Choosing an Engagement Ring

Photo credit: Sara Taplin Photography

Congratulations! You’re [likely] here because you have found someone you want to be with for the rest of your life. It’s a major decision and you probably put a lot of thought into it; now some thoughts on the ring.

Practicality: It’s easy to think that bigger is better, and the iconic engagement ring is typically high-set (i.e diamond jutting out from the band). However, a high-set stone can bang on everything and be hard on surfaces: scratching a fridge when reaching around the handle, or perhaps, in the future, scratching the surface underneath a baby (e.g. bathtub, plastic crib mattress) when picking the baby up. A low-set ring with no sharp edges or protruding stones can have the advantage of not catching on hair, sweaters, bathroom towels, etc.

Does your significant other work in healthcare, food service, or somewhere else where rings are not allowed (e.g. working with moving parts)? Some workplaces may limit to a smooth band with no stones; would it be important to your significant other to wear the ring at work, or as much of the time as possible for that matter? 

At the Jeweler: Consider buying the band shortly after the ring. If the jeweler closes or stops selling that set, it can be extra costly to get a wedding band custom made to fit the engagement ring.

Warranty: If debating whether to get a warranty or lifetime guarantee, ask what would happen to the warranty if:

  • You moved out of province, or across the country to an area without that store brand
  • You moved out of country
  • The store closed

A warranty may require cleaning and inspection of the rings every 6 months, this is something to ponder if you live rural or far from the supplier. Think 5 years from now, 10 years from now….

Cost: Likely top of mind for the buyer, but listed last due to this likely unpopular opinion (i.e. an engagement ring that is much less than the average $4,9001). Does your significant other value the cost of the ring most? Do you feel pressure to spend a lot on a ring to signify status? Factor in the cost of the matching wedding band as well, plus your wedding band which can easily be $700-$1000 without any stones. Also consider that the average price of a wedding in Canada was $39,414 (excluding honeymoon) in 20171, and this ring is just the first purchase!

The difference saved choosing a less expensive ring could be a vacation, debt paid, savings set aside, or other coveted purchase.

While this is far from official research, for the fun of it, here’s a poll on what matters in a ring to the recipient.


Other: Don’t fret too much about getting the exact size, it can be resized later. Better to have the ring be slightly too loose than a first engagement photo with a ring that only slides down halfway! Some couples even go engagement ring shopping together, which takes the pressure of choosing *the ring he/she will love most* off of the proposer. Hey, the recipient has to wear it for the rest of their life! Hopefully you found some unique or helpful perspectives in here. For far more comprehensive and systematic advice on choosing an engagement ring, Ramit Sethi’s stellar blog post is worth the read. Good luck!

  1. The Cost of Love in Canada. (Feb 4, 2017). Retrieved Dec 2, 2018, from: