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Engagement ring shopping tips: What to know before you buy, according to an expert

These expert tips break down everything you should know before you buy an engagement ring.

Gold jewelry diamond rings in box engagement ring concept
Shopping for an engagement ring? Don't miss these expert tips. (Getty Images)

Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away, and as we approach the holiday, many people are preparing to pop the question on what’s arguably one of the most romantic days of the year.

There's are likely to be a surge in engagements over the next few months, since according to a recent forecast from The Wedding Report, nearly 2.24 million weddings are expected in 2023. While that's down from 2.5 million weddings in 2022, it's still up from a low of 1.3 million in 2020.

With less than a month to go until the big day, if you’re looking to find the perfect ring to commemorate your relationship, keep reading for everything to consider before making your purchase.

Close-Up Of Cropped Hands With Wedding Ring
Take the stress out of engagrment ring shopping eith these expert tips. (Getty Images)

How much to spend on an engagement ring

The decision on how much to spend on an engagement ring is a personal choice — despite the outdated "rules" that may suggest otherwise. According to WeddingStats.org, the average engagement ring in Canada in 2021 (the latest year available) cost $3,500, while in the United States the average cost was $5,600, according The Knot.

That said, you should decide on a budget that fits within your income and lifestyle before you set out to purchase an engagement ring.

Consider your engagement ring's centre stone

There’s no denying the appeal of a diamond ring to mark an engagement, since the precious stone symbolizes commitment, faithfulness and love.

Stones like Moissanite are gaining in popularity as alternatives to traditional mined diamonds, but according to a 2021 survey from The Knot, diamonds remain the most popular stone of choice with with 85% of ring shoppers choosing them as their centre gem.

However, in light of growing ethical and environmental concerns, the gemstone’s appeal seems to have tarnished lately, and consumers are instead opting for alternatives that are fairly-traded, as well as cost-effective. Enter, the lab-grown diamond.

Oval diamond ring with halo setting in a prach ring box
Choosing between mined and lab-grown diamonds can save you money.

What is a lab-grown diamond?

Rather than being mined from the earth through often questionable practices, lab-grown diamonds are instead manufactured under controlled lab conditions. Technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process is used to create the stones, with a fraction of the environmental impact of mined diamonds.

In addition to being better for the planet, lab-grown diamonds are less expensive and offer a guarantee that they haven't been mined from a conflict zone.

"It's like getting ice from your freezer versus getting it from a glacier," explains Anna-Mieke Anderson, founder of lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna.

When should you start shopping for an engagement ring?

If you’re part of the majority and are planning to pop the question this Valentine’s Day and have yet to start shopping, it may be a little late to start according to jewelry brand Couple’s cofounder Jeff Brenner, especially if you're looking for something custom-made.

“I usually recommend shopping for a ring six months ahead of time to be safe, but at least three.” Brenner said. “It really depends on how confident you are in what your partner wants and how much advance research you’ve done.”

Though last minute rings can always be sourced (look out for items that are ready to ship), an engagement ring is definitely a purchase you shouldn’t rush. Before buying, you should take your time to shop around and compare designs from multiple retailers, and make sure that you aren’t pressured into buying something you don’t love.

What to know before you buy an engagement ring

Ahead of making an important jewelry purchase, whether it’s an engagement ring, a push present, or a gift for any other special occasion, Brenner shared his top tips that every shopper should consider:

  1. Listen, observe and pay close attention. You have no idea how many people make the wrong call because they are just not listening and picking up on hints like open magazines left on the coffee table.

  2. Set a budget, learn about the options that fall within it and take time to consider your choices.

  3. Finally, if you can’t make a decision, opt for a timeless design vs. trying to create something unique.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, shop some of our favourite diamond engagement rings that are sure to be a hit this holiday season.

Brilliant Earth Amelie Diamond Engagement Ring

Amelie Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Brilliant Earth.
Amelie Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Brilliant Earth.

From 1,590 at Brilliant Earth

Catbird The Swan Solitaire, Oval (Cultivated Diamond)

The Swan Solitaire, Oval (Cultivated Diamond). Image via Catbird.
The Swan Solitaire, Oval (Cultivated Diamond). Image via Catbird.

From $3,736 at Catbird

Mejuri Diamonds Cluster Ring

Diamonds Cluster Ring. Image via Mejuri.
Diamonds Cluster Ring. Image via Mejuri.

$2,800 at Mejuri

Paris Jewellers Solitaire Engagement Ring With .70 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond

Solitaire Engagement Ring With .70 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond. Image via Paris Jewellers.
Solitaire Engagement Ring With .70 Carat Emerald Cut Diamond. Image via Paris Jewellers.

$6,299 at Paris Jewellers

Vrai The Toi et Moi Emerald and Pear Engagement Ring

The Toi et Moi Emerald and Pear Engagement Ring. Image via Vrai.
The Toi et Moi Emerald and Pear Engagement Ring. Image via Vrai.

From $1,350 at Vrai

Blue Nile French Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring

French Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Blue Nile.
French Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Blue Nile.

From $1,944 at Blue Nile

Ritani Vintage Floral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring

Vintage Floral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Ritani.
Vintage Floral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. Image via Ritani.

$2,188 at Ritani

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