Engagement Ring FAQ
Engagement Ring Questions and Answers
We get asked a lot of questions about engagement rings and some of our answers may surprise you
Where is the best place to buy engagement rings?
The simple answer is wherever you feel most comfortable. Here’s why we consider Jewelsmith the “best place:” Because for over 40 years we have built our business on the practice of making high quality, innovative jewelry that we stand behind. By doing so, we have built lifelong relationships with our clients that often span generations. We are a team of skillful listeners, talented designers, experienced gemologists and master goldsmiths that bring to life whatever it is you are dreaming of.
We also give you options. If you wish to purchase a diamond elsewhere or have a family diamond or gemstone you would like for us to create a mounting for, we are happy to do that. Reinventing inherited family jewelry is a specialty. Re-imagining old, outdated pieces long lost in the back of your jewelry box is especially fun. We craft each piece of jewelry on site, using both state of the art technology and time-tested, traditional methods of hand fabrication.
We stand behind our work…always. Because we are creating the mounting, we can stand behind the work—which is something lots of places say but we truly do. We make our jewelry on site and have control over all the jewelry making processes. If anything ever goes wrong with any of these processes, we address and correct the problem immediately. This is also why we do not set gems into mountings purchased elsewhere. If we did not create it, we can’t guarantee that it will hold up over time.
We use recycled metals, ethically sourced gems, incorporate green practices in our store and support our community through a large variety of organizations.
If you decide to check out other places, compare the quality of their work (will the mounting hold up in the long term?) and their customer service (not just what they say but what they do).
Check out what people are saying about us on Yelp, Google and other review sites.
How do you buy an engagement ring on a budget?
There are many ways to create a beautiful and meaningful engagement rings without breaking the bank. By talking with one of our skilled designers, we can discover the best way to maximize your budget. Every client is different and every ring is different. Whatever your needs, we will work with you to tell your story in a way that is tailor made for the two of you.
One way is to use a gem that is passed down through the family. We can set your heirloom diamonds, sapphires, rubies and other gems into a new mounting that will stand the test of time.
Another way to reduce cost is to use diamond alternatives such as lab grown diamonds, moissanites, sapphires, or other gemstones. We are particularly fond of sapphires; they come in a rainbow of colors and they are the hardest gems besides diamonds. Garnet (also available in a variety of colors), tourmaline (greens, blues and pinks), spinel (a variety of colors) and chrysoberyl are the next hardest gems, making them excellent candidates for jewelry worn everyday. For more information on the fascinating world of gemstones, please visit GIA’s gem encyclopedia.
If a natural diamond is what you want, there are many ways to get the most for your money. For example, diamonds just under the exact whole and half carat weight (0.90ct vs 1.00ct or 1.38ct vs 1.50ct) are less expensive than their exact weight counterparts. By eye you can’t tell much difference between a 2.38ct and a 2.51ct but you will pay more per carat for the 2.51ct than the 2.38ct. There are other ways we can help you figure out what combination of the four C’s is most important to you. You can also check out GIA’s Diamond Buyer’s Guide. Recent popular requests are for rose cut diamonds, “salt-and-pepper diamonds” (that have interesting natural inclusions) and black diamonds that are less expensive than near colorless or diamonds with high clarity grades.
What’s the best diamond alternative?
There are many alternatives to the traditional round brilliant cut diamond. The gem you choose will need to stand up to everyday wear, which does narrow the field a bit. We have worked with, fancy colored diamonds, salt and pepper diamonds, lab grown diamonds, moissanites, sapphires and rubies, just to name a few. The world of colored gemstones is fascinating and varied. Our designers will talk candidly with you about how you or your intended wears jewelry, what you can expect from each type of gemstone, and together we will arrive at the best choice for you.
What is the best gemstone for an engagement ring?
The most popular by far (and the hardest gem) is still the diamond. There are lots of options for diamonds in all shapes, cuts and sizes and each of these has options for colors and qualities. You can also opt for lab grown diamonds or use family diamonds that have been passed down to you. Being the hardest gem, diamonds provide the best durability but sapphires and rubies are a great alternative since they are the next hardest gems. Watch our video about the best diamond alternative gemstones.
Is sapphire OK for an engagement ring? What other gemstones are OK for engagement rings?
Sapphires come in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes and we love that they hold up well to everyday wear. The next hardest gems are garnets, tourmalines and spinels which all come in a variety of colors and chrysoberyls which include alexandrites. Some people choose pearls, opals and emeralds for engagement rings. These gems are quite soft, can be vulnerable to chemicals, lotions and perfumes as well as abrasions and can be relatively easily broken. We recommend choosing a gemstone that fits your lifestyle and your expectations. For more detailed information about gemstones and their properties visit GIA’s gem encyclopedia. Our team of expert gemologists and designers can help you make the perfect personalized choice. Watch our video about the best diamond alternative gemstones.
Should I get a gemstone engagement ring?
When deciding what kind of gem to use in your engagement ring, we urge you to consider your lifestyle and how you expect to wear your ring. Are you very active and wish to wear your ring at all times? In that case, an emerald or pearl would likely require replacement very frequently and the metal will wear away very quickly. Are you willing to remove your rings while exercising or gardening? If so, then some of the softer gems might be good options for you. (pro tip: putting your rings on a chain around your neck during activities like exercise is a great way to keep them close and safe from excessive wear) Even with great care, colored gems will likely abrade over time but many gems can be re-polished to remove some or all of the damage. We offer complimentary clean and checks of jewelry to ensure proper maintenance. Watch our video about the best diamond alternative gemstones.
How do I find my girlfriend's/boyfriend’s/partner’s ring size?
This is a tricky one. The best thing to do is to have a jeweler measure their finger. If that is not an option, talk with us. We have been doing this for many years and have a few ways of going about it without ruining the surprise. At the very least, we can help you choose a design that is easily sized after the proposal. Or you can shop together, an option that more an more couples are choosing to do these days.
Watch our video, (the segment about ring sizing starts at 2:28)
Can I have my heirloom diamond or gemstone reset into a new mounting?
Most likely, yes. One of our experienced gemologists will take a look at what you have and make sure it is a good candidate for resetting into something that will give it new life. We have many clients that want to do this for sentimental reasons. Maybe their grandmother or other special family member passed down an engagement ring to them but the ring was worn beyond repair or just not their intended’s style. Resetting the gemstone is a great way to honor the legacy of your family while making sure your partner will have a new ring that they love—and one without preexisting wear issues.
Is it weird to go engagement ring shopping with your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner?
We don’t think it’s weird at all! We see a lot of couples shopping together. It’s a great way to get exactly what you want. This is a big purchase and likely to be the piece of jewelry worn most often, even handed down through generations. Many couples do the initial shopping together to get ideas. Some will even sit down to design a custom ring together, making sure all the details are specific to the individual receiving the ring. A delivery date is then arranged privately with their designer to keep an element of surprise for the proposal. Prices can either be discussed openly as a couple, or separately with the one giving the ring. It is all up to you. There are no rules.
How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
We will meet you wherever you are. Whether you are on a modest budget or have the means to splurge, we are here to help you find the most perfect ring that you and your partner will love. Period.
What kind of maintenance does an engagement ring need?/How do I take care of my engagement ring?
Even though diamonds are the hardest gemstone, they can still be chipped, cracked or damaged when impacted in just the right way. The setting is also subject to wear over time. Prongs and bezels, meant to hold your gemstone in place, will lose metal bit by bit over the years when coming into contact with everyday Life. Eventually, more metal will need to be added to keep your gemstone safe. This is normal and should be expected in order to maintain the integrity of your ring. This is why we suggest having your jewelry cleaned and checked by our professionals in order to stay ahead of potential problems.
Bring your ring in for a complimentary clean/polish and check twice a year. Think of it like this: every time you see fireworks (New Year’s and Fourth of July), come see us for a check-up. Also, if you feel your gemstone is loose, stop by for a complimentary cleaning and let us make sure all is secure. We will carefully inspect your ring for any signs of trouble so that we can address them early before they become bigger problems. If a worn prong is retipped (metal added to build up prong,) it can prevent the gem from falling out. A retip can cost as little as $30 whereas a new gem could be thousands of dollars. That’s why we believe so strongly in preventative maintenance.
Another way to get the most life out of your ring is to take it off while doing things like cleaning, exercising, gardening or other similar activities (pro tip—putting your rings on a chain around your neck while not wearing them is a great way to keep them close and safe from excessive wear.) Cleaning with bleach is especially destructive for jewelry. It has harmful effects on gems like emeralds and pearls and also on gold! The chlorine in pools can also be enough to cause the destructive effect on gold. Chlorine actually leaches out the metals that are mixed with the pure gold to create the different karats like 14K, 18K etc. When those other metals are gone, they leave empty “pockets” that leave the remaining metal structure weak and brittle. There is no way to permanently fix this once it has happened.
One other common thing we see that damages rings that most people don’t think about is clapping. If you are wearing rings on both hands and they hit each other while you are clapping, the rings can deform each other as if they had both been hit with small hammers. One easy way to prevent this is to be aware and to make sure that your rings don’t hit when you clap.
Do some designs require more maintenance than others? Yes! For example a bezel set gemstone has metal protecting it all the way around and will generally take a very long time for the metal to wear to the point of needing any rebuilding. Designs with lots of micro pave will need a lot more since there is less metal holding each gemstone in place. We recommend having these designs checked more often and for you to bring them in immediately if you notice a gemstone missing. Prong settings can become worn or get snagged and no longer hold the gemstone tightly. When diamonds get loose, they are harder than the metal and they can actually become looser by wearing away the metal as they move around in their setting. If you notice a gem is making a rattling sound, is moving in its setting, or the prong is picking your clothing do not continue wearing it! Bring it in at your earliest convenience and we can help you take care of a small problem before it becomes a much bigger one.
Our goal is for you to be able to enjoy your ring for the long term and we’ll be here to help you every step of the way.
Here are some more great tips here at brides.com
How can I research what I want before my appointment?
We have archive pages of many of our designs that you can use for inspiration such as our “Engagement Ring Archive” and “Recent Custom Jewelry.”
Our “Wedding Jewelry Inspiration” page groups some of our recent designs into styles such as “Jewelsmith original,” “sleek & chic” and “vintage style.”
We have a “Design Elements” page that shows various types of design choices like gem shapes, setting styles and shank shapes.
While we do not copy other designers’ work, we will take inspiration from photos you find elsewhere. Many people make pinterest boards with lots of designs from around the web. That gives us a great sense of their overall design aesthetic which we can use to create the perfect ring that incorporates their favorite elements from various rings.