12-Step Guide To Buying An Engagement Ring


Congratulations! Buying an engagement ring is a very exciting time in your life and the process should be fun and memorable.

Because we have been in the gemstone business for close to a decade, we know that the virtually endless variety of styles, stones, shapes, metals, and ring settings can be overwhelming, even if you already have a clear idea of what you are looking for. So our goal is to simplify and explain the engagement ring buying process, so you can focus on what matters most—the celebration of your love!

This 12-Step Guide walks you through everything you need to know to purchase an engagement ring with confidence. If at any time you have additional questions or special requests, we are always here to help and invite you to Contact Us.

Step One: Explore Style Options

Most jewelers will advise you to consider your budget first, but we think it’s important that you begin by exploring ring styles and gathering ideas and inspiration from photographs and design sketches. The right jeweler will work within your budget to create the perfect ring for you, so we don’t believe in limiting your vision.

If you are shopping for an engagement ring with your special someone, discuss your preferences and priorities, likes and dislikes, and browse style options together.

If you are surprising your special someone with an engagement ring, consider their sense of style, their other jewellery preferences, and what you think they would most want in an engagement ring, to assist you in your style search. If talking to family members you trust, or close friends who may have an idea of the type of engagement ring your special someone desires is an option for you, that can offer great insight as well.

When your proposal day arrives, we have no doubt that your special someone will be more than delighted with your choice, so let this be an exciting journey.

Step Two: Determine Your Price Range

Once you have a ring style in mind, the next step is to determine your price range.

You may have heard that there is a formula to determine the right amount to spend on an
engagement ring. While there are many articles out there that suggest spending approximately two months of your income on an engagement ring is the “correct” sum, we believe that just like your love story, budget is a very personal thing.

Because an engagement ring is a symbol of your commitment, most people feel it is worth saving up to be able to purchase the perfect ring. You can also take comfort in knowing that an engagement ring is actually an investment—not only in your love—the ring itself will have value for life, and can be passed down to future generations.

If you already have a specific budget in mind, that’s great, but if not, take time to give it some thought. Some people do have a clear budget starting out, while others gain a better idea of what they feel comfortable spending after they have explored their options.

No matter what price range you decide on, we believe it’s important to work with a jeweler who will honour that and not pressure you into purchasing a ring that exceeds your comfort level. Beautiful rings can be made to fit your budget. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you would like personal assistance with this step, we will happily work with you to
custom-make your ideal engagement ring within the parameters of your budget, and guide you through a number of personalization options that best fit your price range.

Step Three: Choose Your Gemstone

The center stone of an engagement ring is typically the largest piece of the investment and the most noticeable part of the ring, so balancing price range with aesthetic beauty is an important consideration when selecting the gemstone.

Diamonds are the most popular and most traditional choice for center stones, but there are many other gemstone options that are as beautiful, and often-times less costly. The blue sapphire is the second most popular choice for engagement rings and many celebrities and royalty, such as Kate Middleton, proudly wear a sapphire engagement ring.

If classic and traditional is what you and your loved one prefer, then a diamond or sapphire center stone is more often than not the direction to take. Other striking options are rubies and emeralds, which also exude regal elegance.

Once you have chosen the type of gemstone, the second decision in this step is to select the shape.

Most gemstones are available in a variety of shapes, with the most popular shapes being round for diamonds and oval for other gemstone types. Other sought-after shapes are the princess cut, which is square, and the cushion cut, which is square with round edges. If you decide on something a little different, such as a pear cut, emerald cut, or radiant cut, you could also enjoy a cost savings.

Our best advice is to explore your options  and determine your gemstone and shape preference first, before deciding on the more detailed specifics of the stone—the colour, cut, carat, and clarity—also known as “The 4 C’s.”

Step Four: Select The Colour

The available colours will vary based on the type of gemstone you select. Many gemstones are also available in a number of subtly different colour tones.

Blue sapphires , for example, come in various shades of blue, such as traditional blue, vivid blue, cornflower blue, and royal blue. Rubies are available in traditional red, pinkish-red, vivid red, pigeon blood red, and so on, so your options extend beyond selecting merely the gemstone type itself.

Step Five: Select The Cut

Cut is simply the way the gemstone has been proportioned.

While it sounds like an irrelevant detail, even the slightest difference in a gemstone cut can affect the way it radiates light. This is because when a diamond, for example, is well-cut, it’s ability to refract and reflect light is maximized. There are very precise proportions at play when expert gemstone cutters, like ours, angle stones. The cut is directly related to the gemstone’s brilliance and is what creates the sparkle.

Step Six: Select The Carat

Carat indicates the size of the gemstone. It is the unit of measurement used to describe the
weight of gemstones.

The carat you select is typically guided by your price range. There are, however, options to maximize the size appearance of the center stone in an engagement ring. The first is with an exceptional cut and the second is by adding adornments around the stone, such as a halo.

Step Seven: Select The Clarity

Clarity refers to the level of inclusions within the gemstone and is typically a topic of greatest conversation when purchasing a diamond engagement ring.

Because of the brilliance of diamonds, it can be difficult to spot inclusions (or blemishes) with the naked eye. Under microscope, however, even the slightest structural imperfection becomes noticeable.

Inclusions affect the clarity of the diamond and, depending on the number, size, location, and colour of the inclusions, also impact the price of the stone.

Clarity, just like colour, cut, and carat, is a personal preference and depends on your priorities, your price range, and your overall vision for the engagement ring.

Always choose a reputable jeweller when purchasing gemstones to ensure that you receive the best value for your money and that the stones are 100% natural, and ethically sourced.

Step Eight: Choose The Perfect Setting

Once you have selected your gemstone and its shape, colour, cut, carat, and clarity, the next step in the engagement ring buying process is to select the perfect setting.

Ring setting options are plentiful and range from classic, simple bands, to decorative halos, to more intricate designs with ornamental stones, diamond-crusted galleries, and intertwined precious metals. The choice is yours!

For inspiration, peruse our image gallery, browse wedding magazines, and discuss your vision with an expert.

We are always here to help. Virtually any setting can be created and custom-made to bring your unique vision to life, so let this step be a special and personal one.

Step Nine: Decide On The Precious Metal

The final step in the design process is selecting the right precious metal for your engagement ring.

This can sometimes be one of the easier choices, as you or your special someone may only wear silver or gold jewellery, and then it might be an easy choice between white gold or yellow gold. Other times it’s not always that simple and, even if you already have a distinct colour preference in mind, there are lesser-known precious metals to consider, such as platinum, and decisions to make about the carat of the metal itself.

The most popular precious metal chosen for engagement rings is white gold. White gold is typically made available in 14 carats and 18 carats for engagement rings. Yellow gold is the next most selected option, and rose gold, which has a slightly pink hue, is growing in popularity. Platinum is also an option but, due to its higher price point, is a less common choice.

Step Ten: Select The Ring Size

In a perfect world the engagement ring you order will fit perfectly and, because we know how important this is, we’re here to help you determine the right size.

To get as close as possible to the perfect fit, it’s best to size the wedding ring finger. For help with this, please refer to our printable ring sizer chart.

The good news is that ring size is always adjustable so, while we know you want it to be perfect from the moment you place it on your special someone’s wedding ring finger, there is an easy fix if it does come to needing a size adjustment.

If you are unable to size the wedding ring finger, the next best option is to size another ring your special someone wears on that finger, or find a creative (and unsuspecting) way to ask your special someone. Sometimes asking a friend or family member to assist you in making the inquiry is a creative way to approach the subject without giving any clues.

Step Eleven: Consider Engraving

Always optional, but worth consideration, is engraving. Adding personal engraving to an
engagement ring can add that extra special touch.

Since the band of an engagement ring has very limited space, if you do choose to have your engagement ring engraved, pay careful attention to the number of characters in your message.

Engagement rings typically have engraving character limits, so your message has to be very concise to fit.

Step Twelve: Insure Your Investment

In Step Two we shared that engagement rings are not merely a symbol of, and an investment in, your love story—they are also a monetary investment that can be passed down for generations.

For this reason we highly recommend you purchase insurance to safeguard the value of your investment, and we are always happy to provide recommendations should you like assistance with this important final step.


We know this 12-Step Guide to buying an engagement ring is long and involved, but there is a lot to consider when purchasing a ring for an occasion this meaningful. We hope we have helped to simplify the process for you and provided you with peace of mind while doing so.

In the end, buying an engagement ring is meant to be a special and memorable experience, above all else.
At Gemdaia, we make it easy for you to select the perfect engagement ring for your special someone, while staying within your preferred price range.

Our custom-made engagement ring option enables you to select every detail and create a one-of-a-kind engagement ring that symbolizes your love.

Ready to explore your options and start designing the ideal engagement ring for your special someone?

Start the Bespoke Jewelry Creation Form.