It's hard to believe that it's already been 9 years this May that my husband proposed while we were in Paris (you can read about our engagement story here). It was a beautiful day, such a memorable trip together and I have to say he did a fantastic job of designing a custom ring that he surprised me with based upon a photo he had seen of my dream ring months prior.
Having just attended a wedding this past weekend for a dear friend and learning of other loved ones who recently became engaged and of course moving into wedding season, I've been thinking about the excitement of this special time. If you're a traditional kind of woman, you probably prefer to have your husband-to-be shop for a ring on his own but if you're not, you may prefer to choose that exquisite piece of jewelry with him that will adorn your left ring finger for eternity. Either way, it's important to know what you want and like so you can provide some hints and/or suggestions to make the process easier for him.
Every woman is unique and it's important to consider a few more factors beyond budget and the 4 C's (color, cut, clarity and carat weight) when deciding upon the right ring for you. I'm a huge fan of customization, especially when it comes to the one piece of jewelry you will wear every single day for the rest of your life. A custom ring may sound like a really expensive option but it doesn't have to be. Instead of choosing a finished product, you control the exact size of center stone choosing it separately, overall band color and style as well as the intricate little design details that truly make it special and unlike any other. Your ring design should embody who you are as a woman.
I recently discovered Anjolee Jewelry and love the versatility they offer in creating custom one-of-a-kind pieces. Everything from bracelets, earrings and engagements rings to necklaces (like their riviera diamond necklace) which is awesome for creating custom gifts. They even have a mobile app to customize your favorite designs! Below I'm sharing some points to consider as one chooses the ring of their dreams along with some of my favorite classic styles too.
Don't try to over think it, just keep anything that you gravitate towards. Later you can look through them and determine how they all relate and specifically what stands out the most to you-maybe it's an elevated setting, a solitaire surrounded by several smaller stones in a halo effect, perhaps it's the design on the band portion itself. Whatever it is that grabs you, focus on honing in on the exact look you most prefer.
2. Mind Your Metals- Just because rose gold or platinum is all the rage at a particular moment in time when you are becoming more serious in your relationship, or your best friend recently became engaged and is donning a yellow gold ring does not mean you must incorporate that into your engagement ring design. Focus on the long term, this is a piece of jewelry unlike a bracelet or necklace that you will not just wear on occasion, but daily, so it must be something that stands the test of time. Try different types of gold and metals on your hand to determine which best matches your skin tone. Some try to choose based on what they most wear (silver vs. gold), however mixed metals and a less matchy-matchy approach is how most wear jewelry these days so try not to let that weigh so heavily on your decision.
It goes without saying that if you never wear anything in a yellow gold tone, then it's probably best to go with something like white gold or platinum that has a more neutral appearance. If you opt for a silver, white gold or platinum, it actually tends to make the stone appear larger in the setting if the center stone is a diamond or clear stone, it just reflects more brilliantly than in a colored metal so this is a great option for a smaller budget to maximize the size of the stone.
3. Be Practical- Of course getting engaged is a romantic time that sweeps you off your feet but there is still an element of practicality that needs to be considered. When it comes to choosing a stone and setting, one important thing to consider is your profession and hobbies. Think about what you spend most of your time doing daily. If you're working with your hands as a teacher, care giver or are involved in a lot of sports (particularly high impact) and always want to be able to wear your ring, you may prefer to choose a setting that is lower or doesn't have a prong setting so that it does not catch on clothing, scratch skin, etc. A simple solitaire in a prong setting actually cleans up easily for those who love to garden, bake/cook in the kitchen or work in an art studio vs. one with a lot of tiny accent stones.
As much as I love my own ring, the elevation of the setting is one thing I hadn't considered. It's beautiful but I've accidentally scratched myself, my husband as well as my daughter and pulled loops on sweaters as well as caught it on other things because of how high it sits up and its princess cut shape. As a result, I find myself only wearing it when I leave the house, at home it sits in my jewelry box. For anyone who is a chef, works with small children, works around delicate clothing/fabrics, is a physical therapist, doctor or anyone examining people or objects, one suggestion is to test out a style by wearing fashion rings that mimic your desired design into your workplace or during your daily routine to see how it measures up. You might be surprised at how practical or impractical it actually is.
4. The Right Fit- A massive bauble of a ring on dainty little fingers can look a bit overwhelming and not properly proportioned. On the contrary, a very thin band and delicate ring on a thicker hand can appear to be lost whereas a larger setting can help create a more slender looking finger. When it comes to the diamond itself, obviously this can be a bit awkward as it depends on the man's overall budget, a larger rock equals a larger price point, but it doesn't have to be that way. By simply opting for a larger setting and thicker band for example, you can save on the cost of the most expensive portion which is the center stone itself. Even if a ring is being custom ordered online, you can always go into a jewelry store and try on various sizes and styles to see what your perfect fit is whether it's 1/2 a carat or 2 carats, a slim eternity style band. split shank or a simple solid wider plain metal band without any additional stones.
Diamonds aren't the only options, these days other transparent yet colored stones are gaining popularity such as Morganite. Speaking of ring size, you'll want to know what your wedding ring finger size is as it may differ from the ring size you normally buy for your right hand (mine is 1/2 a size smaller than my right ring finger). If your man doesn't know your ring size he can borrow one of your existing rings or guess but it may involve re-sizing the ring after the proposal and not all ring designs adapt well to re-sizing, especially if it's a jump in size from say a 7 to a 5 or vice versa. It may feel unromantic to have that conversation so you can always share those details with your best friend and hopefully he'll think to consult with her or you can leave your favorite well fitting rings out in plain view.
5. Center Stones Take Center Stage- There are so many beautiful options available from the classic and ever-popular round solitaire, to cushion cut, princess cut, oval, asscher cut, radiant, emerald and more. Remember that various cuts of stones reflect light differently. Beyond the carat size, clarity and overall color, it's the stone that will give you the sparkle and the shape has a big influence on how it shines. Classic round solitaires are known for being one of the most sparkly and light reflective compared with cushion cut or princess for example. I've found my princess cut catches the light in stores with overhead fluorescent lighting in a stunning way and in the sunlight it twinkles too whereas a friend who has a larger cushion cut diamond has mentioned that she doesn't experience the same sparkle in the sunshine, she does get an amazing fire by candlelight though.
When it comes to engagement ring styles, there are some that are just so classic and timeless, that you really can't go wrong if you've searched and searched and still find yourself confused and undecided. There are numerous ways to tweak a classic and traditional design to make it all your own. Below are some of my favorite classy, beautiful designs from the Anjolee website. My own custom engagement ring most closely resembles the princess cut with split shank in the bottom left hand corner along with the side view of pave diamonds and center stone setting of the upper right hand corner ring which has a modern yet antique feel.
If you're already engaged or married, what shape and style is included in your perfect ring?
Thanks for reading!
This post is brought to you by Anjolee-The Art of Jewelry All thoughts and opinions written are my own.
*image credits: (1) , (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8)-all rings from Anjolee website.