The 5 Smartest Questions to Ask When Shopping for an Engagement Ring
An engagement ring can be a once-in-a-lifetime purchase that comes with plenty of decisions for you to make—the gemstone, the setting, the style, and how and when you’ll pop the question to your significant other. It’s easy to overlook some important questions—questions that really aren’t much different than those you ask when shopping for other big-ticket items like a home or a car.
To make sure your engagement ring purchase is as informed as possible whether you’re shopping online or in store, we’ve compiled a list of the smartest questions to ask during a virtual or in-person consultation. Ask them after you’ve found a ring your partner will love but before hitting buy or handing over a credit card.
1. Can I see a gemstone report and proof of purity?
You wouldn’t purchase a house without a full set of inspections—follow suit when it comes to a ring. Make sure that diamonds are certified conflict-free and come with a grading report from an institution like GIA or AGS. The report will show how a specific diamond stacks up against the four Cs—carat, color, clarity, and cut.
You’ll also want to inquire about the purity of the metal used to make the ring’s setting. When you pick platinum, you’re buying jewelry that is either 90% or 95% pure. Look on the inside of a platinum ring and you’ll see its purity stamp. A setting that is 95% pure will be marked 950PT, PT950, PLAT, or PLATINUM. Platinum that is 90% pure will be marked PT900 or 900PT.
Platinum’s purity makes it not only the most precious metal on the market but also naturally hypoallergenic and a perfect choice for those with sensitive skin.
2. What’s the total cost?
This one sounds obvious—but only at first. When you’re shopping for a ring, there are different ways to do it. Some jewelers show prices that reflect the setting and the diamond together, a complete piece. Others will price the center diamond and the setting separately, allowing you to fully customize an engagement ring. If you’re shopping in-store, make sure to clarify what a price quote includes. If you’re purchasing online, utilize live chat and other customer service features to ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Once the diamond and setting are sorted, factor in any customization you’ll want to add, like engraving, as well as insurance or a jewelry protection plan.
3. What does long-term maintenance look like?
You’re about to buy a piece of jewelry your partner will wear every day—make sure it stands up to daily wear and tear. Ask about a metal’s strength, the potential to thin or scratch, and how often the ring will need to be professionally cleaned.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance metal, consider platinum. It’s strong and durable, making it the most secure metal to hold a diamond in place for years to come. Unlike white gold, platinum won’t wear away over time and requires less maintenance. Platinum is also naturally white, so it will never need to be replated.
Wearing platinum daily does create a satiny finish on the surface, or patina, which underscores the metal’s authenticity. Platinum can also be polished back to a brilliant luster at any time if that is preferred.
4. How long will it take to receive the ring?
A beautiful, customized platinum ring takes time and skill to create. Ensure that you talk timing when you’re getting ready to make a purchase. The weeks or months it takes jewelers to create a ring—and ship it to you if you’re shopping online—can vary widely. With some, you’ll receive a ring in 2-3 weeks while with others the process can take 6-8 weeks. Asking about the timeframe will ensure that you’ll have a ring ready for the memorable proposal you have in mind.
5. What are your policies around returns and resizing?
Even when you know exactly what your partner is looking for in a ring and you’re certain of their size, there’s still a chance that the jewelry you pick is not a 100% match for their style or doesn’t fit quite as well as it should. Understanding a jeweler’s policies around resizing, returns, and exchanges can help put your mind at ease as you prepare to pop the question. Some retailers even allow you to try a ring before you buy, ensuring that your final purchase is a perfect fit for your proposal.
Now that you’ve got a list of the logistical questions to ask, have fun. Browse our Gallery for inspiration as you search for an engagement ring that reflects the strength, uniqueness, and longevity of your relationship. You can also bookmark our Buying Tips for more great advice throughout the ring shopping