How to Buy an Engagement Ring Without Losing Your Mind or Blowing Your Budget

    You’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and are ready to pop that all-important question – congratulations! Naturally, though, you also want to find the perfect engagement ring to symbolize your love. But this search can feel daunting, sometimes even more so than the whole dating process, as there are so many different styles and directions in which you can go. But since Joy is all about making weddings easy and low-stress, we decided to put together some tips to make engagement ring shopping as easy as possible.

    SET YOUR BUDGET

    A budget isn’t exactly the most exciting part of the whole wedding process, but it’s important, and good to get out of the way before you start shopping in earnest. If you don’t have at least a price range in mind, it can be easy to get swayed by pushy sales associates who, understandably, want you to buy as big (and expensive) a ring as possible. Determine what you’re willing to spend and consider that you may need to start setting money aside for the wedding, too. Ignore the outdated rule about two months’ salary; how much you spend is your choice and nobody else’s.

    ALL ABOUT THEIR TASTE

    Photo Credit: EidelPrecious on etsy

    Photo Credit: EidelPrecious on etsy

    Engagement ring shopping tends to feel stressful because you’re buying a piece of jewelry that someone else will be wearing every day for the rest of their lives. You want to get it right! Fortunately, this isn’t just anyone we’re talking about; it’s the love of your life. Think about what their style naturally gravitates towards. Are they simple and fuss-free in their clothing choices, or do they love dressing up and feeling glamorous? If you can think of a few words or phrases to describe their look – no matter how casual or put together – it will help to find the ring that’s right. (And when in doubt, consulting trusted style advisors, aka closest friends, is never a bad idea.)

    DO YOUR RESEARCH

    Photo Credit: Erika Winters

    Photo Credit: Erika Winters

    Whether you are looking for a gemstone ring, a classic diamond, or something more unique, you’ll want to be educated before investing money in this important purchase. For diamonds, get acquainted with the 4Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. Each has its own effect on the stone’s overall value, quality and appearance. Round-cut stones are the most popular, and choosing a different shape will clearly have a strong influence on the ring’s appearance.

    For colorful gems like sapphires and rubies, it’s crucial that you see them either in person or with high-quality photography. Each will have its own distinct color, and how that’s dispersed through the stone will be utterly unique. Ask lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to take your time.

    LOOK AT A LOT OF RINGS

    This might seem like obvious advice, but it’s only really by looking at a lot of different options that you’ll identify what feels right and what doesn’t. Explore local stores, whether independent or big name brands, browse online, and consider vintage jewelry if you think that might be more her style. The more you examine the different types of settings, metals and center stones on offer, the more information you’ll absorb and become confident in your final decision. If you think you’ll need a second opinion – most people do – take along a friend or trusted family member who won’t blow the surprise.

    MAKE SURE YOU’RE COVERED

    Once you’ve found a ring that feels just perfect, you’ll probably want to hand over the money immediately and start planning the proposal. Before you do that, though, you’ll want to be sure of a few things. Does the store have an exchange policy, just in case it’s not quite her thing? Will they offer to resize it if it’s a little too large for her finger? Are there insurance or warranty options to make sure it’s a protected purchase for the decades to come? Don’t ever feel like you’re being annoying by asking about all of these options. This is an emotionally and financially significant moment, and you don’t want any unfortunate surprises.

    TELL US MORE

    Do you have your own tips for finding the right engagement ring? If you recently went through the process, was it easier or more difficult than you expected? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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