Choosing an engagement ring is one of the most important decisions you and your future spouse will ever make. Modern couples are fortunate to have a wide variety of engagement ring styles to choose from. However, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the choices. With the vast array of shapes, stones and styles available, choosing an engagement ring that fits your personality and style can seem like quite a feat.
Your engagement ring is perhaps the most defining piece of jewelry you will ever possess. It should be timeless, and in 50 years, you should still love it just as much as you did the day your spouse placed it upon your finger. You can achieve the statement you wish to make with your engagement ring through careful design choices that reflect your personality and style. Though many grooms still decide to surprise their future bride with an engagement ring they’ve chosen themselves, it’s now very common for the bride to be involved with the decision in some way. A 2016 survey of 1,500 newly engaged couples by engagement ring website Ringspo, revealed that almost 66% of couples discussed or chose the engagement ring before the actual proposal.
Modern brides are utilizing social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to gather examples and information about engagement rings styles they like. Furthermore, they want to have input on the ring that will adorn their finger for the rest of their lives. Are you a classic diamond gal, or do you prefer the look of a colorful gemstone ring? Do you love classic styles that mimic your grandmother’s jewelry, or perhaps you favor modern and fun? Maybe you maintain an active lifestyle or work with your hands and prefer something simple.
No matter your personality or everyday life, your perfect engagement ring is out there. Whether you’re a bride or groom-to- be, learning how to choose an engagement ring starts with examining the basics of engagement ring stones, shapes and settings. Every detail of your ring offers an opportunity for you to highlight your unique personality and style.
Engagement Ring Basics- The Four C’sIf you’re new to the whole engagement ring experience, it’s time to learn the basics. The first of which are the Four C’s: Carat, Color, Clarity and Cut. This scale determines the quality or grade of diamonds and many other gemstones. The combination of all the Four C’s is what determines the stone’s value.
- Carat — The stone’s weight and size as measured in metric carats. The higher the carat weight is, the larger the stone.
- Color — The color of the stone as graded by a letter scale ranging from D-Z. In diamonds, colorless stones (in the D-F range) are the most valuable with light yellow ones (in the S-Z range) being the least.
- Cut — The proportion and symmetry of the stone in coordination with its shape. Graded on a scale from Excellent to Poor, the cut of the stone affects its brilliance.
- Clarity — The appearance of a stone’s flaws, or inclusions as graded by a scale ranging from Flawless to Included. Flawless diamonds are the most valuable and extremely rare.
Engagement Ring Stone Shapes
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always all about the size of the stone. In a recent bridal jewelry survey conducted by Wedding Wire, over 86% of brides rated the overall design of their engagement ring as the most important feature, over size or cost. Translation: Most brides feel that the personal and sentimental details of their engagement ring are more important than its carat weight or cost.
- Round/Solitaire This is a round stone with many facets, giving it the most sparkle of all the shapes. It remains the most popular choice for engagement rings. Brides who prefer this style are usually classic and traditional. They may incorporate classic elements into their wedding such as some family heirloom jewelry. Their wedding dress style will be classic, or they may even wear their mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown.
- Marquise This is a stone cut in an oval shape with pointed edges. Marquise stones appear very large, which can appeal to brides who enjoy a touch of drama. Brides who choose this style tend to favor classic but unique styles.
- Princess This is a square shaped stone, best for brides who are a touch modern or even a little edgy. Their attire and wedding will reflect their flair for unique and contemporary touches.
- Emerald This cut is rectangular and features cropped edges and long facets on the sides. Because of this, any flaws in the stone will be noticeable. Brides who prefer this style tend to be minimalists who like classy elegance. Their wedding and attire will reflect their simple but elegant tastes.
- Asscher This cut is similar to the emerald cut. It’s a vintage-inspired style, and is ideal for both modern and traditional brides. The radiant variety of this cut includes many facets, which gives it an almost octagonal shape and lots of sparkle. Brides who prefer this style are fashion conscious and trendy.
- Cushion/Antique Cut Shaped between square and oval, brides who prefer this cut are semi-traditional but like to add their own non-traditional touches. They love sparkle and glam, and everything from their attire to their reception will reflect this. They tend to be utter romantics.
- Heart A heart shaped stone. This shape is perfect for brides who are bold and enjoy being the center of attention. They also relish in romance and will include these touches in both their wedding attire and celebration.
- Pear Teardrop shaped stone. When worn with the point facing up, it can make the fingers appear longer and thinner. This shape is ideal for the bride who favors both the oval and marquise shapes and is a beautiful way to merge together two beautiful styles in a unique way.
- Oval A stone cut in an oval makes the fingers appear longer. Oval shaped rings can have many facets, giving it lots of sparkle. Brides who choose this shape are unique and sophisticated.
- Colored Stones Brides who opt for colored stones in their engagement ring have a flair for the unexpected. They enjoy having fun and aren’t afraid to let their true personality shine. Everything about their wedding, from the attire to the reception, will feature unique, fun and quirky touches.
Engagement Ring SettingsOnce you choose your stone and shape, the setting is another detail to decide. Some brides prefer a low setting, while for some the sky’s the limit! Others prefer a single stone, or opt for a series of large and small ones. There are a vast variety of settings and precious metals available, only some of which we’ve highlighted here.
- Prong Set This is the most traditional style of setting. The center stone is held in place with a series of either 4 or 6 prongs, which can be rounded, pointed, or v-shaped. This ultra-traditional style makes the stone the highlight of the ring. The small amount of metal required for the prongs allows light to shine through the stone. While higher prong settings can sometimes snag on fabric, lower ones are available for brides with more active lifestyles.
- Bezel Set This type of setting has the center stone securely held in place with a ring of metal. It’s ideal for service professions such as nurses and teachers and active individuals, as it won’t snag or catch on clothing. Brides who choose this style enjoy beautiful simplicity and may consider themselves minimalists.
- Halo Set This setting incorporates a larger center stone with smaller stones outlining it, and is a great way to make your stone appear bigger. Brides who choose this style want to make a bold statement with their engagement ring while still maintaining a manageable budget.
- Cluster Set Similar to the halo setting, cluster settings are another option to make your ring appear large and sparkly. This setting features clusters of smaller stones placed close together to make the appearance of one large stone. This is a great option for both budget-conscious and glam-loving brides, as the design possibilities for this style are endless.
- Tension Set This setting makes the center stone appear suspended between the metal. It’s a very secure setting option, since it often incorporates a bezel or prongs underneath to fasten the stone. This is an option for active brides who want a beautiful secure setting.
- Channel Set This type of setting usually features a center stone with a row of smaller stones along each side of the band. The smaller stones are held in place inside the metal, and won’t snag since they don’t have prongs. This is a great option for brides who want a lot of sparkle but may not necessarily want a big stone or a high setting.
- Three-Stone Set This beautiful and unique setting usually signifies a couple’s past, present and future. It consists of a larger center stone with a smaller stone on each side, although all of the stones may be the same size. This setting looks beautiful with all diamonds. However, adventurous brides may want to try a center diamond with coordinating or different gemstones. This setting is ideal for the sentimental bride who wants something unique and bold.
Precious MetalsThere are several precious metals to consider when choosing an engagement ring setting. White, yellow or rose gold, platinum, titanium and more recently, palladium, are some popular choices. Each metal has its own unique properties and aesthetic appeal. Modern brides have the option of incorporating one or more precious metals in their engagement ring setting.
Choosing the Best Engagement Ring for Your Personality
- Feisty & Fun — You may enjoy styles such as this oval shaped beauty or this uniquely shaped engagement ring.
- Earthy & Grounded — Try out styles like this vintage-inspired asscher ring or colorful turquoise ring.
- Classy & Elegant — Consider a beautiful prong-set solitaire ring or sparkly halo set ring.
- Exquisite & Opulent — Look into this round cluster set ring or this pear shaped beauty.
- Colorful & Quirky — Show your style with this two-tone engagement ring or this diamond & gemstone sparkler.
- Bold & Confident — Make a statement with a beautiful 3-stone ring or this marquise beauty.
- Simple & Active — Let your ring speak for itself with this simple and beautiful channel set ring or this low set princess cut ring.
Where to Find the Perfect Engagement Ring
It’s common for modern engaged couples to visit a jewelry store and see engagement ring styles in person. Many brides find it helpful to try on different styles to decide which ones look and feel the best on their finger. This can also help to alleviate the groom’s anxiety to find the perfect ring. Once you choose the desired design elements of the engagement ring, it’s time to move forward with the engagement ring purchase. This is usually where the future bride’s role in the process ends — well, until the proposal, that is.
Designing and purchasing the engagement ring should be an enjoyable and stress-free occasion. While researching engagement rings on the internet can really help you learn more about all the current styles and narrow down your choices, nothing beats shopping in person to see and feel the ring firsthand. In fact, purchasing the engagement ring in a local jewelry store remains a preferred choice, according to a recent Wedding Wire survey.
At Mountz Jewelers, we’ll help you find or design the engagement ring of your dreams. We’re proud to offer our customers an incredible jewelry shopping experience through our knowledgeable and friendly staff, fine quality and exciting showrooms filled with beautiful jewelry and stunning designer engagement rings. Let us walk you through the ins and outs of choosing a stone, setting and design that will truly take your breath away. We offer custom design services for a truly one of a kind ring. Visit our website for more tips on buying the perfect engagement ring. For an extraordinary engagement ring shopping experience "Trust Your Special Moments to Mountz!"