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Engagement Ring Guide

How to buy an engagement ring

We’ve always been fascinated by the brilliance, fire and composition of gemstones. Few children are privileged to grow up admiring and learning about these scintillating creations of nature. It takes almost a decade of experience to master and appreciate a gemstone and its value as an asset. While some women know exactly what they want when it comes to buying and/or designing an engagement ring, others need expert guidance and direction. There’s a plethora of educational websites and salespeople to provide you with information, yet shopping for an engagement ring is a great unknown for even the most experienced shopper. So if you don’t know jewelry, then I recommend doing some homework and educating yourself. Before you begin your search for the perfect ring, try addressing these four basic questions when purchasing an engagement ring.

What’s the perfect gemstone shape for you?

The first and most important decision is picking the gemstone shape that is perfect for you. The center stone of an engagement ring should be the biggest investment when purchasing the engagement ring. While round stones remain the most popular shape, certain fancy-cut gemstones that provide greater surface areas and ultimately a larger look have gained popularity, most notably oval and cushion cuts. For those interested in color gemstones, it’s important to realize that most colored gemstones are mainly fancy-cut shapes, like emeralds, cushions and radiants, which dominate the marketplace.

The gemstone shape is also key to helping you identify the ring mounting that best complements your style. If you don’t focus on the shape, you can find yourself running in circles, trying ring after ring, loving certain elements of one design only to be frustrated that it doesn’t look good with the center gemstone you select.

Focus on the shape of the center stone. Certain gemstone shapes look better in specific designs based on the natural dimensions of the center gemstone. Round, cushion, oval and pear shapes have flowing curves as opposed to asscher, emerald, princess and radiant cuts, which tend to have more rigid lines with their 90-degree angles, even if they are modified-cut stones.

What mounting style do you like?

Whether your style is classic, vintage, or modern, bridal designs should bring your gemstone to life with fire. As discussed with the gemstone shape, the natural lines of the center stone will be complemented by certain ring designs. For example, round stones look beautiful in micropavé settings where the rounded metal flows with the circular shape of the stone. In comparison, a princess-cut gemstone with natural right angles shows well when set in mountings with a squared-style ring shank.

When setting the gemstone, even with today's popular halo style, it's best to prong set the gemstone using only four prongs so as to limit the amount of metal surrounding the center stone. The idea behind a well-cut, brilliant gemstone is to allow as much light into the stone, allow it to internally refract and then reflect light back to the eye. Why focus on an ideal-cut gemstone if you're just going to bury it with metal in mounting?

Think about the wedding band now!

While you’re searching for a mounting, it’s best to think ahead and pick out your future wedding band. While it might be many months down the road before you actually purchase the band, you will save yourself headaches, time and money if you’re prepared from the beginning. Answer this: Do you want to stack your wedding band or wear it on the opposite hand?

Many women look to wear their wedding band(s) against the engagement ring, thus stacking the two (or three) rings together. This popular style is compatible with most bridal designs and many are created as natural sets. The idea is to select a complementary wedding band that sits as flush with the engagement ring as possible.

You never want the wedding band to dominate the overall bridal look, so it’s ideal to match it with the dimensions and design of the engagement ring shank. Stacking challenges arise more often when dealing with fancy-shaped gemstones versus round, yet regardless of gemstone shape, make sure to plan ahead so you are forever happy with the engagement ring and wedding band.

What is your Comfortable Budget?

Ultimately, what you like and what you end up with is essentially based on how much money you want to spend. Most consumers have an ideal range when searching for an engagement ring. While we never recommend going above your planned budget, try not to sacrifice quality to fulfill your bridal dreams. Gemstones are priced based on the balance of the 4Cs with color being the most important factor, you always want to find that fine balance between quality and quantity. If you focus your attention on the color and cut of the stone and answer the four basic questions above, you’ll be able to create your very own fairytale.


Be creative. Get inspired. Design your own engagement ring online. Our Master Jewelers will handcraft your custom ring in our Nashville, TN workshop based on your unique and personal style.

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