How do I buy an engagement ring?

“How do I buy an engagement ring?” is a question that many newly engaged couples have. In my Iowa City based jewelry store, Glassando, I often see this overarching question boil down to two basic engagement ring questions. The first engagement ring question is often “does an engagement ring have to be a diamond?” and the second engagement ring question is often “What metal should an engagement ring be?” This blog post hopes to answer the question “how do I buy an engagement ring?” by looking deeper into engagement ring stone choices and engagement ring metal choices. By answering these two basic engagement ring questions, you will be well on your way to answering the bigger question of “how do I buy an engagement ring?”

“Does an engagement ring have to be a diamond?” is often a personal question. A diamond engagement ring is often seen as a traditional engagement ring. Because of the hardness of diamond, it is often seen as a great choice for everyday wear. The hardness of a diamond gives root to the saying, “a diamond is forever”. People often like the visual representation of forever that a diamond engagement ring provides. If you want to go the traditional route I would suggest a diamond engagement ring, however alternative gemstone engagement rings are an option. If you want an alternative engagement ring, you might want to think about what color the bride-to- be likes, and pick a corresponding gemstone. Another option for an alternative gemstone engagement ring might be to pick a birthstone. Her birthstone or your birthstone might be a good choice for an engagement ring. Another option for a birthstone engagement ring might be the bride’s child’s birthstone. Also consider the durability of the stone when picking an alternative gemstone engagement ring. Gemstones are often ranked on a scale called the Moh’s hardness scale. Diamonds are found at the top of the Moh’s hardness scale. Looking up the Moh’s hardness scale for the gemstone you are thinking of will help give you an idea of the hardness of the gemstone. Soft gemstones found at the bottom of the scale such as opal, amber, and pearl may not be durable choices and could scratch or crack easily. Sapphire engagement rings and emerald engagement rings are often popular alternative gemstone engagement ring choices because they have a Moh’s hardness of 9. Don’t forget sapphire engagement rings, could come in many colors because sapphires are available in many colors. The answer to “Does an engagement ring have to be a diamond?” is often a personal question.

“What metal should an engagement ring be?” is a great question to think about when buying an engagement ring as well. Popular metal choices that are found in most local jewelry stores include gold or platinum. Gold does come in multiple colors. The most popular colors of gold are white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Often color comes down to a personal choice. Gold also comes in karats. Gold used in jewelry is alloyed with other metals to harden it, and the gold karat tells you the amount of gold in the metal alloy. 14k gold is a popular choice for engagement rings, as it is considered a good mix of look and durability. 18K gold will have more pure gold in it which makes it a brighter color but the cost is higher and the metal is softer than 14k gold. 10k gold will have more hardening agent in it and less gold than 14k gold. 10K gold may be paler in color by comparison to 14k gold but it costs less since there is less pure gold and it is more durable since it has more hardening agent. Platinum is available only in a white color. Unlike white gold, that often will be plated with rhodium (another precious metal) to give it an even whiter color, platinum is a natural white. Platinum is also a very hard metal so a great choice when you want fewer prongs or invisible stone setting where it is important to have a secure setting but you want the look of less metal. Platinum is usually more expensive than gold. I would always recommend discussing metal choice with us at Glassando so that our staff can help you find the metal that works with your lifestyle, budget, and chosen style.

Answering the question, “How to buy an engagement ring?” is different for each couple. Arriving at your perfect engagement ring will require you to think about other questions such as “Does an engagement ring have to be a diamond?” and “What metal should an engagement ring be?” and think about what works for you as a couple. The perfect ring will be different for each couple. Feel free to visit Glassando inside downtown Iowa City’s Old Capitol Mall as we would love to help you select an engagement ring from our in-stock collection or custom design the perfect engagement ring!

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