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How to Buy an Engagement Ring

by Molly Jones
Last updated on June 20, 2023
how to buy an engagement ring

Choosing and buying an engagement ring is supposed to be one of the most important things someone will ever do. You want to get it right so you can make your betrothed happy. But there are so many engagement ring choices, styles, and prices to consider that it’s hard to know where to begin your search for the perfect engagement ring. Luckily we’ve compiled this guide. This way, you’ll never have to Google “how to buy an engagement ring” again.

So read on to learn about the history of the engagement ring and how to buy one that fits your partner’s personality, style, and taste perfectly.

What is the History of the Engagement Ring?

From the Ancient Romans to today, engagement rings have stood the test of time. They have effortlessly adapted to trends and styles as they’ve come and gone. And while the history of engagement rings is long and storied, there are some important highlights.

The Engagement Ring in Antiquity

Example of a Fede Ring
Example of a Fede Ring

Ancient Egyptians would present their intended with a ring that they would wear on their fourth finger, hence the ring finger. The ring was believed to be a symbol of eternity and wearing the ring on the fourth finger was said to connect the vena amoris or “vein of love” to the human heart.

The Greeks and Romans adapted this tradition and suited it to meet their needs. These engagement rings were commonly made from leather, ivory, or bone. Metal later became fashionable with the Romans.

Thanks to the Romans, gold and silver wedding rings also came to be. However, they were typically worn by upper-class and wealthy Romans. By the 3rd and 4th centuries, the Fede style engagement ring became popular. This style featured an intricate yellow-gold band with two hands clasping one another. The clasping hands represented partnership, marriage, and friendship.

The Engagement Ring in the Middle Ages

By the Middle Ages, people were adding gemstones to engagement rings—usually sapphires, diamonds, or rubies. These gems would adorn the yellow-gold band to represent the heavens, strength, and passion.

It was in the late Middle Ages that the first documented diamond engagement ring was gifted. In 1477, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a ring with a diamond set into it as a symbol of his love for her.

Victorian and Edwardian Era Stunners

The Victorians, known for their sentimentality, propelled largely ornamental engagement rings to center stage. These rings, dubbed “posey rings,” mixed diamonds with other precious gemstones often in the shape of flowers.

This tradition continued into the Edwardian era. During this time, filigree engagement ring settings proved to be especially popular with the fashionable elite.

The Diamond Engagement Ring Takes Center Stage

The Cora Solitaire. How to buy an engagement ring.

In 1947, DeBeers launched their iconic, “A Diamond is Forever” marketing campaign. The campaign was meant to encourage men returning from World War II to propose to their significant others with a diamond. In doing so, they ascribed the purity and mettle of a relationship and marriage forever to a diamond…attitudes we still hold today.

Engagement Ring Shopping: The Basics

Now that you know the history of the engagement ring it’s time to start your search to buy the perfect engagement ring. Buying an engagement ring can be overwhelming, but luckily, if you follow the following steps, you’ll find your partner’s (or your own) engagement ring in no time at all.

Step 1: Decide Where You Want to Go Ring Shopping

Chevron Sapphire Halo Ring. How to buy an engagement ring.

The first step in the process of choosing a ring is to make a list of places you’d like to go ring shopping. You may want to start out with some local options in your area, but don’t be afraid to go engagement ring shopping online as well. Many online stores, like Clean Origin, have an extensive selection of stunning rings. They even have customer service and programs that rival brick-and-mortar stores or any other jewelry stores.

Another perk of online shopping is the ability to shop discreetly on your personal computer at home. When you shop online, you can do so without someone you know seeing you who might tell your partner.

Step 2: Set Your Engagement Ring Budget

THE NOEMIE. How to buy an engagement ring.

Before you buy, you need to figure out your engagement ring budget by determining what you can afford. Do this by looking at your monthly bills and income. Make sure there will be enough money left over each month to cover all of the expenses associated with buying an engagement ring. You should also make sure that there is room in your budget for other expenses, like paying off credit cards or saving for a house.

Remember, the right engagement ring for you is the one that is right for your overall situation. Do you have your heart set on a ring that is outside of your budget? Take the time to break down what is driving the price and where you may be able to compromise and afford the ring. Often, this means choosing a smaller carat weight, going for white gold instead of platinum, or using a halo setting instead of a larger stone.

Step 3: Research the 4Cs

Evelyn ring.

If you’re purchasing a diamond ring, you should understand the diamond 4Cs. Standardized by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the 4Cs include diamond cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

It’s important to know how these categories play together, as well as which category to prioritize when shopping for an engagement ring. For example, you will need to prioritize clarity when shopping for an emerald-cut engagement ring. Why? Because the step-cut style of an emerald offers an unobstructed view into the center of the diamond.

Learn More About the 4Cs of Diamonds

Step 4: Figure Out Your (Or, Your Partner’s) Style Preferences

Art Deco-Inspired Engagement Rings
Art Deco-Inspired Engagement Rings

There are lots of different ring styles to choose from. So it is important to determine just what you or your partner are looking for in an engagement ring.

Engagement ring style comes into play with diamond shapes, the type of precious metal, the setting, and the overall look of the ring.

Diamond Shape

Diamonds are available in every shape under the sun. And while the most popular is the round brilliant cut, they also come in oval-shaped, pear-shaped, heart-shaped, cushion-cut, and more.

In fact, certain shapes will appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight. For example, a marquise cut diamond may look bigger than a round brilliant cut because of its larger surface area. Thus, it appears to have a larger carat weight than the round brilliant. The key is finding a shape that suits your personal style and preference so that you can truly enjoy your diamond as much as possible!

Learn More About Diamond Shapes

Precious Metal Types

Diamond Solitaire Rings
Diamond Solitaire Rings

Another thing to consider when you buy an engagement ring is to determine what precious metal works most for you. Clean Origin offers white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and platinum metals.

Each metal has its own pros and cons, but much of the time it comes down to preference. If you’re shopping for a partner and are unsure as to what they would prefer, try to see if they have a Pinterest Board dedicated to rings. You may find an abundance of white gold rings as opposed to rose gold or any other metal. And, when all else fails, simply ask!

The Ring Setting

The right ring for you represents your personal style via your ring’s setting. Wondering how to figure out what is the best setting? Ask yourself the following questions:

Do you like the look of a solitaire, or do you prefer something with more bling? Are you interested in a halo setting or one with three stones? Here at Clean Origin, we have all kinds of settings available. Some people even choose to mix and match different styles of engagement rings with wedding bands.

Clean Origin offers a variety of solitaire rings that feature a stunning perfect diamond atop a delicate band. We also offer halo rings with diamonds around the center stone for added bling, and three-stone rings that feature two smaller stones on either side of the center diamond.

Our classic and vintage styles are sure to dazzle and delight. We offer unique looks that hearken all the way back to the Art Deco era, as well as tried and true styles for the perfect ring combinations. Finally, our east-west style features diamond rings that set the diamond horizontally rather than vertically to create a beautiful ring that draws gasps of admiration.

Shop by Ring Setting

Step 5: Buy the Right Ring Size

Tulip halo ring.

Now that you’ve determined what ring you would like to purchase, you have to order it in the correct size.

You can do this by measuring your ring finger.

The best way to measure your ring finger is to use a piece of string or paper and wrap it around your finger. Mark where it overlaps, then measure that length with a ruler.

If the measurement falls between sizes, choose the larger size for a looser fit or the smaller size for a tighter fit.

Ordered the wrong ring size? Not to worry. Clean Origin offers complimentary ring resizing.

See Our Ring Resizing Policy Here

Step 6: Pop the Question!


Congrats! You’ve successfully picked out your ring, measured your correct ring size, and purchased it.

The hardest part is behind you. All you have to do now is hide the ring until it’s time to ask the big question. Looking for ideas on how to propose? Be sure to check it out here.

And remember, the engagement ring isn’t half as important as the love you feel for your partner. As long as you are moved to show up and be present for your best friend, you simply can’t go wrong – especially with an engagement ring.

Shop Clean Origin Engagement Rings