INTA Gems & Diamonds
631 S. Hill St. #55-59
Los Angeles, CA 90014
TEL: 213 689-9650
Mon - Sat 10:30 am - 5 pm
ENGAGEMENT RING BUYING TIPS
Buying an engagement ring is a big deal. They symbolize commitment and love. There are many aspects that go into the purchase-the design, budget, materials, etc. While it can be complicated, we’re here to help make it as easy as possible for you. With a little bit of understanding behind the buying process and the history of engagement rings, we hope it provides you with enough clarity to make this less challenging.
Engagement rings have been around for hundreds of years. The first documented diamond engagement ring was in 1477, given by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy. Their origin, though, dates back to the Egyptians, who wore metal wire around their left ring finger (which was believed to be connected to a vein that went to the heart). The Ancient Romans had a custom where wives wore rings attached to small keys to indicate their husbands’ ownership. It wasn’t until 1886, though, where a diamond was lifted above the band to maximize its brilliance in Tiffany & Co.’s Tiffany Setting. This solitaire design has since become the most classic engagement ring design. Also, this was around the time diamonds began to be mined and be used in jewelry.
Yet, rings have not always been what’s given to mark an engagement. One of the oldest examples was a woman’s dowery; instead of a man giving a woman something, it’s flipped and the woman needed to provide the man with an impressive dowery. Other pieces of jewelry has been used, as well. For example, author F. Scott Fitzgerald gave his soon-to-be-wife, Zelda, a bracelet in the 1920s. Jewelry with precious stones had been a commonly given for a proposal since the 15th century. That time also From the Great Depression through WWII, engagement rings were also sometimes used as the wedding band due to lack of resources. Then, in 1947 in an attempt to revitalize the diamond industry, de Beers debuted their infamous slogan “A Diamond is Forever.” It should be noted, though, that sapphires and diamonds historically were both popular (often sapphires being more popular, dating back to Cleopatra). After 1947, diamonds became Exerting effort into finding a specific engagement ring has since become the standard.
Traditionally, saving up three months salary is your best way to create a budget. However, it’s entirely up to you. We simply highly recommend deciding on one before you begin your search for a ring.
Classically, a band with a singular, two, three, or five stones has been around as long as stones have been set in rings. There are many different elements that set each ring apart, including the basket of metal that holds a stone above the band, any etching or design on the band, different colored stones, etc. Want to focus on the symbolism? Engraving a message, poetry, or initials inside the band is a way sweet sentiments have been shared in a ring since the Middle Ages. Another sweet trend is the acrostic design, where you spell out something with stones. Each stone represents a letter, such as D for diamond, R for ruby, and Y for yellow sapphire. So, babe would have four stones: blue sapphire (B), alexandrite (A), blue sapphire (B), emerald (D). Also, the number of stones can represent different meanings. For instance, two stones, also known as a Toi et Moi ring, represents you and your betrothed’s love and friendship. Three stones represents your relationship’s past, present, and future. No matter what, the ring you choose will stand for your love for your fiancé.
An important part of the design of the ring is how the stones are set. There are two ways, the first in prongs and the second in a bezel. Prongs are what are used in the Tiffany Setting, and look like small claws that hold onto the edges of the stones. They usually are used when stones are lifted, and allow for more light to shine through. A bezel setting wraps the stone in metal, like a thin border around it. Generally, bezel settings are lower, and can be considered more durable because the stone(s) are less likely to hit different surfaces.
Just like in fashion, there are trends in engagement ring design. Princess Diana’s blue sapphire with a diamond halo was popular during the Edwardian era, and reemerged as the It ring when Princess Diana received her ring from Prince Charles, and again when HRH Kate Middleton was given the same ring to her by Prince William. In the 1960s, when people spent more on fashion than they had in decades, Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor the most expensive engagement ring in history with a 68 carat pear-shaped diamond. This led to a frenzy for extra large center stones. When Ben Affleck gave Jennifer Lopez a pink diamond ring, along with the film How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days use of a yellow diamond, colorful engagement rings became extra trendy (and continue to be en vogue).
No matter if you want a ring that’s classic solitaire, one that exudes character with color, additional stones, engraving, or etching, or mixing and matching elements, giving it this sort of thought will make the ring even more special for both you and your fiancé.
We highly recommend figuring out what your partner’s preferences are. Does your (soon-to-be) fiancé like vintage-style settings from Victorian and Edwardian eras or have a Pinterest board? Do they like a certain stone? Prefer a certain metal (white gold, platinum, yellow gold, or rose gold)? Have a favorite color? Ask family and friends if they know of any particular rings your love likes. Answering all these questions can help to find the perfect ring.
Bring in your love to browse and try on different ring styles. We love showing clients our different ring options, and explaining the pros and cons for all of them.
Again, know your budget. .Engagement rings have a wide range of pricing, and knowing how much you want to spend will help narrow down the type of materials. For example, if you're looking for a blue gemstone for the center stone, there are blue diamond, blue sapphire, tanzanite and blue topaz to name a few. They can range from a few dollars to big bucks depending on the type of material. Know realistic expectations and you'll make your loved one and your wallet happy.
No matter what, we are here to help you find the ring of your dreams! Please make an appointment with us today if you have any other questions.