Are you ready to shop for an engagement ring? If you are, that means you've probably done some homework, like reading about the four Cs of diamonds
-- at least enough for a good understanding of the qualities they encompass: clarity, color, cut and carat weight. If the ring will be a surprise, don't go shopping until you've considered some of our engagement ring advice for guys
. It wouldn't hurt to read that advice even if your fiance plans to go shopping with you, because the info will help you both choose a ring she'll be comfortable wearing.
Platinum and white gold are popular engagement ring metals, but don't neglect looking at the yellow and rose gold rings you encounter (unless your fiance only wears white metals). Platinum is durable and has a look all its own -- expect to pay more for a platinum setting. Gold engagement rings are usually either 18 karat or 14 karat -- a 10 karat engagement ring setting is not as common.
Cavan Images / Iconica / Getty Images
Solitaire engagement rings set with a round diamond have been the number one engagement ring choice for many years. Round brilliant cut diamonds
usually stand out as a top choice, but there are other cuts that result in a round gemstone. Some of the rings in this collection do have small diamonds that encircle their bands, but the round focal stone dominates each design, allowing the rings to remain in the 'solitaire' category.
Diamond halo engagement rings feature a central gemstone or cluster of gemstones encircled with a band of smaller diamonds... the 'halo.' Many halo rings have additional diamonds that partially or completely encircle the band. The classic halo engagement ring has a round or rounded-oval center diamond, but you'll see other variations of the style, like the sapphire and diamond engagement ring
Prince William gave to Kate Middleton, which was once owned by William's mother, the late Princess Diana
. Mix either sapphire or ruby with diamonds to a create lovely halo engagement ring.
© Blue Nile
Princess cut diamonds have grown in popularity during the last decade, and remain a top choice for many brides. Princess cuts are square, flat-topped diamonds with faceting on their underneath side that brings out the gemstone's brilliance. The corners of a princess cut diamond are intact, and must be protected by the setting -- sturdy prongs are typically used to encircle the corners. Browse a collection of engagement options that includes several styles and price ranges of rings set with princess cut diamonds.
An exclusive design of Sun Jewelry, © Sun Jewelry
It's easy to buy an engagement ring set with a diamond that looks larger than its actual carat weight, just by paying attention to the diamond's shape and the ring's setting. We'll cover some of the setting methods that help a stone 'grow' in size.
Shopping for an engagement ring can be overwhelming, and it's easy to veer away from a budget when we see a ring we 'can't live without.' But there are indeed ways to buy a gorgeous engagement ring without destroying your bank account or hiking up your debt-to-income ratio. Let's talk about some of the best ways to shop for an affordable engagement ring.