Today only! EXTRA 30% or 40% off selected already-reduced items on Outlet, while quantities last. Details >
Sears.ca>Resource Centre>Buying Guides>Jewellery> Engagement and Wedding Rings Buying Guide

Engagement and Wedding Rings Buying Guide

Engagement rings and wedding rings are beautiful symbols of love which, like your devotion, will last a lifetime.

 

Engagement rings and wedding rings are among the most exciting – and often daunting – purchases you'll make. Traditional or vintage? Antique or ring sets? Yellow or white gold? With the information provided in this guide, you'll be better equipped to navigate the sometimes overwhelming search for that perfect expression of your love.

Factors to Consider

Budget

One well-known, yet not always effective “rule” when buying a diamond engagement ring is to spend two months' salary towards its purchase. This is simply a generalization and your first consideration should be what you can comfortably afford. For example, perhaps it is more affordable to purchase a ring designed with numerous smaller diamonds, since it might be less costly than one with a larger solitary stone of an equal carat weight.

Jewel Preference

Although diamonds are the most popular jewel choice for engagement rings, many brides-to-be have other preferences and likes. There are numerous gemstones that are popular engagement ring choices. They can be set with or without diamonds and come in a multitude of colours for even greater personalization. Sapphires and rubies, for example, are both durable gemstones that are often set into engagement rings.

Metal and Style Preference

What metal or style of jewellery do they like to wear? Is it contemporary-looking, with bold styling? Do they prefer vintage or antique-looking rings? Or would you say that the jewellery your spouse-to-be wears is classic? If they prefer white gold or platinum to yellow gold for example, this is something you might wish to consider.

Listed below are metals popular for engagement and wedding rings, with some of their pros and cons highlighted:


Sterling Silver
  • Pros: Most reflective of the precious metals. More affordable than many other metals.
  • Cons: Requires more maintenance than other metals to prevent tarnishing.
Gold
  • Pros: Can be polished to a bright shine. Available in several colours. Easily engraved. Matching gold bands are widely available.
  • Cons: Not as durable as some of the industrial metals. Some people are allergic to gold.
Platinum
  • Pros: Most valuable of the precious metals. Pure metal that is hypoallergenic.
  • Cons: Easier to scratch. More expensive than other precious metals.
Tungsten
  • Pros: Very durable. Will last a lifetime and resist scratches and tarnish. Hypoallergenic.
  • Cons: Heavier metal. May crack if struck at high impact.

Size, Shape and Proportion

Taking into account things like carat weight of a diamond and the shape of any featured gemstone are important when considering the overall look when worn. Slender fingers make small diamonds look bigger. If a bride-to-be has small fingers, a 1-carat diamond will look proportionately large. The popular princess cut has a presence that is both elegant and dramatic, while an elongated diamond, such as marquise or oval shapes, can make shorter fingers look longer. Other proportional considerations include:

  • Wide bands usually make fingers appear even shorter than they are.
  • Women with long fingers can easily wear bold ring styles.
  • An overly delicate setting could get lost on larger hands, making the ring look smaller.

Lifestyle and Maintenance

Does your significant other work in a profession where jewellery would look out of place or cause problems like snagging? Is the setting a chore to keep clean on a daily basis?

Softer stones can be beautiful, but might not be ideal choices for a wedding band or engagement ring. The Mohs scale registers a stone's ability to resist abrasion; 10 (diamonds) is the strongest. Some experts recommend avoiding stones that have a rating of less than 7 when thinking about engagement rings. Below is a list of common stones, and their hardness rating on the Mohs scale:

Diamond – 10
Ruby – 9
Sapphire – 9
Emerald – 8
Topaz – 8
Aquamarine – 7.5 to 8
Amethyst – 7
Garnet – 6.5 to 7.5
Opal – 6

Additional Considerations

Timing

Try not to leave wedding jewellery shopping to the last minute. You might wish to purchase wedding bands at least two months before the ceremony to accommodate possible changes. Wedding bands with special engravings may also take more time, so planning ahead is a good idea.

Wedding Ring Sets

Ideal for those who would like their engagement and wedding rings to match or have similar themes, metals and features.

Comfort

Look for rings that feature a “comfort fit” (rounded edges that prevent the ring from cutting into your finger).