Perfect Engagement Ring: Find and Choose an Engagement Ring Style

Well, first of all, congratulations. You are about to make some life-altering decisions. Nervous yet? Me too. You have decided that asking your person to be with you forever (or until one of you murders the other one for snoring too loudly) is in your future.

Now that you’ve made the decision that you want to ask, the task of finding the perfect engagement ring she cannot say no to is next.

So how will you find the perfect engagement ring?

  1. You have to put the effort in.
  2. You have to remember if she has ever mentioned she liked one ring over another.
  3. You have to know her personality and her style.
  4. You have to remember if she has commented on a friend’s ring. And whether she told you after that she really thought the ring was hideous.
  5. If you and your partner are on that level, ask her opinion straight out.

You also have to know what your budget is before you even go shopping. You need to make sure you have found out her ring size and what metal band she would prefer.

So yes, there is a lot of prep work.

You can’t waltz into a jewelry store and come out with a ring. Well, you could, but not with one she will love.

In those seconds between when you ask and her answer, she is deciding whether that’s the ring she wants to wear forever. Make sure it is.

1. Find Out What Your Partner Wants (Or Ask for Help)

This is a good place to start. If you have no idea what shape of diamond, or band style, or carat size your partner would like, then you need to hire the help of her friends. Really once the thought of wanting to ask her has crossed your mind, you need to pay attention.

It’s that simple.

You can casually comment on a ring of one of her friends. You can ask if she has a friend whose ring she thinks is really pretty or really ugly. It’s good to know what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

I would prefer my partner to straight-up ask which style I liked. I would also be very direct with which styles to stay away from.

2. What Kind of Ring Should You Get?

You have all of the planning going on with how you are going to ask. That’s all going well. But you are stuck with what kind of ring to get.

Do you design your own?

Buy a predesigned one from the store?

Go into a store and deal with a dealer? Go online?

These are all particularly good questions. Which ones made you cringe? Then don’t do that.

If the thought of being able to pick out exactly how you want every detail of the ring to be sounds fun, then do that.

I also want to really quickly stress that you should find out what she doesn’t like as well.

This is important. Write this down. Know what she does not like. Repeat that.

There would be nothing worse than finding out her top choice, but then you wanted to go rogue and got her a different shape of diamond, and it turned out to be the one she hates the most.

You need both poles, best and worst. Please. If you remember nothing else, remember that.


The Diamond – How to Pick It

What Shape Do They Like?

Okay, so the first step in picking out your ring is to know what diamond shape your partner wants.

I’m not going to list pros and cons of every shape, but know the most popular ones.

There are more, but these seem to be the most common. Everyone thinks they will only like this shape or that shape. Then they try a different shape on and fall in love. It’s fine.

If your partner has mentioned a shape she would prefer, go with that. If she hasn’t, and you can’t play detective with a friend or family member, then go with a classic round or princess cut. Ovals are pretty safe too.

Choosing a Cut and Clarity

On to cut and clarity. The cut kind of determines how expensive this diamond is going to get. You want to pay attention to that.

It also is what makes the diamond sparkle more or less than the next.

The clarity is something you can be a little more lax on.

Your partner won’t be holding the ring under a microscope looking for imperfections (if so, run away) so this one isn’t super important.

As long as you stick in the middle range, you’ll be fine with both. Cut is more important than clarity. That’s really all you need to remember if you forget where on the range you should go. I recommend choosing an Ideal Cut and a Clarity higher than SI1.

How to Pick Carat Size

The size of your diamond can also really help you pick what kind of design you want to go with. From the shape, you can decide on the carat size. Just because 1 to 2 carats is normal, doesn’t mean you can’t go smaller or larger. It’s your budget.

Smaller than 1 carat:
Not that the size matters, it’s the commitment behind it, but a smaller size diamond looks bigger in a round cut diamond.

Oval shapes also will make the diamond look bigger.

1 to 2 carats
Around 1 carat is the average size people seem to go for.

Diamonds between 1 to 2 carats in size tend to look better and bigger with a halo setting or with smaller side stones.

3 or larger

When you start to look at bigger diamonds, you need to watch for cut and clarity a little more. But once you get a diamond this large in size, pretty much any setting is going to look beautiful. Again, the size of the ring shouldn’t matter, but sometimes they are just so pretty.


Now you can select Style of Band

As far as the band, if you don’t know what style your partner would want, and you don’t want to ask her, then you need to know the basics.

The band is important, but not set in stone. At least the band can be changed pretty easily, out so don’t really freak out about this decision.

There are so many band options, but let’s look at a few of the popular ones.


A solitaire diamond is the most traditional and safest bet. Whether you go round diamond or princess cut, a solitaire will bring all of the attention to the diamond.

This is best if you are planning on getting at least a 1-carat diamond.

The bigger the carat, the less frills you need around it really.


A vintage style is also simple, but elegant. If you aren’t sure if your partner would want a bunch of stones on the sides of their diamond, but you don’t want a solid, regular band, then a vintage style can be really beautiful.

Side stones

If your partner likes rings with a lot of bling, then you should go with something that has side stones.

There’s also a common three stone set to get some extra diamonds on the ring.

Remember, one style isn’t better than the other, only to your partner. If you don’t know what style to go for, you should go with a classic solitaire. You can always, always go back and get a different band later.

Classic plain bands are the most cost-effective. So your partner can take the ring to pick out a different band at another time.


Next you choose the Ring Metal

The kind of band you pick out can really make your diamond pop. There are basic metals to choose from.

White Gold

White gold is a standard go-to for bands. This metal is pretty cost-effective. You can get it in 14k or 18k weight. This color is best for people with cooler skin tones.

Yellow Gold

Obviously one of the oldest options, yellow gold is another good option. It is also pretty cost-effective, right in line with white gold.

It also comes in 14k or 18k weight options. People with warmer skin tones would like this metal better.

Rose Gold

This metal has started becoming more popular in the last few years. It’s a new, fun option if you are wanting something more trendy.

It works best on warmer skin tones. I really think rose gold is adorable. It’s a cute way to bring some personality to your ring, especially if you went with a basic solitaire.


Platinum is popular for people that are a bit more hands-on as this metal is more durable than gold. It also is the most expensive, so keep that in mind.

This white metal is better for cooler skin tones.

Pick whichever metal your partner wants first, but if you don’t know, then go with one that would suit her skin tone to be safe.


3. Measure Her Finger, Check It Twice

Okay so this might be a tricky one, but you can do it. It is so important to know her ring size.

It would be so embarrassing to propose, she says yes, and then you can’t even get the ring on her finger.

Pictures ruined.

Insta opportunity missed.

Everyone’s crying.

There are plenty of tricks to find her ring size.

  • You can enlist her friends to have her try on a ring on the opposite hand for fun and measure that way.
  • You could do the old measure with a string or paper while she is asleep trick.

The important thing is that you try. But please, don’t stress out. Rings can be altered. You can have the ring resized.

I would rather my ring be too big than too small and be able to get it sized down. Most places will resize your ring for free with your purchase.

Most women have a ring finger size between 5 and 7. So a 6 would be a safe bet if you are unsure.


4. Go Buy that Perfect Engagement Ring!


Okay, so I loaded you with enough information about the ring itself. But where are you going to buy it? Of course, you can go to your brick and mortar store. There are plenty of big box guys you can see.

A better option would be to go to a local jewelry store. They care more about your purchase.

They will make sure you are happy with your choice and will have the time to go over everything with you. I recently with one of my friends to pick out my other friend’s ring and we went to a local mom and pop jewelry store. It was so much more intimate and cozy. We didn’t feel pressured. We were able to take our time. It was really nice.


I won’t lie, if I had to get a ring I would do it all online. I am a panic buyer so I would do horribly in a store setting and then have major buyer’s remorse. Here are some online shops to check out.

You can take your time, you can look through endless options, you can do whatever you want.

You can pick every detail out yourself.

Then you also have the bragging rights to tell your partner you did it all yourself.

That might score some brownie points.

Online sites do free exchanges or returns, free and secure shipping, and offer the same warranties as any of the stores. So really, I can’t find any negatives about buying a ring online.

Have Fun, Don’t Stress

There you have it! You are fully equipped with the knowledge you need to go and get your partner the perfect engagement ring they could not possibly say no to.

Are you at all curious to know what kind of ring I’d like? No? Well, I’m telling you anyway.

Now, I used to only think princess cut was it. But after looking at all of these rings I would totally do round or oval.

As for the band, a vintage rose gold would be beautiful. I wouldn’t say no to some other choices, but that would be my top pick.

If not rose gold, for sure white gold.

Go, be a detective, talk to her friends, talk to her mom if they are close, utilize the tools you have, and find out the basics of styles she likes (and does not like!) and get her the ring.

I wish you all of the luck and all of the “yes” energy I can send!

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like