11 Dos and Don'ts of Engagement Ring Shopping

Find the perfect engagement ring with these helpful tips.
ivy jacobson the knot wedding planning and bridal fashion expert
by Ivy Jacobson
ivy jacobson the knot wedding planning and bridal fashion expert
Ivy Jacobson
Wedding Planning and Bridal Fashion Expert
  • Ivy Jacobson Ford is an Executive Editor for ThePioneerWoman.com.
  • Ivy is an editorial strategist with over 10 years of experience creating lifestyle and commerce content.
  • Ivy worked for The Knot from 2014 to 2019.
Updated Jan 19, 2018

When you're engagement ring shopping with your partner (one in three couples do, according to The Knot 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study), it's important to know how to navigate the ins and outs of finding the perfect one for you. After all, buying an engagement ring isn't quite the same as buying a new pair of shoes. That's why we consulted Marisa Perry, co-owner and cofounder of Marisa Perry Atelier in New York City, about the dos and don'ts of engagement ring shopping.

1. Do pick your favorite diamond shape first.

Identifying your favorite ring shape will make it that much easier to choose what you want the rest of the ring to look like (the metal, the setting, the band type and so on). Focus on which aesthetic you love the most and which shape complements your finger the best.

2. Don't focus on the setting when you're trying to see what shape looks best on you.

Just because the ring you're trying on has a split-shank setting doesn't mean your ring has to have one. Don't get too caught up in the setting details or let that sway you from choosing the diamond shape you want—there are lots of types of settings your ring can have. If the type of ring you want needs to have a particular setting, your jeweler will tell you.

3. Do feel comfortable asking to try on different shapes.

Just like you'll want to likely try on lots of different wedding dress silhouettes, you should also try on lots of different diamond shapes. Your jeweler will want you to as well, so you can determine what you love the most.

4. Don't assume you can take photos without the shop's permission.

Many ring designs are proprietary and certain designers don't want them copied. Just like at a wedding dress salon, you may not be allowed to take photos of what you're trying on. Be respectful and ask first. This is a completely normal and standard rule that some shop owners have—but when you officially choose the ring, you'll likely be allowed to snap away.

5. Do try diamond sizes consistent with your price range.

It's all about proportion. Let your jeweler know your budget so they only show you rings or loose stones in your price range. You may have to make compromises as you go through the process—such as deciding if a diamond with a large carat is worth going down on the color scale to you or not.

6. Don't bring a group of friends when you're making the final shape and style decision.

You shouldn't be influenced away from what you truly love—after all, you're the one who's going to be wearing this ring. Everyone will have an opinion, but the only thing that matters is you love it.

7. Do pick the color metal that's the most flattering on your complexion.

Try on rose gold, yellow gold or platinum bands to see what's best, but don't worry so much on how the diamond reflects off of that color metal.

8. Don't touch the diamond when you're trying on the rings.

It'll dull the center stone—not touching it will allow you to see its true brilliance.

9. Do try the appropriate wedding band with the ring before you purchase it so you know in advance what it'll look like together.

This way, there are no surprises. You don't want to end up with a ring you can't wear a certain band with.

10. Don't let the diamond's color, clarity and grading report influence you, overlooking the diamond itself.

There's nothing on a certificate that says "beautiful diamond," and in the end, you should have what you really love.

11. Do make your ring as unique as you want it to be.

A ring is a reflection of both you and your partner—make it as unique as you are. Don't be afraid to be different or make a specific ask. Your jeweler will help you get exactly what you want.

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