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How to Buy an Engagement Ring: The Ultimate Guide

by Adriana Perez-Nakamura
Last updated on September 25, 2023
how to buy an engagement ring

Finding the perfect engagement ring can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. With so many options to consider, from diamond quality to ring settings, the options can seem endless–where do you even start? Don’t worry because we have you covered with this guide on how to buy an engagement ring.

In this guide we will take you through the world of engagement ring shopping. We’ll give you valuable advice to help you find that perfect engagement ring for your partner.

From understanding the 4Cs of diamonds to exploring alternative gemstones and selecting the ideal metal, we will cover it all. Our hope is that you with our help will be able to make an educated decision about what to buy.

Let’s dive into the world of engagement rings!

What You Should Remember

  • Understand the 4Cs of diamond quality before you start shopping for an engagement ring.
  • Lab grown diamonds (and other lab grown gemstones) are an ideal alternative to mined diamonds.
  • Select a ring setting that suits your partner’s style and your budget.
  • Choose the right metal and find a reputable jeweler to purchase from.
  • Size the ring correctly & insure it afterward.

Understanding the 4Cs of Diamonds

Lab grown emerald cut diamond. How to buy an engagement ting.

One of the key aspects of engagement ring shopping is understanding the 4Cs of diamond quality. The 4Cs were created by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in order to standardize diamond grading and include the following categories:

  1. Cut
  2. Clarity
  3. Color
  4. Carat Weight

These factors play a significant role in determining the diamond’s overall appearance and value.


Diamond cut is the most important of the 4Cs when it comes to grading a round brilliant, and because of this you should not sacrifice on cut quality. You can give lesser importance to the other 4Cs when you purchase a round diamond and doing so will help you save money.

Shapes other than round include what are known as fancy diamond shapes:

  • Marquise
  • Pear
  • Oval
  • Rectangle
  • Square
  • Heart
  • Cushion
  • Radiant


When it comes to clarity, it’s all about the number of blemishes or inclusions a diamond has.

For the most part, you can get away with choosing a lower clarity grade. This is especially true if you aren’t choose a fancy shape that has a step cut (like an Asscher or emerald cut).

And in some cases, you can get a diamond that has a lower clarity grade but appears what is known as “eye clean.” Eye clean means that to the naked eye, blemishes and inclusions are not visible.


Much like with clarity, you don’t always have to have a diamond with the highest color grade. Some people prefer to have a bit of color to their diamonds, and oftentimes a slight tinge of color is not noticeable to the untrained eye.

Carat Weight

Weight is fairly self-explanatory, but keep in mind that a diamond’s weight doesn’t always match it’s perceived size.

Many times a diamond can look like a larger stone than it truly is. This is especially true of elongated shapes like emeralds, ovals, and radiant cuts–all of which have larger tables.

Pro tip for saving money on carat weight: choose a diamond with a weight that is slightly under the next carat size up. There is a much larger price jump from one carat size to the next.

Natural vs. Lab Grown Diamonds

Radiant cut solitaire.

As you shop, you’re going come across both natural and lab grown diamonds.

Natural diamonds are created over billions of years and extracted from deep within the Earth’s mantle. Lab grown diamonds form in laboratories over a shorter period of time. They are created using both High Temperature, High Pressure (HTHP) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) techniques.

Lab grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. And if you know the differences between these two types of diamonds you can make an informed decision when selecting the perfect engagement ring for your partner.

While natural diamonds have a unique allure thanks to their age and rarity, lab grown diamonds are a more affordable and environmentally friendly alternative.

In fact, lab grown diamonds can cost between 30-50% less than their natural counterparts.

Alternative Gemstones

Secret sapphire engagement ring. How to buy an engagement ting.

If you want something truly unique and budget-friendly for your diamond engagement ring, consider choosing one with lab grown sapphire accents.

Diamonds are not the only precious gems that can be grown in a lab; other types of lab grown gemstones include sapphires, rubies, and emeralds.

At Clean Origin, we have an entire collection of lab grown diamond rings that feature elegant, deep blue sapphires. Be sure to check out our extensive selection of lab grown diamond and sapphire engagement rings.

Selecting the Perfect Ring Setting

With your preferred center stone in mind, you can start exploring various engagement ring settings. Aside from the much-loved solitaire engagement ring, other popular settings include:

Each setting offers a unique aesthetic that can complement your partner’s style and preferences. The perfect ring setting will not only enhance the beauty of the center stone, but also provide security and protection for the diamond.

When you select the right engagement ring setting, keep in mind your partner’s personal style and daily activities.

For example, a platinum beveled ring might be suitable for someone who prefers sharp and sleek designs. If your partner loves vintage styles, consider a two-tone halo engagement ring.

Don’t know where to start? Talk to their friends and family to get some ideas about what they’d like in an engagement ring.

Choosing the Right Metal for Your Ring

Choose your metal color.

The right metal for your engagement ring can affect its overall appearance. But it also impacts your ring’s durability and any future maintenance it will require. The most common metals for engagement rings are:

  • Yellow gold
  • Rose gold
  • White gold
  • Platinum

Each metal offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Yellow gold is a classic choice and is ideal for those with skin sensitivities. White gold, on the other hand, offers a sleek, modern look and is more cost-effective and low-maintenance compared to platinum.

Rose gold is a combination of gold, copper, and silver. It provides a warm, pinkish hue that has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for rose gold ring designs.

Platinum is the most durable option. It’s highly resistant to wear and tarnish, making it a great choice for those who prioritize durability and longevity in their engagement ring.

Determining Your Engagement Ring Budget

Establishing a budget for your engagement ring is the most important step in the shopping process.

To start, do yourself a favor and forget about outdated salary rules. Instead, spend what you’re comfortable with, and don’t spend more than you have!

According to The Knot, the national average cost of an engagement ring is approximately $6,000, but remember that this figure may not reflect your own financial situation or preferences.

Keep in mind that there are many ways to find a beautiful engagement ring at an affordable price.

Do your due diligence. Shop around and see for yourself about engagement ring cost variables. Compare different ring styles, vendors, and prices, and consider alternative gemstones or affordable lab grown diamonds.

When you consider all of these points, they can help you find the perfect engagement ring that aligns with your budget.

Finding a Reputable Jeweler

Find the right jeweler for you. How to buy an engagement ting. .

It’s important you find a jeweler who can meet all of your needs. Look for one that will work with you on finding the best deal possible.

If you prefer to shop online with a brand, look for one that offers excellent customer service and virtual appointments where you can talk to a real person about what you’re looking for.

Also be sure to choose a jeweler who can provide you with a certificate for the diamonds they sell. When you have a certificate in hand you ensure you’re getting the best quality diamond for the right price.

Online Jewelers

Online jewelers often offer unique, customizable, and budget-friendly options. By shopping with an online jeweler, you can find beautiful engagement ring options that cater to your partner’s personal style and preferences.

With online jewelers, you also have access to a wider range of unique and affordable engagement ring options.

At Clean Origin, we have the advantage of being both an online and brick-and-mortar brand. If you prefer to shop online you can do so with the help of our knowledgeable jewelry experts.

But if you want to shop in-person, you are welcome to visit any of our nationwide showrooms. The prices we offer online are exactly what they are in-store, so you never have to feel like you’re missing out on the best deal possible if you choose to buy in-store vs online.

Sizing the Engagement Ring

Ensuring accurate sizing of your partner’s engagement ring is vital for a comfortable and secure fit.

The most accurate way to get a ring size is to use a ring sizer, but this may not be possible if you want to keep your proposal a surprise. If this is the case, borrow a ring that your partner already owns.

Trace the inner part of the ring on a piece of paper to get their size, or slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops.

Keep in mind that most rings can be resized up or down by a size or two, but resizing beyond that may be more challenging, depending on the design of the ring.

Ensuring Diamond Quality with a Grading Report

When you have a diamond grading report from a reputable organization like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in hand, it ensures the quality and authenticity of your diamond.

A diamond grading report is a document that provides complete information regarding the identity and quality of a diamond. This information includes whether it is natural or lab grown diamond, and if it has undergone any treatments.

A GIA Diamond Grading Report can help you make an informed decision about your engagement ring purchase because it provides detailed information about the diamond’s identity and quality.

Appraisers also use GIA Diamond Grading Reports to determine the worth of a diamond if you decide to insure your diamond engagement ring–which you should always do.

Personalizing Your Engagement Ring

Bezel set engagement ring and wedding band.

Adding personalized touches to your engagement ring can make it even more special and meaningful for your partner. Here are some ideas to consider.

  1. Incorporate family heirlooms into the design, such as a ring that can be resized or a diamond that can be reset.
  2. Select a gemstone ring featuring their birthstone.

For a truly unique and customized engagement ring, consider:

  • Engraving the band
  • Opting for a custom design
  • Incorporating personal elements
  • Selecting unique details that reflect your partner’s personality and preferences

These personal touches can transform your engagement ring into a one-of-a-kind symbol of your love and commitment.

Comparing and Shopping for Rings

Shopping around and comparing different ring styles, vendors, and prices is a crucial step.

Shopping around will help ensure you find the perfect engagement ring for your partner. It also ensures you get the best value for your budget.

Spend some time researching various ring styles and diamonds, as this will help you feel more secure about your purchase.

Insuring Your Engagement Ring

Insuring your engagement ring is a crucial step because it provides protection against theft, loss, or damage.

To ensure your engagement ring is protected, consider insuring it through homeowners’ insurance or a separate policy as soon as it’s purchased. This will provide peace of mind and financial security, knowing that your big purchase is protected.

When you choose an insurance policy, review the fine print carefully. Have your ring appraised so you have the correct coverage; an appraisal provides an estimated value of your engagement ring.

By ensuring your engagement ring is properly insured, you can focus on the joy and excitement of your upcoming proposal and life together.

Get Ready to Shop

In this guide we’ve explored many aspects of engagement ring shopping–from understanding the 4Cs of diamond quality to selecting the perfect ring setting and metal.

When you include alternative gemstones, lab grown diamonds, and personalized touches, you can create a truly unique and meaningful engagement ring for your partner.

With your new knowledge and insights, you’re ready to start engagement ring shopping. We hope you find the perfect symbol of love and commitment that will beautifully represent the unique bond you share with your partner.

Shop Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings With Clean Origin

No matter the diamond size, setting style preferences, or metal color you want, we are 100% confident we have something you and your partner will love.

Shop our wide selection of lab grown diamond engagement rings, or create the custom engagement ring of your dreams. We even offer beautiful wedding rings to match.

You can shop either from the comfort of your home with the guidance of a diamond professional, or in-store at one of our showrooms. The choice is yours!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the rule for buying an engagement ring?

When purchasing an engagement ring, the Three Months Gross Salary Rule suggests spending three months of salary on the ring to demonstrate commitment and love.

For example, if the proposer makes $75,000 per year, the ring should be worth $18,750. This rule is severely outdated, though. Instead, spend what you can afford and what you’re comfortable with.

Are lab grown diamonds a more affordable alternative to natural diamonds?

Lab grown diamonds are generally more affordable than natural diamonds, costing up to 50% less.

What are some popular engagement ring settings to consider?

When considering engagement rings, popular settings to explore include prong, halo, pavé, cathedral, and bezel.