The 10 Best Engagement Rings
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in March of 2015. If you’re thinking of popping the question, you may want to first select the perfect engagement ring. Our selection includes gold and platinum options that are made with high-quality stones and responsibly sourced materials. The stones are available in various cuts, some with intricate settings and others in elegant, simple ones, at a range of prices to suit any budget. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 25, 2020:
An engagement ring is a big investment and is sure to mark what will likely be one of the most momentous occasions of your life. It’s usually the first purchase of many for any couple planning a wedding. You want to make sure it’s the perfect design to suit your partner’s personality and sense of style. Our selection features some attractive, yet budget-friendly choices, such as the Pinctore Rose Gold Cushion with a morganite center stone, as well as choices that feature sizable solitaire diamonds, like the 3-carat Kobelli Moissanite. In today’s update, we added in another attractive choice from Kobelli that’s designed and manufactured in Los Angeles. The Kobelli Forever One sports a brilliant center stone flanked by 12 accent diamonds on the band around it. You’ll have peace of mind knowing it’s backed by a lifetime warranty, and it ships in discreet packaging.
Today we also added in the Vir Jewels Halo, which comes from a family-owned New York company that’s been around for three generations. It makes its rings from conflict-free materials and tests each piece for quality. This particular piece holds a 3/4 carat total weight and boasts a sparkly round center stone that’s surrounded by 18 smaller ones. For colorful alternative to a diamond, check out the Houston Diamond District Floral, which comes with a center pink sapphire that’s surrounded by an array of diamonds on its intricate, split-shank design. If you’re in the market for a full set, look to the VIP Jewelry Art Princess, which comes with a diamond-encrusted wedding band to match the engagement ring. The set’s center stone is a square-cut diamond that’s enhanced by a halo setting full of small round stones. To make room for today's new additions, we removed the ND Outlet – Engagement, which reportedly can have some significant blemishes, as well as the Amazon Collection Round Solitaire, which is a little pricey for what you get.
Zac Posen Oval Vintage The eye-catching oval center stone of this ring is surrounded by a halo of diamonds, including elegant baguette-cut ones, with even more stones set into the shank. It’s set in a 14-karat white gold band and features a total weight of 1/2 carat. This handcrafted piece has been designed by American bridal and fine jewelry designer Zac Posen. bluenile.com
Tiffany Harmony Round Engagement Ring Made of durable platinum, this classic-style ring features a delicate four-pronged setting that helps it shine brilliantly above its band. The elegant tapered shape of the band fits perfectly with the accompanying wedding ring that’s sold separately. You can choose your diamond’s color, clarity, and carat-weight and, no matter which you choose, you can rest assured it’s been sourced ethically. tiffany.com
Kay Jewelers Morganite Engagement Ring This lovely 14-karat rose gold ring features a romantic light pink center stone that’s surrounded by shimmering round diamonds that hold a total 1/4-carat weight. It’s part of the “Now & Forever” bridal collection, with matching wedding bands sold separately. You can purchase it with confidence, since it’s backed by a lifetime warranty. kay.com
A Brief History Of The Engagement Ring
After World War I, and especially during the Great Depression, engagement rings understandably became much less popular, especially with young people.
The precise origins of the engagement ring are unknown, but many anthropologists believe the tradition started in ancient Rome. During the 2nd century, brides-to-be were given two rings — a gold one for wearing out in public, and a more durable iron ring to wear at home while performing household duties. At first, only senators wore gold rings, but as time went on, knights and other public officials started to wear them, and eventually, the general public was afforded the privilege.
Today, diamonds seem synonymous with engagement rings, but the first known instance of a diamond engagement ring was in 1477 when the Archduke Maximilian of Austria was betrothed to Mary of Burgundy. This inspired other members of the upper class to do the same, sparking the tradition that still exists today in many western cultures.
After World War I, and especially during the Great Depression, engagement rings understandably became much less popular, especially with young people. But the De Beers Group, a controversial international corporation that specializes in mining, selling, and trading diamonds, set out to make them trendy again. They devised a marketing campaign to educate people about how the quality of a diamond is determined, and in 1947, they began using the slogan "a diamond is forever," which is still well-known today.
It may seem arbitrary, but the reason the left ring finger was chosen as the designated location for wedding and engagement rings is because it was believed there was a unique vein that led from that finger straight to the heart. It was called the vena amoris, or the "vein of love." Modern knowledge of anatomy has proven this belief to be false, as all the other fingers in the hand have very similar vein structures, but the practice has remained nonetheless.
Wedding And Engagement Traditions Across The Globe
In the United States, we tend to think of proposals in one way: someone gets down on one knee, asks their partner to marry them, and puts a ring on their finger. But each country has its own unique customs to celebrate two people's decision to stay together forever.
In Chile, both members of the couple wear rings on their right hands to symbolize their impending marriage. After the wedding, they move the rings to their left hands. Plus, the couple's parents stand up at the altar with them during the ceremony.
The groom's family provides the engagement ring, while the bride's family is responsible for welcoming guests to their home for the reception.
Italian couples throw a party at the bride's house called a Serenade, where the groom sings to her in front of her family and friends. The groom's family provides the engagement ring, while the bride's family is responsible for welcoming guests to their home for the reception. Also, much like the "something blue" tradition in American weddings, the color green is supposed to bring the couple good luck.
Traditional Japanese ceremonies were extremely formal and extravagant affairs that were often held at Shinto shrines, and sometimes even involved the bride being painted white from head to toe. But today, most couples opt for a more laid-back, western-style wedding.
In an ancient Celtic tradition called handfasting, which inspired the phrase "tying the knot," the couple's hands are tied together to symbolize their commitment to one another. This is also done in some Latin American countries, including Guatemala and Mexico.
And, if you thought having one ceremony was stressful, try getting married in Nigeria, where they have three types of weddings: traditional, church, and civil. Couples who can afford to do so often choose to perform all three. The civil ceremony is a simple affair, but the traditional wedding is a vibrant event in which the groom's family presents gifts to the bride's family in exchange for her hand in marriage.
Things To Consider When Choosing An Engagement Ring
Everyone has their own personal taste and preferences, so there's no such thing as a universally perfect engagement ring. There are endless style possibilities, which can seem overwhelming, but it also means that if you know what your partner likes, you're all but guaranteed to be able to find something that he or she will love.
First and foremost, you'll need to set a budget, which will be a big help in refining your options. You shouldn't feel pressured to spend a certain amount of money on a ring — as long as you and your betrothed are both happy, it doesn't matter if it costs a fortune or next to nothing.
Also, remember that an engagement ring should be a reflection of what your partner likes, so there's no rule that says it has to be a diamond.
Next, if you and your partner have never discussed ring preferences, thinking about his or her sense of fashion is a good place to start. Someone who dresses casually or prefers understated styles probably won't want a huge, showy ring. But if your future spouse is a fan of more ostentatious looks, they may prefer something flashier.
Also, remember that an engagement ring should be a reflection of what your partner likes, so there's no rule that says it has to be a diamond. There are myriad other stones you can explore if you choose to go with a less traditional style. Sapphires are a popular choice, and while most people think of them as being dark blue, you can find them in many other colors, ranging from pink and purple to yellow and orange. If you want to go for something even more unique, consider aquamarine, black onyx, or pearls.
Once you've chosen a gemstone, there are a variety of cuts to choose from. Round is by far the most popular shape, but it's also the most expensive. You can also opt for a square shape, also known as a princess cut, or a cushion cut, which is basically a square with rounded edges. If you're looking for something a little different, you can find heart-, pear-, and even triangle-shaped options.
As far as bands go, you can choose from a huge variety of metals, including white, yellow, and rose gold, titanium, and platinum. If you're stumped, sneak a peak into your significant other's jewelry box — if most of their accessories are silver-toned, that's usually a good indicator of what they'd prefer in an engagement ring.