In terms of design, you can choose from vintage, modern, designer, or even culturally inspired rings with Celtic designs. You could have a plain gold ring, or any type of precious or semi-precious gemstone. The gemstones could be pave style, princess cut, cushion cut, solitaire, emerald-cut, asscher cut, or a number of other gem styles. Lets have a look at what some of these terms mean for engagement rings.
Vintage Engagement Rings
True vintage rings in the style you want may be difficult to find, and some people don't like wearing pre-owned jewelry. However, you can always get a custom ring designed from a picture of an antique ring. And a lot of online jewelers have a range of rings that are designed in a vintage style. The advantage of this is you can exert quite a bit of control over the design - perhaps you'd prefer a vintage looking ring in platinum, or a Victorian style ring with a large diamond center/ You'd be hard pressed to find either of those designs in a true vintage Victorian ring as diamonds were more scarce then, and platinum too hard to work with.
Popular vintage engagement rings include art deco, Edwardian, filigree, and Victorian designs.
Inexpensive Engagement Rings
Even without the current uncertain economic climate, some women prefer not to spend tens of thousands on an engagement ring. That money may be earmarked for a house deposit, or even a big honeymoon. And some couples may simply not have the luxury of choice given their financial situation.
Fortunately, you can get beautiful engagement rings that look like the real thing without the prohibitive price tag. This is a real boon if your girlfriend likes huge stones but can't afford a carat or more of diamonds.
There are several options for inexpensive engagement rings. Cubic zirconia and moissanite are both comparatively cheap diamond alternatives. And there are also many synthetic, or lab created diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. These lab created precious stones are virtually chemically identical to the real thing. They are actually created using lab techniques that replicate the same processes that occur over thousands of years in the earth's crust.
Lab created precious stones aren't as cheap as diamond alternatives like cubic zirconia and moissanite, however, they have the same sparkle and depth that a real stone has. And they are still much cheaper than their natural counterparts. For example, a ring that would cost you in excess of $20,000 can be had for around $2,500 or less.
Different Gemstone Cuts
Choosing a cut for your gems in your ring is really a matter of personal taste, although the size and quality of the stone, as well as your budget, may influence matters also. Below is a quick guide to the different types of gemstone cuts available:
Round (brilliant) cut - 57 facets, most popular cut for diamonds
Oval Cut - 69 facets, an elliptical shape
Baguette cut - 20 facets, oblong shape
Square cut - 57 facets
Trilliant cut - 43 facets, a triangle cut that returns a lot of brilliance, like the brilliant cut. Good with diamonds
Pear cut - 71 facets, a combination of the marquis and oval, shaped like a teardrop. Can seem to lengthen fingers when worn.
Emerald cut - 50 facets, rectangular, with truncated corners, a step cut
Octagon cut - 53 facets, step cut, but unlike the emerald cut, the steps are not equidistant
Marquis cut - 57 facets, elongated oval shape; often has smaller gems around it
Antique cushion cut - 64 facets, a combination of a deep cut with large facets and the oval cut. It's also called the pillow cut, old miner cut, or old European cut.
Types Of Metals Used In Engagement Rings
Engagement rings are traditionally made out of gold, although these days platinum is also very popular. Platinum is a harder metal than gold, and also more expensive.
As well as traditional yellow gold, you can have rose gold and white gold engagement rings. These are made using different alloys of gold that change the metal's color. If you're choosing a ring to surprise your girlfriend, you may want to have a look at the type of gold jewelry she normally prefers. It's worth talking to a close relative or friend as well however. For instance, she may not wear a lot of platinum jewelry, but it is the most popular metal used in engagement rings today.
Non-Diamond Engagement Rings
Whilst diamonds are the most popular type of stone used in engagement rings, there's no reason they have to be. Your girlfriend may have a favorite stone, be it precious or semi-precious. Rubies, emeralds, and sapphires are all quite popular choices after the traditional diamond.
And some of these gemstones, like sapphires and diamonds, naturally occur in a number of different colors. One of the most expensive is the pink diamond, which can be an exquisite shade of icy pink or a deep bubble-gum or strawberry pink. Natural colored diamonds are also available in yellow, blue, and brown (ranging from champagne to cognac) shades . Natural colored diamonds are very rare and expensive compared to regular diamonds. They are truly unique stones.
And sapphires come in purple, pink, yellow, and green, as well as an array of other synthetic colors (those colors listed are natural).
For more great ideas on choosing engagement rings, click here. If you like antique style rings, check out this article on Victorian engagement rings.
If you want to see some examples just visit one of the Online sponsors, there are a variety of photos to look at so you can design the perfect engagement ring for this special occasion.