A Ring Pop won't cut it? 13 engagement ring buying tips for us clueless ring shoppers #Fashion Advice#engagement ring#ring November 20 2015 | Catherine Clark bijouxandbits Golden Snitch ring by Alchemy House Jewellery Related Post 7 ring care tips to keep the spring in your bling Have you recently acquired a schmancy new engagement ring? I'm guessing since you're on a wedding blog, that you may just be rocking a rock.... Read more Are you ready to propose but are an engagement ring noob? Join the club, we're all clueless when it comes to rings at first. Fear not, we've got some tips to make ring buying a wee bit easier including budgeting, thinking outside of the diamond market, and options like customization. Save these engagement ring buying tips for your shopping trip and feel a little more secure. Oh, and good luck with that proposal. Tell us about it, eh? Pick a budget and stick to it Related Post Avoiding engagement ring envy, or: How I learned to love the symbolism Engagement ring envy -- the stuff of legend and myth? Or a nasty side effect of being engaged and the wedding industrial complex? Since the... Read more Salespeople can be hardcore, so pick your budget early and try to keep to it. Remember: ring size is not dick size. Figure out how much you can afford to spend, and throw out the antiquated "two months salary" price rule. Think outside of the commercials You can find quality jewelers creating unique and beautiful rings not found in those big box jewelry stores you see in commercials. A lot of them focus on more ethical diamonds and creation practices, which feels good, too. Just make sure the store is accredited by the Jewelers of America or is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Oh, and definitely keep an eyeball on their return policy and any online reviews. We've even got a whole list of awesome vendors with whom we work. Do some homework Take a look at what options you'll be encountering at the store (or online): metal options, gemstone options, setting options… don't go in too blind. If you're surprising your partner, try to gauge their style ahead of time so you can match it. Common metals and materials Related Post Where can I find non-conductive wedding rings? "I'm having difficulty finding rings that are NON-CONDUCTIVE! My electrician boyfriend can't wear a metal band because of the safety risk at work. As much... Read more Silver tones: platinum (bright white tone, very durable), palladium (silver-white metal, less dense than platinum), titanium (greyish and can be polished black), white gold (a more cost-efficient metal, customizable colors), and sterling silver (inexpensive, but won't last as long). Yellow and pink tones: yellow gold (gets combined with different metal alloys for strength), rose gold (pink-tinted with copper alloy). Non-conductive materials: wood, resin, ceramic, and silicone. Choose a stone You can sometimes get a better deal if you choose your diamond or other stone separate from the setting, so don't automatically consider a complete ring. We LOVE us some non-diamond options, too. Consider some colored sapphires, topaz, moissanite, pearls, and even gemless rings. Our pals over at Brilliant Earth have a great guide for picking out diamonds for information on cut, clarity, and all those other C words. No, not that one, naughty. Choose a setting Consider what kind of setting you'll want: solitaire, filigree, side stones, etc. This is where you'll just want to do some online browsing to see what's out there. Consider customization Related Post 6 tips for designing your own custom wedding ring with Joseph Jewelry We love custom options and making something standard into something that is totally YOU. We see custom dresses all the time, and we pretty much... Read more Some of our favorite vendors specialize in super customized rings. How do you think couples get their adorkable rings, right? You can often find really easy ways to get the ring hidden in your imagination with a store that works with your designs. Consider antique rings Engaged to a vintage fashion fan? Antique rings bring a whole level of awesome to fans of the past. Or look to your family for heirloom rings. Look for ways to cut costs Buying a non-diamond is a killer way to save money, but if you're going whole hog with a diamond, you can still save some cash. Ask for a stone with more surface area which will make it look bigger. Or ask for stones that are slightly less than the next carat (0.9 instead of 1, for instance). The difference in size will be minuscule. Figure out the ring size Related Post How do you secretly find out your partner's ring size? I want to propose to my boyfriend with the ring that would then become his wedding band. The problem is… I want to make it... Read more If you're not shopping together, you'll need to figure out your partner's ring size. You can always sneak a ring that you know fits their ring finger. We've got lots more tips over here. Bring a friend (or go with your partner) Ring stores can be scary and you may want a second opinion. Grab a friend or family member with some idea of your partner's taste to handle the salespeople as a team. Or forgo the surprise and shop with your partner to really ensure they'll love what gets chosen. Leave least six weeks An ordered ring can take as long as six to eight weeks to arrive, so unless you're buying in store, leave some time to receive the ring with some wiggle room for errors. Get it in writing and insured Diamonds one carat or larger should be inspected by a diamond-grading report issued by an independent gemological association like the GIA or the American Gem Society. You might also get a "fingerprint" of your ring, which would include the stone's 4 Cs, shape, dimensions, and any other enhancements. Also include any other information that might affect its value. Then, unless you're going super budget-friendly, get it insured. Need some proposal wisdom? On proposal expectations: The "why" is more important than the "how" Don't get me wrong, we all love a good flash mob, fancy restaurant, or scavenger hunt proposal. Even extravagant prom-posals are becoming a thing. But a proposal doesn't have to… Read More This post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides: Brilliant Earth EraGem Alchemy House Jewellery Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Catherine Clark Catherine Clark is Offbeat Bride's Senior Editor. In her spare time she loiters at her local library, makes art, watches movies en masse, plays video and tabletop games, poorly cooks healthy things, cuddles with her feline fur baby, and blogs at BijouxandBits.com. @enidjcoleslaw @bijouxandbits @bijouxandbits PREVIOUS 18 things I wish I could have told my wedding-planning self a year ago (Part 2) NEXT Singing the praises of Fluevog wedding shoes Show/Hide comments [ 7 ] I second the "think outside the big box." We bought my ring from a major jewelry chain store at the mall, then started looking at reviews. So many horror stories online. Later that week, we had an issue involving a credit card and employee deception that confirmed the general sense we'd gotten from the horrible reviews. We returned the ring, went to a small local jeweler, and couldn't be happier. So, just saying, read store reviews (big box or otherwise) before e-ring shopping! Reply I'm glad it worked out with the local jeweler. Those are often great places for custom work, too! Reply Also, know if your partner has any allergies (for example, nickel) and what metals contain the irritant. We didn't realize that white gold generally gets its color from mixing in nickel until my ring was partway through being crafted. Luckily the jeweler was very sweet about it and re-did the work in white gold whitened with palladium (charging more for the metals, but not for re-making the ring). I can't tell you how many times jewelry I loved has made my skin blister. Having it happen with my engagement and/or wedding rings would have been a nightmare! (As a cost-saving measure, my wedding band is titanium.) 2 agree Reply I would love to hear some thoughts on 'diamond like' non-diamond alternatives – moissanite, white sapphire, cubic zirconia. Especially the latter – often it's used for big flashy costume jewellery but I've seen some etsy examples where a smaller stone is used to reproduce something more like a classic diamond solitaire, and in pictures it's pretty convincing. Is this a viable alternative? 3 agree Reply This kind of makes me wish I'd gotten a ring for my husband when I proposed to him. I ended up getting a watch, which looks really good on him. It did work out in the end. 🙂 1 agrees Reply When I decided to propose to my girlfriend I had a teeny-tiny budget. I decided to propose on Halloween and it was two days before Halloween. I had only one day to find a ring, and 30€ max to spend. (€ because I live in Germany.) What was important to me was that it was a ring that meant something to me/us. Not some costly extravaganza that would look like an engagement ring, but had only a financial value. I ended up buying a 10€ ring made of silver from one of these tiny shopping isles you sometimes have in big shopping centres. And it was perfect: plain yet meaningful, because it has an ankh on top. I included the symbolizm of that in my proposal. ;3 Moral of the story: Know what's important to you and don't be scared to go completely offbeat. Also, if you really mean it, don't let little money stop you. 1 agrees Reply Thank you a lot for useful tips. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. 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