Could it be about time to start ring shopping? Congratulations! Purchasing an engagement ring and gearing up for the proposal is actually a crazy exciting time, and it is not hard to get caught up in the romance, but remember: An engagement ring is generally a significant expense, so you need to be sure you do it correctly.

Whether you will be scouting out rings together or heading out to shop solo, this extensive guide is actually key to finding the perfect engagement ring for your significant other.

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1. Narrow Down What Shape You Want
If you understand your significant other wants in terms of diamond shape, that helps focus the engagement ring hunt immensely. Every shape (also known as a cut) is actually priced differently – and each has a completely different price per carat. Round cuts are actually probably the most expensive, whereas pear and marquise are less so. When the size is actually important to you, you can get more carats at a much better price when choosing an alternative shape to the traditional round cut. Before heading out to shop for an engagement ring, study up on ring cuts and have one (or two) favorites in mind.

2. Choose a Metal for the Band
Traditionally, engagement rings (and wedding bands, too) are actually made from yellow gold, white gold, silver, and platinum – although in recent years, rose gold has emerged as a new, modern alternative. While platinum may look rather similar to silver, platinum is much more costly as it’s a greater density (and is also rarer). Some metals scratch easier than others, so be sure to consider lifestyle – also as budget, of course – before deciding how important metals are actually the final decision. You will also need to consider if you want stones set in the band(s), also!

3. Have a Carat Size in Mind
The age-old question of quality versus quantity also applies to engagement rings; many people prefer a larger stone to a whiter stone, while others would like the absolute clearest possible diamond, despite the carat count. “The spouse-to-be should have an idea of her (or his) stone size,” says Jaclyn Kirkorian of Jupiter Jewelry in New York. “As much as folks say size is not important, it is usually the kicking off point because clarity and color can still be tweaked to find something within your budget.”

But also, keep an open mind. Your significant other might think they know what they want when you are looking at shape or perhaps size, but trying on rings, they could find out they would like something else entirely – it is always different once you start to see things on the finger of yours in life that is real. You can save some significant cash in case you choose a less common carat size. Diamond prices increase significantly when weighing the most desired weights: think whole carat weights and a half (.50, one, 1.5, etc.). “Buy a diamond that’s just shy of these common weights, and you will help save money, and nobody will have the ability to tell it’s a.92 carats rather than one carat,” says Emily Duke of Finesse Diamonds Corp.

4. Get Measured Correctly
This might seem to be obvious, but be sure to both get your ring fingers properly measured. You do not want a ring that is cutting off your circulation or perhaps, even worse, so lose it is at risk of falling off. It should feel snug but comfortable. If you are not shopping for engagement rings together, you can get sized at a jewelry store on your own and then casually mention the size of yours the next time the subject comes up (or tell the BFF of yours, so they will know the answer when your partner asks them).

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5. Consider How Your Engagement Ring Will Look with Your Wedding Band
While it’s so easy to get caught up shopping for the best diamond, the engagement ring is just one-half (or less than half, if you are going the rink stack route) of the situation. Your wedding band – you know, the real symbol of your marriage – is actually the oft-overlooked another half. Certainly think about what style of wedding band will go with your ring. Some engagement rings do not allow a band to fit flush against them, so it is essential to think about the complete package of prong versus pave and channel set stones before committing to an engagement ring style.