I care more about the setting or the cut? If the answer is setting, then you’ll choose your cut based off the options that look good with the settings you like. If the answer is cut, then you may want to be more flexible with the setting style, especially if the shape is less traditional.
So let’s talk about the cut. First, we have the classic shapes: brilliant (round) or princess (square) cut. These two are the most traditional and timeless diamond cuts. From there, it varies widely: cushion, emerald, marquise, oval, pear, and asscher are just some of the unique options for cut.
Now that you’ve read about the setting and the cut, you’re starting to get a clearer vision of what kind of ring fits your style.
Now, a couple other questions to consider.
QUESTION 3: What do I want my wedding band to look like?
Maybe you’ve been looking at a lot of engagement rings, but having you also looked at wedding bands? This is a factor that I TOTALLY didn’t think about until after Evan popped the question, and it’s actually really important!
You’re only going to have that engagement ring on your finger a year or two before it is joined by a wedding band! You’ll definitely want to match your band to your ring, and so if there are wedding bands you really love (or hate!), you should definitely take this into consideration before settling on a style!
Let’s start with the most obvious: do you want a straight or curved wedding band? Or do you care? With my own engagement ring, the shape only made sense and looked good with a curved wedding band. At first I was kind of bummed by this, but I quickly grew to really love how it looked! As you’re looking at engagement rings that you like, think about whether or not your band would need to be curved. This could make a huge difference!
Next, do you want your band to be completely plain, or do you want it to have a little something extra? A simple solitaire setting with a round cut diamond can be beautifully complimented by a band with a few diamonds. If you’re concerned that your ring style is too plain, here is your solution! The best part? You can add additional bands or even get new bands as an anniversary gift in the future if you want to change it up even more.
So did you already have an image in your mind of wedding bands that you like, or do you have some thinking to do? The next question may change your mind, so keep reading!
QUESTION 4: Am I set on a diamond?
The thought of having a ring without a diamond might sound horrible to you, but maybe it intrigues you? While it’s definitely on the less traditional side, more and more brides are dreaming of rings that feature a different type of stone.
How should you determine if this is right for you? For the first two questions, did you lean towards a more traditional ring, or did you discover that you like a design that is more unique? If you’re a lover of the classic, then you’re probably not going to go for any stone other than a diamond. Diamonds are classic, timeless and have a rich tradition behind them. However, if you were leaning toward the more unique designs, you might be surprised by how much you like a different kind of stone!
Sapphire, Quartz, Amethyst, Opal and Pearl are all beautiful alternatives if you’re interested in a non-diamond stone. Pink Quartz can have a diamond-like form with a slight huge of pink, while a peal looks completely different and is totally unique.
Take a moment to browse these different stone options. Look each one up, see them in different settings, and decide if it appeals to you. This is also something you might want to talk to your S.O. about, as he may have pre-formed opinions and preferences that you don’t even know about. But keep reading for more about that.
QUESTION 5: Do I have a say in what ring I get?
This is probably the MOST important factor of all, isn’t it? You can dream up a ring design as much as you want, but if your S.O. already has something in mind, it might not matter! While not all couples talk about it, if your ring style is important to you, you need to have a discussion about it with him.
It doesn’t have to be super in-depth or specific, but even a vague conversation can help you to both arrive at a general idea for engagement ring preferences.
Let’s face it: your guy is making a HUGE investment for YOU. He’s gifting you with something incredibly special because he loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life with you. At the end of the day, this is the most important thing. He also may have a larger or smaller budget than you realize, or he might have a secret family heirloom ring that he looks forward to giving you. The bottom line is that you might not actually have a say in what you receive.
However, if you’re about to commit to one another in marriage, it’s totally normal to talk a little bit about this this big investment that he’s going to make, at least in a general way. If you’re already talking about marriage, then it’s totally appropriate to ask if he wants a little help. If you’re kind, respectful and loving, you two will be able to work together on something that is perfect for you!
So, do you still have questions about your engagement ring, or have you it narrowed down? Feel free to drop me a question in the comments below!
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