When deciding among the many available engagement ring styles, the first consideration is your budget. Once you determine how much you’re comfortable spending, you can narrow down the expansive field of choices. And don’t worry: you won’t lack selection regardless of what your final budgeting call is.
Diamonds, of course, are the standard in engagement rings. Considered a symbol of both power and longevity, they make a strong, optimistic accompaniment to any proposal. While you can certainly opt for other precious stones (and many couples who value personalization over tradition are moving in this direction), diamonds are by far the most popular choice.
You’ll typically find a greater variety of options within the categories of diamond cut, band style, diamond color, etc. We’ll take a look at ring styles here, beginning with cut.
Princess Cut: The princess cut is a beautiful and always-popular choice with the benefit of being more affordable than some others. Because of the way the stone is cut, there are many eye-catching facets of the diamond, which actually serve to make flaws significantly less noticeable. That’s why you can get this attractive cut at reasonable prices.
As with other diamond cuts, side stones (which are factored into total carat weight) make a difference in the price as well. If you opt for a small center diamond with lots of smaller stones surrounding it, you’ll likely spend more than if you go large on the center stone, light on ancillary diamonds.
Cushion Cut: Also known as the “pillow cut”, the cushion cut is a traditional style of diamond which has an especially romantic flair to it. Because of the way it is cut (rounded corners, large facets in comparison to many others), this style is ideal for candlelight settings. Many others cuts are optimized for “modern” light settings, but this one is set to shine in your traditionally romantic atmosphere. This makes sense, as the cut had its heyday in the 1800s through early 1900s; it is considered, by some, an antique style now.
While some jewelers do offer this cut, many couples find themselves turning to antique and estate sales to find this traditional-cut ring. As to price – prepare for expense with this rare, old-fashioned beauty.
Round, or brilliant, cuts are traditionally the most popular styles for engagement rings, however brilliant cut diamonds are also the most expensive on average.
Marquis (oval shaped with pointed tips) and pear shaped (or teardrop shaped) make more unusual engagement rings, but it is recommended for men not to surprise their fiance with this style of unique ring unless she has pointed out similar cuts before. Some brides enjoy having a ring that is unique, and stands out from most other women's however most like the tradition of a simple solitaire.
In tomorrow's next installment about engagement rings we will focus on the wide variety of available diamond colors.