How To Choose An Engagement Ring: Your Step-By-Step Guide

Congratulations! An engagement ring is the ultimate expression of your future life together as a couple. This is an exciting time in your life and we want you to treasure and enjoy each and every moment.

Choosing an engagement ring should be a memorable experience. While there are many details that go into the ring selection process, these choices should never overshadow the true purpose of your engagement: celebrating your love.

We’re here to walk you through the ring selection process and make your experience fun and enjoyable so you can focus on enjoying your special engagement moment as a couple.  

 Step 1: Set A Budget Range

Before you start ring shopping, we definitely recommend taking the time to determine your budget range.

The common rule of thumb is to spend three months of your salary on an engagement ring. So if you make $200K a year, you may want to set your engagement ring budget between $30K-$50K. However, this is just a loose estimate that should serve as an initial guide as you begin shopping.

All rules aside - do what your heart desires, and choose a ring that perfectly represents you and your loved one. We often recommend observing your partner (or yourself) and considering their/your level of activity, lifestyle choices, most worn jewelry styles, and favorite colors. This will offer amazing insight into the type of engagement ring that will flow with your identities.

 Step 2: Choose An Engagement Ring Style

From classic solitaires to three stone rings, there is a ring style to fit every taste. While there are many different styles and settings to explore, you can start visualizing that perfect ring that best compliments your love and style as a couple.

Here are a few of our favorite iconic engagement ring styles that never go out of fashion: 

  • Solitaire Style: this is your classic engagement ring silhouette featuring a single center stone set into a simple band. The solitaire engagement ring style may be the most traditional but this timeless setting will always be highly cherished.
 Solitaire diamond engagement ring with a 3.25 carat old european cut diamond set in an 18 karat yellow gold band
  • Halo Style: similar to solitaire, the halo style features a center stone but is complemented with smaller (typically diamond) stones set into the band. This elevates the overall shine and light reflection of the center stone, while giving the entire ring an ethereal “halo” glow.
Double halo style ring with a 2.17 carat emerald diamond set in an 18 karat yellow gold band
  • Three Stone Style: with a three stone ring style, the single center stone is flanked by two additional stones. This style exudes pure elegance and truly captures the strongest quality of light to create a jaw-dropping shimmer.
Three stone style art deco filigree ring featuring a 2.79 carat diamond in a platinum setting

Once you’ve decided on the base style and setting for your engagement ring, it’s time to start thinking about which gemstones will partner best.

 Step 3: Pick Your Gemstones

Depending on your preference as a couple, diamonds may be the only stones you’re considering for your engagement ring (we don’t blame you!). A classic and traditional option, diamond engagement rings will remain timeless and are always the favorite gemstone choice.

Closeup of a blue sapphire gemstone sitting on a brown map of Kashmir

However, other non-traditional gemstones like emeralds, sapphires, and rubies create elegant engagement rings that will be intimate to you. If you or your loved one cherish all things unique and one-of-a-kind, alternative gemstones are a fantastic option to craft something truly distinctive for your engagement ring.

If you can’t choose, you can even mix and match! A halo or three stone style engagement ring will perfectly showcase a mix of diamonds and other gemstones for a truly unique piece. 

 Step 4: Choose Your Engagement Ring Cut

What shape do you want your gemstones to take once set into your engagement ring?

This is such a personal choice, as every bride prefers different shapes and silhouettes. Many brides have dreamed of the cut and shape of her engagement ring for years, so it’s best to discuss this step as a couple before making a decision.

Below are a few of the most popular engagement ring cuts that we often recommend:

  • Round Cut: the most popular gemstone cut is the simple round cut, especially for diamond engagement rings. It’s a versatile shape that will look beautiful across multiple ring styles and will always remain a classic choice.
  • Princess Cut: a princess cut perfectly captures that clean square-cut shape. This gemstone cut truly highlights the center stone and is a modern choice for a solitaire style ring. 
  • Cushion Cut: the perfect mix of a round and princess cut, the cushion cut is square with rounded corners. This gives you the overall feel of a princess cut but with a softer outline. At Jack Weir & Sons, we source many antique cushion cut engagement rings
  • Emerald Cut: another classic rectangular gemstone shape that is perfect for showcasing larger gemstones. The clean-cut lines and shape give it a very modern but timeless feel. Emerald cuts are also a fantastic choice for non-diamond gemstones, like an emerald engagement ring.
  • Radiant Cut: a radiant cut gemstone is very similar to the rectangular emerald cut but is shaped to best capture the light (thus the name “radiant”). A radiant cut ring is simply gorgeous when paired with a brilliant cut diamond. It’s a true show stopper.
Image of different diamond cuts being; oval, heart, marquise, asscher, radiant, emerald, round, cushion, pear and princess

There are also a wide array of more specialized cuts to choose from. Here at Jack Weir & Sons, we treasure the older shapes like the old European and old mine cuts, which are elegant choices especially among antique engagement rings.

If you are struggling to decide or do not have an immediate preference, we recommend visiting a local certified jeweler where you can try on different rings to explore which cuts you prefer most.

 Step 5: Choose A Trusted Jeweler

Regardless of your budget and ultimate ring preferences, the most important step is choosing a trusted jeweler who will take the time to deeply understand your ring preferences and either source or craft the perfect engagement ring for you.

Here at Jack Weir & Sons, we specialize in antique and vintage engagement rings. We travel the world to source the highest quality pieces and have a deep collection of precious engagement rings that will perfectly symbolize your love for decades to come.

We would love to be a part of this special milestone in your life. Whether you prefer to shop our collection online, or want to have a more personal experience with us in-store, we are here to provide you with the best experience that will make your engagement as special as possible.

Here at Jack Weir & Sons we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preserve history, discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people to celebrate their special moments through one of a kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, from November 2021- November 2022 we've donated $50,107. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. 

We offer in-person and Virtual Appointments and are happy to answer any questions about your favorite jewel. 

JWS Flawless Protection Plan: 

- Free Sizing & Overnight Shipping 

- 7 Day 100% Return Policy 

- 30 Day Exchange for Credit 

- Free Appraisal with Purchase 

- 100% Authenticity Guaranteed


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