It's important to do a little sleuthing before you make the big purchase.

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ericka meechaeyl wedding engagement ring in box
Credit: Liz Fogarty

You know two important things: who you want to marry and that you're ready to get engaged. But do you know what type of engagement ring your beloved is hoping for? While the movies and diamond commercials might make the idea of purchasing an engagement ring seem as easy as walking into a jewelry store, smiling at the person behind the counter and then—poof!—the perfect ring at the perfect price magically appears in front of you, in reality it's much more complicated. "Engagement ring styles are so individualized and unique and can vary so so much from each person that when you want to pop the question, you really need to have a starting point and direction for where you want to go," says Josh Levkoff, of Josh Levkoff Jewelry. "When working a custom jeweler, the sky's the limit—literally anything you dream up, we can create—so we need some sort of direction."

But what if you don't know what your soon-to-be fiancé likes? Classic or modern? One stone of three? Understated or elegant? And what about the 4Cs—cut, clarity, carat and color? Unless you're educated on what those mean and which ones to prioritize above the rest, you might feel a little lost when shopping for a diamond ring. Rest assured, we're here to help. Read on to learn how to navigate finding the right engagement ring if you're not sure of your partner's preference off the bat.

Consider her lifestyle.

If she works in a field that involves manual labor or is required to use her hands a great deal, she might not want a big diamond on a prong setting. You'll also want to think of her favorite activities. Does she love to take kickboxing classes or is she more of a yoga fanatic? If it's the former, she might not want something bulky.

Take a peek inside her jewelry box.

Take cues from her day-to-day style to understand what she might want out of an engagement ring. "Are her necklaces and earrings chunky and large? Are many of them in yellow gold? If so she may prefer that color metal," says Slisha Kankariya, founder of Four Mine, an online jewelry retailer specializing in engagement rings. "Conversely, if she likes sleek and modern jewelry, she may want the same in an engagement ring."

Reach out to someone close to her.

Be it a friend, her sister or her mother, consider asking one of your partner's closest companions if she's ever shared a photo or told them in detail about the kind of engagement ring she likes. Levkoff suggests even going so far as bringing that person with you to meet and design the ring. "This will help ensure the details are just as described by your partner," he says.

Do your own research.

Your partner might not know all that much about diamonds or engagement rings aside from what she "likes" on Pinterest. But since you're the one purchasing the right, it's important that you do. "Practically any stone will look impressive under the bright spotlights of a jewelry store, but a rare few have the unique combination of precise cut, shape, and angles to hold their brilliance in more natural lighting situations," says Brian Gavin, fifth-generation jeweler and owner of Brian Gavin Diamonds.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
July 31, 2021
The fact that "Ask them" isn't even a suggestion kind of says a lot...
Martha Stewart Member
July 31, 2021
The fact that "Ask them" isn't even a suggestion kind of says a lot...