How to Make Engagement Ring Shopping as a Couple a Fun Experience
If you decide to go engagement ring shopping with your partner, you're definitely not alone in that choice: One in three couples do, according to The Knot 2017 Jewelry & Engagement Study. And even with the comfort and support of your partner there, it can still be a nerve-wracking, intimidating experience when the goal is to have a great consultant who'll find the perfect ring for you that's within your budget. Shopping for an engagement ring is something you usually do once, and it's a very happy time in your life, which is why you should have the best possible experience together. That's why we consulted Marisa Perry, co-owner and cofounder of Marisa Perry Atelier in New York City, about how to make ring shopping as a couple as smooth as possible.
She, along with many other store owners and jewelers know, that people don't shop for diamonds every day (although some have decent working knowledge about the 4Cs) and it's perfectly normal to be nervous and not quite know how the shopping process goes. They expect that and want you to feel comfortable and have fun with the day. Here's how.
1. Do your research ahead of time.
Besides choosing which jewelers you want to go to in advance, you should also do your research to minimize any confusion on the type of store you want to go to and the budget you want to stay within. But a knowledgable salesperson should be approachable, upbeat and be able to guide you into understanding what you really want. And of course, a celebratory glass of champagne should be included in that equation!
2. Have the budget talk ahead of time too.
We can't stress this enough. There's nothing that zaps the fun out of ring shopping together than finding your dream sparkler and then having your partner tell you it's way over their intended budget. Have an open and honest conversation together before you go shopping about how much your partner (and you) are comfortable spending. Although knowing the price of your ring was once taboo, it's more common to know it now since so many couples live together and share expenses before marriage, and some want to know because of insurance purposes or want to help their partners stay within budget. Once you tell your jeweler what your price range is, they'll be very respectful of that and only show you things within your budget.
It can also be helpful to look online in advance and get a concept of what diamonds cost per carat, and how they look on a real hand, so you can tell the sales person what you're thinking of in terms of price and weight.
3. Try on as many rings as you want (seriously!).
In other words, don't be afraid to try on as many ring shapes and designs as you want so you can feel confident in your choice. And don't worry too much about your partner's opinion—they just want you to be happy with your choice.
"I don't expect anyone to know what shape looks best on their hand, unless they've has already tried on lots of shapes," Perry says. "Some women think they want a round diamond, but when they try on stones, ovals and emerald cuts may look better, so she should feel free to try as many shapes as possible. This includes a round, oval, emerald, Asscher, radiant, cushion, pear and Marquis cut. If she knows she'll never like an oval, no problem. At this time, she should only be focusing on the shape of the diamond and nothing else. The setting is next, and there'll be plenty of time for that. We as store owners expect there to be lots of trying on, and encourage it. We want to make sure that when a woman receives her ring, she loves it and knows she picked her absolute favorite shape diamond. She has to wear it for the rest of her life and that puts, her, her partner and us at ease, knowing that she's made the right decision."
4. Zero in on the settings available for the size and shape of your stone.
Do you like a solitaire (a single band with one center stone), a ring with side stones, or perhaps a super thin micro-pave diamond band? Once you have that figured out, there'll be light at the end of the tunnel. Because once the jeweler knows that, they can either show you that combination, if they have it in stock, or perhaps they can do a custom order. If they can't do either, at least you and your partner know what you like and they can source that ring on their own, perhaps from another vendor.
5. Go to lunch before or get drinks after.
Shopping for your engagement ring is a big deal—and should be celebrated adequately! Don't sweat it if you didn't find exactly what you were looking for or your dream ring is two thousand dollars over budget. You and your partner should make a day of it and go for a meal or drinks to top off the day and cheers to a successful shopping trip, whether you found something you love or not. What counts is that you're looking for a beautiful ring together, and that's what should stick out the most.