Picking the Right Engagement Ring Style for Your Future Bride

Picking the Right Engagement Ring Style for Your Future Bride

The transition from “dating” to “engaged” is thrilling for any couple. Conversations get more serious, discussions about the future are less theoretical and more real, and excitement for the rest of your lives grows more each day.

The moment of that transition — the proposal — is proceeded by an essential purchase. As a groom-to-be prepares to ask the love of his life to marry him, he must find the perfect engagement ring for her.

Choosing an engagement ring may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, with a little research and some honest conversations about style and expectations, each man can land on the best ring for his future bride.

 

The Tradition of Engagement Rings

An engagement ring is one of the most important pieces of jewelry you may purchase. Asking your loved one to spend your life together deserves the best you can give. But where did this custom start?

Engagement rings are one of the ultimate symbols of love in modern times, but they were not always about matters of the heart. Historians believe engagement rings were first used in Ancient Rome around 200 BC as a symbol of a legal contract. By the second century AD, men would gift two rings to their intended — an iron ring to wear at home, symbolizing strength, and a gold ring to wear out, representing wealth.

In AD 850, Pope Nicholas I attached an additional meaning to the ring, suggesting the monetary sacrifice needed for a man to marry a woman. To this day, an engagement ring, at some level, often represents the financial commitment of a man who wants to marry.

 

Diamond Engagement Rings

The first diamond engagement ring recorded was when Archduke Maximilian of Austria asked Mary of Burgundy to marry him in 1477. Over time, engagement rings became more intricate and detailed, and the diamond rose as the preferred gemstone for bridal sets.

Diamonds are a versatile choice, with abundant options of cuts and designs that make each ring a special piece. With a diamond’s clarity and strength, the symbolism of diamonds marries perfectly with the ideals of wedded bliss.

Diamonds remain the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, but couples have increasingly chosen other precious stones with different meanings to showcase in their engagement sets. This often correlates to the economy, with other gems gaining popularity when a less expensive stone is ideal. Still, diamonds rise to the most popular seat more often than not.

 

Understanding the 4Cs of Diamonds

Diamonds are valuable gems, perfect for expressing your unending love in an engagement ring. When purchasing a diamond, it is important to understand the quality of the stone you are looking at.

The GIA's 4C scale measures a diamond’s worth via:

 

Before shopping for a diamond for your engagement ring, do your research to be familiar with the language your jeweler will use when describing the gems. Take some time to understand the rating systems for each of the four Cs, and take into account how your budget will be able to accommodate diamonds of different qualities.

Arrive at your jeweler’s store with questions so you know what you’re getting. For example, you want to know if the stone is enhanced or treated, if the shop offers repairs, and if a custom ring is an option.

 

Popular Ring Metals

Once you know which stone you want in your engagement ring, you must choose a metal for the ring itself. There are several options for different price points and personal styles.

The most popular engagement ring metals are:

  • Platinum
  • White Gold
  • Yellow Gold

 

The two popular gold options — white gold and yellow gold — are related because of their pure gold content. What differs between them is the amount and type of alloy added to the gold. White gold typically has more nickel and zinc, and yellow gold is usually mixed with copper.

White and yellow gold are classic choices, but platinum offers durability and value that is unmatched. Platinum rings are generally made with 85-95% pure platinum and won’t tarnish or fade over time. Platinum is also a rare metal, making the jewelry more valuable.

 

Determining Ring Size

When you propose, you want her ring to fit her finger perfectly. Your sweetheart will want to show off this special symbol of your love immediately, and having the correct ring size will let her do so with confidence.

Women’s ring sizes are usually between 3 and 9.

You should be able to determine her ring size with a few different methods:

  • Measure her finger with a string
  • Compare her ring finger to a ring she already owns
  • Utilize a ring sizer
  • Bring her to a jewelry store to try on rings

 

If needed, you can return to your jeweler to get the ring sized precisely so that the ring goes on her finger comfortably but does not fly off on a whim. Make sure you have a conversation with your jeweler to ensure you will be satisfied with the resize. Ask if they do all repairs in-house or if they are sent out, and see if you can get an estimated turn-around time.

 

Consider Her Personality

Each ring can say a lot about the person who wears it. There are many things to consider when shopping for an engagement ring, but don’t neglect her personality. If your sweetheart is simple, don’t purchase an extravagant ring. If she loves wearing her feelings on her sleeve, you might consider a bold ring.

Have conversations, as sneaky or as outright as you want, to see if she has any specific thoughts on her ring. If you have had discussions already about getting engaged, consider window shopping with her to gauge her reactions to different engagement rings.

If she is close with her family, consider incorporating an heirloom into her engagement ring. Whether it is a stone from her great-grandmother’s jewelry or a redesign of her mother’s engagement ring, a unique piece will be priceless with sentimentality attached.

 

5 Popular Engagement Ring Styles

After considering gems, metals, and your loved one’s personal style, it is time to start considering the specific engagement ring style you are going to shop before you make a decision. While each style is great for different people, there is bound to be one that is perfect for your soon-to-be fiancé.

 

1. Solitaire Engagement Ring

A beautiful and timeless option, the solitaire engagement ring is great for both the modern woman and the traditionalist. With a center stone as the focal point, a solitaire engagement ring allows the gemstone itself to shine, giving you the ability to spend more on a higher-quality diamond.

A solitaire engagement ring also allows you to be creative in which cut you want for your diamond. From round to oval, princess to pear, you will be able to choose the stone best suited for your sweetheart.

Choosing a solitaire engagement ring does not necessarily mean you are forsaking all stones other than the center gem. Some solitaire engagement rings, such as designs with cutout shank accents, feature smaller stones within the band.

 

2. Halo Engagement Ring

For a little more emphasis on the sparkle of a center stone, consider a halo engagement ring. A halo engagement ring takes the simplicity and elegance of a solitaire engagement ring and enhances the center stone with a halo of smaller diamonds.

A halo engagement ring is a great way to increase the brilliance of the ring without having to go up in caret size with the center diamond. The halo effect of the smaller diamonds makes the center of the ring bigger and more dazzling.

With plenty of variety for diamond placement, a halo engagement ring can be as simple or ornate as you want. Often, the accent stones of a halo engagement ring will spill onto the band as well, creating a stunning look throughout the whole ring. A ring featuring a double halo with split shank diamond accents, for example, has two layers of diamonds surrounding the center stone and diamonds on the band.

 

3. Diamond Pave Engagement Ring

When just a few diamonds aren’t enough, consider a diamond pave engagement ring. With diamonds set into the band, a diamond pave engagement ring will provide continuous sparkle for everyone to see.

Pave comes from the French word meaning “pavement,” referring to the closely-set diamonds that mimic cobblestone streets. This differs from a prong setting, which is still often used on the primary center stone of a diamond pave engagement ring.

A diamond pave engagement ring is designed to maximize brilliance by placing diamonds close together. The center stone can be any shape or color, giving jewelers, grooms, and brides creative latitude as they consider their design choices. This effect can also be combined with other styles, including halo engagement rings and bridal sets.

 

4. Three Stone Engagement Ring

The three stone engagement ring may be the perfect ring for a woman, whether she leans more toward modern or traditional styles. The symbolism of a three stone engagement ring — a stone for the couple’s past, present, and future — may appeal to the more tenderhearted brides.

A three stone engagement ring, also known as a trinity ring, may initially seem limited because of the number of gems. Fortunately, creativity is not stifled at all when jewelers make this classic piece. The three stones can be different sizes, shapes, and colors to bring a unique look to the ring. For example, our exclusive yellow diamond three stone ring features a yellow cushion cut center diamond and two white trapezoid side diamonds, making this ring stand out.

 

5. Bridal Sets

Why stop at one ring when you can purchase two? Bridal sets are a wise way to purchase both the engagement ring and the wedding band at the same time. This is especially important when the bands are unique, like one with a floral band. A traditional wedding band purchased separately may not complement the engagement ring as well as one included with the bridal set.

Bridal sets help reduce the stress of buying two rings at two different times and ensure the rings will fit together perfectly, just like you and your intended. There are bridal sets for almost every style of ring, making the shopping process easy without sacrificing individuality.

 

The Wedding Band

If you don’t opt for a bridal set, you will be able to shop for a wedding band after the fact. There are many styles of wedding bands, and your bride may want to be a part of this decision as the time of your wedding approaches.

While the engagement ring is proudly worn after the proposal, the wedding band does not make an appearance until the wedding. After that, both rings are worn together as a symbol of your love.

Wedding bands can enhance the look of the engagement ring with additional gems, or they can be more subdued, letting the engagement ring shine bright on its own. Additionally, anniversary bands can be added later to further enhance the wedding stack.

 

What About Men’s Wedding Rings?

Also at the wedding, the groom gets his own ring to identify him as a married man. Men’s wedding bands can be as simple or ornate as the couple wants. Often, a bride and groom will decide on a similar style for his and her rings to create a unified look.

While white gold, yellow gold, and platinum are the primary metals for women, men’s rings come in other materials such as Damascus steel, titanium, tungsten, and carbon. These modern men’s wedding bands are often difficult or impossible to size up or down, so it is important to get the right size the first time.

Picking out engagement rings is exciting. It is an opportunity to get to know your significant other in a way you probably have never done before. Take the time to get to know her style, evaluate your options, and make the perfect purchase that will compel her to say “yes!”