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It’s time. You’ve finally found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and all you need to do is propose. Once you’ve made this decision, it can be extremely hard to wait, but finding that perfect ring can be a time-consuming process. This is why it’s important that you start your engagement ring shopping right away.

Shopping for an engagement ring is a bit different to shopping for a new coat or a phone. It’s rare that a person walks into a jeweller and comes out an hour later with a ring-sized box in their pocket. You may find that the ring you want must be custom ordered or resized. Perhaps you’ll decide after searching for a while that the ring you have in mind doesn’t yet exist and must be designed and created to your specifications.

More importantly, you’ll need to dive into the fascinating world of diamond research; which is why we recommend giving yourself at least three months to find that perfect piece.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at what you can expect when it comes to engagement ring shopping and how long you should plan for this important step toward the rest of your lives together.


Ring Knowledge 101

Before you start shopping, it’s wise to learn the basics of engagement rings. With a little working knowledge, you’ll be much more confident and prepared when you make your first visit to a jeweller.

Spend a few hours researching engagement rings online. Be sure to familiarise yourself with basic terminology as well as the four C’s of diamond quality:


  • Cut (the symmetry, proportion and polish of a diamond)
  • Colour (colourless to yellowish)
  • Clarity (the absence of inclusions and blemishes)
  • Carat (the diamond’s weight)


Diamonds are certified by third-party gemologists on these attributes, and you can (and should) ask to see the grading report of any diamond you’re considering purchasing. So it’s helpful to be familiar with the grading system scales used to certify diamonds.

In addition to the four C’s, it’s helpful to be aware of the styles, shapes and ring metals used for engagement rings.



  • Solitaires have consistently been popular for engagement rings throughout the last century. Solitaires consist of a single stone set on a metal band. Most people initially think of solitaires when they think of engagement rings.
  • Halo rings are especially popular right now, though they have also been popular at certain times in the past. With a halo ring, a larger centre stone is surrounded by a halo of smaller stones, which makes the centre stone appear larger and more glamorous.
  • Three-stone rings are another classic style. A large centre stone is flanked by two smaller stones, although sometimes all three stones are the same size. The three stones symbolise your past, present and future together.
  • Pave rings take their name from the French word for “paved.” Essentially, the outside of the band is paved in small diamonds, making this a perfect choice for a person who loves some extra sparkle.
  • Cathedral rings have a tall centre setting that is supported by the band on either side. It mimics the elegance and drama of a cathedral and makes a stunning focal point for a beautiful stone.

These aren’t the only styles you’re likely to encounter as you shop, but they’ll give you a good place to start.



Diamonds and other gems come in a variety of shapes. If, before you start ring shopping, you familiarise yourself with these shapes, you’ll feel much more comfortable talking with the jeweller:


  • Round brilliant
  • Princess
  • Cushion
  • Marquise
  • Emerald
  • Pear
  • Rectangle
  • Oval
  • Radiant
  • Asscher



Do you know what kind of metal you’re looking for in an engagement ring? White gold has been the metal of choice for years now, but yellow gold is gaining in popularity. Platinum is another popular choice, though you’ll want to be cautious about choosing platinum if you think the ring may need to be resized (it’s a very hard metal). Rose gold, which has a pinkish hue, is also appearing more and more in engagement rings.


Shopping Mistakes to Avoid

You can keep your ring planning on track by avoiding some common engagement ring shopping mistakes. First of all, try your very best to get the right size the first time. While it’s possible to fix this problem by exchanging the ring or resizing it, you’ll speed up the process by ordering the right size from the start. 

Another mistake to avoid is buying a style that doesn’t suit your fiance-to-be. Take a close look at the jewellery they already own and ask their friends and family if they have any suggestions about what style to look for.

Perhaps the biggest mistake is starting your shopping too late. If you have a special date in mind for your proposal, start shopping for a ring at least a month before this date. Give yourself time for any issues that come up, such as having to special order the ring or have custom work done on it.


Protecting the Ring from the Moment You Leave the Jeweller

Once you finally have the perfect ring picked out, do yourself a favour and protect it with specialised jewellery insurance. You’ve spent a great deal of time and energy picking out just the right ring, and it might just be one of your largest purchases as well.

When you buy your engagement ring from one of our Q Certified Jewellers, you can make sure the ring is covered from the moment you walk it out of the store. Instead of worrying about the ring being lost or stolen, you can enjoy this special time and focus on the excitement at hand.


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Helpful resources

Diamond Setting Fact Sheet

The Complete Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring Shopping Checklist

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