How to Choose an Engagement Ring: We Interviewed a Jeweler

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jan 22, 2021

If this is your first go at buying an engagement ring, my heart goes out to you.

This is tough stuff.

I tried going in person to figure out what I needed and what was just salesmanship, but honestly, the experience was overwhelming.

I don’t want you to go through the same thing. So here’s a safe space with just the basic information so you can pick the perfect engagement ring.

I interviewed Avi Mirpuri, the co-founder of the online jeweler, Siroo. Siroo is an extension of Ballerina Jewelers, a family owned jewelry store, on a mission to offer a more modern, personal and honest engagement ring and fine jewelry buying experience. In this article, Avi breaks down everything you need to know about diamonds so you can make the best decision for your budget.

How to Choose an Engagement Ring

What are the most popular styles of engagement rings right now?

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Currently, the most popular ring styles are those that are dainty, minimal, and elegant. Also rings that highlight the center diamond by showing off its brilliance and size.

That being said, for the customer who is looking for some extra sparkle—our halo diamond rings are also very popular. These are rings of small accent stones, typically pavé diamonds, that encircle a larger center stone.

What are the most important factors in choosing a great ring? 

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There are many factors, but it’s most important to consider the individual you’re buying it for. I like to compare buying an engagement ring to choosing an apartment. 

When renting an apartment, important factors are square footage, location, natural light, amenities, and finishes. A diamond has similar factors: carat weight, cut, color and clarity—also known as the 4 C’s. The last factor that’s important to all large financial decisions is the cost. 

For example, when I was looking for my apartment in New York, after seeing a handful of locations, I realized I wanted a central and convenient location. I prioritized that and compromised on the luxury finishes to fit within my budget.

Choosing a diamond is a similar process. You’ll have to look at a few options to understand the factors and decide which you value most. Our goal at Siroo is to educate you on these factors and then present you a catered list of diamonds perfect for your needs.

Why do some diamonds cost more than others?

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Diamonds are genuinely rare and this scarcity is a driving factor in their price. A better quality and larger sized diamond is more rare (colorless and clean) than a smaller lower quality diamond (yellowed tinted and included). Because there are so many different sizes and degrees of clarity, there’s a huge range or prices.

When choosing a diamond, is size or quality more important?

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This can be a tough choice. The first thing everyone notices about a diamond is its size. It’s the easiest to see and understand. However, if you only focus on size and sacrifice on the quality you can end up with a diamond that isn’t as beautiful as one that is just slightly smaller.

Our recommendation is to find the right balance between the two. An experienced jeweler will work with you to show you the right curation so you tick all the boxes.

How much should I spend on an engagement ring?

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There is no right or wrong answer here. We believe you should spend what is financially comfortable for you and fits you and your partner’s lifestyle. There used to be this industry standard of “3 months salary,” but that’s outdated. 

There’s a lot of social pressure when buying a diamond ring, but the goal is to really maximize your value and get the most sparkle for your buck. And because we know your financial situation can change at any time, Siroo offers a lifetime upgrade policy on all of our engagement ring sales. If you ever want to go bigger, we’ll buy back your current ring to help you upgrade.

How much does the average engagement ring cost?

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The average engagement ring sale according to the Knot is $5,900. But that’s just a figure. For example, in New York the average ring price we believe is closer to $10,000. It depends on where you’re comfortable and what fits you and your partner’s lifestyle. Siroo has engagement rings starting for sale at $4,500 and up to a couple of hundred thousand. 

What sort of ring should I get if I have $5-8k?

I recommend a 1ct stone set in one of our halo diamond rings. The smaller “halo” diamonds will make the centerpiece diamond appear larger, while also keeping costs down.

Siroo Halo Engagement Ring

A "halo" ring is a small to medium sized diamond with several smaller diamonds surrounding it. This makes a smaller diamond appear larger, so you can shave a bit off the bottom line.

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What sort of ring should I get if I have $8-15k?

I recommend a Solitaire stone between 1ct and 1.5ct in a setting style of your choice. A Petite Pave setting is really popular now as the smaller diamonds along the band build a sort of “anticipation” of the main show gem. 

Siroo Solitaire

A solitaire ring is the ultimate baller move. Bet it all on a single diamond. Just make sure you get a nice clear, non-included diamond.

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What sort of ring should I get if I have $15k+?

I recommend a solitaire diamond greater than 1.5ct. Siroo carries diamonds of all sizes, and we see the most demand for 2-3ct stones.

Above $15,000, you can fairly easily balance size and quality without sacrificing too much from either. You may like to add sparkle and accent stones to the larger solitaire piece as well.

At this price range, most folks want to custom design their engagement ring. If that’s you, we’ll work closely to make your ideal design a reality.

Custom Engagement Rings from Siroo

Siroo blends the best aspects of online shopping (i.e. no pushy sales people, a wider variety of diamonds, and cheaper prices), and shopping in-person. Browse their site at your leisure, and give them a call when you're ready so they can help you build your ideal engagement ring.

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How do I shop for an engagement ring online? 

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Start by browsing around and learning what type of rings speak to you. Pinterest is a great starting point.

While you’re browsing, make sure you’re also thinking about your budget. At this point, Siroo can jump on a call with you to better understand your preferences, answer your questions, and help shortlist some great options for you.

We’re at your side at every step of the way. With other online retailers, however, you’re left on your own to browse their website and figure out which ring is right for you. You’re also missing out on ways on how you can get more sparkle for your buck: for example, finding great off-size carat stones

Why is shopping online for an engagement ring better?

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You’ll definitely find better prices online. It’s also more convenient and you can see a wider variety of rings. With Siroo, you get all that plus the dedicated customer service and expertise you will enjoy at your brick and mortar jeweler.

We see it as the best of both worlds.

Why is shopping in stores for an engagement ring better?

When shopping in person, you’ll get to see and try on the rings. However, with the technology available today, this is becoming a less important factor. One could also argue that you can buy the ring on the spot, but why rush such an important decision? Buying an engagement ring is an important financial decision and one of the biggest purchases you make in your life.

Ready for Your Big Moment?

Ok, maybe it’s more her big moment. Still, the perfect ring deserves a killer proposal. Make sure you check out exactly How to Propose and learn from my mistakes.

I want to thank Avi at Siroo for shedding some light on the ring buying process for all of us. It almost makes me wish I could go back and do it again (except I really don’t).

Custom Engagement Rings from Siroo

Siroo blends the best aspects of online shopping (i.e. no pushy sales people, a wider variety of diamonds, and cheaper prices), and shopping in-person. Browse their site at your leisure, and give them a call when you're ready so they can help you build your ideal engagement ring.

Shop Siroo Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

So after you’ve made the big decision to tie the knot, the next order of business is picking up the perfect ring. Siroo is the place to go, and you can build the kind of ring she’s dreamed about for years.

Relax. Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

FAQs

What rings do I need to propose?

You only need one ring: the engagement ring. This is typically a larger diamond ring. You don’t need the wedding band (for you or her). Those you can buy later.

Should I buy an engagement ring before proposing?

If you have the budget for a ring, you should buy it before proposing. It’s certainly not necessary to propose with a ring, but if you’re within a month or two of being able to afford the perfect ring, it’s better to hold off until you can deliver the whole proposal in one go.

Does a guy wear a ring when engaged?

Typically, no. But if you’d like, you can pick up a simple band as a symbol of commitment before the big commitment.