Engagement rings and wedding bands are more than just pieces of jewelry – they’re a symbol of lifelong love and devotion between you and your partner. The promise starts with an engagement ring, and typically, this is bought in private and revealed during the proposal. However, lately, more and more couples are veering away from tradition and opting to pick out the perfect ring together. After all, your wedding set is something you’ll be wearing for the rest of your life, meant to represent the unification of your authentic selves. Why not select something you both love?
Whether you’re window-shopping separately or together, you’ll need some guidance along your journey. From selecting your desired shape to setting a budget, there are so many decisions that go into making this important purchase. How do you navigate all of the different available options? This is where Lillian M. Collection experts come in. Boasting styles that run the gamut, Lillian M. Collection offers thoughtfully curated, customizable engagement rings and wedding bands. With a dedicated team well-versed in all things wedding jewelry, they’re here to help you find pieces you’ll love through happily ever after. Here, they share top things to keep in mind when ring shopping.
1. Figure out your priorities and set your budget
Just like other aspects of wedding planning, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is setting a budget. How much are you willing to spend on your rings, and what’s most important to you? “Have a budget range in mind, so we can help you find options that will work for you,” experts at Lillian M. Collection say.
When looking at engagement rings, remember that diamonds are priced based on four major characteristics (dubbed the four “Cs”): cut, color, clarity, and carat. The “cut” of a diamond determines how well it catches and refracts light. Color varies from yellow-ish to colorless; the clearer the diamond, the higher the grade. Clarity tells you the amount of inclusions or “imperfections” within the stone, while carat measures its weight. When setting your budget, figure out which one of these four Cs is most important to you. Is it the size of the diamond or how perfectly it sparkles? “By determining your top priorities, we can help you find the perfect stone for you,” Lillian M. Collection Jewelry Specialists say.
2. Shop together
If you want to surprise your significant other with an engagement ring but still need their input, go to a first consultation together. Try a variety of rings, and get a general idea of what your partner likes or dislikes. “Another option is to send inspirational images to your significant other, and let them go from there,” experts at Lillian M. Collection say. “Then you won’t know what the final selected ring will look like or when it’s purchased – so there is more mystery.”
But what about wedding bands? Should you shop for them together or apart? (After all, you’ve done all of your wedding planning together – from finding the perfect venue to selecting the theme and decor.) Every couple is different, but experts at Lillian M. Collection generally recommend shopping as a couple: “It is a big purchase and something to wear on their hand every day of their lives, so it is important to be happy with the ring selected!”
3. Educate yourself on options
When it comes to engagement rings and wedding bands, the options are truly endless. (This is especially true at Lillian M. Collection, where all rings are customizable). While experts are there to help you navigate through the process, it helps to come a little prepared with the basics. “Aside from selecting a diamond for your ring, you will need to select the setting and the band,” experts at Lillian M. Collection say. “The most traditional choice is a prong setting for the center stone.”
As for the band, the most common decision is between a plain metal band or a diamond band. But there are so many other factors to consider. Style-wise, are you drawn to a single band or a split shank? A bypass or a cathedral setting? Will you select lab-grown or natural diamonds? Research your options, or ask for advice.
4. Find the right metal for your lifestyle
Comfort is key when selecting your jewelry set. “Selecting rings that are comfortable is our recommendation for any couple, but especially for people who aren’t used to wearing rings or have a very active lifestyle,” Lillian M. Collection experts say. Getting the sizing right is part of the equation, but the rest has a lot to do with the kind of metal you select. Metals have different hardness levels. For instance, platinum is a harder metal than gold, which in itself is very malleable and has to be combined with different alloys.
Do you lead an active lifestyle? Consider a metal that can handle scratches and doesn’t require too much maintenance and replating. “Metals can have different finishes than the typical shiny polished finish,” Lillian M. Collection experts say. “These options are better for hiding scratches, as they have their own texture. We also offer several different contemporary materials for men’s bands, such as titanium, cobalt, steel, and tungsten.”
5. Try to complement your engagement ring
If you are shopping for wedding bands, chances are, you already have an engagement ring on your finger. Your engagement ring will set the tone for what’s stacked below it. Traditionally, wedding bands are made using the same type of metal as the engagement ring – but there are always exceptions to the rule. (Who says you can’t mix and match?)
Most jewelers carry bands that pair nicely with their collection of engagement rings – and Lillian M. Collection is no expectation. “A lot of our options come with a matching designed wedding band,” experts at Lillian M. Collection say. “So many rings in our collection complement each other, so we recommend just finding what you like and trying them on together.”
6. Don’t worry about trends
It’s tempting to select a design that’s on-trend – something that’s new and fresh. However, it’s important to remember that unlike a piece of clothing, your engagement ring and wedding band will have to look sublime in your eyes and feel good on your finger decades from now. Unless you’re planning on remodeling your ring later on, try not to let fleeting trends dictate your decision.
Think of your personality (or personalities as a couple). Do your rings resonate with your personal style? Do they feel true to your aesthetic? “The most important thing to remember when selecting your rings is that they are for you,” Lillian M. Collection experts say. “If you like the ring, then it is a great choice. Don’t worry about getting the most popular or trendy ring if you like something else more.”
7. Have fun with it
Planning anything for a wedding – even something as joyful as selecting a ring – can be taxing. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to get every detail right. However, you have to remember that at the end of the day, weddings are all about celebrating your love with your significant other. Whenever stressors of wedding planning start weighing on your mind, pause and take a breather.
“Have fun with it!” Lillian M. Collection experts reaffirm. “This is such a big and exciting step in your relationship. Enjoy trying on everything and seeing what you like. Some people come in thinking they know exactly what they want – whether its diamond shape, carat size, etc. – but don’t end up liking the way it looks on their hand.” And if you’re not entirely sure, don’t worry. Lillian M. Collection offers concierge one-on-one consultations and a luxury boutique buying experience, so you and your partner can enjoy yourselves. Try different options out, experiment with various styles, and have fun!