How To Personalize An Engagement Ring

engagement ring

Many people are only comfortable shopping for diamonds at high-end jewelry houses. However, while the recognizable brands provide peace of mind, they usually have a substantial mark-up. Using a consultant or independent jeweler allows you to take part in the entire process from selecting the stone to collaborating on a design. Not only will you create an extremely personalized, one-of-a-kind piece piece, but you usually will be maximize the value of your ring.

Whether you take the traditional route or use a personal jeweler, there are a few steps you should take before you start the exciting, yet somewhat daunting process of shopping for a ring.

Decide on a budget: Many people use three months' salary as a guideline, but there are no hard and fast rules. Diamonds have historically appreciated in value over time, but don't feel pressured to spend more than with what you are comfortable.

Timing is very important: Allow yourself ample time to do your research and source your stone. Diamonds are like snowflakes—each one is different. So it may take a few weeks or even months to find the one that is perfect for you.

Know which shape you want: Many people confuse "cut" with "shape." "Cut" refers to the symmetry and proportions of the stone. The "shape" is the style or shape into which the stone is cut. "Round Brilliant" is the most classic and popular shape for engagement rings. Other sought-after shapes are "Cushion," "Asscher" and "Emerald."

Try to avoid a pre-set diamond: Once a diamond is set, it is quite difficult to examine the stone. The most important and expensive part of the ring is the diamond. You should buy that first and then choose the setting.

Read more on Fox News iMag: How To Design An Engagement Ring

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This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission from the author.