When it comes time to pop the question, you’ll probably have a few questions. These can include where to stage the big moment, how to hide the surprise, and who to invite. What is the most important part of this plan? The ring, of course!
Choosing an engagement ring requires a little thought and research. It can definitely be a movie-worthy moment, but it might not be as quick as a movie shopping montage.
Here at Mark Henry Jewelry, we like to think of ourselves as pros at this big decision. The more thought and care that you put into the process, the more personal the gift becomes. Allow us to take you through everything you need to know about the who, what, where, and whys of engagement rings.
If you’ve ever wondered how to begin your journey into the wonderful world of ring shopping, you’ve come to the right place.
Before we venture too deep into our expertise, let’s start with the basics: a story. We know that breaking tradition can be exciting and is becoming more common recently. However, we must review the roots of engagement rings before stepping out of the mold.
Diamond engagement rings are classic and classy. While we’re fine gem lovers at Mark Henry, we can also appreciate a good, clean sparkle once in a while. If you’re looking for a token of iconic love, a diamond ring is a great option.
A Mine Before Time
Diamonds are actually billions of years old. Yes, you read that right! That is one of the many reasons that they symbolize eternal commitment. Through pressurized and over-heated carbon atoms, their beauty took shape.
We also have volcanoes to thank for bringing these gems up from their original homes 100 miles below the earth’s surface. Cooled and hardened magma was chipped away by the elements, revealing hosts of usable diamonds. After a mining boom in the mid-1800s, the diamond industry was revolutionized forever. The 1980s brought about lab-made diamonds, which are incredibly popular, price-conscious options.
Now that you know there is something for everyone with diamonds, let’s consider how to rate them. If you’re in search of a piece worth the love of your life, you need to do some research. The Gemological Institute of America is a great place to start. Since 1931, they have provided international gemologists with training and degrees to assess the value of gems properly.
The best way to find out if a diamond is worth buying is the 4Cs. The GIA devised this system as a universal way to rate diamonds. It categorizes value based on color, clarity, cut, and carat.
The straightforward nature of these grading metrics has made the system highly accessible. For example, diamond clarity can make or break the price and worth of a stone. You can place your gem on a scale from Flawless to Included, with the former being a “perfect” piece.
It is important to invite a gemologist into this ranking process. When it comes to characteristics like clarity, inclusions and blemishes can’t always be seen with the naked eye. A diamond that is Very Slightly Included has markings that can only be seen under 10x magnification. However, this can lower the overall value of your ring immensely.
Knowledge is power in the case of the 4Cs. It will also help you navigate more complex terminology in ring shopping that you might otherwise not know.
Consider Your Partner
Everyone is unique, and we’re sure you love your partner for what makes them special. This also means that they likely have a style all their own which you are an expert in.
What Do They Do?
Consider what occupation your partner has. Do they work a manual labor job that could prevent them from wearing fragile jewelry? Diamonds are good options because they are incredibly hard — they rank on the Mohs Scale at an 8. This doesn’t prevent them from scratching, though.
If your partner has a desk job, or they rarely get themselves dirty, you might be able to venture into more fragile territory. We’ll cover these bases later, but think: moonstone, which is not a common pick as a 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale. This gemstone could only be worn in a ring by someone who wasn’t planning to do much heavy lifting.
What Do They Like?
Your partner is probably your best friend. It is likely you share common interests and tastes. Make sure to incorporate your understanding of their likes and dislikes into the ring.
Here’s something you probably haven’t thought about: metal. Does your partner have a ton of yellow gold jewelry, or do they prefer silver? Perhaps they are looking to branch out, and a rose gold engagement ring like the Tournesol Alexandrite Ring is calling their name.
Choosing the precious metal isn’t as widely discussed as the Four Cs or diamond shape, but it is vital. An engagement ring is typically worn daily, and it needs to fit alongside your love’s preexisting pieces.
Reaching out to a jeweler or even our team here at Mark Henry may be helpful. We’re always here to assist you in your search, and we have a plethora of designs to fit any fashion.
Who Do They Trust?
While not everyone opts to bring in a third-party opinion, it can be helpful if you’re confused. Ask your partner's friends and family if they’ve dropped any hints over the years. Did they comment on a wedding band they really loved at a party once? Did they have a dream diamond growing up?
It might even suit you to bring a pal or a sibling along while window shopping. It can help them feel included in your moment and spread the love. Plus, a little moral support can calm down any nerves.
Shape and Size
How many carats your engagement ring’s gemstone depends on a few factors. Budget tends to come into play here. A higher carat weight tends to increase the bottom line.
It is also essential to consider what kind of shape your partner might want in a ring. Classic options include square and rectangle. If they tend to stand out from the crowd, look into a Marquise or Heart shape.
Fitted to Perfection
You absolutely have to take a well-fitting ring from your significant other’s closet to your jeweler. Whether you have to sneak it away or not, this step is paramount. It allows your ring to be customized and ready to go on the special day. It also saves you from any disaster of a ring being too tight to squeeze onto your partner’s hand!
Some people opt to size rings with the wearer trying it on in person, but this often forces you to wait until after the proposal. If you secure a ring size before the proposal, it is guaranteed to fit. You’ll also score big points for your preparedness and attention to detail!
The way that your gemstones are set completely changes the game in any ring. A solitaire ring has only one gemstone shining bright in its center. On the flip side, a three-stone ring sets two bigger stones on either side of one center diamond or stone. Other common settings include pave and sidestone.
Familiarizing yourself with these terms will make your shopping experience a breeze. Your jeweler will certainly be impressed, too.
To Bling or Not to Bling?
Since this piece is going to be an everyday staple, it should be easily accesorizable. This means that it should somewhat blend into your partner’s everyday looks. It can still stand out, of course, but it depends on whether they like a more demure or prominent look.
It is also wise to think about the more immediate future. The perfect engagement ring will be a centerpiece on your wedding day, but so will many other facets. Do you want it to steal the show or play a part in a bigger picture of jewelry? This is a question you should ask them — or look into with our own advice on wedding day jewelry.
There are so many alternatives to diamond engagement rings. Exotic gems are our specialty at Mark Henry Jewelry, and we know how they can make for one-of-a-kind rings. If your partner loves to make a statement, look for color-changing gems like the gorgeous alexandrite.
With so many gemstones to choose from, there’s a little something for every soon-to-be spouse. Our Paraiba Tourmaline is rare, vibrant, and hard enough on the Mohs Scale for serious durability. Sparkle a little brighter with the Three Stone Paraiba Selene Ring or the Twin Halo Paraiba Selene Ring.
How To Buy the Right Ring
Engravings or meaningful gemstones (birthstones, etc.) will show that you’ve taken the proper care in this decision. Above all, this ring is meant to stand the test of time.
Engagement ring shopping is more than just buying a wedding ring. It’s a chance to showcase your particular love story, personal style, and what makes you as a couple unique.