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How to Choose The Best Engagement Rings

by Caroline Clark
Last updated on August 24, 2022

Setting out to find the best engagement ring can be a daunting task. With seemingly endless tips, tricks, styles, and shapes to choose from, finding the perfect ring can be difficult. How do you narrow down your search? What is the best diamond choice? What styles are popular for 2021? Whether you start with a setting or decide on your diamond first, there are still millions of results to sift through before you find “the one”… a diamond in the rough, if you will. However, in the end, it’s all about finding the ring that fits your personal style and budget. So, to help get you to that point, we’ll walk you through the steps it takes to find the best wedding ring. Plus, we’ve shared some of our personal favorites — timeless styles that you’ll cherish forever.

Choosing The Best Diamond Shape

With 10 different stone shapes for you to choose from — from emerald to heart and everything in between — there’s sure to be a shape and size perfect for any future bride. What is the best diamond you can choose for the best engagement ring? When it comes to diamond shapes there are two categories to compare, round brilliant and fancy. 

Round brilliant diamonds are cut to provide maximum brilliance — the amount of white light that’s reflected. Fancy cut diamonds are any shape that isn’t a round brilliant. The list includes princess, emerald, pear, oval, cushion, marquise, heart, radiant, and Asscher. 

The most popular diamond year after year is the round brilliant diamond. This timeless, elegant cut remains popular for many reasons. First, their circular shape and many facets allow for brilliance and sparkle, unlike any other shape. Second, round diamonds are extremely popular because of how versatile they are. Whether you prefer your diamond to be encircled by smaller stones in a halo setting or stand out in a unique and intricate band, round-shaped diamonds look beautiful in tons of our Clean Origin settings. It’s no wonder they are our best-sellers.

Lastly, round diamonds are widely available and easily crafted by jewelers, allowing you to have your pick from a wide variety. Most jewelers will have more round diamonds to choose from than any other stone. 

Choosing the Best Round Diamond

For the most part, round diamonds look their carat size, especially if you place them in solitaire settings. If you choose a smaller carat size, placing it in a halo setting can make the stone appear larger, and add some serious sparkle. If you want to keep your diamond in a simple setting, certified lab-grown diamonds are 20-40% less expensive than mined diamonds, which means you can get more for less! When looking at the cut of a round diamond, it is important to know that the higher the grade, the more brilliant the stone will appear.

Clean Origin only offers diamonds at or above a “good” cut quality. Good, very good, excellent or ideal are the four available options. A well-proportioned cut reflects light flawlessly. A round shape will also show flaws easily so you’ll want a high clarity stone. Perform an “eye test” on the diamond to determine if you can see any visible flaws. Color, on the other hand, is a bit harder to detect in round diamonds, and not a huge factor to consider. If it looks good next to your metal color, then it is likely the best engagement ring diamond for you!

Choosing the Best Square or Rectangular Diamond

If you’re looking for a more geometric shaped diamond, the emerald and princess cut are your ideal picks for the best engagement ring. But when it comes to these two diamond shapes, there are important factors to keep in mind when selecting the best possible stone.

Emerald shaped diamonds are rectangular in shape and feature several parallel facets that create a shining, step-like appearance within. Since emerald diamonds have a unique shape, they are not typically graded on their cut, as a brilliant round cut would. Because of their large table facets, that are highly visible, emerald shaped diamonds are likely to show inclusions easily. For this reason, we recommend a higher clarity rating to avoid noticing any viable flaws. Emerald diamonds also retain color quite well, so a higher color grade should be chosen if you want a diamond with a whiter color. An emerald’s top surface will create the illusion that the stone is larger than its carat size. This is a huge benefit of purchasing an emerald shaped diamond, as you can purchase a lower carat weight with the same appearance as a higher carat gemstone.

Princess-cut diamonds are similar to emerald cut gemstones in that they also have a square top and they are also not graded on cut. Princess diamonds do hide flaws better than an emerald diamond, but you’ll still want to perform an “eye test” to ensure you see no visible flaws. If purchasing a Clean Origin diamond, we offer 360º views at 20x magnification, so you can see exactly how your diamond will appear in person! This diamond also hides color a little better than emerald stones, but it’s still important to keep in mind.

A huge benefit to princess-cut diamonds is that they often cost less than other stones, due to the amount of uncut stone they use. And you’ll save up to an additional 20-40% if you buy a lab-grown princess diamond. One thing to remember about princess diamonds is that they have sharp corners. If you live an active lifestyle or have a hands-on career, you’ll want to protect the corners of this stone with an appropriate setting style — the best engagement ring is one that fits your day-to-day routine.

Unique Fancy Shaped Diamonds

The pear, cushion, and oval-shaped diamonds are just as stunning, but not as popular when shopping around for the best engagement ring. Like all diamonds, it’s important to know about their specific qualities so that you know what to look for. Fancy shaped diamonds are not graded, but it is still important to choose a diamond that looks beautiful to the eye. Cushion and oval-shaped diamonds hide “flaws” better than other fancy shaped diamonds, but as with any diamond, you’ll want to make sure it passes an “eye test” and no visible flaws are easily detected.

Fancy shaped diamonds like oval, pear, and cushion do tend to show color, more so than a brilliant round. This is something you’ll want to pay attention to if you want a whiter looking diamond. However, depending on the metal color of your setting, warmer colored diamonds could be less noticeable. A benefit to choosing an oval, cushion, or pear-shaped diamond is that they tend to look larger than their actual carat weight and appear larger than round diamonds. 

Choosing the Best Engagement Ring Setting

After picking out the perfect diamond to gift to your significant other, next up is choosing the best engagement ring setting that will allow your diamond to shine! Solitaire settings are definitely the top engagement ring style and loved for their simplicity of the band which highlights the center stone, drawing eyes straight to the beautiful diamond. Solitaire settings also tend to be less expensive, because they do not have extra gemstones added to the band. Without a pavé or halo to add extra bling, your diamond will be in the limelight. The solitaire setting is a great choice if you’ve picked out an incredible diamond that you want to be the center of attention! Solitaire settings are great because most are perfect for any shaped diamond.

Halo style settings are nothing short of spectacular and sure to impress with a circle of small diamonds that surround a larger, center diamond. The effect can be simply breathtaking. Because of the surrounding diamonds, a halo setting is perfect if you are limited to a smaller diamond size. The surrounding diamonds give the illusion of a larger center stone. A decision you’ll have to make is whether you want the small diamonds on your halo ring to encircle only the center diamond or to encircle the band as well—the pavé style. If you think your lady will want a minimalist look for her diamond engagement ring, forget the pavé. If she’s interested in more glimmer, pavé is the way to go. Halo settings are great to add major sparkle to your ring and remain trendy year after year. 

If you’re looking for something in between a solitaire and halo style, the classic setting is a perfect choice. A classic engagement ring typically features a pavé band — a band covered with smaller diamonds. Unlike halo settings which typically limit your center stone to a round, cushion, or oval diamond, a classic setting allows you more options in terms of diamond shape. If you’re looking for a true classic, a plain, single pavé band is the way to go, like our Celesta ring. However, if you’d like to add a few frills, a double band like our St. Tropez adds another level to this otherwise classic style. 

There is nothing more romantic than a vintage-style setting. From Art Deco to glam mid-century, these timeless styles are designed to last a lifetime. While once only available as a passed down heirloom or found in an antique shop, jewelers are bringing back these styles bigger and better than ever! When looking for the perfect vintage setting, remember that there are different styles for each era. Victorian and Edwardian rings make a statement with beautiful, eye-catching details like floral and foliage patterns. With intricate designs, you’ll want to balance the bling on the ring. Emerald cut or Radiant cut diamonds provide a striking addition, while a round-cut and cushion-cut are more delicate. Art Deco rings are highly geometric, but range in simpler designs to dramatic statement pieces. These bands look great with a yellow or rose gold band, and any diamond shape will look stunning. 

Three stone engagement rings are the perfect blend of vintage and modern, with a deep meaning behind the style. To some, the three stones stand for friendship, love, and fidelity; to others, the trio stands for the past, present, and future with your loved one. With a trio of dazzling jewels, this is an eye-catching style. These settings allow room for personalization with the diamonds. We recommend choosing side stones that complement your center stone. If you choose a round center diamond, be sure to choose oval supporting stones. Or if you’re looking for a more geometric feel with a cushion-cut center, square supporting diamonds will perfectly balance out the ring.

The Best Metal for Your Ring

The last step in building the best engagement ring is choosing your metal color. Clean Origin offers 14k white, yellow, and rose gold, 18k white yellow and rose gold, and platinum. Now, what is the difference between 14k and 18k gold? The only difference between 14k and 18k gold is how much true gold is present. 24k = 100% gold, so 18k = 75% gold, and 14k = 58.3% gold. 14k gold is the most popular and budget-friendly option you can choose. We also strongly recommend 14k gold for engagement rings because of how durable it is. If the ring-wearer lives an active lifestyle or works with her hands, you’ll want to choose a metal that is more durable. 

18k gold is also great for engagement rings and fine jewelry as it has a beautifully rich, yellow appearance that makes it an attractive material for engagement rings and other jewelry. With 18k gold being almost pure, there’s very little risk of skin irritation if you have a nickel allergy. However, because 18k gold has a higher gold content than others, it is more delicate and more prone to tarnishing. Thus, it is advised to remove your ring when exposing it to water and other chemicals, which will dull its shine.

Although newer on the wedding scene, rose gold has become popular for 21st-century engagement rings. This is definitely the most unique metal choice and a great option for brides looking for a ring that’s different from the rest. Platinum is also a beautiful choice and known for its great strength. Since it is created with a higher percentage of precious metal (90%), platinum can be anywhere from 40-50% more expensive than white gold. Style-wise, platinum is a bit more muted and less shiny.

Our Most Popular

If you have no idea where to start, here are some of our most popular rings. These rings are a great starting point if you’re looking for inspiration for your best engagement ring. We offer over 100 settings for you to choose from, so no matter the trends in engagement ring styles, we have a selection that proves to be customer favorites year after year.

The Classic Solitaire is and always will be, the most popular ring out there. This setting style really allows you to show off your diamond, with its simplistic beauty. This setting will never go out of style and looks great no matter what diamond shape or size you choose. Our Classic Solitaire features a 4-prong setting to hold your stunning lab-created diamond firmly in place. Available in white gold, yellow gold, and platinum, and able to hold a diamond up to 3.2 CT, this is the perfect ring. To add some extra sparkle, this ring pairs beautifully with our Quiet Beauty matching wedding band, featuring a simple row of stunning diamonds. 

Another one of our most popular rings is our Petite Floating Gem Ring. This is a classic style setting, with a brilliant row of hand set lab-created diamonds that sparkle and extend halfway around the finger. Customizable, with 10 diamond shapes to choose from, this ring is also available in white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. This delicate ring can hold up to a 3.5 CT diamond, in addition to its 16 gemstones around the band. Simply stunning in every way, you can see why this ring is loved by many!

The Charmant Ring is another classic style engagement ring that is extremely popular. Similar to the Petite Floating Gem Ring, but offers a thinner band style. Still, with over 20 gemstones, this is a fantastic ring that offers a daintier style. Only available with a round stone, and available in white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. This classic ring also comes in a bridal set, with its matching wedding band featuring a delicate row of 30 lab-created diamonds

Customize Your Dream Ring

While traditional jewelry stores may only have a small range of products in store for you to choose, purchasing your engagement ring online allows you to customize your dream ring on the spot. Choose your setting, which diamond shape you’d like, and the metal color — you can see your creation come to life before your eyes. By building your ring online, you’re able to see the many options you have, while also seeing what you can get for your budget. While many brands offer this, Clean Origin also offers an incredible 360º view of your diamond and setting, to ensure you are choosing the best engagement ring for you. No pushy sales associate there to pressure you or show you rings you don’t want to see. Filter your settings to choose only what you want to view. 

Also, when building your ring online, you get full transparency on pricing. Our team is on call to show you the best options for your budget. With Clean Origin there are no hidden fees, and you receive free shipping, and 100 day returns. Allowing you plenty of time to customize, try on, and make changes to the best engagement ring for you!