How to Buy an Engagement Ring

An engagement ring might be the single most important purchase of your lifetime. It’s one of the few “permanent” purchases you’ll ever make. With this in mind, it’s imperative that you take the time to thoroughly research and plan ahead. Otherwise, you may come to regret the purchase in the future.

Tips for Buying an Engagement Ring

An engagement ring is an investment – relationally, financially, and everything in between. As you begin the process of buying an engagement ring for your significant other, consider the following helpful tips and tricks:

Set a Budget

Don’t make the mistake of starting the ring shopping process and then deciding on a budget after you’ve found some styles you like. Always begin with a strict budget in mind.

Historically, people have been told to spend at least two months’ salary on an engagement ring. That means someone making $50,000 per year should spend roughly $8,300 on a ring, while someone earning $100,000 can reasonably spend up to $17,000. However, this is just a rule of thumb. Other factors like existing debt, lifestyle, and current expenses matter. If you’re earning $50,000 per year but have $250,000 of credit card and student loan debt, it doesn’t make sense to spend anywhere close to $8,300 on a ring. But if you’re making that same salary, have no debt, and are able to save 25 percent of every paycheck, you might be comfortable spending $10,000. It’s all relative. 

Whatever the case may be, make sure you set a budget from the start. You don’t necessarily need to share this number with anyone, but it gives you a nice internal compass to work with.

Choose a Style

Hopefully, your significant other has given you some ideas of the type of ring they like. But if they haven’t, you might be able to ask a close friend or parent for tips. If all else fails, you can observe her current style and jewelry choices to get a feel for what she likes. Some of the most common diamond engagement ring styles include the diamond solitaire, pave setting, three stone rings, halo rings, and bezel settings. Other options include the Tiffany setting, tension style rings, cathedral settings, flush settings, and antique/vintage settings.

Find a Retailer

Armed with a budget and a fairly decent idea of the ring style you’re going for, it’s time to begin shopping. This is where choosing the right retailer becomes extremely important.

While there are “general” diamond engagement ring retailers, you’ll find that most companies have their own areas of expertise. For example, if you want a vintage 5 carat ring, you’re probably going to shop with a company like Estate Diamond Jewelry. However, if you’re just looking to purchase a loose diamond that you can take to a local jeweler to build a custom setting, you might want to shop with a diamond wholesaler.

Give Yourself Time

Don’t rush things. If you know you want to be engaged in exactly 6 months from now, start shopping today – don’t wait until a couple of weeks before the proposal date. It can take time to find the right ring. And in a market like this, where supply chains are tight, you never know when a small snag could delay the process by weeks. It’s better to purchase a ring ahead of time and have the jeweler hold it for you than to get caught without a ring.

Get Insurance

Spending several thousand dollars on a ring is a major investment. We recommend spending a little extra to protect that investment with engagement ring insurance.

“If you think you would be devastated about the sentimental loss, afraid to wear other uninsured jewelry, or unable to cover the cost to replace the item, it would be wise to make sure your engagement or wedding ring is covered by insurance,” insurance expert Tyler Krowiorz writes.

Policies usually aren’t that expensive in the grand scheme of things. You’ll generally spend between one to three percent of the ring’s value per year. That means approximately $100 to $300 per year for a ring valued at $10,000/

Adding it All Up

When it’s all said and done, a ring is merely a representation of love and commitment. However, it’s an important symbol. And as with most important purchases, it can take some time to find the right option. Be patient and meticulous. Don’t settle for anything that doesn’t meet your basic requirements. There are lots of rings and designs on the market. You’ll eventually find what you’re looking for.