Read This Before Shopping for an Engagement Ring


Until the 20th century, proposing with an engagement ring was the exception not the rule. The presence of an engagement ring, like many other things, depended on the religion of the couple and their position in society. The modern tradition of giving an engagement ring arose relatively recently – in the first half of the 20th century – largely due to heavy influences of Hollywood and jewelry marketers. In other parts of the world, like in Europe, it was customary to exchange wedding bands at the registrar’s office, and the engagement ring was considered a bourgeois ritual. In general, whether or not to give a ring for an engagement depends on what views you and your partner hold.

As a rule, an engagement ring is a ring with one obvious central element – a single visibly larger stone in a setting. The classic choice is a diamond, popular not only for its beauty, but also because it is the hardest mineral. It is scratch resistant and does not require any special care or precautions. It is more difficult to accidentally split a diamond on impact than say a sapphire, ruby, and even more so emerald. So the phrase “diamonds are forever” is not only an enticing De Beers slogan, but in a sense, a description of the physical characteristics of the stone. The double meaning is not lost in the sense that gifting said diamond is thought to cement the couple’s own “forever”.

Is a diamond unique enough?

Unless your girlfriend has alluded to the contrary, rest assured a diamond is a solid choice for an engagement ring. If not a diamond, most likely you already know about her other favorite gems so you can easily choose from them. If you fear that only something truly unique and original will do for the future wife, then you can choose a colored diamond but note that in most cases they will be significantly more expensive than their colorless counterparts. However, even a smaller but bright yellow, pink or blue diamond in a high-quality setting will look original.

Is a surprise best or is it better to choose a ring together?

Depends on the situation. Today’s modern woman will inform you herself if she wants to choose a ring together. If this is your situation then it’s best to first discuss the budget and go to the jeweler together. But if your girlfriend is the traditional type and wants to be surprised then you have some thorough research work ahead of you. Firstly take a close look at her general style and the type of jewelry she wears. If she tends to wear classic clothing, doesn’t take crazy fashion risks and her jewelry box is filled with timeless everyday wear baubles then she would likely prefer a similar type of engagement ring. A solitaire is a classic choice or a simple diamond band with a brilliant cut center stone is another no brainer. If you notice she prefers geometric patterns in her jewelry and clothing such as rectangular or squared shapes she may love the crisp lines of a princess or emerald cut stone.

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A solitaire is a classic choice.
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A simple diamond band with a brilliant cut center stone.
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A geometric shape like a princess is modern and sophisticated.

Getting her ring size

It is also important to determine her approximate ring size. A small error is permissible and can be easily fixed by the jeweler at a later time. Your best bet is to purchase a mandrel for under 10 dollars. I like this one from Etsy.

You can sneak a ring from her jewelry box, even one she wears on her middle or index finger to gauge her approximate size. The ring finger would then be one size down from this one. So if her middle finger ring measures as a size 7 then a size 6 for her ring finger is a safe bet. Many people find that a variance of a half size or less will still fit comfortably most of the time.

I have a family heirloom I want to incorporate

Your first option is to give the ring as it is and explain its family story during your proposal. Many believe that a ring passed down in the family from a long and happy marriage will bring the same such fate to the new couple. If you are worried that it’s not her style, then let her decide for herself how she wants to proceed after the engagement. For example, a jeweler can melt the ring into the diamond setting of her dreams- then the gold or platinum in the ring still holds sentimental value and a tie to the original family heirloom. If she likes the design of the ring but not the stones, a jeweler may be able to swap out the stones for diamonds or sapphires or anything else she may prefer. This way your family history and her taste are fused together to form her dream ring.

I want to design the ring myself

Nothing says romance more than a partner who takes the time to custom design a ring for his bride. A ring that is unique and made just for her, as unique as their love for one another. Today, the custom ring process is easier than ever. At Gabriel & Co. our design team can take your sketch and have a 360 Cad image in one business day for your approval at no cost to you. If you are not satisfied with the first draft, our design experts will work to tweak the design until you are 100% satisfied.

Once you make your decision on what type of ring you want to propose with you can focus on the proposal itself. Remember, the most important thing is your love for each other and the beginning of your journey through this life as true partners.

You can view our full collection of unique and timeless engagement ring settings from Gabriel & Co.

2020 Bridal COllections – Gabriel & Co.