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Choosing An Engagement Ring She'll Love

Choosing the perfect engagement ring will be one of the most important decisions you will ever make and it must be the perfect symbol of your love and lifetime commitment.

It can be a confusing endeavor but with the help of Richards & West you can find the engagement ring that she will love almost as much as she loves you.

How To Buy The Perfect Engagement Ring

Today, most couples shop for engagement rings together. A woman likes to be involved in the process of choosing their engagement ring so it reflects their taste, looks good on their hand and is a piece she will want to wear for the rest of her life. So the best way to buy an engagement ring is to let your future bride pick it out herself.

But if you want to keep that element of surprise you can select a ring and present it to your future bride. If you decide to choose a ring on your own, it is critical you consider your intended’s style and what she likes. Contemporary, classic, art deco, victorian, antique – you are buying a ring for her to wear forever, so it should be the one she has dreamed of.

So how can you be sure the ring you choose is the right one? Here are a few tried and true considerations to help you in selecting the perfect engagement ring for you and the one you love.

  1. Set A Budget
    The first thing you should do is set a budget for the engagement ring. Many young couples go to a jewelry store with a budget in mind and choose their rings accordingly. However, as a general rule, 2 to 3 months of a gentleman’s gross income is the standard to spend on an engagement ring. Of course, you aren't required to adhere to that rule, ultimately, it’s a personal choice and one, that as a couple, you are comfortable with.

    A good jeweler will never pressure you into spending more than you can afford on the purchase. Whether you have a limited budget, or expansive one, at Richards & West there are engagement ring styles and ring design options available in nearly every price range.

  2. Choose A Metal
    Before looking at possible diamonds for the ring, you must select a metal – white gold, yellow gold or platinum. If you bride-to-be only wears gold jewelry buy gold. If she wears only silver choose white gold or platinum. The types of metal alloys used and the percentage of each, determine the various color shades of yellow gold, white gold and rose gold. The color of the center stone and skin tone are additional factors when considering which metal to choose.

    Another consideration for those with sensitive skin is platinum. Platinum is the only precious metal used in fine jewelry that is up to 95% pure, making it hypoallergenic.

  3. Narrow Down Shapes
    At Richards & West, you’ll find a variety of diamond shapes – round, princess, emerald, asscher, radiant, cushion, marquise, pear, oval, and heart.

    The most popular shape is the round brilliant diamond, followed by the princess cut. If your fiancée is a traditionalist with classic tastes, she’ll love the round brilliant solitaire. If her style is minimalist and modern, she may favor the emerald cut with its long lean lines or an asscher diamond that is a square emerald.

  4. Pick Out A Style
    Then select a style of ring – traditional, classic solitaire, setting with side stones, pave setting, tension setting, to three stone setting, your choice is only limited by your budget, tastes and imagination. It’s important that the style ring you choose be a reflection of your future brides fashion taste and personal style. Think about the clothes she wears, and the accessories she chooses. Does she like classic looks? Then maybe a beautiful diamond solitaire fits her style. If she loves all things vintage, perhaps an art-deco-inspired ring suites her taste.

    At Richards & West you’ll find a variety of styles to choose from including the three most popular styles of ring settings – classic solitaire, fancy settings with side stones and matching bridal sets. When you choose the ring setting that the diamond will be mounted in, remember to consider the wedding band and how it will look coupled with the engagement ring.

    The simplicity of the solitaire setting makes it a timeless and classic choice. A solitaire setting with four prongs allows the most light to enter the diamond from all angles, maximizing its brilliance. Six prongs shows slightly less diamond, but provide slightly more security in holding the stone.

    It’s important that the style ring you choose be a reflection of your future brides fashion taste and personal style. Of course, you always have the ability to custom design a ring to reflect her style, too. Richards & West are known for their beautiful custom designed engagement rings and wedding bands. If you have an idea of what your engagement ring should be, we can create it just like you envisioned.

  5. Select A Diamond
    The next step is to choose a diamond. Diamonds are still the number one engagement ring choice, but other gemstones are gaining popularity with brides to be. When selecting a gemstone engagement ring, it is ideal to choose a design that incorporates diamonds or diamond accents. This can help ensure that at least part of the engagement ring is traditional.

    Four attributes are considered when choosing the perfect diamond called the 4Cs: clarity, carat, cut, and color. Besides considering a diamond's attributes, shape, quality and brilliance are other factors that are considered and will ultimately determine a diamond's value.

    Almost all diamonds contain very tiny natural birthmarks known as inclusions. Inclusions may be crystals of a foreign material or another diamond crystal, or they may be structural imperfections. The number, size, color, location, orientation and visibility of inclusions will affect the clarity of a diamond. The clarity grade is assigned based on the overall appearance of the stone under 10x magnification, and not to the naked eye.

    Most inclusions present in gem-quality diamonds do not affect the diamond's performance or structural integrity. However, the fewer and smaller the inclusions are, the less likely they will interfere with the passage of light through the diamond.

    Diamonds with higher clarity grades are more valuable, with the exceedingly rare flawless graded diamond fetching the highest price. Minor inclusions or blemishes can be useful as unique identifying marks of your diamond.

    The carat weight is the size of the diamond. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams or one-fifth of a gram.

    Because larger diamonds are more rare than smaller diamonds, the price of a diamond will increase exponentially as the carat weight increases – for example a 1.0 carat diamond is not simply double the price of a .5 carat diamond with the exact same characteristics; it is actually more than double because .5 carat diamonds are much more common than 1.0 carat diamonds.

    If you want to have the best value and beauty in a diamond ask for VS1 to VS2 in clarity, F to I in color then get the best cut possible. A 1.5 carat stone that is lifeless because of a poor cut will be much less impressive than a .75 carat stone that has an excellent cut.

    The cut of a stone is referring to the arrangement of facets, or flat planes, cut into the stone's surface. Please note the diamond shape is not the diamond cut. Therefore, the cut essentially translates into how well a stonecutter did when the diamond was cut out of rough stone. This is extremely important to the final beauty of your diamond. Of all the "Four C's" of diamond buying, the cut plays the biggest part in the brilliance and sparkle of your diamond.

    It's important to know that the very precise proportions of the stone have a dramatic effect on the sparkle, fire, and brilliance of the finished diamond. When a diamond is cut to just the right proportions and at certain precise angles then its ability to reflect and refract light will be maximized. The effect we call brilliance and fire will be dramatic because light bounces freely within the diamond and is reflected back out of the top without escaping through the sides or bottom.

    Polish and Symmetry are also part of a diamonds cut's grade. Polish describes the smoothness of the stone's facets and symmetry refers to the alignment of the facets. With poor symmetry the facets are not properly aligned and light is misdirected and not properly reflected out of the top of the stone, creating dull sparkle and lost brilliance. When a diamond has excellent proportions, excellent polish and excellent symmetry it is considered a triple-excellent cut and is truly a brilliant and fiery diamond.


    The majority of diamonds that are mined are in a range of pale yellow or brown color that is termed the normal color range. Diamonds that are of intense yellow or brown, or any other color are called fancy color diamonds. Diamonds in the normal color range are what we consider "white" diamonds.

    Even though most diamonds appear colorless to the naked eye, the majority of diamonds contain traces of yellow or brown. The closer the stone is to colorless, the more valuable the diamond. A color grade of D is the best possible color grade for a diamond, while Z is the lowest. Stones that have more color than Z are considered to be fancy colored diamonds and can command high prices due to their rarity.

    The saturation of the color is also a key indicator of the quality of a gemstone.

Diamond Shapes

The shape a diamond is not one of the Four C's." The shape describes the actual geometrical figuration of the stone. A diamond’s shape is a matter of personal preference and does not determine a diamonds actual quality or value.

The round brilliant-cut diamond is the most popular because it reflects the most brilliance of all the shapes.

Custom Designed Engagement Rings

If a custom designed engagement ring is your choice, Richards & West will design and create an exquisite one-of-a-kind piece that is uniquely yours.

For over three decades, our skilled artisans have been custom designing and crafting engagement rings and wedding bands in house. Whether you have an idea, a picture or need some creative inspiration, together, one of our master jewelers will work with you to create your vision of the perfect ring.

All of our engagement rings and wedding bands are designed and handcrafted using the finest precious metals. Stones are carefully selected for cut, symmetry, and brilliance. From the simplest to the most intricate details, our highly talented team of artisans cultivates the standards of aesthetic design and impeccable workmanship for which Richards & West has become known.

You may choose to incorporate a piece of heirloom jewelry that holds great meaning for you in your custom designed engagement ring or wedding bands. Or you may have seen a piece elsewhere but want to re-create or modify it to create personal meaning. At Richards & West we'll work with you to create an original design of stunning beauty that will symbolize all that you hold dear.

To be safe you should plan for a two-month period to complete a custom designed engagement ring. However, special considerations are possible. Let our designer know your time-line and we will do whatever it takes to help you meet that important date.

At Richards & West we are committed to creating personal designs within reach for our clients and guarantee complete satisfaction with every piece of finished fine jewelry. If you are completely satisfied, we hope you tell your family and friends.

To make an appointment with one of our design professionals please contact our store at 585-461-3022.

Diamond Certificate

At Richards & West all our diamonds are certified by the most respected laboratories in the diamond industry known for their consistency and unbiased diamond grading systems.

You should never buy a diamond without a certificate. A diamond certificate is a statement issued by an independent gemological laboratory that, at the time of evaluation, the diamond was examined by experienced diamond graders, using various gemological instruments and determined to contain the characteristics as stated in the report.

A diamond certificate will identify the material examined detailing such characteristics as color, transparency, shape, cut, dimensions and weight along with a photo. This certificate will provide you with the factors that influence a diamonds price and overall value.