Ring Shopping 101

Posted by Kim on Apr 29, 2013

Post Sponsored by Allurez

In the market for an engagement ring or wedding bands? Check out this Q&A with ring pro Paula Sands of Allurez for expert advice on ring shopping.

How can a “ring giver” get an idea of the type and style the recipient would like without directly asking?

Chances are if the “ring giver” really listens to his girlfriend, she’s already given him some hints. Did she comment on a friend’s engagement ring? Mention what she liked about it? That’s important information that could lead him to her dream ring.

Another way to get an idea of the type and style ring she might like is to start looking at ads in magazines, and see which ones she gravitates to.  Or, go onto a website where you can design your own engagement ring and look at styles that might be similar to other rings she owns and wears.

Perhaps the easiest way is to use what you love best about her personality.  If she has a simple personality, she will probably enjoy a traditional solitaire ring. And if you’re girl is flashy, you might want to look at halo settings or side stone accents for that little added bling.

What information should a ring buyer know before starting to shop for a ring?

I would certainly suggest learning the 4c’s of diamonds…cut, clarity, color and carat before you do anything else. Knowing the size and shape of the center stone of an engagement ring is a good place to start. Of course, before ordering a ring you will need to know her ring size and have a clear budget in mind.

Why should a ring buyer create something custom rather than a ring that’s pre-designed?

For the most part we all strive to be unique. And, when something as personal as a ring is being given, imagine how much more special it will be with your own personalized design choices. At Allurez we have a number of ways you can personalize a ring, starting with choosing your own center stone. Then you select a setting style, choose the color metal, add side stones, diamond accents – the options of making her ring unique are endless.

What are the steps to creating a custom engagement ring?

Creating your own custom engagement ring can be quite easy. First choose either a setting or a diamond, then select the metal you prefer, choose the ring size, add a personal engraving and you’re done.

How far in advance of the target proposal date should one start shopping for an engagement ring? How far in advance of the wedding should wedding bands be purchased?

Time does have a way of slipping by. The more time you give yourself to choose a ring the better. Finding the right engagement ring can take some time, so do yourself a favor…start sooner rather than later! I can’t give you an exact number of days or months to start shopping, it’s different for everyone.

As far as wedding bands go, in many cases the woman’s band will be chosen at the same time the engagement ring is selected, especially if it is part of a matching bridal set. If you choose matching bride and groom wedding bands, or simple style bands, they usually can be sized quickly and delivered within a few weeks. Again, give yourself time; you’ll have way too many more important things to deal with once the wedding gets close.

What should be selected first – the diamond or the setting?

What you select first, the diamond or the setting will have a lot to do with the individuals’ situation. Obviously some men have an heirloom stone so there’s no need to choose a diamond at all. Others prefer to find the setting first and then decide on the stone according to the setting’s diamond specifications regarding shape and carat size.

What are some trends in engagement rings these days?

The biggest engagement ring trend is more like a mantra…anything goes. Some choose colored diamonds, gemstone side stones, two tone gold, twisted bands, cushion cuts set high in prongs. By far I would have to say the hottest styles are halo settings and traditional solitaires with artistic band features.

What about wedding bands? What are some trends for men and women’s bands?

The biggest news here is actually in men’s wedding bands. Of course etched or plain bands with milgrain edging are still popular. But, now there are bands with different gemstones or diamonds, religious bands and bands that match the woman’s wedding band.

For women the choice of wedding bands is virtually endless. There are curved diamond eternity bands, or simple etched bands, half eternities with colored diamonds or gemstones, two tone gold bands….if you can dream it, you can find it.

If a man has never worn jewelry, how can he figure out the type of ring he’d like to wear?

The most important thing about choosing the right engagement or wedding ring is to find one that’s comfortable to wear and works with the wearer’s lifestyle. Men who don’t usually wear jewelry will probably prefer bands with simple, uncomplicated designs, nothing too flashy or bulky.

There are those whoever who want the only ring they ever wear to be a bit more “amped up” with carved and braided bands, fancy gemstones, diamonds, or a combination of both. We’re seeing a lot more men wearing cultural bands, handmade looks and other more unusual men’s wedding rings.

What about women’s wedding bands? What are some tips on shopping for those? Does the ring need to match/fit with the engagement ring or can it be completely different?

Unless a specific bridal set is chosen, where a band has been specifically designed to mimic the design of the engagement ring, the wedding band will not be an exact match. It’s always best to choose the engagement ring that reflects the personality of the bride to be. When choosing a band, the setting of the engagement ring needs to be considered. How high does the ring sit? Is the band too thin or small to be seen with the ring?  Will the bride be wearing her band alone? If that’s the case, the wedding band may need to be more elaborate than if it were being worn with the engagement ring.

There are no rules, no wrongs or rights. When it comes to wedding bands, as well as engagement rings, it’s the chance of a lifetime to choose the style she’ll look forward to showing the world every day for the rest of her life.