The Rookie's Guide to Picking the Perfect Engagement Ring – by guest blogger Matt Milstead

  • Sol Rivero

Organizing the perfect engagement often means having the perfect engagement ring. Engagement rings have been traced back to the days of ancient Rome, when men used to propose with two rings instead of one! An iron ring was given to a woman to be worn at home, while a gold one was presented for wearing in public.

If you’re a rookie ring buyer struggling with your engagement ring choice, this guide should help put you on the right path:  




Tip 1. Choosing Your Gold 

One of the first things you will need to decide is what type of gold you want your engagement ring to be: you can usually choose from yellow gold, white gold, platinum or red gold. Yellow gold is the most traditional, while white gold and platinum can be seen as more contemporary. 


Tip 2: Stones, Cuts & Shapes

In western cultures, engagement rings traditionally feature one or more diamonds. The cut of the diamond will determine how “beautiful” it is or how much it “sparkles.” Round cuts are often the most glamorous, while princess, radiant, oval and square shapes/cuts can also be good. 

This page will give you more of an in-depth overview of gem styles and shapes and be useful in helping you decide what type of gem design you like best.

If you know your to-be spouse also loves a particular gemstone other than diamonds (like sapphires, emeralds, rubies), you can also choose to incorporate these stones into your ring design. 


Tip 3: How Many Karats? 

Karats determine the purity of your gold and your diamond. The more karats, the more ‘pure’ your elements will be, but it will also mean they’ll be more expensive.

If your partner is particularly precious or romantic – or if you simply want your ring to be special – opting for higher karats may be the way to go. Be careful, however, not to blow your budget.




Tip 4. The Right Size

Engagement ring size is important, as your partner will most likely want to wear the ring as soon as you pop the question. Keep in mind, though, that you can have the ring size adjusted later on if it’s not perfect.

To determine your partner’s ring size, you can:

  • Ask them their size casually in conversation
  • Ask a friend or family member
  • Secretly ‘borrow’ one of their current rings and measure it using a piece of string
  • Tell them you want to buy them a fashion ring so that you can see what ring size they are

In the US/Canada, ring sizes are based on a numerical system, with ¼ and ½ sizing available. In Australia and the UK, ring sizing uses an A-Z alphabetical measurement system, with half sizes in between.

If you are buying a ring from a foreign supplier, you can use a simple conversion chart (like this one) to help you convert ring sizes from one measurement into another. 


Tip 5. Selecting the Perfect Style & Design

Finally, one of the biggest parts of choosing an engagement ring is deciding on the style/design. The perfect style for your ring will depend on your partner’s personality and their likes/dislikes.

For instance, you can choose a ring with a single, raised setting in its center or a ring that is set with a pattern or series of smaller diamonds. You can also have a combination of the two.

You may need to do a little “subtle” or “crafty” research beforehand if you are completely unsure about the designs your partner likes. You can try:

  • Looking at the other styles of rings and jewelry they wear
  • Casually asking them what they like or dislike about rings (be careful not to give your surprise away!)
  • Asking a friend or family member for some ‘inside info’ or advice

If your partner spends lots of time using their fingers/hands for practical, everyday tasks, they may prefer a ring that is smaller or slimmer or that has a lower setting. This will mean the ring is less bulky, more comfortable to wear and won’t catch on things as much. However, if you know your partner is expecting to be impressed, go for a bigger stone; you can always change it later on or choose wedding rings that are more practical.


Do you have any tips for choosing or designing the perfect engagement ring?


About the author

Matt Milstead is a blogger and writer who writes about jewelry, business and sports. He is a regular contributor to many websites and blogs covering these topics. He also likes spending time with his family, friends, and dog, writing and watching football. He's always on the lookout for learning about something new that can inspire his writing.


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December 9, 2013

Edited by Sol Rivero.