Real Life Advice on How to Buy an Engagement Ring

Real engagement advice from a real couple
Katrin and Andrew Stern on their wedding day

You know she is The One — congratulations! Now what?

For soon-to-be fiancés, the prospect of finding the perfect engagement ring can seem overwhelming. Relax, because our real-life Ritani couples are here to help! These three couples are sharing their tips, tricks and everything they wish they knew before starting the process.

What factors are the most important when shopping for an engagement ring?

For Ritani customer Ben Dillon, cost was the first big question he had to answer. At first only remembering the oft-quoted standard of spending 3 months’ paycheck on an engagement ring, “cost was a HUGE immediate factor — almost intimidatingly huge,” he said. He wanted to make sure he was buying something she’d love and that “people would look at in awe,” without making an unwise financial decision.

He took some time to become familiar with the 4 Cs, and also figured out his wife-to-be’s desired diamond shape. “After determining how much I could comfortably spend from what I had saved, carat and clarity were paramount for me,” he concluded.

For Ritani couple Katrin and Andrew Stern, who decided to pick out their engagement ring together, it was important to find a company that could create highly customized rings. After initially struggling with companies that “had very much their own idea of what the ring should look like,” they found Ritani. The first thing Andrew noticed was how easy it was to search for diamonds on the site. Then, Katrin wrote a description and sketched her ideal ring design, and the customer service team promptly delivered a 3-D rendering. From there, Katrin and Andrew met with the Ritani design team to select the perfect stones, fine-tune the design and setting before receiving the final product.

Ritani custom engagement ring rendering
Rendering of Katrin and Andrew Stern’s custom designed engagement ring

How did you determine her style?

For couples who are shopping together, like Katrin and Andrew, there is no need for guess work when it comes to finding the right ring style. However, for men who want to keep their proposal a secret until the perfect moment, a little more research is required. Ben Dillon wanted his proposal to be a complete surprise to all their loved ones, so he had to be very creative in his search to understand his soon-to-be fiancée’s taste. Ben paid extra close attention and would snap pictures of ring styles she was browsing on her laptop. He also would strategically walk past jewelry stores he knew she would want to go in and explore. While pretending to “throw a fit” about the situation and be innocuously texting, he was secretly taking down all of her comments to refer back to. All of this stealth planning and thoughtful attention to her paid off. “It helped me to feel confident in the research I did knowing that it basically came straight from her mouth,” Ben said.

What resources did you find helpful in educating yourself about this process?
There is an overwhelming amount of information about diamonds, ring styles and proposal ideas, but not all sources are created equal.

To find the perfect diamond, Ritani customer Diego Garcia de Alba’s search began like many prospective engagement ring shoppers: with the internet. “For me, it was a very instructive process. At first, I looked for information online, including Ritani’s webpage, which has a short but good explanation of the 4 Cs. Then I went to a jeweler’s where I got a better sense of what size I was looking for,” Garcia de Alba said.

The internet was also Katrin and Andrew’s resource of choice.

“Internet, Internet, Internet,” was Ben Dillon’s emphatic agreement. He gathered the most important knowledge by “learning all about the 4 Cs, and just visiting different stores where I could see the rings and their varying qualities in person to compare and contrast.”

What’s the one thing you wish you knew before you started shopping for a ring?

Diego Garcia de Alba wished he had been more familiar with diamond clarity. “I did not know how visible a flaw would be by just looking at a diamond’s characteristics. Luckily, I stumbled across Ritani and the customer service was great, through which I managed to buy the perfect diamond. My fiancée could not like the ring more!!!”

Katrin and Andrew suggested finding the right retail partner as early as possible. “I just wish we’d found Ritani sooner! When we needed the wedding rings made it was a no-brainer that we would return to you guys,” they said.

Ben Dillon wished, along the rollercoaster of emotion that comes with buying a ring, that he had known: “there is no perfect formula to find the perfect ring that fits within a perfect budget, but that the true perfection and happiness of the moment would come from the statement I’d be making and the question I’d be asking to the girl I finally found.”

There you have it! Now that our Ritani customers have shared their helpful hints, you can now take a deep breath and feel confident starting your search for the perfect engagement ring!