Every couple has their own unique style. The best engagement rings capture your personality in bold or subtle ways, depending on what look you go for: The first step is figuring out the cut of stone you’d like—round, cushion, emerald—from the many options out there. The cut, or shape, brings out features of the diamond itself, including its clarity, brilliance or craftsmanship, and it’s what sets each ring apart.
If you’re not a gemologist, it’s easy to get lost in all the facets of diamond research. With that in mind, we had an independent diamond expert explain what makes each cut special and then found stunning engagement rings that highlight the shape beautifully so you can find a look that matches your style and has sentimental value. From classic cushions to unique emeralds to timeless princess cuts, here are the best engagement rings. (And for more inspiration, we also rounded up the best place to shop for diamonds and the best lab-grown diamonds from top jewelers).
What To Consider When Buying An Engagement Ring
Your Lifestyle: When choosing your setting, think about your daily life. “If you’re an active person, consider a lower mounting that won’t interfere with movement or snag easily on things,” says Fox. “I highly recommend not wearing jewelry while exercising. Diamonds are considered one of the hardest materials in the world, but they can still chip.” If you’re gripping things very tightly, a metal can also be misshapen which can affect the prongs holding the diamond, and stones can fall out.
Stone Shape And Grading: When purchasing an engagement ring, Fox advises considering stone shape before looking at a setting. “Make sure you have a sense of the 360-degree view of the ring,” says Fox. “Often the mounting is adapted to the stone when choosing a ring online.”
The price of your diamond—whether it’s a natural diamond or it’s lab-grown—will be determined by its quality. Both the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and American Gem Society offer great descriptions of the 4 C’s of diamond quality: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. How colorless a diamond is, whether or not it has any blemishes or inclusions, how skilled the faceting is, and how much it weighs are all points to consider.
Certification: Whether choosing a lab grown diamond or natural diamond, make sure it’s certified. “If you’re purchasing a ring online, use a reputable source,” says Fox. “You should be sure it has a GIA certificate so you have a roadmap to your diamond and know color, clarity and cut and any inclusions.” She also recommends double checking your certificate against the GIA website to ensure it’s not forged.
Return Policy: Make sure you’re aware of a retailer’s return policy before purchasing. Many offer 30-day returns. When it comes to engagement rings, “you want to love it and you want your fiancé to love it,” Fox says.
What Is The Best Cut For An Engagement Ring?
It’s really all about personal preference. More than half of engagement rings sold today feature round diamonds as the primary stone, but a variety of cuts—including ovals—are making a comeback for engagement rings, according to the International Gem Society.
How Often Should I Clean My Engagement Ring?
“I recommend bringing a ring to a jewelry for a professional cleaning once a year,” says Fox. “Also, if you use lotion on your hands or are active outdoors while wearing your ring you want to clean it more often with a mild jewelry cleaner. You can also invest in a sonic cleaner, but do not use a sonic cleaner with a pave setting because it can loosen stones over time.”
Are Lab-Grown Diamonds Good For Engagement Rings?
Lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds have the same physical, chemical and optical characteristics, and it takes a trained expert to tell the difference. The main difference between a lab-grown engagement ring diamond and a natural engagement ring diamond is the way in which they’re made. Natural diamonds are formed over millions of years underneath the earth’s surface and must be mined. Lab-grown diamonds are made in a lab through one of two processes—the high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) method or the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. In general, lab-grown diamonds cost 30% to 50% less than naturally occurring diamonds.
How Long Does It Take To Make An Engagement Ring?
If you buy an engagement ring from an online retailer, you can typically receive the ring in two to three weeks. To make a custom engagement ring, it can take anywhere from two to twelve weeks because you need to source a diamond and work through the design process.
More Stories To Shop:
- Kate Middleton Didn’t Wear Her Engagement Ring and the Internet Is Freaking Out
- Maya Jama ‘heartbroken’ amid ‘split from fiance Ben Simmons’ after a year
- Will Emily Ratajkowski Sell Her $90,000 Engagement Ring in Wake of Her Divorce From Sebastian Bear-McClard?
- Save $100 on Clean Origin engagement rings with this exclusive code—shop diamond rings now
- Kate Middleton spotted without her engagement ring at Commonwealth Games