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What setting style should I choose for an engagement ring?
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When is the best time to buy an engagement ring?
How much should an engagement ring cost?
Bottom Line Recommendation
There’s no “best” style of engagement ring for everyone. The favorite ring I ever helped one of our readers buy is this stunner I found on James Allen. But does that mean it’s the right ring for you? Not necessarily.
If you’re searching for an engagement ring for yourself or your fiancé-to-be, we recommend selecting a setting that matches your style, then customizing it with a brilliant diamond.
Instead of buying an engagement ring from a local jeweler, you’ll get the best prices by buying online. We recommend buying from James Allen or Blue Nile, as both of these vendors offer outstanding value for money, quality and customer service.
Looking for a specific type of engagement ring? Use the navigation links below to jump directly to our recommended engagement rings in each style:
Struggling to find an engagement ring that matches your or your fiancé-to-be’s tastes? You’re definitely not alone. With thousands of different metal, style and center stone combinations to choose from, picking the best engagement ring for your fiancé-to-be can be a tough process.
Buying an engagement ring is a very personal decision. While certain designs go in and out of fashion, the most important factor for any engagement ring is that it matches and complements your personal tastes and style (also, different styles suit different hand types).
While some people would view this ring from Blue Nile as avant garde, another may look at it as straying too far from the classic look. On the flip side, while one person may view this ring from James Allen as a classic beauty, another may consider it boring and old-fashioned.
Profession is another thing to consider. Medical professionals might benefit from a slightly different style – one, that won’t get in the way of their everyday work.
Luckily, today, there are countless different engagement ring settings available, with options out there to suit just about everyone’s tastes.
Below, we’ve put together a detailed list of what we believe are the 43 best engagement rings that are available today. Our list includes engagement rings in a huge, diverse variety of styles, from timeless classics to more contemporary, fashionable rings that have attracted attention over the last few years.
One thing that’s important to point out is that you definitely don’t need to spend a fortune to buy a beautiful engagement ring. In our list, we’ve included rings at a variety of price points, from elegant yet affordable options to an assortment of more ornate, intricate and costly settings.
Whether you’re on a strict budget (maybe you’re looking for a $1,000 engagement ring) and like simple engagement rings or prefer to spring for the very best (which can include $25,000 engagement rings), we’ve put together a variety of options to suit you.
We’ve also included a budget range for each style of ring to let you know how much you should expect to spend for each type of engagement ring.
Since the price of an engagement ring can vary massively based on the carat weight and quality of its diamond, our budget range focuses on the setting, not the diamond. When it comes to the diamond itself, the sky is truly the limit in terms of how much you’re willing to spend.
In our list, we’ve narrowed down the best engagement rings by style into 10 different categories.
It’s easy for you to get the best engagement ring when you are certain of the ring style you want to go with. And, suppose you’re confused about choosing between any two or more ring styles – we got you. You can always contact us and we’ll provide expert advice to help you to choose.
Timeless, elegant and beautifully simple, a solitaire engagement ring is a fantastic choice if you want your fiancé-to-be to wear something that will never go out of style.
Because solitaire engagement rings don’t feature any pavé or channel-set diamonds, they tend to be the most affordable settings. Pair any of the rings below with a beautiful center diamond or gemstone and you have a gorgeous, timeless engagement ring that will always impress.
If you’re looking for an engagement ring that’s simple, elegant and timeless, a solitaire setting is the way to go. Solitaire rings don’t feature any pavé or halo diamonds, making the center stone the true star of the show.
This classic six-prong solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile is one of our favorites. It comes in four different metals (14K white gold, 18K white or yellow gold and platinum) and offers great value for money, with the 14K white gold option starting from just $250.
Add this stunning 1.00 carat round, J color VS2 diamond and you have a beautiful engagement ring that will never go out of style for less than $5,000. You can also choose a smaller diamond or different gemstone to bring the price of this engagement ring to the $2,000 to $5,000 range.
Budget range (setting only): $390 (14K gold) to $740 (platinum).
This timeless four-prong solitaire engagement ring from James Allen is another great option if you’re looking for a simple yet elegant ring that will never go out of style.
Like the six-prong solitaire ring from Blue Nile above, it doesn’t feature any pavé diamonds or side stones, making the center stone the center of attention. However, this setting secures the center stone with four prongs instead of six to better showcase the brilliance of the diamond.
James Allen offer this ring in five different metals, with pricing starting from only $420 for the setting in 14K gold. Like other solitaire settings, it looks outstanding with a high-quality round brilliant diamond, such as this 1.01 carat J-VS2 excellent cut round stone.
Budget range (setting only): $430 (14K gold) to $730 (platinum).
Unique, eye-catching and contemporary, this twisted shank solitaire engagement ring from James Allen is a nice twist on the classic solitaire setting. This setting is a great choice if you’re looking for a ring that offers the elegant simplicity of a solitaire setting with a more modern, contemporary look.
James Allen offer this setting in a variety of metals, including 14K rose gold. Like the two other solitaire settings we’ve featured above, this ring looks particularly impressive when it’s paired with a high-quality round brilliant or cushion cut diamond.
Budget range (setting only): $780 (14K gold) to $1,080 (platinum).
This gorgeous Zac Posen East-West solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile adds a unique, contemporary twist to the classic solitaire setting. It’s available in platinum and has a bypass shank, with ends that wrap around the center stone.
Like other engagement rings from Blue Nile, you can customize this setting with your choice of a round diamond center stone. Paired with this 0.90 carat round, J color, VS1 center diamond, you have a stunning and truly unique engagement ring for approximately $5,000.
Budget range (setting only): $1,190 (platinum)Customize and Buy Now
In a halo ring, a circle of small, typically round diamonds surrounds the center stone. This halo of diamonds or other gemstones emphasizes the center stone, drawing attention to it while making it appear larger and more brilliant. You can learn more about halo settings here. Ideal for people who are ready to show the world a little more.
This gorgeous pavé halo engagement ring from James Allen features a thin halo of 16 small, round diamonds that surround the center stone. These small diamonds draw attention to the center stone while giving it the illusion of a larger carat weight.
Like many of the solitaire engagement rings featured above, this halo setting has a timeless and elegant look that will never go out of style. Match it with a high-quality round center diamond for a discreet yet beautiful ring that will attract plenty of compliments.
James Allen offer this setting in white, yellow or rose gold, as well as platinum. Because of the shape of the diamond halo, this setting is designed for round center stones. We’ve included an option below for center stones in a cushion, emerald or princess cut.
Budget range (setting only): $1,030 (14K gold) to $1,360 (platinum).
This beautiful pavé halo setting from James Allen is identical to the engagement ring above, but has a design that can accommodate cushion, radiant and emerald cut diamonds. It’s available in white, yellow or rose gold, as well as platinum and offers an elegant, timeless appearance.
If you prefer a princess cut center stone, this setting has an identical appearance with a suitably shaped halo. James Allen also offer this engagement ring with slightly different designs for oval and pear shaped center stones, letting you choose the option that best suits your tastes.
Budget range (setting only): $1,060 (14K gold) to $1,390 (platinum).
This stunning French pavé engagement ring from James Allen pairs a round diamond with a beautiful halo of blue sapphires. The blue sapphires not only add to the ring’s beauty but also make the center stone look larger and more impressive.
If you prefer a different type of gemstone for the halo, you can contact James Allen to change the blue sapphires into diamonds or rubies.
James Allen offer this setting in a variety of metals, although white gold and platinum both look particularly stunning beside the blue of the halo stones. Add a round brilliant cut diamond such as this 0.80 H color, SI1 excellent cut stone for a gorgeous ring under $4,000.
Budget range (setting only): $2,180 (14K gold) to $2,580 (platinum).
With its unique whirling halo made up of angled pear-shaped diamonds, this engagement ring from James Allen stands out from the crowd. The shank of the ring is shaped to follow the line of the halo, giving this ring a totally unique appearance that’s sure to attract compliments.
Like other settings from James Allen, this engagement ring can be customized with your choice of center diamond or gemstone.
James Allen offer this setting in a variety of metals, including white, yellow and rose gold. You can also purchase it with a matching wedding band that features a whirling shape and looks fantastic next to the engagement ring.
Budget range (setting only): $3,930 (14K gold) to $4,710 (platinum).
This timeless halo engagement ring from Blue Nile features an elegant diamond halo as well as a pavé diamond laden shank. The center stone is held in place by four prongs, providing great visibility and showing off the center diamond’s brilliance.
Blue Nile offer this ring in platinum, as well as 14K white, yellow or rose gold. As with most rings from Blue Nile, you can customize it to feature your preferred round diamond.
With a total carat weight of ¼ ct for the setting alone, this engagement ring is a great choice for those looking for something especially breathtaking and impressive. Like most of the halo rings on our list, this looks best with a high quality round brilliant cut center diamond.
Budget range (setting only): $1,490 (14K gold) to $1,850 (platinum).
If you’re looking for something particularly eye-catching and breathtaking, this split shank double halo pavé engagement ring from James Allen is a great choice. This ring features a double halo of diamonds around the center stone, as well as a split shank with pavé diamonds.
In total, there are 68 diamonds on this setting, excluding the center stone. Available in platinum or yellow, white or rose gold, this is a stunning setting that’s ideal if you’re looking for something plenty of presence that remains elegant and timeless.
Budget range (setting only): $2,630 (14K gold) to $2,990 (platinum).
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Pavé engagement rings feature one or several rows of pavé diamonds — small diamonds that are mounted on the shank of the ring. These small diamonds can emphasize the center stone and give the ring a more elegant, classic appearance.
This beautiful French pavé diamond engagement ring from Blue Nile features a line of pavé-set diamonds on its shank. The center stone is displayed on its own without a diamond halo, giving it an elegant appearance and showcasing the diamond’s brilliance.
Equal parts simple, timeless and beautiful, this pavé engagement ring is a great option if you’re looking for something slightly more ornate and eye-catching than a solitaire setting. As with our recommended solitaire settings, it looks best with a round, brilliant cut center diamond.
Good center stone options include this 0.80 carat round, J color, VS1 diamond, which brings the total price of the ring to just above $3,700, or this impressive 1.20 carat cushion cut, H color, SI1 diamond, which offers additional size and presence for a slightly higher price.
Budget range (setting only): $1,390 (14K gold) to $1,750 (platinum).
If you’re looking for a unique take on the classic pavé setting, this split shank ring from James Allen is an excellent choice. It features a split shank with two lines of pavé diamonds, as well as a separate ribbon of diamonds beneath the center stone.
With a total carat weight of 0.31ct, this gorgeous ring features 58 separate diamonds in addition to the center stone. Like other pavé settings, it looks fantastic with a round brilliant cut diamond as its center stone, but can also look elegant with a fancy shape diamond or gemstone.
Budget range (setting only): $2,080 (14K gold) to $2,480 (platinum).
This Art Nouveau inspired pavé engagement ring from James Allen features a scalloped basket, squared shank and 16 pavé-set diamonds, giving it a stunning, unique appearance inspired by the early 20th century art movement.
James Allen offer this ring in a variety of metals, although white metals such as white gold or platinum (pictured) provide the best match between the ring and basket. A great option if you want something unique, elegant and unlike most conventional engagement rings.
Budget range (setting only): $1,350 (14K gold) to $1,710 (platinum).
This pavé diamond engagement ring from James Allen features a unique infinity design, with a stunning split and joined shank that symbolizes everlasting love, unity and devotion. The setting includes 40 small, round pavé diamonds, with a total carat weight of 0.24ct.
Unlike many other unique engagement rings, this setting is designed to hold a variety of center stone shapes. It’s pictured in 18K yellow gold with a stunning oval diamond, which complements the unique infinity pattern of the ring itself.
Budget range (setting only): $1,500 (14K gold) to $1,740 (platinum).
Another vintage-inspired pavé engagement ring, this reverse taper diamond engagement ring from James Allen features 14 round pavé-set diamonds with milgrain edges, giving it a unique look and feel.
James Allen offer this setting in a variety of metals. For a classic vintage look, choose yellow gold (pictured). If you’re looking for a gemstone engagement ring, this setting is an excellent choice — it looks fantastic with a blue sapphire center stone instead of a round diamond.
Budget range (setting only): $1,780 (14K gold) to $2,240 (platinum).
Side stone engagement rings feature one or several smaller diamonds on either side of the center stone. These side stones add to the beauty of the center stone and give the ring an eye-catching, unique appearance.
This vintage-inspired marquise diamond and sapphire engagement ring from Blue Nile features a combination of pear-shaped diamonds and blue sapphires. It also has milgrain edges, giving it a unique look that’s difficult to find in modern engagement rings.
If you or your fiancé-to-be want something that’s equal parts modern and classic, this ring is an excellent choice. It’s also available with petite diamonds instead of sapphires. Like other rings from Blue Nile, you can customize this setting with your choice of center diamond or gemstone.
Budget range (setting only): $1,250 (with sapphires) to $1,290 (with diamonds).
This charming, effortlessly feminine sidestone engagement ring from James Allen features three pavé diamonds on either side of the center stone. These diamonds frame the center diamond to give it a classic appearance and greater presence on your fiancé-to-be’s finger.
Side stone engagement rings are a great option if you’re looking for something delicate, elegant and feminine. This particular ring is available in a range of metals but looks particularly stunning in 14K rose gold, which accentuates its light, feminine design.
Budget range (setting only): $760 (14K gold) to $1,240 (platinum).
Another gorgeous side stone ring, this petite diamond engagement ring from Blue Nile features three pavé-set diamonds on either side of the center stone. Unlike many other side stone rings, the side diamonds are set on the ring’s shank rather than directly beside the center stone.
With its elegant, modern-yet-timeless looks, this engagement ring is a great choice if you want something that’s simple yet beautiful. Blue Nile offer this setting in a range of metals, including 14K yellow gold (pictured).
Budget range (setting only): $850 (14K gold) to $1,190 (platinum).
This six diamond side stone engagement ring from James Allen features three round diamonds on either side of the center diamond or gemstone, all mounted set in common prongs to provide maximum light for the center stone.
Available in a range of metals, the ring pictured above is made from 14K white gold. This setting is a great option if you’re looking for a side stone engagement ring that perfectly showcases the center diamond’s brilliance and fire.
Budget range (setting only): $1,510 (14K gold) to $1,920 (platinum).
This stunning petite trellis engagement ring from Blue Nile has a low profile three-stone design, with an interwoven design connecting the side stones and center diamond. It’s an eye-catching, bold setting that offers an incredible presence on your fiancé-to-be’s finger.
If you’re looking for a large, impressive engagement ring for your fiancé-to-be, this is a fantastic choice. It’s available in 14K white gold and platinum (pictured), making it a great choice if you’re looking for something that combines the presence of several diamonds with a lighter metal.
Budget range (setting only): $1,090 (14K white gold) to $1,490 (platinum).Customize and Buy Now
This unique engagement ring from James Allen features several marquise shape sapphires and pavé-set diamonds, creating a Bird of Paradise appearance. The setting features 12 diamonds, as well as four small blue sapphires in addition to the center stone.
Like many other unique side stone rings, this setting looks best with a reasonably sized center stone, such as this 1.03 carat H-SI1 excellent cut round diamond. Available in 14K white gold, this is a stunning engagement ring that’s perfect if you’re looking for something one of a kind.
Budget range (setting only): $1,490 (14K gold) to $1,910 (platinum).
Another unique design, this rose gold engagement ring with bezel set diamonds from James Allen is a fantastic option if you want something eye-catching and vintage inspired to give to your fiancé-to-be.
This Etruscan-inspired ring features 12 diamond side stones combined with classical beads, giving it an appearance unlike any other ring. Available in a range of metals, the pictured ring uses 14K rose gold for a warm, beautiful appearance.
Budget range (setting only): $1,140 (14K gold) to $1,800 (platinum).
Vintage engagement rings are inspired by the popular engagement ring styles of decades and centuries past. Many feature braid motifs, milgrain detailing and other unique features that are less common on modern engagement ring settings.
This elegant pavé engagement ring from James Allen features beautiful scrolls on its shank, giving it a vintage-inspired look. The setting itself is a simple, timeless and elegant ring, with 18 round pavé-set diamonds and a four-prong design.
Although it’s most commonly paired with a round brilliant cut diamond, this setting can also look fantastic with a princess cut diamond (pictured) or a marquise for an extra vintage feel.
Budget range (setting only): $1,310 (14K gold) to $1,500 (platinum).
Simple and elegant, this vintage-inspired cathedral solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile is a great choice if you want a timeless ring for your fiancé-to-be. With a classic braid motif, it blends the subtlety of a solitaire setting with the timeless beauty of a vintage engagement ring.
Blue Nile offer this setting in a variety of metals. For the classic look, 14K yellow gold is a great choice, while 14K white gold and platinum both offer a more modern take on this design.
Budget range (setting only): $690 (14K gold).
This bold, eye-catching and impressive engagement ring from James Allen combines a cathedral shank with pavé diamonds and a vintage-inspired halo of diamonds, giving it a huge amount of presence on your fiancé-to-be’s finger.
Available in a variety of metals, this engagement ring looks particularly impressive in 18K yellow gold (pictured) with a large center stone. Thanks to its vintage design, it also looks fantastic with a non-diamond center stone such as a sapphire or ruby.
Budget range (setting only): $1,110 (14K gold) to $1,390 (platinum).
This bold and intriguing engagement ring from James Allen features milgrain detailing and pave set brilliant diamonds, with a navette style that was in vogue during the Victorian era. The small diamonds hidden inside the basket give it additional presence when viewed from the side.
With its attractive styling, this engagement ring looks fantastic with a round diamond in any carat weight. It’s available in several metals but looks especially beautiful in 18K yellow gold (pictured) due to its elegant, antique styling that’s designed to elongate the wearer’s finger.
Budget range (setting only): $1,570 (14K gold) to $1,910 (18K gold).
Part of Blue Nile’s Blue Nile Studio fine jewelry line, this stunning vintage-inspired engagement ring from Blue Nile features pavé diamonds, a diamond halo and an eye-catching asscher-cut center stone, all in a gorgeous platinum setting.
As one of Blue Nile’s highest quality settings, you’ll need to contact their diamond and jewelry experts to customize it to your needs. All in all, this ring is a great option if you’re looking for a gorgeous, undeniably luxurious vintage-inspired piece of jewelry for your fiancé-to-be.
Budget range (setting only): $4,890 (platinum).
In a tension engagement ring, the center stone isn’t held in place by prongs or a bezel. Instead, it’s secured using the tension of the metal bands. Tension rings are contemporary, highly unique and perfect if your fiancé-to-be wants something a little different from the norm.
This sleek, contemporary half bezel engagement ring from James Allen features a center diamond held together between two curved metal bars without the usual prongs. On the sides, there is a U-shape addition to give the setting extra durability. As a result, the center diamond is exposed to a huge amount of light to showcase its brilliance and fire.
Modern and stylish, this half bezel engagement ring looks great with a round diamond and comes in yellow, rose or white gold (pictured), as well as platinum. A great choice if your fiancé-to-be is a fan of contemporary jewelry.
Budget range (setting only): $650 (14K gold) to $1,100 (platinum).
Another impressive contemporary engagement ring, this tension ring from James Allen features a center diamond or gemstone held between the two edges of the ring itself. James Allen offer this unique setting in 14K white, yellow or rose gold, as well as platinum.
Unlike the other tension engagement ring above, which is designed exclusively for round center stones, this ring can securely hold a round, princess, marquise, oval or pear cut center diamond or gemstone.
Budget range (setting only): $3,550 (14K gold) to $6,630 (platinum).
Channel-set engagement rings feature small diamonds set along the shank of the ring inside ac channel. This channel protects the diamonds, all while giving the ring a similar appearance to a pavé engagement ring.
This thin, elegant channel-set engagement ring from James Allen features 26 round diamonds with a total carat weight of 0.23ct. The center diamond or gemstone is mounted on four prongs for optimal fire and brilliance.
Thanks to its simple, elegant design, this engagement ring is a great option if you’re looking for something with an eye-catching appearance that’s still subtle and tasteful. Available in a range of metals, the ring pictured is made from 14K yellow gold.
Budget range (setting only): $1,470 (14K gold) to $1,790 (platinum).
This stunning platinum engagement ring from Blue Nile features baguette cut diamonds set in a small channel on its shank, giving it a contemporary look.
Paired with the right round brilliant cut center diamond, this is a gorgeous engagement ring that looks both elegant and modern. Blue Nile only offer this setting in platinum, making it especially beautiful if your fiancé-to-be has a cool skin tone.
Budget range (setting only): $3,400 (platinum).
This thick, stylish engagement ring from James Allen features a short channel with 3 round diamonds on each side. The very modern 4mm look with clean lines beautifully emphasizes the center stone or diamond.
Made from 14K rose gold (pictured) and paired with a beautiful round, brilliant cut diamond, this ring looks particularly elegant and stylish.
Budget range (setting only): $1,760 (14K gold) to $2,490 (platinum).
Eternity engagement rings feature beautiful pavé-set diamonds that extend for the entire length of the ring. Elegant, classic and undeniably beautiful, an eternity engagement ring is a fantastic choice if you or your fiancé-to-be want something that provides plenty of sparkle.
This beautiful white gold eternity diamond ring from Blue Nile has a carat weight of ⅜ ct, with an assortment of stunning round diamonds in a pavé setting. Paired with a round brilliant cut center diamond or gemstone, this engagement ring provides incredible brilliance and fire.
Blue Nile offer this setting in 14K white gold (pictured) and platinum. As with other eternity rings, this engagement ring can’t be resized after it’s made.
Budget range (setting only): $1,590 (14K gold) to $1,990 (platinum).
With two diamond bands that join in an unconventional reverse split shank, this beautiful eternity engagement ring from Blue Nile is a unique, eye-catching choice. Part of the high-end Blue Nile Studio range, this gorgeous ring is made from platinum and has a total carat weight of ⅓ ct.
Like other rings in the Blue Nile Studio range, this setting looks outstanding. Paired with a round brilliant, cushion or oval cut diamond, this is a gorgeous engagement ring that’s sure to impress your fiancé-to-be.
Budget range (setting only): $2,990 (platinum).
Instead of holding a diamond or gemstone using prongs of tension, bezel engagement rings use a bezel that surrounds the center stone. Because the stone is more protected, this type of ring is a good choice if your fiancé-to-be has an active lifestyle.
This beautiful engagement ring from by NYC-based designer Martin Flyer from James Allen uses a bezel to hold the center stone in place. The center stone is surrounded by bar-set baguette diamonds, with a classic cathedral shank to give the ring a modern yet vintage-inspired appearance.
Available in 14K (pictured) or 18K white gold, as well as platinum, this is a gorgeous ring that’s ideal for a round, brilliant cut center diamond or gemstone.
Budget range (setting only): $3,000 (14K gold) to $4,010 (platinum).
This incredible engagement ring from James Allen features a half-bezel setting for the center diamond, showcasing the diamond’s fire and brilliance perfectly. It also features a selection of pave-set diamonds on the shoulders, with three rows of pavé-set diamonds on the shank.
Available in platinum as well as white, rose and yellow gold (pictured), this stunning ring is an excellent choice if you want your fiancé-to-be to have something unique, striking and elegant.
Budget range (setting only): $3,040 (14K gold) to $3,240 (platinum).
Angular, eye-catching and extremely contemporary, this solitaire ring from James Allen has a square bezel that’s designed specifically for a princess cut diamond. In white metals such as platinum (pictured) or white gold, this ring looks especially unique and modern.
Paired with a center diamond such as this 0.90 carat I color ideal cut stone, this setting offers sleek, ultra-modern looks at a more affordable price than a traditional solitaire ring with a round cut diamond of equivalent carat weight.
Budget range (setting only): $820 (14K gold) to $1,170 (platinum).
Although just about any ring from James Allen or Blue Nile can be customized with a gemstone instead of a diamond (just choose to add your own custom center stone), some premade rings featuring gemstones can look absolutely stunning. We’ve listed our favourites below.
This stunning engagement ring from Blue Nile features a blue sapphire center stone surrounded by a halo of round diamonds. There’s also a line of pavé-set diamonds along the shank of the ring, drawing attention to the center stone and giving the ring an elegant appearance.
Prefer pink to blue? Blue Nile also offer this ring with a pink sapphire center stone, allowing you to choose the gemstone that best matches your fiancé-to-be’s personality.
Budget range (including gemstone): $3,200 (pink sapphire), $3,725 (sapphire) or $6,000 (ruby).
Another stunning gemstone ring, this engagement ring from Blue Nile features a light blue center aquamarine that’s accented by two round brilliant cut diamonds. Made out of 18K white gold, this ring looks particularly impressive on people with a cool skin tone.
Budget range (setting only): $1,450 (opal), $1,600 (aquamarine) or $4,700 (sapphire).
This beautiful east-west set blue topaz ring from James Allen features 16 pavé-set diamonds in its beautiful 18K yellow gold band. With its warm, beautiful color and unique appearance, this ring is a fantastic alternative to a conventional diamond engagement ring for your fiancé-to-be.
Budget range (including gemstone): $1,120 (18K yellow gold).
This stunning engagement ring from Blue Nile features a pear-shaped blue sapphire surrounded by a halo of pavé-set diamonds and a matching pavé band. With its dazzling appearance, this is a stylish, eye-catching engagement ring that’s ideal if your fiancé-to-be is a fan of blue sapphire.
Budget range (setting only): $3,750.Buy Now
Equal parts timeless and modern, this stunning white gold ring from James Allen pairs a center emerald with 40 halo and pavé diamonds. It’s chic, eye-catching and perfect if your fiancé-to-be loves the bold and unique look of an emerald engagement ring.
Budget range (setting only): $2,600.
This incredible pink sapphire and diamond double halo ring from Blue Nile takes eye-catching to the next level, with a medium to medium-light emerald-cut pink sapphire center stone and a total of 70 petite halo and pavé-set diamonds in a beautiful white gold setting.
Budget range (setting only): $2,200 (14K gold).Buy Now
The most important concept to keep in mind when choosing an engagement ring is the four Cs — cut, color, clarity and carat weight. Each of these four elements plays a significant role in any diamond’s overall beauty, as well as its price.
Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportions, angles, facets and finishing details. It has a major impact on a diamond’s appearance. In fact, more than anything else, it’s a diamond’s cut that impacts its beauty and brilliance.
Diamond Cut is graded by the GIA (AGS) on the scale of Excellent (Ideal), Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor. For round brilliant cut diamonds, an Ideal or Excellent Cut will offer optimal brilliance and fire.
Color refers to how colorless, or white, a diamond is. GIA grading for color ranges from D (most colorless) to Z (noticeably yellow or brown). When it comes to color, the most important element is that a diamond appears colorless in relation to its setting.
This means that the optimal color for a diamond varies based on its shape and the metal that it’s set in (a topic we’ve covered more below). We generally suggest buying a diamond in the lowest color grade that appears colorless to the naked eye once it’s set in an engagement ring.
Clarity refers to how clean a diamond is from inclusions and other blemishes. The GIA grades a diamond’s clarity from FL (flawless) to I2 (inclusions, 2nd degree). The lower a diamond’s clarity grade, the more likely it is to display inclusions.
Like with color, we don’t recommend paying for perfection. Instead, it’s best to select a diamond that’s eye-clean (meaning it’s free of inclusions when viewed with the naked eye).
Finally, carat weight refers to a diamond’s weight (not its size). Diamonds can vary a lot in their perceived size due to their shapes, meaning it’s possible for two diamonds of equal weight and different shapes to appear much larger or smaller than one another on a person’s finger.
We suggest emphasizing a diamond’s cut quality and overall beauty over its carat weight, as a stunning 1 carat diamond will outshine a mediocre 1.50 carat diamond and look far better inside an engagement ring, despite its lower carat weight.
Diamond shape isn’t technically one of the 4Cs but selecting it is truly a matter of personal preference. Many people like a classic round brilliant, while others prefer a more unique diamond shape like a pear shaped or Asscher Cut diamond.
It’s important to select one that matches you or your partner’s style and personality as well as one they’ll be comfortable and excited to wear for life.
The four Cs can be confusing at first, but after you understand how each fits into the process of buying a diamond, their importance starts to make sense.
Our guide to the four Cs goes into more detail about what to look for when it comes to cut, color, clarity and carat weight, as well as which of the four Cs are most deserving of your budget.
The four metals most commonly used for engagement ring settings are yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum.
Contrary to popular belief, the best diamond rings usually don’t come in one metal over another, and there’s no “best” metal for every engagement ring. Instead, it’s best to choose the metal for your setting based on its longevity, cost and your personal tastes.
The gold used in engagement rings and other jewelry comes in several levels of fineness. Most engagement ring settings use either 14K or 18K gold. Each type offers its own advantages and disadvantages, including different pricing and durability.
Our full comparison guide to engagement ring metals goes into more detail on the advantages and disadvantages of each metal.
Purchasing an engagement ring is a special and exciting time. Buying from a reliable, reputable dealer will make the process smoother and less stressful — plus, you’ll also end up with a higher quality ring at a better price point.
As we often mention, we strongly recommend buying your engagement ring online. Not only is it anywhere from 25 to 50+% less expensive to buy a diamond ring online than to buy one from an offline, brick-and-mortar shop, but the level of selection is much, much better.
This means that you’ll be able to choose from a large range of diamonds and settings, all priced better than what you’d find from offline diamond jewelers. We’ve listed the best places to buy engagement rings in our guide.
When it comes to online vendors, we recommend James Allen and Blue Nile when purchasing diamonds and engagement rings.
James Allen delivers exceptional customer service and high-caliber jewelry. They’re an industry leader and have excellent technology for reviewing diamonds up-close, including great product photos that allow you to see a 360° view of a diamond before choosing it.
This is great for checking a diamond’s color and clarity up close, without the bright lighting of a jewelry store. They also offer fantastic value and customer service, with generous resizing and return policies.
Hundreds of our readers purchase diamond engagement rings from James Allen every month and we hear rave reviews back from them.
Blue Nile built the market for online diamond shopping and have maintained the largest online selection of diamonds and settings. They’ve implemented video technology and offer detailed photos of most of their loose diamonds.
Over the years, Blue Nile have refined their business processes for fast delivery and excellent quality assurance. Like James Allen, they offer generous engagement ring resizing and return policies.
Our readers continue to have excellent experiences with Blue Nile for their engagement rings and other fine jewelry.
Other than “before you propose,” there’s really no best time to buy an engagement ring. Most jewelers offer sales and promotions throughout the year, but discounts on diamonds generally aren’t very large (unless you’re getting ripped off at the vendor’s normal price).
This means that it generally isn’t worth it to wait for a sale. However, if you don’t mind waiting, you might be able to get a modest discount by shopping before Christmas, in early January or after Valentine’s Day. Some vendors also offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts.
We’ve discussed timing your diamond jewelry purchase in more detail in our guide to the best times to buy a diamond ring.
We generally recommend buying from James Allen or Blue Nile, since they offer a large range of high-quality diamonds with great pricing and excellent customer service.
Several other online diamond vendors, such as Leibish & Co. and Brian Gavin Diamonds, also offer excellent options for discerning customers. You can read our detailed reviews of diamond vendors to find out more about which jewelers are worth it and which are best avoided.
There’s really no ideal answer to this question. Most diamond buyers choose the round cut, which has a versatile appearance and great light performance. Round cut diamonds make up more than two thirds of all diamonds sold.
Other diamond shapes offer their own unique charms and features. Don’t feel obligated to pick any specific cut because it’s popular or trendy — instead, choose something that you and your fiancé-to-be will appreciate and enjoy.
Contrary to what advertisements might tell you, there’s no “rule” about how much you need to spend on an engagement ring. You should spend as much or as little as you feel comfortable with based on your personal financial situation and preferences.
Most diamond budgeting “rules” are created by marketers. Our guide to how much you should spend on a diamond ring discusses these myths more and provides some practical tips to help you put together a sensible, financially responsible engagement ring budget.
From selecting a loose diamond to pairing it with the correct setting, choosing an engagement ring can be a stressful process even with the best information at hand.
If you’d like assistance in selecting the perfect engagement ring or diamond for the one you love, contact us today. Our diamond experts can help you find the ideal ring for you and your fiancé-to-be’s tastes and budget.
Are you interested in getting a designer brand ring but you don’t know which brand to choose? Check our guide to the 10 best engagement and wedding ring designer brands.
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