Engagement Ring – Everything You Need To Know

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Foto: Prostock-studio / Adobe Stock
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, there are lots of questions. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know before buying a diamond ring.

Which Hand and Finger?

Traditionally, women in the Western world have put the engagement ring on the left ‘ring finger’ (i.e. the one next to the pinky on the left hand). Why? Well, before technology and medical science, it was generally believed that a vein travelled from the heart right down to this finger. However, not every country uses this system.

In some cultures, the left is unlucky so to wear a ring on this hand would be bad news. Take India, Russia and Norway, for instance. Here you will see women wearing engagement rings on the right hand. In Chile and Sweden, engagement rings go on the right hand and it’s then moved to the left after marriage.

Engagement Ring vs Wedding Ring

When a couple first decides to get married, one partner will propose to the other. This begins with an engagement ring, and it signals the couple’s intent to one day marry. Then, at the wedding ceremony, this engagement ring is exchanged for a wedding ring. At this point, both individuals will wear a wedding ring as a symbol of their commitment and love to one another.

Do you keep the engagement ring after the wedding? This is entirely up to you. While some choose to replace their engagement ring with the wedding ring, others will wear both. Tradition does suggest placing a wedding band under the engagement ring so that it’s closer to the heart. Yet, more and more women are using different fingers, different hands, and whatever else suits their daily lifestyle.

Engagement Ring Price

In truth, this is an open-ended question and one that’s quite difficult to answer. Ultimately, the price you pay for an engagement ring will depend on the Carat size, the material, diamond quality, and more. If you look at the surveys, you’ll see that American couples expect to pay anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. However, according to The Knot, people spent an average of $5,900 on engagement rings in 2019.

In the UK, it seems couples spend less on engagement rings but more on the actual wedding. Last year, the average couple spent £1,700 ($2,200) on a ring. However, they spent £25,000 ($32,400) compared to $30,000 on the wedding day itself.

Promise/Couple Rings

Sometimes, couples want to show their commitment to one another even when an engagement/marriage is too far ahead. Here, they will either wear a promise or couple ring.

  • Promise Rings – Although not necessary for marriage or a traditional stage in the process, some couples like to show their commitment by giving a promise ring. This essentially says, ‘I will always love you; I am yours, and I promise to be yours forever.’
  • Couple Rings – Also known as ‘couple bands’, these are a sign that you are in a serious relationship with your partner. With both individuals wearing one, it’s designed for those dating, engaged, or even married. Again, it’s a different symbol of love and being forever bonded to your special partner.

Gold, White Gold, or Platinum?

Hopefully, you’ll walk away from our guide knowing that many of the decisions with engagement rings come down to personal preference. As long as you and your partner are happy, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. Again, the same rule applies to the choice between white gold, gold, and platinum. Normally, people make this decision based on their skin tone.

For example, those with a darker tone will go for gold while those with a lighter tone will choose platinum or white gold. Furthermore, some women just know what they want, and this is why we think it’s important to have a conversation with your partner. Rather than starting the search for an engagement ring with no ideas, why not at least ask for their preferences so they get the ring they want and deserve?

At this point, we also want to talk about the difference between 14 Carat gold and 18 Carat gold. Which should you choose? One thing is for certain, you shouldn’t go for 24 Carat gold. Naturally, gold is a soft metal so having a 24 Carat gold ring (i.e. 100% gold) is likely to cause problems. In the past, we’ve seen plenty of women who have been disappointed by the deformed shape and the way it can lose grip on a gem.

As for the 14K vs 18K debate, the latter is the purer of the two and contains more gold. As a result, it is the more expensive option. On the other hand, the fact that the 14K option contains more alloyed metals makes it more durable. If you want a ring that will last the test of time despite the everyday rough and tumble that comes with life, choose 14K. Otherwise, 18K gold is more suited to special occasion jewelry.

Engagement Ring Engraving

As well as buying the engagement ring itself, some people feel as though their loved one will appreciate a special message engraved into the band. Although most people go with the standard ring, engraving is quickly becoming more popular because it allows for another level of personalization. Not only are you asking for their hand in marriage, you’re doing so with a ring that will always hold a special place in her heart because of the romantic message. Suddenly, the ring has even more sentiment attached (and they’re likely to shed a tear or two!).

Compared to what you’re paying for the ring itself, the engraving won’t cost too much at all. Depending on the complexity of the task, most engravers will add your special message for anything between $50 and $250.

What about the engraving itself? If you’re going to have the ring engraved, the short message needs to be something your partner will appreciate. Otherwise, they will forever resent the fact that their magical ring is etched with an annoying engraving. Here are some popular ideas:

  • The date of proposal, the first date, the day you met, or another important date
  • Your initials (for example, Josh and Katie would be ‘J&K’)
  • A shared joke, meaning, or personal comment (perhaps you have a saying like ‘always’ or ‘forever yours’)
  • The title of a song that has meaning to you both

In truth, it could be anything from the place you both met to a saying like ‘Past, Present, Future’. Elsewhere, others put their cute nicknames on the ring or even a promise. As long as it has meaning, we’re sure it will be appreciated.

Buying on a Budget

Before we let you get back to your ring searching, we want to finish with some advice for anybody on a budget. We’re sure your partner would agree that love always comes first; just because you don’t have huge sums of money, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to buy a ring and propose to the one you love. Ultimately, the intent and the meaning behind your gesture is the most important factor.

This being said, be careful of the wholesale prices and cheap deals that seem to circulate online. We’re all for saving money, even if you just want to put it towards the wedding instead, but we recommend expert help wherever possible. You can buy a more affordable ring, but you still need to make sure that it won’t get damaged or fall apart within a couple of years. With the right assistance, you’ll find an affordable ring that will still offer durability (and bring a huge smile to your partner’s face!).

When trying to save money, one of the best things to do is reduce carat size and aim for a better cut quality instead. You need to prioritize when on a budget and cut should always come first. Put it this way; it’s better to have a high-quality cut and reduced carat size than a higher carat size and a poorer cut (the difference between the two is noticeable!).

Top Tip: Sometimes, not everything goes right during production and this leads to rings with 0.97 or 1.02 carat. Since most people are looking for 1 carat and round numbers, the non-whole carat weight numbers are normally available for a discounted price. If this isn’t an important factor for you, we recommend looking for these non-round carat weight rings.

Summary

Thank you for reading our extensive guide on engagement rings, we hope it has put you one step closer to buying the piece of jewelry that will transform you into somebody’s fiancé. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with having a conversation with your partner to get the ring they desire!