A Guy’s Guide to Choosing the Right Engagement Ring

Not that we have to tell you, but selecting the right engagement ring for your fiance-in-waiting is a BIG DEAL. Not only do you want to find a ring she’ll absolutely love, but a one that is durable enough to last a lifetime.

It’s without a doubt a delicate subject matter, and one of the more important questions to answer is: Do you want her included in the process — where she helps pick out the ring — or do you want it to be a total surprise? After all, if done the wrong way, the latter route could risk buying a ring she might not like; so let’s explore some of the most important considerations.

To Include or Not to Include Her in the Process — That Is the Question

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As we mentioned above, an important consideration is how much you reveal to her beforehand (fingers crossed she actually says yes). At the very least, you’ll want a good idea of the style she prefers. If you’re going the total surprise route, you can take some hints from her current jewelry collection, and even talk to her close friends. From the collection, you might also be able to get a better idea of whether she prefers yellow gold, white gold or rose gold, and whether she prefers rings that are simple or intricate in design.

Additionally, a more recent trend sees guys proposing using placeholder rings, which can then be replaced with what your partner prefers at a later date.

On the other hand, not all engagements come as total surprises — and lots of times couples shop together to find the right rings based on consensus. If the marriage has been a hot topic in your relationship for some time, it’s probably safe to send your partner some ideas. Finding and sharing ideas on Pinterest and narrowing the ideas down from there by going back and forth between you and partner might be a route to go. You can get an idea of the style of the band and the cut of the ring itself — whether it’s oval, pear, radiant, cushion, round, etc., (check out this useful gem style chart from the International Gem Society).

Do I Go the Diamond Route or Find an Alternative?

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According to a report from Credit Donkey in 2019, the average cost spent on engagement rings in the U.S. is $5,500, and that significantly drops in the United Kingdom, where the average cost spent clocks in at $2,000. Both are expensive — but if you’re looking for something that lasts a lifetime, it might be worth the cost.

Among the most popular gemstones is the diamond; on Mohs scale of mineral hardness, they’re a ten, meaning they can withstand scratches and temperature changes better than most other gemstones. They’re also known for their classic, icy beauty, but they’re hardly the only route to go. Some options that might be cheaper and are also popular include:

  • Aquamarine – Light icy blue, 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale
  • Emerald – Bright green, 7.5 to 8 on Mohs scale
  • Ruby – Red, 9 on Mohs scale
  • Sapphire – Blue, 9 on Mohs scale
  • Morganite – Soft pink, 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale
  • Quartz – Light and cloudy, 7 on the Mohs scale
  • Sunstone – Range of yellow, red, and orange, 6.5 to 7.2 on Mohs scale

The above options, depending on the number of carats, could be a cheaper alternative to diamonds and many also rank highly on the Mohs scale. Meanwhile, a stone-like moonstone might look pretty, but only registers a 6.0 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Some stones are better suited for casual wear and aren’t the best choice for a ring to last a lifetime.

Finding the Right Size of Ring

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Of course, if you’re going to a jewelry shop together, her size can be measured there, but if your engagement is a surprise, discretion will be key. Try a site like Find My Ring Size; this will allow you to find the size by showcasing a proportional size on the screen.

You can then directly compare this to the actual size of a ring from her jewelry box. You can also get it resized if need be, which, depending on your purchase, could cost somewhere between $20 to $60.

Will the Ring Be Suitable for Daily Wear?

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While one ring you look at might be stunning, it might not be the most ideal option for daily wear — which can depend on the type of job she works and the hobbies she enjoys. A different gemstone with a high rating on the Mohs scale might be a better, more durable option.

Will the Ring Need Maintenance?

As engagement rings are meant to last a lifetime, maintenance will sometimes be needed — and many jewelers offer insurance plans you’ll want to consider. Be sure to ask the jeweler you’re purchasing from about any plan options they might provide; in most cases, they’ll likely try and sell you on the plans themselves before you can even ask.

Remember, the Engagement Ring Is One Thing, the Wedding Band Is Another

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The engagement ring isn’t the only piece of fine jewelry you’ll need. The wedding band will be the finishing touch you’ll need on the wedding day. Wedding bands are usually more simple and inexpensive, and, when worn, can complement the engagement ring — although they certainly don’t have to.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to find the perfect engagement ring that won’t only be great for that special day when you ask, but also for the rest of you and your partner’s lives together. By making several important considerations, you can rest easier knowing you’re on the right path. Now, onward, because it’s time to figure out exactly when you want to propose!

For more ideas for grooms and their groomsmen, check wedding advice and groomsmen gift ideas on the Groomsshop.com blog.