Your head’s been turned. Your heart’s been taken. And now you’re a bundle of excitement, nerves, and hope – you’re ready to get married!

As you make engagement plans and look to the future, one of your most important tasks will be choosing the PERFECT ring. We know it can seem overwhelming at first – what is all this jewelry jargon? –  So we’ve broken it down into 10 easy steps for you in this Engagement Ring Buyers Guide.

Here’s our engagement Ring Buyers Guide, created with YOU in mind… so your engagement ring shopping will be stress-free and joyful.

1. Decide on a budget.

This is the foundation upon which all other decisions will be made. Forget the old claims about how many month’s salary a ring should cost. Instead, decide what YOUare comfortable spending, knowing that you can balance size with quality at a price that works within your budget. Keep in mind that compromising on certain features of the ring – choosing white gold rather than platinum, for example – may allow you to spend more in another area and still remain within your budget.

A good place to start? Our store! Come on in and take a look at the options in each price range. Our engagement ring experts will show you all the options and help you decide on a budget that’s right for you!

2. Zero in on a style.

There are several things to consider here. Should your ring be classic, modern, vintage, inspired by nature? Should it be artistic, a custom design or a glamorous piece from a showcase? If you’re planning on shopping for a ring with your (soon to be) fiancee, this process may be simpler. If you’re hoping to make the ring a surprise, it’s important that you pay attention. Think about her clothing and accessories, especially the other jewelry she wears.

Take note of any hints she may drop. Enlist her best friend to do some reconnaissance work for you. If you’ve been talking about marriage, she might even have a Pinterest board that can give you a sense of what she wants. Don’t worry if you’re not completely confident that you know what her dream ring is, though. At Brentwood Jewelry we will gladly give you a temporary solitaire mounting to use for your proposal. Later, the two of you can come in to build the perfect ring together.

3. Choose a precious metal.

The metal used to create the engagement ring band will affect the overall look of the piece. Your main choices are platinum, gold – white, yellow and rose are most common – and silver.

Each metal has its own advantages and disadvantages. Platinum and white gold have been the most popular for several years. Again, to know what your significant other will want, pay attention to the jewelry she already wears.

4. Decide on a gemstone.

Diamonds are still the most popular engagement ring gemstone. They are rare, beautiful, durable and add a special sparkle of luxury. They will never go out of fashion. Gems are not as conventional as diamonds, but they’ve grown increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to famous engagement rings such as this and this.

Some gems are too brittle and soft for daily wear, but sapphires and rubies are both durable enough to be worn day to day and are available in a variety of unique colors. Gemstones also cost less per carat than diamonds, so you can get a larger stone for your money.

Download our FREE Engagement Ring Buyer’s Worksheet

5. Be clear about the 4Cs.

When choosing a stone, keep these global standards for assessing diamond quality in mind:

  • Cut – Of all 4 of the Cs, cut is the most important. A diamond’s cut will determine how brilliantly it shines. This has nothing to do with its shape; instead, it refers to the angles and proportions of the stone. A well-cut diamond will deliver a magnificent return of light and sparkle like nothing else.

  • Color – A diamond’s color is graded on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). Warmer colored diamonds (K-Z) are particularly desirable when set in yellow gold. Icy winter whites (D-J) look stunning set in white gold or platinum, so color does play into buying when you’re determining a metal.

  • Clarity – This refers to the presence of inclusions in the stone. Nature ensures that each diamond is as individual as the person who wears it. Naturally-occurring features such as minerals or fractures – known as inclusions – provide a special fingerprint within the stone and appear while diamonds are formed in the earth. They may look like tiny crystals, clouds or feathers. Inclusions are ranked on a scale of perfection, known as clarity. The closer a diamond comes to purity, the higher its value.

  • Carat – The weight of the diamond. As a diamond goes up in carats, the price grows exponentially because larger diamonds occur less and less in nature. Keep in mind that with the proper mounting and setting, our master craftsmen can make a diamond appear larger than its carat weight might indicate.

Confused or a little overwhelmed? We are happy to lend our expertise to your ring search, and we will be sure to clarify any questions you may have along the way.

6. Select a gemstone shape.

The shape of the diamond should be a reflection of the one who’s wearing it. Generally speaking, there are eight principle diamond shapes, with the traditional round cut being the most popular by far. Other shapes that are currently trendy are the princess cut (a square shape with a very feminine look) and the cushion cut (recognizable by its rounded corners and larger facets).

The shape that you choose is purely a matter of preference – what will your fiancee love? We would be thrilled to give you an up close and personal look at any of these gemstone shapes to help you decide on the perfect one.

7. Choose a setting.

You’re getting closer! The ring of her dreams is within reach. The next step is to determine a setting – the way in which the diamond will be placed on the ring. Once again, this is more about preference and lifestyle than anything else. A timeless, classic option is the Tiffany, or prong setting.

If your significant other prefers sparkle and glamour, you might opt for a halo setting with a circle of small diamonds around the center diamond. If she’s a nature lover you could consider a ring setting that incorporates leaves and vines, and if she’s very active you might decide on a bezel setting, a thin metal rim that encircles the diamond and offers secure protection.

8. Make any remaining design decisions.

Perhaps you’re choosing a ring for a woman who loves all things vintage. You can consider an antique ring or one that incorporates antique elements into the design. Or maybe there’s a family gemstone that you’d like to incorporate into a new ring, or you prefer a custom design altogether. You may want the ring to dazzle a bit more and include small side stones, either diamonds or other colored gems. The possibilities are endless.

At Brentwood Jewelry we have five master craftsmen working in our in-house design studio who love to help customers design and create the perfect custom piece through our Design Your Own Ring program.

9. Get a grading report.

A grading report, also known as a diamond certificate, is prepared by independent, certified gemologists from laboratories around the world and can help calculate the specific characteristics of your diamond. This report won’t increase the value of your diamond, but it will assure you of its authenticity, quality and specific characteristics. It’s an objective comparison, and some insurance companies even require a grading report if you’re planning to insure your diamond.

10. Propose!

So what are you waiting for?! You’ve got the girl and now you’ve found the ring – get to it!

There is nothing a woman will wear that is closer to her heart than her engagement ring. That’s one reason why it’s important to purchase such a special piece from a reputable jeweler with credentials and certification.

Hope you enjoyed reading our Engagement Ring Buyers Guide! At Brentwood Jewelry we’ve got over 50 years of experience – that’s 50 years of offering impeccable customer service, 50 years of building relationships with our customers, 50 years of helping couples find or design the perfect ring. We’d love for your engagement to be our next, so call or come in today and take the first step toward finding the ring of her dreams.