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Engagement Ring Buying Guide

solitaire, sidestone, and halo engagement ring next to each other

Not sure how to buy an engagement ring? You're not alone, and you're in the right hands! Our diamond experts have put together this comprehensive engagement ring buying guide to help you get the moment right. 

In this buying guide, we'll cover: 

  • Setting a Budget​
  • Engagement Ring Styles and Settings​
  • ​How to Choose a High-Quality Diamond
  • How to Cho​ose a Ring Your Partner Will Love
  • Where to Buy an Engagement Ring

Let's get started!

Chapter 1: Setting a Budget

setting a budget

The first thing you need to ask yourself when you’re prepared to buy an engagement ring is not about the shape of the diamond or the setting of the ring – it’s about money. How much money do you want to spend on an engagement ring?  

The idea of setting a budget is such an essential first step in buying an engagement ring because if you go into the process without any concept of the cost of things, you’re going to be in for a bad time. You’ll start building out a perfect ring, find precisely the elements you want, and then when you get to checkout it may end up costing way more than you can afford, forcing you to go back and chip away at the dream ring you designed. No one wants to do that.  

This is why Chapter 1 of our Engagement Ring Buying Guide starts with setting a budget. Once you have that budget in mind, you’ll realize that you are still able to build a dream ring within your financial boundaries, and when you get to checkout, you’ll be over the moon with joy. That’s how the buying experience should be. 

The Myths of Engagement Ring Budgets 

Before we get into the best ways to go about setting a budget for your rings, let’s talk about some common myths and misconceptions people have about how much an engagement ring should cost. The most common is the three-month salary myth.  

Most people at some point in their lives have heard some variation of this myth. If you’re buying an engagement ring, expect to spend 3 months’ salary or 25% of your annual gross salary. While this rule might be suitable for some people, it is absolutely not a catch-all that should determine everybody’s budget.  

​Let’s put some context around that. If you make $50,000 a year, should you really spend $12,500 on an engagement ring? We are not financial advisors, but that might be quite a chunk of change for a 25-year-old who is paying $1,800 in monthly rent and has $40,000 in student loan debt still to their name. However, what about a 35-year-old making $100,000, with no debt, with considerable amounts of investments and wealth to their name – is $25,000 the right amount for them? Maybe.    

That’s why the three-month rule is a myth. Fiction. A lie. In fact, if this example shows us anything it’s that people getting married are often in very different places in their lives, so one all-encompassing rule to determine how to set your budget simply doesn’t make sense.  

Setting Your Priorities 

So, the three-month rule is a myth, and it’s good we cleared that up, but we still don’t have an answer. How do we set a budget? We start by deciding what our priorities are – in life and in an engagement ring. 

The first thing you should do when setting your priorities is to ask yourself, “What does my partner want, and what do they expect?” Who are you giving this ring to?  

Does the person you’re giving this ring to have a dream engagement ring? Do they expect a diamond that is at least one carat? Would they rather save money for the future together than spend more on a ring?  

Answering some of these questions will really let you understand what your partner’s priorities are, and then you can see if they match your priorities. If they do – great! If not? Maybe sit down and have a conversation about it. An engagement ring is a big purchase, and you don’t want to miss the mark because your priorities aren’t aligned. 

Remember – setting a budget is a very personal experience, and your priorities aren’t going to be the same as your best friend from middle school or your cousin from Boston. It’s perfectly fine for your budget to be twice as much or half as much as someone else's, as long as your budget aligns with your life priorities. 

Now, what are your priorities in a ring? Is it size? Shape? Setting? Some elements of an engagement ring will produce a bigger variation in cost than others.  

If the most important thing to you is getting a pear-shaped diamond, then you don’t necessarily need to worry about stretching your budget because there are expensive pear-shaped rings and cheap pear-shaped rings. If the most important part is carat weight, that’s a different story. If you know you don’t want to settle for anything under 1.5 carats, you need to go into the budget-setting process understanding that there’s a ceiling to what you will spend. For example, the current least expensive 1.5-carat earth diamond in Ritani’s inventory is an Asscher cut which costs just over $2,300.  

Assessing Your Financial Situation 

So, you’ve assessed what’s important to you – in life and in a ring – which means you are starting to get an idea of what you want, but before you go into any detail in your search for the perfect engagement ring, you need to finish setting your budget. This is the part of the buying guide where you must be honest with yourself and determine how much money you have.   

Not in your pocket or bank account right this second but look at your life and see where you are financially. This is where you start: How much money do you take home each month? Let’s write that number down and put a pin in it. 

How much money do you spend each month on fixed costs? These are things like rent or mortgage payments, utility bills, car payments, transportation, daycare, etc. – things you know you will pay each month and know (generally speaking) how much you will owe. 

Now, ask yourself how much debt you’re carrying. Credit card debt? Student loan debt? (Mortgage debt should go into your fixed cost calculation since you’re building equity with those payments). How much do you owe monthly for those bills, and how long will it take you to pay them off?  

Finally, take the number you’re taking home each month, then subtract your monthly expenses and monthly debt payments. After getting rid of all your fixed costs, how much money do you have left over each month? This is your maximum excess income.

Take Home Income – (Fixed Expenses + Debt Payments) = Maximum Excess Monthly Income 

Excess income doesn’t necessarily mean money you can do whatever you want with, which is why we’re calling it the Maximum Excess Monthly Income at this point. You’ll still need to buy groceries, and you may still want to go out to dinner or see a movie. These things will cost you, but you can budget these items. Spend a bit less on Friday night drinks so you can save more for your ring. When you’re considering your excess income for the purposes of budgeting, you need to ask yourself how much of that Maximum Excess Monthly Income you are willing to save on a monthly basis and not spend on something extra you might want – it won’t be all of it unless you’re in a situation where you don’t need to buy food. This number is your Excess Monthly Income. 

Now that you have an idea of the excess income you can put toward a significant expense, let’s go back to that bank account – do you have any money saved? Do you have money that you’ve put away specifically for this purpose? Great!  

So, How Do You Set Your Budget? 

Now that you’ve listed your priorities and sorted your finances, you are ready to determine your number and set your budget.  

credit card and computer
How much have you saved for a ring? That’s your baseline. You’ve already determined you’re willing to spend that much money, and you’re comfortable with that number. How much longer are you willing to wait to make the purchase? Take that number of months times your Excess Monthly Income, and that’s your cap. Now you have a budget range that will work for you, without the stress of buying something outside of your price range.   

Here’s an example: Say you have $4,000 already saved that you’re comfortable putting toward a ring. You want to propose in the next six months but want to have the ring in hand in three months’ time. You have $600 of Excess Monthly Income you would be able to put toward saving more during this time. That makes your budget $4,000 to ($4,000 + (3 x $600)), or $4,000 to $5,800.  

Can You Finance A Ring? 

Financing is not for everybody, but you can absolutely finance a ring with Ritani, which will allow you to split the cost of the ring over an extended period of time. This also takes the burden off of saving upfront if you’re ready to propose now and want your engagement ring ASAP.  

That being said, you must be careful with your financing to make sure you don’t build up more debt than you can handle. So how do you know how much you would be able to finance? It’s the same formula, except instead of adding in how long you’re willing to wait, you consider how long you’re willing to make payments on a monthly basis. These are payments that will become fixed costs in your life, so make sure you are comfortable with the amount you choose. 

Amount Saved + (Months to Finance * Excess Monthly Income) = Financing Budget 

Let’s say you have nothing saved but are able to put $800 per month in Excess Monthly Income toward the purchase of your engagement ring. With Ritani, you get interest-free financing if you pay in full within 12 months, so this is the maximum amount of time you’re willing to finance the cost. Your budget starts to come together like this: 

$0 + (12 * $800) = $9,600 

$9,600 becomes the maximum of your budget, and as long as you find a ring under that cost, you will be able to pay down the purchase in exactly as much time as you have allotted. LEARN MORE>>>


Buying an engagement ring can be a daunting process, which is why setting a budget is so important. Once you have a budget you are comfortable with based on what’s important to you and how much money you are willing to put toward a ring, a weight gets lifted off your shoulders, and the rest of the hunt becomes so much more fun. The money part is out of the way, and now it’s just about finding the perfect ring for the person you love.  LEARN MORE>>>

If you have questions about setting your budget or financing a ring, don’t hesitate to reach out to our top-notch customer service team. They can walk you through the process and ensure you have all of the information you need. 

Chapter 2: Styles, Settings, and Shapes

engagement ring styles

In Chapter 1 of our Engagement Ring Buying Guide, we took you through the money part of the process to make sure you know how to set a budget and stick to it. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff. 

When it comes to picking out an engagement ring for the person you love, there are two primary components you need to decide on: the center stone, and the setting. In Chapter 3 we will cover in great detail the 4 Cs of a diamond and how to make sure you’re picking the right stone for your ring, but Chapter 2 is all about the setting.

The ring portion of the engagement ring in and of itself has several subcategories which we will take you through one by one so that you understand each element of what you’re looking for and buying into. This includes the ring style, the metal, and of course the actual setting in which the diamond rests on the ring.

A quick note before we begin: the word “setting” can be a broad term or a specific term depending on the context. It’s common to refer to the whole ring portion of the engagement ring (everything besides the diamond) as the setting. Going forward in this article, for the sake of clarity, we will refer to the whole ring portion as the ring, and when we say setting, we’re talking about the little piece that holds the diamond. Hopefully, this helps.

Engagement Ring Styles

Our introduction to engagement ring styles comes with a disclaimer: an engagement ring can be whatever you want it to be. If you truly wanted to, you could twist the wrapper of a Snickers bar into a ring and ask your significant other to marry you. That might be your style and if it is, more power to you! Here, however, we are going to take you through six styles you’ll be able to find shopping online, in stores, or wherever engagement rings are sold.

Solitaire Engagement Rings

solitaire engagement ring

The solitaire engagement ring is simple and classic. It is made up of nothing but a metal – often gold or platinum – and a setting for the center stone. There are several reasons people might choose a solitaire style for their ring, but arguably its greatest asset is its simplicity.

A solitaire ring is not in any way distracting, which means that all eyes are focused on the diamond in the center. It is the perfect style to be both understated and make that bling pop. The metal can still be formed into a variety of designs which will make each solitaire ring unique, but the main concept of this ring is to keep the focus on that center stone.

Sidestone Engagement Rings

sidestone engagement ring

Sidestone engagement rings keep the classic feel of the solitaire ring but add some much smaller diamonds into the band of the ring on either side of the center stone. These extra stones make for extra sparkle and serve as the perfect complement to a gorgeous diamond.

One thing that makes sidestone rings special is that they can range from very simple to extravagant and over the top, whichever your style may entail. You can choose between a few diamonds coming off the edge or having several large diamonds wrapping nearly all the way around the ring. In the end, when picking your center stone, you want to make sure it is large enough to stand out from the side stones of the ring.

Halo Engagement Rings

halo engagement ring

The term halo engagement ring refers to a setting in which a center stone is placed into a ring of smaller stones, forming a halo. If you’re looking for maximum sparkle, the halo might be the perfect ring to fit your needs. The halo of diamonds forms an effect that makes the center stone look bigger and will catch more light than a solitaire setting, which is what creates the sparkling effect of your ring.

Many people assume that the halo style can only be paired with a round diamond, but that is not true. Halo rings can be designed to fit a variety of shapes, oftentimes making for a very unique ring. Halo engagement rings can also have a plain band; side stones set in the band are not required.

Three-Stone Engagement Rings

three-stone ring

If a sidestone ring is a ring with stones on the side and a halo ring is a ring with a halo around the center stone, what do you think a three-stone ring is? You guessed correctly – it’s a ring with three stones. 

Obvious naming conventions aside, the three-stone ring is one of the most glamorous engagement ring styles on the market. Your center stone will always have the most carat weight, but the two stones on either side will still be larger than what you will find on most sidestone or halo rings. They provide a perfect balance to your center stone as a sidestone ring would, but without needing stones to pour all the way down the ring. This style is a great option if you are looking for a ring that has balance, but also want your metal to shine. You won’t have to take away from the side of the ring to add the extra flair. 

Vintage Engagement Rings

vintage-inspired engagement ring

Ritani’s vintage engagement rings are the most unique of our collection, and often present as some variation of one of the four previous styles of ring. While not necessarily a defined motif, vintage rings often present themselves by combining elements from other rings, twisting and manipulating the metal of the ring, or drawing inspiration from a past era. Elements like open halos or floral designs lend themselves to our vintage collection.

If you’re looking for something unique in your ring, vintage-inspired rings are one of the best ways to go.

Custom Engagement Rings

ariana grande's two-stone engagement ring

If none of the styles we talk about here speak to you and you have something in mind that you think would be perfect, customize it. Like we said in the beginning – anything can be an engagement ring. 

In 2020, Ariana Grande received an engagement ring with an oval-cut diamond placed at an angle, sitting next to a pearl. Emily Ratajkowski also wears a customized ring that features two massive diamonds, a pear-cut, and a princess-cut, set next to each other.

If you want to design your own custom ring, our concierge team is ready to talk to you. LEARN MORE>>>

Which Metal Should I Choose?

No matter what style ring you end up going with, you’re going to have to choose a metal to make the ring with. If you remember the periodic table from eighth-grade science class, you know there are A LOT of metals you can pick from, from aluminum to zinc.

For the purposes of your engagement ring, we’re only going to talk about the precious metals that we know will provide the most comfort, style, and durability to last a lifetime.

White Gold

White gold engagement rings have a polished shine that can really enhance the look of a colorless diamond. It also pairs nicely with a wide range of skin tones which makes it a very popular choice. That being said, 14kt white gold is the least expensive metal that Ritani offers for a couple of reasons. First, white gold is a bit less durable than its light-colored counterpart, platinum. Over time, its silver luster will fade and it will need replating. 

Like all variations of gold, white gold typically is found in jewelry in 10 karats, 14 karats, 18 karats, and 24 karats. Unlike the carat of a diamond which refers to its weight, and represents its size, the karat of gold refers to its purity.

Gold purity in jewelry is segmented into 24 different parts. 24K gold means that all 24 out of 24 parts are gold, which makes it 100% pure gold. 18K gold means 18 out of 24 parts are gold, or it’s 75% pure. The remaining 25% is usually made up of silver, copper, nickel and zinc. 14K gold is 58.3% pure (14/24) and 10K gold is 41.6% pure (10/24).

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold typically looks best with warmer skin tones and can really complement a center stone that has a bit more color in it. Usually, stones with a lower color grade will also cost less, but with yellow gold, any color in the diamond could get lost in the shine of the metal. 

Yellow gold will never need replating. At Ritani, we only offer 18K yellow gold since 24K is usually too soft for an engagement ring, and 14K is less pure. 

Rose Gold

Like our yellow gold option, our rose gold engagement rings are only offered in 18K, which is made up of 75% gold and 25% copper, giving it that rosy color that is so unique. 

Rose gold rings tend to be more durable and often don’t need a replating in their lifetime. Rose gold is the perfect option for a unique, quality ring.


Platinum looks a lot like white gold, but there are many differences. First, platinum is about 30 times as rare as gold, making it much more valuable. Second, platinum is much more durable than white gold and will never need replating in its lifetime. Finally, platinum is hypoallergenic, so if you have sensitivities to some metals like nickel, you won’t run into any problems with our platinum rings. LEARN MORE>>>

How is the Diamond Set On The Ring?

The final part of the ring we’re going to talk about in this chapter is the setting; the piece where the diamond or center stone is secured to the ring. While customers often spend so much time trying to find the perfect diamond or try out many different styles, the setting is something that is often overlooked but can make or break the engagement ring.

There are two primary ways to set a diamond in a ring: prong settings and bezel settings. Within each category, there is a mixture of variations, leading to a seemingly endless number of setting options. We’ll go into detail below to make sure you pick out the perfect setting type for your ring.

Prong Settings

prong-set engagement ring

When a diamond is prong-set, that means that several tiny pieces of metal will rise from the base of the ring and hold the diamond securely in place. The number of prongs can vary, giving people different options for what they want; however, the most common prong set rings have four or six prongs. 

The prong setting is very popular for a number of reasons. First, it is the classic engagement ring look. When you image-search engagement rings, almost all the pictures you see will be prong set rings. Additionally, prong-set rings are great at highlighting the center stone, raising it high off the band, and making it stand out. By raising the stone with prongs, you allow more light to enter the ring from different directions and create more of a sparkle as it bounces around inside the diamond.

Bezel Settings

bezel set engagement ring

Unlike the prong setting, the bezel setting secures the diamond to the ring from all sides, not just on select points of the stone. This means that the diamond is typically more secure than in a prong-set ring.

We love the bezel setting because it is much more modern than the prong setting. The bezel setting caters to someone with a much more active lifestyle or who uses their hands quite a bit, since it is more securely set. It can be perfect for first responders or someone who works often with tools. 

Diamond Shapes

Diamond shapes are also sometimes called diamond cuts. The diamond cut can also refer to the cut quality of the diamond (we'll discuss this in more detail later). The diamond shape of your engagement ring is incredibly important; it sets the tone and personality of the ring. Does your partner prefer something classic and timeless, or bold and eye-catching? These are things you will have to consider when you choose the diamond shape for your engagement ring. Here are the most popular diamond shapes used in engagement rings.

Round-Cut Diamonds

round cut engagement ring

You can't go wrong with a round-cut diamond! Round-cut diamonds are the #1 best-selling diamond shape. They are the most sparkly cut while also being the most expensive. A benefit of round-cut diamonds is their versatility; they will look amazing in any setting, and they are timeless. If your partner favors the traditional and/or loves beauty in simplicity, a round-cut diamond is a great choice. 

Cushion-cut Diamonds

cushion-cut engagement ring

The cushion cut is another romantic and timeless diamond cut. Its silhouette is easily recognizable by its squared shape and soft, rounded corners. The cushion cut is derived from antique diamond cuts and provides gorgeous sparkle. If your partner loves classic styles with a twist, choose the cushion cut.

Princess-cut Diamonds

princess-cut diamond ring

The princess cut is sleek, square, and bursts with sparkle. If your partner loves all things chic and modern, choose a princess-cut diamond.  

Oval-cut Diamonds

oval engagement ring

The oval-cut diamond has surged in popularity in recent years. Similar to the round-cut but with an oblong shape, the oval cut beautifully blends both classic and unique aesthetics. The oval cut also provides a flattering effect on the hand by creating the illusion of a longer, slimmer finger. 



The setting part of the engagement ring never gets the love, but it is so important to get right because if it doesn’t match your style, even the perfect diamond can’t save the ring. Remember, when you’re searching for the right setting, you have so many options, but you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Break it down into segments – first think about the style, diamond shape, metal, and finally how you want to set the diamond.

When you finally know what you want your ring to look like, it’s time to find the diamond that will pull it all together. Chapter 3 will take you through the 4 Cs of diamonds and help you understand exactly what to look for in a stone to make the perfect engagement ring.

If you have any questions at all about engagement ring settings, ask our customer concierge team. They specialize in engagement rings and know exactly how to help you find the style that is perfect for you.

Chapter 3: How to Choose a High Quality Diamond

In this chapter, we will discuss the 4 Cs, which are crucial to know when shopping for a diamond. The diamond is the most important part of your engagement ring, and is typically the most expensive part of it, too. The 4 Cs are Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. 

This grading system is used to determine a diamond’s quality, beauty, and value. Understanding the 4 Cs can help you get the best deal on your diamond and will also help you get an idea of exactly what you are paying for. Since your diamond will be the focal point of your engagement ring, you’ll want to choose the perfect one. 

Let’s break down exactly what each of the 4 Cs means.


cutting a diamond

Cut is considered the most important of the 4 Cs. It can also sometimes refer to the diamond’s shape (for example, round-cut, oval-cut, etc.), but when it comes to the 4 Cs, it refers to the actual quality of the stone’s cut.  

The four grades of diamond cut are Ideal, Very Good, Good, and Poor. The GIA only assigns cut grades to round-cut diamonds, so our gemologists determine a cut grade for each of our fancy-shaped diamonds. (Fancy-shaped diamonds are any diamonds that are not round.) The best cut grade a fancy-shaped diamond at Ritani can have is Very Good.  

Here is what each cut grade means: 

Ideal Cut

ideal cut diamond

This is the cut grade we recommend for your engagement ring. An Ideal cut diamond will reflect practically all the light that enters it through the top and upper section, thus producing lots of sparkle. Ideal cut diamonds typically have excellent polish, meaning there are no visible polish lines, and excellent symmetry, meaning there are no symmetry flaws that are visible under 10x magnification. Both polish and symmetry grades (more on this in a minute) can vary for each cut grade – for example, an Ideal cut diamond won’t always be assigned an excellent symmetry grade, so it’s important to check your diamond grading report for further clarification.  

Very Good Cut

very good cut diamond

A Very Good cut diamond will do a great job of reflecting most of the light that enters the diamond, creating lots of sparkle. Very Good cut diamonds typically have great polish and symmetry grades, meaning few polish lines, if any, are visible under 10x magnification, and few symmetry flaws, if any, are visible under 10x magnification. 

Good Cut

good cut diamond

Diamonds with a Good cut reflect a sufficient amount of the light that enters the diamond and will create an adequate level of sparkle. Diamonds with a Good cut typically have great or satisfactory polish and symmetry grades, meaning few polish lines, if any, will be visible under 10x magnification. Some symmetrical errors may be visible under 10x magnification.   

Poor Cut

poor cut diamond

Poor cut diamonds will not sparkle very much. Unsatisfactory polish and symmetry. 

Ritani does not carry poor diamonds. 

You should always choose the best cut grade possible for your engagement ring. A diamond’s cut grade will dictate how much it will sparkle, and a dull diamond is not only less attractive but will also be very noticeable in an engagement ring. Since cut is so important for the appearance of your diamond, we don’t recommend purchasing a larger (higher carat) stone if that means sacrificing cut quality.  

A diamond's proportions and symmetry are factors that go into its cut grade. Symmetry refers to how well the diamond’s facets are aligned. When facets are not well aligned, this will reduce the stone’s sparkle. Your diamond will also receive a symmetry grade in its grading report. Diamonds can receive the following symmetry grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor. Ritani does not carry diamonds with a Poor symmetry grade.

Excellent  Symmetry                                                 

No flaws in symmetry will be visible under 10x magnification. These expertly aligned  facets   will offer great light return, creating a diamond with lots of brilliance and sparkle.

Very Good Symmetry     

Minor defects in symmetry will be visible under 10x magnification. These well-aligned facets will provide ample sparkle and brilliance.
Good Symmetry                       

Noticeable issues in symmetry are visible under 10x magnification. Diamonds with a Good symmetry grade will still provide sufficient sparkle.  

Fair Symmetry                        

Defects in symmetry will be visible under 10x magnification and may even be visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with fair symmetry will create an okay amount of sparkle.

Poor Symmetry

Noticeable issues with symmetry will be visible to the naked eye. Diamonds with poor symmetry will exhibit poor light return. Ritani does not offer diamonds with poor symmetry.

We recommend you choose a diamond with Excellent symmetry. 

Cut and symmetry grades are also extremely important for complex shapes such as the marquise-cut, princess-cut, heart-cut, and pear-cut. An asymmetrical diamond will not only be less attractive, but less sparkly. 

asymmetrical pear cut diamond

This pear-cut diamond has a Good cut, but you can see that it is not completely symmetrical.  

Polish is another factor that influences a diamond’s cut grade. Each diamond receives an individual polish grade along with a symmetry grade and cut grade. Polish refers to how smooth the stone’s finish is. A poor polish job can affect the diamond’s sparkle. Diamonds can receive the following polish grades: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. 

Excellent Polish                         
No visible polish lines or blemishes under 10x magnification.
Very Good Polish                                 
Minor polish details may be visible at 10x magnification but will not be visible to the naked eye. These minor polish lines or blemishes will have little to no effect on the stone’s sparkle.
Good Polish                                           
Some polish lines or blemishes will be visible at 10x magnification. Since light will not be able to easily enter the diamond, the diamond’s sparkle may be affected.  
Fair & Poor Polish
Polish lines and blemishes will be visible. Sparkle will be impacted. Ritani does not offer diamonds with fair or poor polish. 


diamond clarity scale

Clarity refers to a diamond’s natural inclusions or lack thereof. While not all inclusions are noticeable, they can sometimes affect a diamond’s beauty. Since engagement rings are examined more closely than other pieces of diamond jewelry, such as earrings or pendants, it's important to choose an eye clean stone. Eye clean diamonds are ones whose inclusions cannot be detected with the naked eye. Don't worry about choosing a Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond. Since these diamonds are very rare, they can be incredibly expensive. You can find an eye clean stone much lower on the clarity scale for far less money. 

A diamond with a clarity grade of VS2 or greater should be eye clean. Stones with a clarity grade of SI1 or SI2 are sometimes eye clean but not always. Sometimes, your engagement ring setting can help conceal your stone’s inclusions if the inclusions are on the outer border of the stone. If you are choosing a step-cut diamond for your engagement ring, such as an emerald-cut diamond or an Asscher-cut diamond, the clarity grade you choose becomes even more important. These stones have long, open facets and are cut with an emphasis on clarity rather than sparkle, so inclusions will be more noticeable. Try to avoid step-cut diamonds with an SI1 or SI2 clarity grade. 

Make sure to always view HD imagery of your diamond before making a purchase.  


Many first-time diamond shoppers think they need to go for colorless diamonds in the D through F range. However, you can save money by opting for a near-colorless diamond in the G through J range instead. Since colorless diamonds are rare, they are much more expensive than near-colorless diamonds. The good news is that near-colorless diamonds will still face up as white. We recommend a minimum color grade of H to ensure your diamond appears colorless.  

If you choose a rose gold or yellow gold setting, you can go as low as L on the color scale. The warmth of these precious metals will make any yellowness in your diamond less noticeable.  

If you are choosing an emerald-cut or Asscher-cut diamond, choose a minimum color grade of G or H to guarantee a colorless looking diamond. The large, open table of these diamonds will make the stone’s color more noticeable.  


round cut diamond carat sizes

Carat is the measure of how much a diamond weighs. It can also correlate with how large the diamond looks, although it’s not the only factor that determines size. Other factors that determine how large a diamond looks include its shape, weight distribution, and cut quality. Two diamonds with the same carat weight can appear to be different sizes. 

We recommend buying just shy of your intended carat weight to help you save money. For example, if you want a 1-carat diamond for your engagement ring, choose a 0.95-0.99 carat diamond instead. This can help you save hundreds of dollars.  

If you are looking for a stone that looks larger than it really is, choose a marquise-cut, oval-cut, or pear-cut diamond. These shapes have a large surface area, making them look bigger than other diamond shapes with the same carat weight. LEARN MORE>>>

The Most Popular Carat Weights


With lab-grown diamonds increasingly being used in engagement rings, the average carat weight of engagement rings has gone up, too. Here are some of the most common carat weights:

1 Carat Diamonds

A 1-carat diamond is equivalent to 0.2 grams. A 1-carat round-cut diamond typically measures 6.5 mm in diameter, but this varies depending on the stone's cut quality and shape. This size is perfect for everyday wear.

Learn How to Buy a 1 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

1.5 Carat Diamonds 

A 1.5-carat diamond is equivalent to 0.3 grams. A round 1.5 carat diamond will measure about 7.4 mm in diameter, but again, measurements in millimeters will vary depending on the stone's cut quality and shape. 

Learn How to Buy a 1.5 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

2 Carat Diamonds 

A 2-carat diamond is a standout choice and will weigh 0.4 grams. A 2-carat round-cut diamond will measure about 8 mm in diameter, but this will vary from shape to shape and can change depending on the stone's cut quality.

Learn How to Buy a 2 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

2.5 Carat Diamonds

A luxurious 2.5-carat diamond will weigh 0.5 grams. The measurements of a 2.5-carat round-cut diamond are about 8.9 mm in diameter, but again, this can vary.

Learn How to Buy a 2.5 Carat Diamond Engagement Ring

Congratulations! Now you are well on your way to buying the perfect diamond that will represent your never-ending love for your partner. Remember, if you are struggling to choose the right diamond, or simply want a second opinion, our non-commissioned virtual gemologists are always available to help you narrow down the right stoneSchedule an appointment today. 

The next chapter of our engagement ring buying guide will give tips on how to choose a ring your partner will love based on their style and preferences.  

Chapter 4: How to Choose a Ring Your Partner Will Love

woman with hand on her fiancé

If you’ve read through—or even just skimmed—Chapters 2 and 3 of our Engagement Ring Buying Guide, you are probably feeling like a bit of an expert when it comes to picking out an engagement ring. You know all about styles and settings and have the 4 Cs locked down. It may feel like information overload, but you have the knowledge you need to find the perfect ring. You know everything you need to know, right?

Wrong. You still need to know what your partner wants in an engagement ring. All of this knowledge is useless if you have no idea what their dream ring looks like or if they even have one. That’s why Chapter 4 is all about understanding your partner's wants and needs.

After all, you’re picking a piece of jewelry that they will wear for a lifetime. When you put that ring on her finger, it’s something she’s going to want to wear every single day—with every outfit, every accessory, and every pair of shoes. It needs to fit your partner’s style and be something they absolutely love for it to truly be the perfect ring.

Let’s break down a few different ways to find out what kind of engagement ring your partner hopes you will put on their finger.

Ask Them What They Want

Captain Obvious has entered the chat. 

How do you find out what someone wants? Ask them what they want. It’s that simple. So much of the proposal and engagement industry is built around surprise. It’s about finding the perfect moment to drop to one knee or designing a ring so perfect that when you open the box, it will take her breath away. This doesn’t have to be the way it is if you don't want it to be.

In fact, according to our friends at The Knot, who surveyed more than 14,000 recently married couples, about 33% of them shopped for engagement rings together. That’s one out of every three couples! Sure, it may not be the norm yet, but it certainly is trending in that direction.

The moral of this story is that your proposal and the ring don’t necessarily need to be a surprise. You are a couple, and you are in love; why not pick out the symbol of that love together?

If you don’t want to take it that far and go shopping together, you can still ask your partner about their preferences. What styles do they like? What metal do they want? Do they have a Pinterest board for inspiration? You can take this information along with your newfound knowledge of settings and diamonds to find the ring that will be perfect for the person you love.

If you are comfortable having this conversation with your partner and do not feel the need to make everything a surprise, you probably don’t even need to read the rest of this. Seriously. Just skip to Chapter 5 now. Asking your partner will tell you exactly what you need to know.

Phone a Friend

Some of us like the surprise element of the ring and want to keep that as part of our proposal. This is perfectly okay. There’s nothing like getting that “I can’t believe it” look on your fiancé's face right as you propose. 

This doesn’t mean you can just phone in this part of the engagement ring buying process. You still need to figure out what they are looking for in a ring to make sure you pick the right pieces. 

So, if you cannot ask your partner, why not try the next best thing: ask their friends!

When we get to the point in our relationship where we know we want to get married, we start having these conversations with our siblings and friends. “I hope he picks a halo ring.” “I love the way rose gold looks on my finger.” “I want an engagement ring just like the Tiffany Diamond. Or at least one that has a yellow diamond in it.”

Ask one of her trusted friends, or possibly a sister or brother, for their opinion on what your partner is looking for. Maybe they know exactly what to tell you already. If not, maybe they can coyly find a way to broach the subject and report back to you. Either way, bringing a third party into the fold can serve you very well when trying to keep the surprise element alive.

Use Pop Culture 

If you want to keep the secret and you don’t trust your partner's friends and family to help you, you might feel like you’re left in a rut. At this point, it will be difficult to get the information directly from the horse’s mouth, so you’ll need to improvise. 

Luckily, engagement rings are everywhere in pop culture. You can use this fact to have a conversation about pop culture that is really a conversation about engagement rings. It’s not quite as easy as just asking her what she likes, but the scene sets itself:

figuring out what ring she wants

Along similar lines, you can seek out shows where you know engagement rings will become a focal point, like The Bachelor or 12 Dates of Christmas. When it comes time to pick out the ring, get feedback from your partner about what she likes and doesn’t like.

It can take a while to get all of the information you are looking for with this method, and truthfully, you might not always get everything you need. In the end, you will have more insight into what your partner is looking for, and that will be a great place to start. Some knowledge is better than flying blind!

Social Media is Your Friend

Do you know what people do when they really like a certain style or design of something they hope to get one day? They leave a trail of breadcrumbs on social media. 

One more great way to figure out what your partner is looking for in an engagement ring is to check out their social media pages. I'm not saying you need to hack into their accounts or get overly creepy, but take a look at who they follow on Instagram. Are there any jewelry or diamond trend pages? Which posts did they like on those pages? That will tell you a lot about the kind of ring they are interested in.

It is especially common for someone to create a "ringspiration" board on Pinterest highlighting their dream engagement ring. Does your partner have one? Nothing can be more valuable than a board of engagement ring inspiration when you're trying to figure out what your partner is hoping to receive. Take a minute and see what their social feeds tells you about their ring preferences—you'll be surprised at what you learn!

RELATED: Finding the Right Diamond Shape

What About Her Ring Size?

Do you know your partner’s ring size offhand? Probably not. However, you cannot forget to figure this out before you order the ring. We’ve all heard stories about a beautiful proposal, the perfect ring, and then… it doesn’t fit on her finger. What a roller coaster of emotions this is for your fiancé! All of the excitement about getting engaged is followed by the disappointment of not being able to wear the ring.

The classic trick to discovering her ring size is to take a ring she wears regularly and figure out its size. You can request a free ring sizer from Ritani that will help you with this. Make sure you use a ring that she wears regularly though you don’t want to size her finger based on a ring she wore for her first communion and keeps in her jewelry box for sentimental reasons.

If worst comes to worst, Ritani offers a free resizing of your ring within the first 12 months after purchase, so you can always send it back to us and we'll take care of the rest.

Whether you decide to shop for an engagement ring together or look for ways to figure out what your partner wants, it is important to have an idea of their preference before buying a ring. Yes, love is love, and the second you open that box they will almost certainly love what you picked out for them, but that doesn’t mean you should try to find what their perfect is. After all, you love them more than anyone in the world; it’s worth the extra effort to pick something that fits their style just as well as it fits their heart.

Once you know what your partner wants and are armed with information on your budget, settings, and diamonds, you are ready to buy a ring. LEARN MORE>>>

Chapter 5: Where to Buy an Engagement Ring

Ritani ring box


In the last chapter, we discussed how to determine what kind of engagement ring your future spouse will love. Now that you know (or, at least, have an idea of) which diamond shape and setting they prefer, it’s time to set out and purchase the ring.  

It’s wise to comparison shop and check out what each jeweler has to offer. You deserve the best deal on your engagement ring! Luckily for you, there are more ways than ever to buy an engagement ring. Now, you can buy an engagement ring online, which wasn’t possible 30 years ago. Or you can choose the traditional route and get your engagement ring from a local mom-and-pop jeweler. Another option is getting your engagement ring from a chain jeweler, which you’ve likely seen advertised in dozens of commercials. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each of these.  

No matter which route you choose to purchase your ring, it’s important to do a lot of research on each jeweler to make sure it is reputable, especially if you are buying online. Check out reviews online and see what other shoppers think. Be sure to make sure your jeweler has a reasonable return and exchange policy as well as a warranty to protect your purchase. 

Mom & Pop Jewelers 

A huge advantage of shopping with local jewelers is that you get to see and touch products in person. This can help you narrow down exactly what you’re looking for while also giving you greater confidence in what you are buying. In-person assistance from salespeople can also be extremely helpful for some shoppers. It’s also reassuring to know that if there is ever a problem with your ring, you can easily bring it back to the jeweler for assistance.  

Pricing is often what steers shoppers away from mom-and-pop jewelers. Since brick-and-mortar stores require a lot of overhead, this will raise the price of your engagement ring. Engagement rings can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars more when purchased from a local jeweler as opposed to an online jeweler. Another drawback to shopping in-store is that a salesperson may hover over you or try to upsell their diamonds, which is uncomfortable for most shoppers.   

Chain Jewelers  

Think of your local mall. There is a high chance there’s a chain jewelry store inside of it. This is an advantage to chain jewelers: not only are they easily accessible, but they provide an unintimidating environment for a first-time engagement ring shopper. Another bonus to shopping at chain jewelry stores is that most of their engagement rings are preset, meaning the diamond has already been chosen for you and set in the ring, making the shopping process easier. It also allows you to take the ring home the same day if they have it in the right size. This is ideal for those who are in a rush to get their engagement ring.  

The downside to preset rings from chain jewelers is that the diamonds are typically low quality; for example, most chain jewelers will sell diamonds in the I1 and I2 clarity range. I1 and I2 diamonds are of such low quality that they are not carried by Ritani. This clarity range can make the diamond more prone to chipping and breakage. It also means that your diamond will have visible inclusions.   

Diamonds from chain jewelers are also typically certified in-house rather than through a reputable agency, such as the GIA or AGS. This is problematic because their grading standards can be biased as well as more lenient.  

Preset rings are also mass-produced, meaning they are less unique and their quality is questionable.    

Another disadvantage of chain jewelry stores is their rigid warranties. Some chain jewelers require you to bring your ring in every six months for inspection in order to keep your warranty. Going to the jewelry store every six months is a bit excessive.  

Online Jewelers  

Buying your engagement ring online offers many advantages. The biggest benefit to shopping online for your engagement ring is that diamond and setting prices are much lower than what you would find in a brick-and-mortar store. This is because online jewelers have much lower overhead than traditional jewelry stores, allowing them to offer better deals. By shopping online, you typically get more bang for your buck and a larger, higher-quality diamond than you would have been able to get from a brick-and-mortar jeweler. Shopping online can also give you access to even more diamonds and settings since the inventory is often more extensive. 

Comparison shopping also becomes easier when you shop online for a diamond engagement ring. Rather than spending hours driving from store to store, you can easily compare the cost of diamonds from multiple online stores right in front of you.  

Another bonus to online shopping is that you can shop at your own pace without a salesperson hovering over your shoulder or trying to upsell their products.  

Of course, there are still some downsides to shopping online. The main inconvenience of online shopping is that you can’t see your purchase until it is shipped to your door. That’s why it is so important to make sure that wherever you are buying your ring has a reasonable return and exchange policy. You should also make sure to request HD images of your potential diamond before purchasing it. 

Luckily, at Ritani, we’ve found a unique way to reduce the anxiety of online engagement ring shopping through our Free In-Store Preview program. Free In-Store Preview allows you to create a diamond engagement ring online and preview it for free at a local partner jeweler or WeWork. If you love it, you can take it home with you that day. If you’re not feeling it, you can leave it at no cost to you.   

While online diamond inventories are vast, they also have some disadvantages. Since many online jewelers sell diamonds from the same third-party vendors, at times someone will buy a diamond only to find that it has already been sold to someone else and that they need to choose a new diamond for their engagement ring. This is because these third-party vendors don’t update their inventories frequently enough. Even though this doesn’t happen too often, we will help you find a new diamond if your original one has already been saved.  

Another disadvantage to getting your engagement ring online is that if you need your ring repaired or resized, you will have to send it back to the online jeweler through the mail. This makes some people nervous. Of course, you can just take it to a local jeweler, but this will likely void your warranty. At Ritani, if you have to mail us your ring for any reason, we will give you a shipping slip with insurance.    


By now, you probably have an idea of where you would like to get your engagement ring. No matter which method you choose to get your engagement ring, make sure to shop around and browse all your options. 

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