Engagement Ring Buying Guide
The Ben Bridge Guide To Finding The Perfect Engagement Ring
Our mission at Ben Bridge is simple: to help people celebrate their special moments. And there are few moments more special, more anticipated, or more memorable than your engagement. With a commitment to quality jewelry, the best possible values, and exceptional personal service, we will help you bring a lasting sparkle and a low-stress experience to your forever moment.
1. SET A BUDGET
There are lots of “rules” out there about how much you should spend on an engagement ring. You may have seen or heard that you should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring. Times change, though, and that standard doesn’t work for everyone.
At the end of the day, the amount you spend is up to you, but it is very important to go into the engagement ring buying process knowing what you plan to spend right away. Not only will setting a budget keep you from overspending and sinking yourself into debt later, but it will help you start to narrow down a wide variety of ring options to those that fit your budget.
The first step is to decide if you would like to pay in full right away or finance the ring. If paying in full, you will want to start by checking how much you have saved and then doing some research as to the ring options available to you at this price point. If you are happy with those options, great! You’ve got a budget. If not, continue to research to determine a price point you think will fit your unique style as a couple, and then plan to save to hit that dollar amount.
If you are interested in financing your forever ring, having a budget is still important. You will want to take a look at your current income and expenses and determine what payment you are able to make. We are proud to offer engagement rings that fit every budget and consider it our privilege and responsibility to help you find the perfect ring within your desired price range. We also offer special financing for 12 months on engagement ring purchases. You can get more details on financing options at your local Ben Bridge store or by calling our Customer Service team at 888.448.1912.
2. DETERMINE A STYLE
For some engagement ring shoppers, deciding on a style can be intimidating. The options are seemingly endless! With a ring and a moment as important as your engagement, we understand the pressure of wanting to get it just right. However, it’s not as daunting as it might seem.
Start by thinking about, and taking a closer look at, the type of jewelry your partner already wears. What words would you use to describe what you see? Is it more classic or modern? Edgy or sophisticated? Does the jewelry tend to be simpler or bolder? Making these observations will help you learn about what kind of ring will best suit your partner’s personal style.
Next, consider lifestyle. If they rarely wear jewelry or have a very active life that is hard on their hands, it’s likely that a low-profile, minimalist design would suit your partner well. If more adventurous in their fashion choices, a more adventurous style choice would probably be a great fit.
If you want the engagement ring to be a surprise and can’t ask your partner what they want, reach out to friends or family for ideas and guidance. You might also check out your partner’s Pinterest board or Instagram for hints. Pick a few items that you think your partner would love, show them to some trusted people, and let them help you pick what is just-right for your love.
3. CHOOSE A DIAMOND
The Perfect Shape
The first step to choosing a diamond is deciding on a shape. The most popular cut is a classic round diamond, known for its brilliant sparkle. A princess or emerald cut diamond offers more modern lines and symmetry. Or, for something more unique, consider a pear-shaped diamond. Our Shape Guide breaks down your options for you to help you use what you’ve considered about style to pick the perfect shape to match.
Size and Quality
Once you’ve decided on a shape, the next step in choosing a diamond is to consider the size or carat weight, cut, color, and clarity--also known as the Four C’s.
Here is a quick overview of what they mean:
Carat Weight, simply put, is a measurement of the weight of a diamond. The higher the carat weight, the bigger the diamond. If the characteristics of two diamonds are all identical aside from carat weight, the higher number will be the more expensive diamond. This distinction is why it’s helpful to start with your budget in mind.
If examining the Color of a diamond seems confusing, you’re not wrong. When looking at the color of a diamond, you’re really looking for the absence of color. Using the GIA scale, diamond color is graded on a D-to-Z scale, with D being the clearest or the most absent of color and Z having the most color, usually taking a yellowish look under very specific lighting conditions. For someone who is not trained to look closely at the color of the diamond, these color differences, especially those that are only a few letters apart, will probably seem very subtle.
Clarity looks at irregularities, called inclusions (internal) and blemishes (external), in a diamond during its natural formation. These irregularities are generally too small to see without magnification, but can affect the clarity and overall look of a diamond. Clarity is graded using the scale below, with FL indicating that no inclusions or blemishes are observed at 10x magnification sliding to I3, indicating obvious inclusions under 10x magnification.
- FL: Flawless (no inclusions or blemishes under 10x magnification)
- IF: Internally Flawless (no inclusions under 10x magnification)
- VVS1 or VVS2: Very, Very Slightly Included (inclusions so slight they are difficult to see at 10x magnification)
- VS1 or VS2: Very Slightly Included (minor inclusions observed with effort at 10x magnification)
- SI1 or SI2: Slightly Included (noticeable inclusions under 10x magnification)
- I1, I2 or I3: Included (obvious inclusions under 10x magnification)
Cut and shape are not the same. While shape focuses mostly on the outer edge of the diamond, the cut of a diamond is a detailed rating of how the facets of a diamond work together to bounce light and create that sparkle that is so important to a perfect engagement ring. The cut grade of a diamond considers a complicated mix of factors, including brightness (white light reflected internally and externally from a diamond), fire (the scattering of white light from a diamond into a rainbow of colors), and scintillation (the light and dark areas that form a pattern within the diamond, or its sparkle). Cut is usually graded from Excellent to Poor and is based on the shape of the diamond.
The Four C’s provide a way to compare and evaluate diamonds, but these standards only matter to your choice in as much as they matter to you. The best way to actually choose a diamond is, quite simply, to look at them. Diamonds each have a unique beauty, and you will often find one that simply catches your eye.
We invite you to call or visit a Ben Bridge store to make an appointment with a Personal Jeweler. They’ll be able to show you diamonds in person and answer any questions you might have throughout the process.
You can also get more details about diamonds in our Diamond Buying Guide.
4. CHOOSE THE PERFECT RING
Now that you’ve chosen a diamond, the next step is to choose the ring it’s going to be set in. You probably got a lot of information about the setting when you took a look at your partner’s style before you even considered a diamond.
When considering the ring and setting style, it’s again important to consider your partner’s lifestyle. If they’re active and spend a lot of time outdoors, you might want to look for lower profile, less ornate choices that are less likely to get knocked around or caught on things. If your partner is more adventurous when it comes to style, you could look for statement settings with accent diamonds and more intricate details.
You’ll also want to consider your partner’s lifestyle as you consider the way the diamond is secured in the ring. For those whose ring might take a beating, a prong setting (featuring four to six prongs that hold the ring in place) might be too risky, so you might want to look at a more solid setting with metal or smaller stones to protect the center diamond, like a halo setting. Additionally, stones with pointed corners, like princess-shaped diamonds, will be most protected in settings that cover the points to avoid chipping.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a metal. First, what color do you think your partner would like best? Typically, rings are set in either white or yellow metals to fit an array of styles and accent the color of the stone. Again, you can take a quick look at the color jewelry they wear most to gather clues.
Our engagement rings are available in a variety of metal types from white gold to yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. When thinking about metals, you’ll also want to consider durability. While we only set engagement rings in strong, durable metals, a Personal Jeweler in your local Ben Bridge store can help make sure that you make the right choice for her lifestyle.
You can also get more details about metal types in our Precious Metals Guide.
If your partner wears rings, the easiest way to determine size will be to borrow a ring that you know fits. You can either trace the inside of the ring on a piece of paper or bring the actual ring into a Ben Bridge store near you to figure out the size. We also have a printable ring sizer to measure the approximate size.
Don’t worry - most settings can easily be resized, so we can work with you to take our best guess and then re-size it after your proposal to ensure it fits perfectly.
5. PURCHASE THE PERFECT RING
We want to help you get the ring you want in the easiest, most comfortable way possible. That’s why we proudly offer no-interest financing for 12 months on engagement ring purchases, in addition to a variety of financing options up to 48 months (on approved credit). You can get more details on financing options at your local Ben Bridge store or by calling us at 888.448.1912.
We invite you to make an appointment with your Personal Jeweler, visit your local Ben Bridge store, or reach out to our customer service online to do more research or take that step to purchase. Ben Bridge is a certified member of the American Gem Society and the Responsible Jewelry Council, so you can be assured that you are working with a professional who adheres to the highest standards of ethics and knowledge. We are dedicated to providing consumer protection at every step along the way.