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Learn More About Engagement Rings
Ready to take the next big step in your relationship? Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect sparkler for your proposal.
1. Understand the 4Cs. When shopping for a diamond engagement ring there are a few characteristics of the stone that determine its quality—and typically its price. They call these the “4Cs”: carat, cut, color, and clarity.
Carat: This is the weight or size of the diamond. The larger the diamond, the more it typically costs. For instance, a half-carat or 1-carat ring will generally cost a lot less than a 2-carat diamond engagement ring.
Cut: The shape of a diamond (round, princess, marquise, etc,) is usually referred to as the cut, but in this case, “cut” refers to how well the facets of the diamond refract the light. Jewelers measure the quality of the cut on a scale—fair, good, very good, and excellent—based on how it sparkles. The more optimal the sparkle, the more expensive the diamond will be.
Color: This measures the color of the diamond on a scale of D to Z, with D being completely colorless and Z being light yellow or brown. The whiter the diamond, the more it typically costs. While D to F diamonds are rare, those in the G to J range are a popular choice for proposal rings, and they generally appear colorless to the human eye. Diamonds K to M range typically have a slight yellow tint, which some couples looking for unique engagement rings actually prefer.
Clarity: This measures how clear the diamond is. Diamonds are formed when carbon deposits deep below ground are exposed to extreme heat and pressure. During this process, it’s common for diamonds to get tiny imperfections or “inclusions” that jewelers can spot with their magnifying tools. While sometimes called flaws or defects, inclusions are part of what gives each diamond its own character. The clarity of the diamond is rated on its own scale, based on how they appear when viewed at 10x magnification. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, the more expensive the diamond tends to be.
- F: These are considered completely flawless, with no inclusions and no blemishes on the outside of the stone.
- IF: These are internally flawless. In other words, there are no inclusions inside the stone.
- VVS1 or VVS2: These are very, very slightly included, with just a few microscopic inclusions that are difficult to see with magnification.
- VS1 or VS2: These are very slightly included, with just a few small inclusions that are visible with magnification.
- SI1 or SI2: These are slightly included. In other words, they have inclusions that are noticeable or easy to see with magnification.
- I1, I2, or I3: These are considered imperfect. They have inclusions that are very noticeable with magnification and can often be seen with the naked eye.
When it comes to engagement rings for women, VS and SI diamonds are popular choices, because they are generally more affordable, and they are considered to be “eye clean,” meaning you can’t see any inclusions with the naked eye.
2. Pick a stone shape. Whether you go for a diamond ring or another gemstone like moissanite, morganite, or moss agate, stones for women’s engagement rings come in lots of different shapes. Here are a few common ones.
- Round: A classic circular cut, a round engagement ring optimizes the sparkle of the stone
- Princess: Another popular classic, the princess engagement ring is a square-shaped cut.
- Cushion: With a rounded square shape, a cushion-cut ring—also known as an old-mine cut—is popular for antique diamonds.
- Emerald: An emerald-cut engagement ring is a rectangular cut with an art deco aesthetic.
- Pear: A pear engagement ring is a tear-shaped cut.
- Oval: An oval ring is known for its striking oblong cut.
- Marquise: The regal marquise engagement ring is a long, narrow cut that tapers at the ends.
- Heart: Made similarly to a pear cut, a heart engagement ring has a cleft to form the classic heart shape.
- Kite: Shaped like the children’s toy, kite engagement rings make for a striking, modern look.
3. Choose a ring material. Next, consider what materials you would like your ring to be made of. There are several alluring metals to choose from for handmade engagement rings, from classic gold to more modern options like palladium and tungsten. Each of them have their own pros and cons.
- Yellow gold: Gold is the most popular choice for wedding and engagement rings, and it comes in several colors. Because pure gold is very soft, it’s mixed with other alloys for jewelry. The higher percentage of gold in a ring, the more prone it may be to scratches. Engagement rings made of 14k gold tend to be a bit more durable than those made of purer 18k gold.
- Rose gold: Mixing gold with alloys like copper and silver produces rose gold. Its beautiful blush color has made it an increasingly sought-after choice for engagement rings.
- White gold: Mixing gold with white alloys like nickel, silver, or palladium produces white gold, a popular option for those who prefer silver jewelry.
- Platinum: This durable white metal is harder than gold and typically much more expensive.
- Palladium: This white metal is a bit harder and more scratch-resistant than platinum and can be even more expensive, but can be more challenging to resize.
- Tungsten: Known for its smokey gun metal gray color, tungsten is extremely scratch-resistant, but it can break if dropped and can’t easily be resized.
- Titanium: Super strong and lightweight, titanium is very durable and scratch resistant, but can’t easily be resized.
- Sterling silver: Silver is a very affordable option, though it can scratch and tarnish more easily than other metals.
4. Select a setting. The setting of your engagement ring describes how the stone (or stones) is mounted on the band and secured into place. Different settings can also help more light shine beneath the stone, for maximum sparkle.
- Prong setting: With claws to hold the stones in place, this setting is the most common choice for solitaires and other big stones.
- Bezel setting: A bezel surrounds the stone to hold it securely in place, a popular choice for those who are very active.
- Channel setting: This setting holds stones in a channel on the band, with metal strips along the top and bottom to hold them in place.
- Pavé setting: This one uses tiny beads of metal on the corners of a tiny stone to hold it in place, similar to a prong. It’s a popular choice for adding sparkle to engagement rings and wedding bands.
- Bar setting: Similar to a channel setting, the bar setting holds stones in place with metal strips on all four sides, for a rectangular look. It’s commonly used to add stones to bands.
- Tension setting: The stone almost appears to float in this setting, which holds it clamped in place using the tension of the band itself.
Etsy shops sell handmade and vintage engagement rings in a wide variety of styles, from classic designs to vintage styles and unique engagement rings. Here are a few common types of engagement ring styles.
- Diamond solitaires: These classic women’s engagement rings feature a band with a single stone.
- Halo engagement rings: This popular style of engagement rings for women, features a circle of small diamonds surrounding the center stone, which can make your sparkler appear even bigger.
- Diamond-band rings: These have pavé or channel set diamonds along the band for extra sparkle.
- Three-stone engagement rings: Also known as a trilogy ring, the ring’s three stones are said to represent the couple’s past, present, and future.
- Cluster engagement rings: These cute engagement rings add extra interest—and bling—with a cluster of stones.
- Bridal sets: Planning to wear the engagement ring with the wedding band? Many Etsy sellers offer them as sets so that your bridal rings are guaranteed to fit together beautifully.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to proposal rings. Your engagement ring can be as unique as your relationship. Etsy sellers make lots of extraordinary options—with handmade engagement rings to suit every style and personality—that will set your ring apart from the crowd.
- Unique stones: Diamonds aren’t the only game in town. As many couples have discovered, there’s a whole rainbow of cute and colorful options when it comes to bridal rings. Looking for something romantic? Try a pink-hued morganite bridal set. Or go for a more ethereal look with a glowing moonstone or pearlescent opal engagement ring. There are also dreamy oceanic shades like blue sapphire, alexandrite, and turquoise as well as enchanting greens like moss agate with its eye-catching green swirls or stunning emerald engagement rings. You can even go dark with a striking black diamond or onyx engagement ring.
- Unique styles and settings: You can also create a unique engagement ring through eye-catching settings and styles like the toi et moi, a trendy look with two stones of different colors or shapes—such as a pear-cut and emerald-cut—to represent the couple. Or go for a contemporary kite-shaped stone or an asymmetrical cluster of gems for a one-of-a-kind look that will have you excited to see your future spouse’s reaction when you pop the question.
For those looking for classic engagement ring styles, there are many timeless designs to choose from that never go out of style, including diamond solitaires, halo engagement rings, diamond-band rings, three-stone engagement rings, and gemstone engagement rings. Many Etsy shops also sell vintage engagement rings from every era, with styles from Edwardian to art deco rings that have withstood the test of time.
Looking for a truly unique engagement ring? Many Etsy sellers will work with you to create a custom engagement ring that is truly one of a kind. Some can modify their designs with stones, settings, and other details to help you create a custom look. Others can make personalized engagement rings with names, dates, or even a secret inscription engraved in the band.
Engagement rings aren’t just for women. Many men wear engagement rings, too, and in recent years they have become increasingly popular. Men’s engagement rings come in a wide range of styles, from bands made of materials like carved wood and tungsten to classic gold bands featuring an in-set diamond or gemstone to more elaborate designs.
Engagement rings vary in cost depending on the stones used, the size, the band materials, decorative accents, and other details. Etsy sellers craft proposal rings to suit all kinds of budgets. Design choices like the cut of a stone or its setting can actually make it appear larger, smaller, or more or less sparkly than it is, so be sure to ask your seller’s advice to help you get the look and feel you’re going for. There are also many beautiful and affordable unique engagement rings that are wonderful alternatives to traditional diamond rings. For instance, moissanite engagement rings are nearly as durable and as brilliant as their diamond counterparts. And many couples opt for morganite for its soft pink hues.
No matter how careful you are, your sparkler can get a bit dirty just from the oils of your skin and normal day-to-day wear. To keep it looking as beautiful and shiny as the day you said “yes,” most experts recommend cleaning it about once a week. To clean most rings, you don’t need any special jewelry cleaning solution—just mild dishwashing soap and water. Fill a bowl with very warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid, and let your ring soak for about 20 to 40 minutes. You can use a soft bristled toothbrush to very gently carefully scrub away any residue that remains on the front and back of the ring, being careful not to dislodge the stones. Rinse your ring thoroughly with water, and either let it air dry or gently pat it dry with a microfiber cloth.