Chicago-Style Engagement Ring Shopping
Cover Photo by Stephanie Wood Photography, showcasing engagement ring from Razny Jewelers
A burgeoning engagement is a thrilling and exciting time. You’re about to embark on a lifetime union and the wedding process will come with lots of decisions. The first big decision (after choosing your partner, of course) is your engagement ring. Before we share some of our favorite Chicago-Style engagement rings, let’s go over some shopping groundwork:
Determine a budget – and stick to it!
We’ve all heard the three months’ salary “rule” – but we are giving you permission right now to throw that out. Talk about old-fashioned! When determining your ring budget, dream big, but don’t overspend to the point that you go into debt at the very beginning of your wedding journey. At the end of the day, as long as you love the ring (and the person giving it to you), the dollar-sign attached to it doesn’t matter. If that means making your budget for another aspect of your wedding smaller, so be it.
Ask for recommendations
As with many elements in your wedding planning process, ask for recommendations and advice from loved ones. Poll your engaged friends and see what jeweler they went to and what their experiences were. This is a big, expensive purchase and you’ll want to make sure you’re happy with the ring, but also the purchasing experience. A good jeweler should make sure the process is as transparent and pleasant as possible.
Engagement rings come in many shapes, sizes, styles and prices. There’s a lot to consider! Everyone has their preferences and what they’ve dreamed of, but don’t be afraid to go with your gut and select something that matches who you are. If you don’t think a solitaire diamond is your style, don’t force it! Alternative gemstones, solid bands or even tattoos can create the same impact.
You don’t need to be a gemologist or jewelry expert to go engagement ring shopping, but having a bit of knowledge does help! Familiarize yourself with common settings, stone cuts and metals so you can enter your shopping appointments with an understanding of how to explain what you’re looking for. Brush up on what to look for in a diamond with this helpful piece from Razny Jewelers: Diamond Education: The 4 Cs. And don’t forget to know your ring size!
Get ready to insure
Once you have the ring in your possession, make sure to secure a ring insurance policy. Your engagement ring is one of the smallest, yet most valuable pieces of property you own, so you want to protect from potential theft or loss. You can either add ring insurance as a rider to your existing renters or home insurance policy or you can get a separate policy altogether through a jewelry-specializing insurance company. Be sure to hold onto the ring’s appraisal and receipt of purchase to provide to your insurance provider!
Engagement Ring Style Guide
Standing the test of time is the ultimate reward. For the timeless lovebird, a traditional ring with a solitaire stone and perhaps some pave diamonds is the way to go.
Who says a traditional diamond is the only engagement ring option? Some modern couples have been opting for alternative gemstones, like a vibrant sapphire, ruby or emerald. These colorful options make a stunning statement we can’t get enough of.
Sometimes more is more. For a love that is as multi-faceted and sparkling as yours, you deserve stones on stones on stones. A clustering of diamonds (or other gemstones) can cover a large surface area and create some eye-catching refractions. Swoon!
Something Old, Something New
Inspired by our favorite traditional staples, these rings take tried-and-true designs and add a bit of modern pizazz. There’s no rule that an engagement ring should look any certain way, as long as you love it and it reflects your style.
If your personal style leans more eclectic, alternative stones, settings and orientations could be exactly what you’re looking for. You’ll be wearing this ring for forever, might as well have some fun with it!
Toi et Moi
Translated as “You and Me” from French, these rings feature two stones together in one band. Celebrities like Ariana Grande and Meghan Fox have recently donned this style of engagement ring, leading to its growing popularity. As the old adage says, “two are better than one.”
Genderless and classic, bands make for great engagement rings. This option is understated and practical, but it can also be stacked with additional bands to create a unique concept.
Whether you’re looking for a “green” alternative to mined diamonds or want more bang for your buck, lab-grown diamonds are coming onto the scene hot. Lab-grown diamonds don’t take as long to grow, and therefore typically retail 30-40% less than mined-diamonds. To many, it is difficult to distinguish lab-grown from mined diamonds, so these options are rather attractive!
Diamonds are forever, as are their stunning, vintage settings. For an economical and environmentally-friendly option, vintage or estate engagement rings are your opportunity to have something both unique and timeless. Who knows, maybe the love story of the ring’s previous owner will live on through you.
Ready to go shopping? Check out some of the best Chicago jewelry vendors here.