What to Know Before Engagement Ring Shopping

A woman opening an engagement ring box.

Engagement ring shopping is an exciting process, but it can be confusing, too. There are so many things to know before you even visit the first jewelry store. Knowing all the right stuff before you embark on this journey is sure to make the process that much more seamless, putting you closer to popping the question and then walking down the aisle.

Plan Ahead and Manage Expectations

You’ll want to plan ahead when it comes to shopping, as it may not be as simple as walking into the store and walking out that day with the ring. It takes time for some rings to be made exactly to your specifications, so be ready to wait a bit between the first step of the shopping journey and when you actually have the ring in your hands.

Is Three Month’s Salary Necessary?

One thing to know is that while there’s an old “rule” that you should spend three month’s salary on an engagement ring, it’s not something closely followed in today’s world. When that sentiment was popularized, it was a time when salaries were lower, as was the cost of living. Financial health and debt mean something much different in today’s world, so focus less on this “rule” and more on spending what you feel comfortable with.

Know Your Partner’s Taste

A vintage diamond engagement ring.

When you’re planning on proposing, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a good idea of their taste and preferences. An engagement ring is a deeply personal piece of jewelry, as it’s one that will be worn every day. For that reason, you will want to ensure you get your future spouse something they’ll love! Look for hints in the jewelry they already own or enlist in the help of someone close to them, such as a sibling or friend. You may even want to check to see if your partner has a Pinterest board dedicated to wedding-related items, to see if there are any rings saved to serve as inspiration.

Decide on Your Partner’s Involvement

Going along with the last point, you’ll want to figure out how involved your partner will be in the shopping process before it begins. Talk to her about this to understand her desires and express what you envision for this journey as well. There’s no right or wrong answer to this; some couples go through the entire process together, some do it completely independently, and some do a mix of the two. Whatever you’re both comfortable with is the best route for you!

Diamonds Aren’t the Only Option

An engagement ring with a green stone and diamonds surrounding it.

Many people erroneously believe that an engagement ring must feature a beautiful diamond. And while many engagement rings do, that’s not the be-all and end-all of this piece of jewelry. Especially in recent years, other gemstones have become more and more popular in engagement rings, providing more unique options for this special piece of jewelry. Sapphires, emeralds, or even pearls are all options as engagement pieces. Really, the possibilities are endless! This comes down to the taste of your partner. If your future spouse has a more eclectic style or is maybe looking for something untraditional in an engagement ring, an alternate stone may be a great option.

What About Return and Insurance Policies?

Before you start shopping, you’ll want to think through what type of insurance you’ll want for the ring and whether or not you’re concerned with buying a ring that comes with a return policy. Regardless of what you decide, it’s a good idea to ask about these items when you’re shopping, too.

There’s No Specific Timeline

Shopping for an engagement ring is a huge step in a relationship and is a very personal process. With that being said, don’t feel like you need to rush through it or are pressured to make a decision. Before you begin shopping, know that you can navigate this process however you feel most comfortable, using as many resources or as much time as you feel is needed to get the ring you’ve been dreaming of for your future fiancé.

Finding the perfect engagement ring can be a labor of love, but it’s surely worth it once you see the excitement in the eyes of your future spouse when you drop down on one knee.

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