engagement-ring-shopping-cover

Engagement Ring Shopping: Collaboration Vs. Surprise

Breaking with tradition, many couples are engagement ring shopping together, leaving the element of surprise for the proposal.

engagement ring shopping cover

The question of whether to surprise your SO with a ring or include them in the selection process is as old as time.

Well, that’s not strictly true.

It actually came about rather recently, with online engagement ring shopping offering a far more collaborative experience than traditional stores. But back to the question at hand: to surprise or not to surprise? That will largely depend on whether your SO is more of a romantic or a realist.

If they’re the type to swoon at the end of romantic movies, chances are they’re holding out for a sparkling surprise of their own. Then again, if your SO is the risk-averse type, they will probably prefer to be consulted on an item of such personal significance.

Engagement Ring Shopping: Surprise and Shine

engagement ring shopping falling edge pavé diamond
Falling Edge Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring

If your SO leaves the engagement ring shopping entirely up to you, they’re taking the jewelry equivalent of a trust fall. That is, they’re trusting you to choose what is sure to be their most prized possession; an accessory they’ll be wearing every day of their life. This might seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite an honor and an opportunity to demonstrate how perceptive you are. If you have a tendency to notice small details, you’ll easily pick up on the trail of sparkly clues your partner has left behind

See what happens when couples try to design their partners’ dream engagement ring (spoiler alert: hilarity ensues!).

Can You Take a Hint?

engagement ring shopping can you take hint

If only there was some way to read the inner workings of your partner’s mind… to understand what they really mean when they say, “I’m marrying you, not the ring.” While that technology may still be a few years off, we do have a nifty drop-a-hint feature on JamesAllen.com. It’s a subtle way for your SO to let you know exactly what they want without the awkwardness of them having to say it.

Of course, there are other tried-and-tested ways to drop a hint that you should be on the lookout for. “Forgetting” to close the browser is a classic, but they may share their Pinterest boards with you or casually comment on a friend’s or celebrity’s engagement ring.

Engagement Ring Shopping: Band Together

engagement ring shopping band together

A recent study by The Knot found that roughly one third of couples collaborate on the engagement ring with their mates. People are starting to realize that the proposee is every bit as qualified to make the Big Decision as the proposer – if not more so. If your SO has expressed an interest in being involved beyond mere hint dropping, you’d be wise to take them up on the offer. After all, who better to advise you on ring style than the ring wearer herself?

Without a doubt, the best way to know your partner’s ring preferences is to have an open and honest conversation with them. If all goes well, try engagement ring shopping together and make mental notes of their ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs.’ Even if they do have a hand in selecting their ring online, they won’t know how it looks IRL until the big unveiling. With a bit of clever subterfuge, it’s still possible to throw your SO off the scent.

Help Is at Hand

engagement ring shopping help is at hand

If you’d rather collaborate with someone other than your SO, our Customer Service team is there for you 24/7 by live chat, phone, and email. They’ll help you pick out the ideal ring based on your partner’s particulars (don’t worry, you already know all the answers to their questions!). You can even request a Real-Time Diamond Inspection with a certified gemologist who will be happy to walk you through the finer points of your sparkler. And if you still want some face-to-face expert advice, visit our Georgetown, DC location.

Engagement Ring Shopping: Trust Your Instincts

The bottom line is that your shopping experience should be as comfortable as the ring on your true love’s finger. Go with whichever option feels right to you as a couple and then make it as gosh darn romantic as you possibly can!

Catch up on our proposal series, which covers everything from choosing the perfect sparkler to planning the magical moment itself.

Next in the series: discover the best proposal spots in major cities.

Will your ring be a total surprise or is your SO likely to advise? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Pin this collaboration inspiration:

engagement ring shopping pinterest pin

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first order!

Jonny Hart

Jonny is passionate about puns, adores alliteration, and finds diamonds positively facet-nating! Since joining James Allen, he has written the word 'sparkle’ 9,732 times and counting.

More Posts

pet proposal dog engagement ring

Rebarkable Dog Proposal Ideas

Fall in wuff with these dog proposal ideas…

pet proposal dog engagement ring

Our customers’ pet proposals are doggone adorable. If your partner is a dog lover and especially if you have a dog in the family, prep an emotional pup proposal!

Shop Engagement Rings

Inspiration for Dog Proposals

1. Take the Dog for a Rock

To make sure the whole family is there when you pop the question, propose while taking your dog for a walk! Our customers have found romantic spots for dog proposals in parks, on doggy beaches, at scenic lakes, and on spontaneous sidewalks.

pet dog proposals beach engagement ringpet dog proposals engagement ring sidewalk

2. Teach a New Dog Gold Tricks

Why not let your dog be your wingman? This one works with a dog you already love or a brand new dog that’ll come with the ring. Write a proposal message on a little t-shirt or personalized dog tag, tie the ring around the leash, or teach the dog to fetch a toy that says “Will you marry me?” Once your partner sees the dog, get down on one knee and clarify that the question is from you 😉

pet dog proposals t shirt engagement ring

3. Snap a Fluffy Photoshoot

You know what they say: a dog is a plan’s best friend. Either stage a family photoshoot for your dog proposal, or save the pics for after you pop the question. We love how cute those puppy dog eyes are – almost as bright as their owners’ engagement rings!

pet dog proposals photo shoot engagement ring

pet dog proposals engagement photo shoot

4. “Answers to the Name of…”

For a sweet tribute to your pet, plan a wordplay proposal inspired by your doggo’s breed or name. Have a poodle? Take your partner to Paris! If you happen to have a Jack Russell Terrier named after a champion racehorse like our customers Kara and Nick, be sure to propose at the horse’s beautiful farm!

pet dog proposals name horse engagement ring

5. Bonus: Post a Bow-WOW Ring Selfie

A happy engagement announcement and a lil’ puppy nose?? Social media never looked better. Tell the world you said yes with an all-hands-in pic, a high five with your pup, or (*for those who can stay still*) balancing the ring on your pet’s noggin. Check out our Instagram and Pinterest for more ring selfie inspiration!

pet dog proposals selfies engagement ring

You’re almost ready for your adorable dog proposal… Now fetch the perfect engagement ring!

Have dog proposal stories or pics to share? Let us know in the comments below, or on our social channels: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

For even more helpful proposal guides, check out the rest of our proposal series.

Looking for more puppy proposal inspiration? Check out our dog proposal Pinterest board and pin this!

pet dog proposals pin pinterest

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Tova Kamioner

Tova is a lover of fantastic stories, and although she is skeptical of romantic comedies, she can quote most of the classics by heart.

More Posts

how much to spend on an engagement ring

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

We asked one of our brilliant customer service representatives how much to spend on an engagement ring. Their answer was perfect…

how much to spend on an engagement ring

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring?

“There’s a ring and a person for everyone, and that’s also true for the price you have in mind,” says our customer service expert. There’s no set formula for how much you have to spend on an engagement ring.” Follow her tips to buy the dream ring for your budget!

Shop Affordable Engagement Rings

Save on Your Engagement Ring with a Solitaire Setting

“To really put all the focus on the center stone, you can make an absolutely gorgeous solitaire engagement ring for under $1,000,” says our expert.

14K White Gold Presentation Solitaire (Six Prong)

“Solitaires are also great because you can personalize them and dress them up with a wedding band.”

14K White Gold Ladies 0.50CTW.* Contoured Common Prong Diamond Eternity Ring

When choosing how much to spend on an engagement ring, remember that you have the rest of your lives together! “As time goes on and finances change, you can always remount the center stone and add different diamond bands to create that stackable effect.”

Shop Solitaire Engagement Rings

Elongated Shapes are the Best Diamonds on a Budget

“If you want to really maximize the visual size of the diamond or finger coverage, then go with an elongated shape like an oval, a marquise, or a pear,” our expert suggests.

14K White Gold Split Shank Ribbon Engagement Ring

“Any of these shapes with a halo setting will give you the biggest wow factor and not break the bank at the same time.”

14K White Gold Pave Halo Diamond Engagement Ring (Oval Center)

Shop Elongated Shape Diamonds

Give Your Engagement Ring Diamond Some Context

“The image that you’re seeing on the screen is not the same thing that you’re going to see in person and in the ring,” says our expert. To better understand which diamond inclusions will be visible when it’s set in a ring, you can chat with us through our Diamond Consultation Service.

how much to spend on an engagement ring diamond consultation

Our non-commissioned gemologists will take you through the specs of the diamond in 360° HD so that you confidently get the best diamond for your money.

Three Round Cut Diamonds

When choosing how much to spend, make sure to understand how the diamond will look in the ring setting! Diamond color is a great example to consider. Our expert explains: “For those who are more comfortable with having a bit of warmth to their center stone, it ends up working really well with a yellow gold or rose gold setting.”

14K Rose Gold Pave Halo Diamond Engagement Ring (Pear Center)

“This kind of rich appearance can help you to get a larger carat weight within the same price range.”

Browse Engagement Ring Diamonds

More affordable engagement rings await… Shop here!

(Pssst… there’s more than one way to finance your ring. Learn more about James Allen’s special financing options.)

Have advice to share about how much to spend on an engagement ring? Let us know in the comments below, or on our social channels: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Back to the basics: Buying an Engagement Ring 101 * How to Propose

Stay tuned to this proposal series for expert advice about collaborating on the ring!

Read on: 11 Gorgeous & Affordable Engagement RingsHow to Make Your Diamond Engagement Ring Look Bigger

Pin this image to save:

how much to spend on an engagement ring pin pinterest

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Tova Kamioner

Tova is a lover of fantastic stories, and although she is skeptical of romantic comedies, she can quote most of the classics by heart.

More Posts

summer proposal tips split shank cushion engagement ring

Our Top 6 Summer Proposal Tips

If you’re planning on proposing during the sunny season, check out our ultimate summer proposal tips!

14K Rose Gold Cushion Halo Split Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

Shop Engagement Rings

Ah, summer. The season of picnics, performances, frozen drinks, and some of the most romantic proposals we’ve seen. Before you pop the question, read through our tried-and-true guide to summer proposals!

Summer Proposal Tip 1: Get Outta Here

Summer gives some of the best weather for a proposal in the great outdoors! Connect to nature through a hike, a walk on the beach, or a park picnic proposal to make it as timeless as possible. Consider even tying in one of these nature-inspired floral engagement rings.

14K White Gold 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Engagement Ring

Summer Proposal Tip 2: Don’t Sweat It!

The flipside of proposing outdoors: sometimes nature presents, shall we say, unphotogenic moments. Think about plans that avoid sweat, bugs, and dehydration – both of you should feel as wonderful as possible (and as clean as a solitaire engagement ring) when you ask that question.

14K Rose Gold Cushion Halo Split Shank Diamond Engagement Ring

Summer Proposal Tip 3: Celebrate with Sunset

Summer has some of the most vivid sunsets of the year, making it the perfect opportunity for an unforgettable, fiery sunset proposal! To maximize all the nice photo hours, propose during what photographers call the golden hour (the hour right before sunrise or sunset) then celebrate while watching the sun go down. For an extra burst of color, opt for a gemstone engagement ring.

14K White Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring (Round Center)

Summer Proposal Tip 4: Weather or Not…

This season brings rainstorms out of nowhere; so unless you’re going for an Allie and Noah moment, have a backup plan indoors in case it pours! If you are going for a rainy romance a la The Notebook (or Sweet Home Alabama or Spider-Man or The Office… the list goes on), consider a water drop (pear shaped) diamond ring and prep to keep all electronics and leather apparel dry.

14K White Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring (Round Center)

Summer Proposal Tip 5: Suddenly I See

An underratedly practical one here: if you’re proposing somewhere sunny, make sure you SO can keep her eyes open! All the tears should be out of emotion and not from squinting – consider taking her to a shaded area.

18K White Gold 2.5mm Comfort Fit Solitaire Engagement Ring

If it’s gotta be bright and sunny, have sunglasses at the ready!

14K White Gold Pave Halo And Shank Diamond Engagement Ring (Pear Center)

Summer Proposal Tip 6: Come Fly Away

If your job gives bonus vacation time in the summer, take advantage! Go on a fantastical and gorgeous vacation and pop the question there. There’s lots of planning involved in a destination proposal, but have no fear – our guide to travel proposals can take you through every step.

Platinum Six Prong Knife Edged Solitaire Engagement Ring

Get set for your summer proposal… Shop the perfect engagement ring!

Back to the basics: Buying an Engagement Ring 101 * How to Propose

Stay tuned to this proposal series for expert advice about proposing on a budget, collaborating on the ring, and more.

Finding this summer proposal advice helpful or have tips of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below or on our social channels: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Soak in these proposal tips anytime (pin this!):

summer proposal tips pin pinterest

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Tova Kamioner

Tova is a lover of fantastic stories, and although she is skeptical of romantic comedies, she can quote most of the classics by heart.

More Posts

choosing engagement ring diamond

Choosing a Diamond: Be in the Glow

Precious advice for those who will soon be choosing a diamond for their engagement ring.

choosing engagement ring diamond

We recognize that gleam in your eye! No, we’re not talking about the way you look at your SO (although that is adorable). If there’s one thing capable of making a person’s eyes light up like that, it’s diamonds. Those pretty little stones you know nothing about, but are determined to get a good deal on.

And where better to start than our men’s FAQ series? In this first installment, we look at choosing a diamond; from understanding the 4Cs to getting the most bling for your buck.

Choosing a Diamond: Foresee the 4Cs

It’s impossible to talk diamonds without mentioning the 4Cs: cut, color, carat, and clarity. Together, these all-important characteristics influence a diamond’s quality and value. They are your new best friends. Get to know them. Go have a beer with them. Whatever you have to do.

    • Cut – This refers to both the diamond’s shape and how effectively it returns light to the viewer’s eye.
    • Color – This is generally something you want to avoid in a diamond, unless it’s a fancy color diamond (more on that later).
    • Carat – This is the unit of measurement by which diamonds are weighed and sold.
  • Clarity – This refers to how clean a diamond is and whether it has visible imperfections.

When in doubt, start with a diamond cut. This is the one area you should never compromise on as it determines how sparkly the stone is.

“I want my ring to sparkle less.”
– No one, ever

If you have to compromise on anything, let it be diamond clarity. However, try to avoid going below a VS1 clarity grade; anything lower would be visible to the naked eye.

Choosing a Diamond: Appearances Can Be Gleaming

Let’s be real for a moment, shall we? No one buys a diamond engagement ring for their SO without wanting to impress their socks off. It’s the ultimate declaration of your love, so of course you’ll want to go all out and snag the biggest, most sparkly rock you can afford.

While celebs are known for flashing ridiculous amounts of sparkle, you don’t always need to pay top dollar to enjoy those megawatt flashes. If you’re on a budget, there are a number of ways to make even a modest diamond appear larger than it actually is. Sneaky, we know!

One way to get more bling for your buck is to opt for an undersized diamond. Now, that might sound counterintuitive – how can a smaller diamond appear the same size as a larger one to the naked eye? By choosing a diamond that’s just shy of the standard industry cutoff points, you could save yourself a pretty penny, without compromising on sparkle. Consider a 0.9 carat diamond and a 1 carat diamond with comparable specs. On the surface, both stones appear to be virtually the same size, but look closer at the price tags and you’ll see a considerable saving on the smaller stone. Similar carat weight, less cash. Booyah!

14K White Gold Round Split Band Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

Another way to appear more sparkly is to choose a setting style that accentuates the center diamond. Halo engagement rings, for example, surround the center stone with an outer ring of smaller diamonds or gemstones. These peripheral stones reflect light off the center stone, giving it a greater presence on the hand. Halo engagement rings come in single and double halo varieties, depending on how far you want to glow… er… go.

For more sparkle-maximizing tips, read up on how to make your diamond engagement ring look bigger.

Choosing a Diamond: Appraise Where It’s Due

choosing engagement ring diamond appraisal

A diamond appraisal is necessary if you want to get your ring insured – which, btw, you totally should! It differs from the GIA or AGS diamond grading certificate that comes with your ring in that it provides a dollar estimate rather than the technical info.

At JamesAllen.com, we offer a complimentary insurance evaluation on any diamond engagement ring valued at $1,000 or higher. If you prefer, you’re welcome to get the diamond independently appraised as well.

Choosing a Diamond: Color Outside the Shines

choosing engagement ring diamond fancy color

If your head isn’t already spinning at 360° like our diamonds, we’re about to throw another curveball at you: fancy color diamonds. While colorless diamonds have traditionally been the objects of our affection, their colorful cousins are steadily gaining popularity. And because stones at the vivid ends of the color spectrum are quite rare, they’re more valuable too.

When choosing a diamond, pay close attention to your partner’s personal style. If they’re the free-spirited, artistic type, a diamond in their favorite color could make for an exceptionally meaningful gift. Read more about fancy color diamonds.

Choosing a Diamond: Own That Stone!

Remember you can view all 200,000+ diamonds on JamesAllen.com in 360° HD at up to 40x SuperZoom.

Decided on a diamond dazzler? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

Don’t miss the next installment in our men’s FAQ series: How to Keep the Ring a Secret.

Pin to save this Swiss Army knife of sparkle:

choosing engagement ring diamond pin pinterst

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Jonny Hart

Jonny is passionate about puns, adores alliteration, and finds diamonds positively facet-nating! Since joining James Allen, he has written the word 'sparkle’ 9,732 times and counting.

More Posts