Guide to Engagement Rings

Everything You Need to Know Find the Perfect Ring

An engagement ring is a momentous purchase, one that inspires joy and excitement. But it can be overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start. This guide gives you the knowledge you need to move through the process with confidence. By understanding your options and making step-by-step decisions, you’ll be on your way to choosing the perfect ring: one that perfectly matches your style and your budget.

Ring Components

Let’s start with a few basic terms, so you can describe what you
want to your friendly jeweler.

Style Options: The Setting

The setting is comprised of the band itself, plus the side and accent stones. It does not usually include the center stone. The setting is also called the mounting or semi-mount.

The Shank

You have several options for the style of the band. Changing the band can add a traditional or modern feel to the ring, and make it more unique.

Remember, you can also choose a metal for your band. If she likes gold, 24K is standard. If she likes silver: your options are platinum (most expensive), palladium (similar to platinum but less expensive), and white gold (gold plated with rhodium), which is affordable but may wear off over time).

The Head

You have several options for setting your center stone. When shopping, it’s a good idea to look at examples of each one from the top and the sides so that you understand the differences.

Accent Stones

You don’t have to have accent stones in your ring. But if you do, there are many ways to set them.

Extra Embellishments

You don’t have to have accent stones in your ring. But if you do, there are many ways to set them.

Choosing a Diamond

The appearance and cost of your diamond is mainly determined by the four C’s: cut, clarity, color and carat. Depending on your budget, you will probably have to prioritize the one or two factors that are most important to you. Read on to learn the basics and select the perfect diamond.


You have many shapes to choose from. Round is classic, while Emerald can be vintage or modern. The shape you choose will be the ring’s central focus, and should reflect the bride’s personal taste. The quality of the cut will affect your ring’s price: the angle and finish determines how light passes through the stone, giving the diamond its brilliance.


You’ll need to know the codes that describe a diamond’s clarity. Visible specks in the stone will bring down its value. It’s up to you whether the imperfections really matter.


Diamonds that are clearer (more colorless) are more expensive. But a slightly tinged stone might have a nice vintage look. Most jewelers suggest D-J for engagement rings, but yellow stones are becoming more popular.


Most people think that carat refers to size, but it actually refers to the weight of a stone. Two 1-carat diamonds with different cuts can look like different sizes. Here is a general guide to carats, and how big they appear.

Now that you know what to look for, the fun begins!
You are ready to start looking for, or designing, your ideal engagement ring.