If you haven’t already read our guide on how to select the perfect diamond for your engagement ring, we recommend that you do that first. This post is dedicated to all you need to know about the metal color, diamond shape, ring size, and style preference of engagement rings – basically, everything else.
Before you start browsing for engagement rings, it is a good idea to check in with your partner and ask for their opinion when it comes to the type of engagement ring they prefer. Although this might take away from the surprise, this is a jewelry piece that they will wear every day and should be something that they love. If you don’t want to directly ask, you can take a look at their Pinterest profile, ask friends, or family. After conducting the initial research on their preferences, then it’s time to go over the options when it comes to selecting the perfect engagement ring.
Here are the four most popular metal choices – white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and rose gold. The best way to select the right metal color is to consider which shades look best against which skin tones. The basic rule is that people with ashen skin and pinkish undertones should stick to white gold or platinum. If the skin is sensitive, then choose platinum (it’s hypoallergenic). Rose gold is a potential alternative. However, depending on the pinkness of the wearer, it can make a finger look too red. People with tan or olive skin look great in yellow gold while those with darker skin tones can pull off any of these metals.
Technically, you can cut a diamond into any shape. However, there are ten shapes that diamond cutters use. These shapes are round, princess, oval, pear, cushion, emerald, asscher, radiant, rose, and oval rose.
Round, by far the most popular diamond shape, is cut to reflect the most amount of light allowing for unmatched brilliance and fire. Second in popularity is the princess cut. This is due to the fact that it offers nearly as much brilliance as a brilliant round. It's a favorite shape for engagement rings in particular. With the square outline and pointed corners of this shape, we suggest selecting a design with a low profile with corner-set prongs or a bezel to protect the corners.
One of the oldest diamond shapes, the oval, has many of the qualities of a round cut including similar brilliance and soft edges. The elongated profile can make it appear larger than the carat weight. This shape has been gaining popularity in the last decade as we've seen with an influx of celebrity engagement rings featuring this shape. The square outline with soft corners of a cushion cut has made it a popular choice in the last few decades for those looking for optimal fire, but a more unique shape than a round brilliant or princess cut. This shape can simultaneously look contemporary and antique with its romantic shape mixed with modern faceting.
First made popular in the early 1900's, and emerald cut creates a “hall of mirrors effect” with its step cut facets, where the interplay of light and dark creates reflected repetition. This shape is perfect for those looking for a diamond with understated elegance. With less faceting and light return than a brilliant cut diamond, paired with a large table, look for a diamond that is eye-clean, VS2 or better, to ensure no inclusions are visible.
The Asscher cut is similar to an emerald cut with a step cut facet arrangement, but a 1.0-1.05 length to width ratio to create a square. With timeless sophistication and art deco appeal, when looking at asschers, factor in that they do not hide color or clarity as well as other shapes with more facets. This shape tends to be cut to show off spectacular quality.
Radiant cut diamonds are a top choice for those looking for the rectangular silhouette of an emerald with a top brilliance of a round. First prominent in the 1980's, the radiant cut is not commonly seen and preferred for those wanting a unique shape with modern sparkle. Because of its faceting and maximum light return, lower colors and clarities are easily concealed in this shape.
The pear is a timeless choice mixing a round brilliant and marquise shapes. Pears can create a slimming effect on the finger because of its elongated shape. Symmetry is key when looking for a pear shape to avoid a significant bow-tie. The marquise is a long narrow shape with pointed ends. This graceful shape can create the illusion of being larger than its carat weight, and elongating the finger of the wearer. Symmetry is again key with this shape and both points should align with sides being nearly identical, with a Very Good symmetry grade or better.
Round and Oval Rose cuts are an antique shape first developed in the 16th century to utilize flat rough. Cut with a flat bottom with a faceted domed crown, and so named for resembling a rosebud, has less light return or fire than a brilliant cut round or fancy shape. This means opt for a higher clarity to avoid eye-visible inclusions.
There’s no easy way to guess your girlfriend's ring size. Here's our guide on how to determine your ring size. The most common women’s ring size is 6.5. If you absolutely cannot find out your girlfriend's ring size, then we recommend getting a 6.5 and having it resized after you propose. However, make sure the ring you choose can be resized as not all rings can.
There are many options when it comes to engagement ring styles and we could write ten blog posts going over them. So instead of taking you down a rabbit hole, we will focus on three of the most popular diamond settings – solitaire, halo, and three-stone.
Solitaire, as its name suggests, highlights a single diamond. It’s a classic, popular choice. If your girlfriend likes simple, minimalistic jewelry – or, if she doesn’t wear jewelry – then solitaire is a good option. The three-stone, on the other hand, is best for girls who like some flash and sparkle. However, I wouldn’t recommend a three-stone unless you can afford some nice diamonds. The only thing worse than receiving a mediocre diamond is receiving three mediocre diamonds. Finally, the halo setting has a more antique look. Popular in Victorian times, this style sports a central diamond surrounded by many smaller diamonds. It’s great for women with vintage tastes.