It is highly unlikely that you’ll go wrong with any engagement ring that you’ll purchase from established and reputable online jewelers like More than just acquiring a pair of high-quality engagement rings, however, you’ll naturally want to invest in a hardware that will make you and your lifetime partner truly happy. To choose the right pair of engagement rings, therefore, the rings should suit both your tastes and preferences. These following tips will give you a lowdown on the most important considerations when shopping for engagement rings. Understanding the tips makes the task of shopping for engagement rings easier yet more rewarding when you end up with a pair that you and your soon-to-be partner will cherish for a long time.

1. Understand What the 4Cs Are All About

This is especially important if you are buying a diamond for the first time and have no idea what to look for. If you are planning to surprise someone with an impressive rock, you’ll need to be more meticulous in this regard as you don’t want your ring selection to be anticlimactic, especially for your partner when you pop the question.

The 4Cs essentially stands for color, cut, carat weight and clarity, all of which refer to the features of the diamond for your engagement rings. Each of these features has a grading system that the Gemological Institute of America established back in 1953 to compare cut diamonds. From D to Z, this diamond grade rates the lack of color in a diamond, with lesser or lack of color being better. The quality of cut determines how much brilliance the gemstone will emit. Clarity grades the lack or presence of any blemishes and inclusions in a diamond, while carat weight refers to the apparent size of the diamond.

When shopping for diamond engagement rings on a budget, you’ll need to determine which of these Cs are the most important to you. This will help you narrow down your choices to the ones that measure up to your requirements and fits into your budget.

2. Decide on a Shape, Cut Quality and Style

The shape of the diamond refers to its outline when you look at it from above, the most common of which is round. There are other available diamond shapes that you may also want to consider, and these are rectangle, marquise, pear, oval, square and heart. These other shapes fall into the “fancy shapes” category, and they can help make your engagement rings a bit more unique.

Cutting styles refer to the arrangement of the facets on the surface of the gemstone. The brilliant cut, as its name suggests, maximizes the “fire” emanating from the diamond with around 58 facets. The other types of cuts include the emerald and the radiant cuts, which you can choose for your rock if you and your partner prefer a more unconventional style.

The cut quality further dictates how the gemstone reflects light. While a diamond may be cut in the same shape or style, its brilliance will still vary according to the polish, symmetry, table size and girdle thickness of the diamond. A well-cut diamond will improve its brilliance significantly.

3. Choose Your Metal

Once you have selected the rock for your engagement ring, the next step would be to choose the metal for the band where you are going to set it. The most traditional base metals are platinum and gold. For the latter, you also have to choose between yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. Sterling silver is also another option, but it really wouldn’t do justice to the rock, would it?

Platinum and white gold have been a popular base metal choice for engagement and wedding rings in recent years. These two precious metal types will even be a better choice for you if your choice of diamond is in the near-colorless to colorless range. The reflective, white sheen emanating from these metals will highlight and add sparkle to the rock.

This does not mean that yellow and rose gold are inferior choices. While they may cause the diamond to reflect yellow to orange light streaks, it does give another dimension to the fire that is emanating from the gemstone. Yellow and rose gold likewise provide a contrasting base to the gemstone, which accentuates its beauty further.

When choosing between these metals, it will be a good idea to do business with jewelers who can show you how your choice of rock and metal will look like with samples or with CGI renditions. This will be especially helpful if you are customizing your own pair of engagement rings.

4. Decide on a Setting

After you settle on a diamond and base metal, the next logical thing for you to decide on is how you want your diamond to sit on your ring. First-time diamond ring buyers may be surprised to find out that there are more than 10 ways that you can set the gemstone. Among the most common diamond engagement settings include the prong, bezel, flush, tension and cathedral.

The prong setting is easily the most common and popular choice, especially for women’s rings. This setting type features four to six claws that hold the diamond in place. Because it shows a good part of the gemstone, this setting maximizes the brilliance of the diamond. For some who don’t feel too secure with the prong setting, the bezel may provide them with relative peace of mind as the base metal acts as a bezel that wraps around the edges of the gemstone.

Men’s engagement rings usually have a flush or gypsy setting where the diamond sits snugly in a hole within the band. The tension setting holds the diamond firmly between two shanks or stems giving the ring a modern and elegant look. Cathedral setting can be a combination of a prong, tension or bezel setting, with the diamond sitting on an arch reminiscent of a, well, cathedral. Other setting styles include pave, halo, bar, Tiffany, channel, cluster and vintage.

5. Know Your Partner

This is perhaps the most important factor when you are out shopping for engagement rings, especially if you are planning to surprise your partner with the ring as you pop the question. Before you can decide on any of the factors above, it is vital that you have a very good idea of what your partner wants in an engagement ring.

It is a good idea to pay attention and make notes when your partner is rambling on about the kind of hardware that he or she wants to wear. You’ll need to be extra sneaky if you want to keep the surprise a secret and go to lengths such as swiping a current ring to know the ring size and asking friends about his or her preferences in jewelry.

You should also look into other considerations when shopping for engagement rings. If you are shopping online, select a reputable seller who offers a grading report, certification, insurance and warranties to go with the rings. It is likewise important to set a limit on how much you will spend on the hardware. While you don’t want to scrimp on a meaningful piece of jewelry, you also don’t want to fall into debt.