While some couples will go shopping for engagement or wedding rings together to ensure both get the exact ring they desire, the more popular format for purchasing such rings remains the surprise method. This is one where each half of the couple purchases a ring for the other in secrecy, with the ring often being revealed during a marriage proposal or similar special event.
At Kelley Jewelers, we're proud to offer a vast variety of wedding and engagement rings, including "proposal ready" engagement rings that are perfect for those purchasing in advance of such an event. If you're shopping for a ring for your partner, what are some tips and steps we might recommend? Here's a general primer.
Considering Design Style
First and foremost, you'll want to define the design style, which refers to the combination of elements that make up the ring. There are countless styles to choose from, so it's important to nail down what you like before you even start looking at rings. Elements could include the type of metal (gold or platinum), the shape of the diamond or gemstone, the number of diamonds or gemstones, and more.
How do you choose between these if your partner is not present to inform you of their preferences? There are a few tactics, the first of which involves looking at other jewelry pieces that they own, particularly those made from metal or containing diamonds or gemstones. If you're looking for a ring with a lot of diamonds, they may already have necklaces, earrings, and/or bracelets that contain gems that can inform your decision.
Another approach is to consider the style of jewelry that your partner usually wears daily. Rings containing small diamond accents might be better suited for understated styles, while those who like bolder rings might want to consider larger diamond carat weights.
There is no wrong answer; just be sure that you're considering all of their favorite things before making your purchase.
Selecting a Gemstone
Once you have an idea of the overall style of the ring, it's time to move to the selection of the actual stone that will make up the bulk of its aesthetics. Following are a few options to consider:
- Diamonds: Diamonds are the most popular gemstone choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, in part due to their beauty and universality. Diamonds come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, including rare yellow and salt & pepper diamonds, so it's easy to find one that will fit your partner's personality and style.
- Colored gemstones: Colored gemstones are growing in popularity, especially for those who want something unique and different. From rubies and emeralds to sapphires and amethysts, there is no shortage of options when it comes to colorful stones.
Choosing between these will involve a combination of factors that are unique to your loved one. Again, you'll have to take some of your own tactics to find the right way to get clues here without tipping them off.
Choosing Gemstone Shape
Once you know the stone you'll be going for, you need to determine the shape. This, again, is largely personal preference and can be based on what your partner likes or what you think they might like. The six most popular shapes are as follows:
- Round: A round diamond is the most traditional choice and remains a favorite for many couples.
- Princess: Princess-cut diamonds are square in shape with cut corners to help accentuate their beauty.
- Marquise: A marquise diamond is a long, thin stone with pointed ends and rounded sides.
- Emerald: An emerald cut diamond is an oblong shape with sloping ends and a stepped surface. This step-like surface makes the stone look bigger than it is.
- Pear (or teardrop): A pear-shaped diamond is called a modified brilliant-cut that blends the marquise and oval with one rounded end and a point on the other.
- Oval: Oval diamonds are almost as popular as round diamonds due to their versatility so that they can be used in most types of settings.
Now, these aren't the only options – there are ten different shapes in total.
Deciding on Setting
Next up is the setting, which refers to the part of the ring that secures the stone while it is mounted on the band. This can be done in a variety of ways, from options like the halo setting (which contains many small stones in its outer perimeter, with the main stone resting in the center) to options like a three-stone ring (which includes two smaller stones on either side of the central stone).
Once again, you have plenty of choices here. The key is to pay attention to detail so your partner's rings will match their personality and style. Is your future fiancé a gregarious, animated sort of person? Then a halo setting would be perfect. If they're more understated, a simple solitaire setting might be the way to go.
Up next is the metal that will form the ring's band. The two most popular options are gold and platinum, each having its own unique set of benefits. Several varieties of each of these may be used depending on the style, such as rose gold, white gold, or yellow gold.
Gold is a softer metal that can easily be molded into different shapes. It also has a warm appearance that many people find attractive. Platinum is a harder metal and is more expensive than gold, but it has a sleek appearance and doesn't corrode like other metals. It's also hypoallergenic and will remain as shiny as the day you bought it for many years to come.
Finally, perhaps the most challenging element of choosing a ring for your partner in secret is getting the size right. You’ll likely need to do this in person, as most stores don't offer ring sizing for purchase over the phone or online. The easiest way to do this is to take a ring your partner wears on their thumb or pinky finger and measure it in millimeters. This will give you a good idea of the size you need to purchase.
For more on choosing an engagement ring in secret or learning about any of our engagement ring options, speak to the staff at Kelley Jewelers today.