Engagement Ring Shopping Together as a Couple

Engagement Ring Shopping Together as a Couple

There was a time not so long ago when there was only one way to get engaged. The man in the relationship would decide when it was time to get married, secretly buy a diamond ring and surprise his love by getting down on one knee and asking for her hand in marriage. But times have changed and these days more and more couples are choosing to shop for an engagement ring together, instead of it just being up to the man. And let’s not forget that marriage is no longer just between a man and a woman and the traditional rules may not apply at all. So now that we have options, how does one decide which proposal style is right for them? Do you choose to go the traditional way with the big surprise or the more modern route where you pick out the ring together? Let’s look at the pros and cons of picking out an engagement ring as a couple.

Pros and Cons of Engagement Ring Shopping Together

Pro: It avoids all the pressure from being on one person. It can be extremely stressful for the partner who is trying to pick out the perfect ring for their significant other. There are so many different factors to be decided when choosing a ring, from how much to spend, design style, metal choice, one stone or multi-stone, diamond or gemstone or synthetic stone, and the list goes on and on. Choosing an engagement ring together takes away the stress of buying the “wrong” ring, ensuring no regrets or disappointments.

Con: The proposal will not be a surprise. Having gotten engaged myself this year, I can tell you that the very first question everyone asks first is “Were you surprised?” and then wants to know EXACTLY how it happened. If you or your partner’s idea of a perfect proposal resembles something out of a Disney fairy tale or Jennifer Lopez rom-com, then not having that big surprise moment might be a letdown.

Pro: You know the ring will be the perfect. Forget about fairy tales for a minute, and let’s recall the infamous scene in Sex and the City when Carrie accidentally finds the ring that Aiden is planning to propose with… and barfs. If this scene is your biggest fear, then shopping for the ring as a couple might be the best idea. Only one person is going to be wearing the ring on their finger everyday for the rest of their life, so it is important that the ring is just right.

Con: It can seem less meaningful. It might seem like the decision isn’t as important or meaningful if the one partner didn’t spend the time and effort to find the perfect ring themselves. Of course, it is very romantic when someone picks out a ring for their significant other without them knowing and it ending up being their dream ring. However, most people need a bit of help from their partner, family or friends in figuring out just what the other person likes, and I don’t think that makes it any less meaningful.

Pro: Choosing together is about partnership. While it isn’t traditional, it can be very romantic for a couple to visit a jeweller together to pick out the perfect engagement ring. It is a big decision and making it as a couple can really help cement the fact that the two of you are a team. The moment you decide together that a ring is “the one” is a moment that you will remember forever.

Con: Knowing the price of the ring. If you decide to buy the ring together you will have to discuss the unromantic topic of how much you want to spend on it. Some people don’t feel comfortable disclosing how much they are going to spend on an engagement ring and prefer to not have their partner know the cost. Then there are couples who are very open about it and have decided together on a budget for the ring.

To Buy the Engagement Ring Together or Solo?

Now that we have covered the pros and cons of buying an engagement ring together, I think an easy way to decide which route to take is to have a conversation about it with your significant other. Most serious couples discuss getting engaged at some point in their relationship, and you can ask your partner if they would like to be a part of the engagement ring buying process or if they would prefer a complete surprise. If you don’t want to ask them directly, their friends or family members should be able to lead you in the right direction.

There are also ways in which you can have a surprise proposal AND your partner’s input on the engagement ring. One option is going to a jeweller together and picking out or designing a ring, but not buying it that day. Then later you can go back secretly and purchase the ring and plan a whole surprise proposal. If you don’t want your partner to have any idea you are looking at engagement rings, you can also propose with a temporary “loaner” ring. You get to have the whole fairy tale surprise proposal, and when they say “Yes!” let them know that the ring is just a placeholder until you pick out their dream ring together.

These days there are so many options when deciding how to get engaged. Whether you want to go the traditional route or with something more unconventional, it’s about choosing the way that fits you best as a couple.

Wedding Ring Finger Blog

The Ring Finger Through the Ages

Which finger is the ring finger? Which hand does the engagement ring and wedding band go on? At first glance these questions seem to have a very simple answer – wedding and engagement rings go on the fourth finger of the left hand. Easy right?!

Not so fast. Here in Canada as well as the US, Britain, France, Italy and many other countries, that is the traditional hand to wear your wedding rings, but this is by no means universal. The hand that you wear your engagement ring and wedding band on can be determined by culture, religion and geography. Let’s take a look at what has influenced current traditions.

The Vein of Love

Long before the engagement ring was the wedding ring, which has been traced back to Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians considered the circle to be a symbol of eternity, and the ring to symbolize eternal love. Various Roman sources claim that Ancient Egyptians wore their wedding rings on the fourth finger of their left hand, as they believed that finger has a vein that is directly connected to the heart. This vein is called the Vena Amoris (Vein of Love in Latin), and while it’s a lovely idea, it is not anatomically correct.

The Un-ROMAN-tics

The Romans continued the tradition of wearing their wedding rings on their left hand as they followed the Egyptian way. The Roman marriage was more of a business contract than a romance, with the ring signifying the transaction of the woman being passed from her father to her husband. This meant that the wedding ring was only worn by the woman and not the man. This pattern of only women wearing a ring continued for most of history, until around WWII when men also began to wear a ring.

The Right Side

As Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, the wedding ring began to be worn by those of the Christian faith. There is evidence that Catholics wore their wedding rings on the right hand during the early middle ages. This came from the belief that the right hand was spiritually more significant, as God blesses with his right hand and it is also used to make the sign of the cross. In 1054 AD the Greek Orthodox Church broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, and to this day Orthodox Christians still wear their engagement rings and wedding bands on their right hand. The influence of the Orthodox Church in Russia and most Eastern European countries means they also wear their rings on the right hand. Jewish wedding ceremonies began including rings in the middle ages and they also wore them on the right hand, however during the ceremony the ring was placed on the index finger where it was easier for witnesses to see.

The Left Side

In the 16th century the Protestant Reformation saw the Church of England break away from the Catholic Church. King Edward VI declared that the wedding ring must be worn on the left hand and the new church wrote a prayer book laying out the placement of the ring during the ceremony. The Protestant church chose the left hand because it wanted to distinguish itself from the Catholic practise of wearing the ring on the right hand. Since then the majority, but not all, of Western European countries have worn their rings on the left hand. England’s vast colonization spread this tradition to many parts of the globe.

Rules of Engagement

The concept of the engagement ring didn’t occur until 1215 AD when Pope Innocent III declared that there must be a waiting period between the engagement and the wedding to test the devotion of the couple to each other. However, it was only the nobility who were able to afford both an engagement ring and a wedding band. When wearing an engagement ring and wedding band on the same hand, the wedding band traditionally goes on first and the engagement ring second. This originally stemmed from an old superstition that once the wedding band was put on it must never be taken off. These days the wedding band is put on first so that it is closer to the heart.

Rings for All

While the Western part of the world has a long tradition with the wedding ring, many other parts of the world didn’t wear one at all. Traditionally, in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism there was no ring included in the wedding ceremonies, although they had other symbols and/or jewellery they would wear. Today most cultures have added engagement and wedding rings to their rituals due to the influence of globalization. The hand these countries choose to wear their rings on often ties in to their traditional beliefs. In India they wear them on the right hand because that hand is considered auspicious and the left hand unclean. In China the woman wears her rings on her right hand and the man on his left, because the woman is the one who runs the household and the right hand exerts more influence.

And the Answer Is…

So to the question of which hand does your wedding ring go on, the answer is it depends on where in the world you live. As I live in Canada, everyone I know wears them on their left hand. But if I lived in Russia then they would most likely wear them on their right hand. Also, in most societies, both men and women wear a wedding ring, while engagement rings are still mainly worn by women. Despite these traditions, in today’s society there are no longer strict rules and if someone wants to wear their engagement ring or wedding ring on a different finger or hand, then they should do what feels right for them.

Photo credit: Jeremie Dupont

Engagement Ring Resizing

Engagement Ring Size and Resizing: What You Need to Know

You have found the one with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and are getting ready to pop the question. You research diamonds and ring designs and choose an engagement ring that will be just perfect for them. But wait, there is one thing you don’t know – their ring size! Unlike a necklace or earrings, rings are one piece of jewelry where size really does matter. But don’t let the fact that you don’t know the correct ring size derail your engagement plans – we are here to give you all the information you need to know about assessing ring size and resizing a ring.

Ring Sizes

In Canada and the United States ring sizes follow a numerical scale which is based on the inner circumference of the ring. They come in full sizes, half sizes and quarter sizes. The average size of a lady’s ring is in and around a size 6, and the average size of a men’s ring is between size 8 and 10. However lots of people fall outside these numbers, with smaller or larger sizes needed.

Figuring Out the Engagement Ring Size

Many people try to figure out their partner’s ring size before they buy a ring, and there are a few ways you can attempt to do this.

Asking friends or family members can be a good way to find out. If you can covertly borrow a ring your partner wears and bring it to a jeweler, then they can measure the ring on a mandrel (a conical metal sizing tool) to find the correct size. However, the ring you borrow will need to be worn on the correct finger and be a similar width, or else the sizing will be off.

If you and your partner have talked about getting engaged, you can always stop by a jewelry store at the mall together and get their size “for in the future”.

Many online sites suggest wrapping a piece of paper or string around their finger while your partner sleeps, but this is not reliable enough to get an accurate reading.

If you do not know your partner’s actual ring size though it is not a problem for an experienced jeweler. At Kimberfire we help our customers estimate the ring size and then after the proposal we resize the ring to be the perfect fit, at no charge.

Professional Ring Sizing

After your best efforts to figure out the ring size, the perfect ring may still not be the perfect fit. Don’t sweat the small stuff (or the too big stuff) because your jeweler is here to help. When you come to get your engagement ring sized we will check the size of the current ring and then place various sized ring sizers on the finger. The ring sizers come in full and half sizes, but the ring can be sized between the two sizes as well.

There are some things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding what size is the right fit:

  • A wider ring will fit tighter than a thinner ring.
  • Temperature will affect your ring size, as fingers often swell in summer heat and shrink in cold weather.
  • Your finger can fluctuate in size through the day depending on temperature and water retention.
  • Adding another ring beside the ring (like a wedding band) will make the rings feel tighter as they cover more surface area.
  • A ring should slide easily over the knuckle when going on, and there should be some pull when you take it off.
  • Ring sizing is not an exact science as it really depends on the finger shape and how the person likes the ring to feel on their finger.

Something else to consider is that some people have knuckles which are much wider than the base of their finger, and this can cause the ring to spin around when worn (this is especially true for larger stones and top heavy rings). To counteract the spinning a jeweler can add sizing beads inside the ring, which makes the ring feel a bit tighter but still makes it possible to fit the ring over the knuckle.

How the Jeweler Resizes the Ring

There are two ways to resize a ring. The first is by placing the ring on a metal ring stretcher or compressor and using force to either stretch or compress the size. This method usually only works for plain wedding bands and cannot be used for rings with diamonds or gemstones, or those with intricate details.

The second method involves cutting the ring. To make a ring larger the ring is cut at the very bottom, and the two sides are moved further apart from each other. A new piece of metal (the same type of metal the ring is made of) is then added and soldered into place. The jeweler then polishes the ring so that the new area is undetectable. To make a ring smaller, the ring is cut at the base in two places and a piece of metal is removed. Then the two sides of the ring are brought together, soldered and polished. Don’t be alarmed at the thought of your ring being cut and set on fire – ring sizing is a routine process and a professional jeweler should be able to resize the ring without affecting its durability and without anyone being able to detect that the ring was altered in any way.

Potential Ring Resizing Issues

If you need to resize a ring more than two full sizes, you may run into problems depending on the ring’s design. Rings with intricate wire work or filigree will probably be too fragile for a large size change. Rings with gemstones set in them have to be resized very carefully so that the angles don’t change to the point that the stones are misaligned or fall out. In general, too great of a size adjustment can destroy the structural integrity of the ring and leave it misshapen or vulnerable to breakage.

If a ring has been resized more than a couple times it may run into issues such as thinning of the shank, and of the prongs if there are diamonds on the shank. If this happens the ring may need to be remade in the correct size.

Eternity rings with diamonds or gemstones encircling the entire ring cannot be sized. It is not recommended to buy this style of ring without knowing the correct ring size.

Men’s rings that are made in titanium, tungsten, ceramic or stainless steel may be extremely difficult or impossible to size and again are not recommended to buy without knowing the right size.

If your ring has an engraving on the inside or outside of the ring shank, it is very possible that it will be destroyed during sizing, and will have to be removed and completely redone.

A reputable jeweler should explain all these possible issues with you before any resizing is attempted.

The Perfect Fit

Once you have found the perfect size for your ring, it should be comfortable and secure. You shouldn’t worry about it falling off your finger or not being able to come off when you want it to. You can now wear your ring with confidence and show that beauty off to the world.

Engagement Ring Styles

Solitaire, Two-Stone and Three-Stone Engagement Rings

When you are setting out to find the perfect engagement ring, there are so many different styles and designs to choose from. How do you know where to start looking? Do you want something simple or embellished? Traditional or modern? Solitaire or multi-stone? If you aren’t quite sure what styles you like, a bit of jewelry education can help make the task a bit easier. Today we look at three styles of engagement rings which have been popular throughout history – solitaire, two-stone and three-stone diamond rings.

One of a Kind: One-Stone, Solitaire Engagement Rings

The most classic of all engagement ring styles is the diamond solitaire. The solitaire ring is a band of metal set with a single diamond. This style of ring can be traced back to Ancient Rome, and was usually a gold band set with one uncut diamond. Some of these Roman rings still exist today, owned by museums or collectors. Diamond cutting was invented in the Early Middle Ages, and primitive diamond cuts such as the point and table cut, were held in place by gold bezels. As diamond cutting and goldsmith techniques improved, the bezels were often made in silver or gold and backed with silver foil to show off the diamond’s colour and sparkle better. Some antique designs used prongs to hold the diamond in place, but they differed from the styles of today in that the diamond was sunk deep into the metal to secure it. In the early 1800’s setting diamonds ‘a jour’ became popular, which was a style where the back of the setting was pierced open to allow more light to enter the diamond. In 1886 Tiffany and Co. debuted their ‘Tiffany’ setting, which was a 6-prong solitaire setting that held the diamond high above the band. This setting was revolutionary as it showed off every angle of the diamond and enhanced the stone’s brilliance. The Tiffany setting is still one of the most popular diamond settings in the world today. Modern settings can have 4, 5, 6 or more prongs holding the diamond in place. Like the Tiffany setting, most of today’s solitaires have the diamond raised up above the band. The solitaire setting may seem a simple choice, but in fact there is a lot of variation to choose from, like metal colour, diamond shape, the number of prongs, the style of the band and the design of the setting itself. The solitaire ring is the perfect choice for someone who wants their diamond to be the center of attention. This elegant and classic design ensures that this type of ring will never be a passing trend and will maintain its appeal for generations to come.

It Takes Two: Two-Stone Engagement Rings

The second type of engagement ring we are going to look at is the two-stone diamond engagement ring. This style of ring has gained popularity lately with many jewelry stores promoting these designs. The two stones can represent two people joining together in love, or one stone for friendship and the other for love. While the two-stone ring seems to be a rather new concept, rings with two central elements trace back to Roman times when wedding bands featured two hands shaking, representing the marriage contract. In the Middle Ages, a popular style of marital ring was the gimmel ring, named after the Latin word for twin. The gimmel ring consisted of two interlocking hoops that, when connected, formed one single ring. Each gimmel ring would have a gemstone set in a bezel setting, and when the two rings joined together the stones sat side by side. In 1776 Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Josephine de Beauharnais with a two-stone “Toi et Moi” ring (“you and me” in French). The ring featured a pear shaped blue sapphire and a pear shaped diamond set opposite each other. This ring become one of the most famous engagement rings in history and started the “Toi et Moi” trend. Victorian era rings often featured two pear shaped gems that were set beside each other to form a heart shape, usually topped with a crown or a bow. Rings from the Edwardian era and Art Deco periods featured two stones (usually diamonds) flanked by a curving band in a bypass setting. After the Art Deco style fell out of favour, two-stone rings weren’t commonly seen as engagement rings. But like all trends, what goes around comes around and the last few years have seen a rise in this style of ring again. The two-stone engagement ring is perfect for the person who is a romantic and likes to be a little bit different from the rest. It is also a great choice for someone who may not be able to afford one large diamond, but still wants something that looks significant on their finger.

Third Time’s a Charm: Three-Stone Engagement Rings

The three-stone ring is often called a trinity or trilogy ring and it first came into style during the Victorian times. This style of ring traditionally displayed three stones of the same shape and cut with the center stone being the largest, although they could all be the same size as well. The three stones are symbolic, although there are different opinions on what they represent. The most popular belief is that the three stones stand for past, present and future, with the “present” stone being the most important. This idea was heavily promoted by De Beers and lead to the three-stone diamond ring becoming a popular anniversary gift. Other meanings of the three stones have been “friendship, love and fidelity”, the words “I love You”, and “father, mother and child”. The last few decades have seen this style of ring become popular as an engagement ring. The three-stone ring is fantastic because it comes in a huge variety of designs. The style can look classic using three stones of the same cut, such as three round brilliants or three princess cut diamonds. Or it can look completely modern using different combinations of stones, such as an emerald cut diamond set with two trilliant cut stones, or an oval diamond being set with two pear cut stones. The options are literally endless, with variations in metal choices, graduated or non-graduated sized stones, setting styles, combinations of diamond cuts or adding coloured gems into the mix. The three-stone engagement ring is a great choice for someone who is sentimental and symbolic. The wide variety of options means the three-stone ring can appeal to both the traditional and the modern jewelry wearer.

Endless Possibilities

The types of engagement rings I have covered above only describe three options out of a limitless number of ring designs. There are, of course, the popular halo engagement rings, five-stone rings, eternity bands and the list goes on and on. If you are still trying to find the perfect engagement ring, a great place to look for inspiration is on Kimberfire’s Pinterest page where we have curated a fantastic collection of images.

Marriage Proposal Ideas

15 Memorable Marriage Proposal Ideas

You have fallen deeply in love with someone and have decided you want to spend the rest of your life with them. You know this person will be the perfect partner to grow old with, and you buy a ring. You are so excited to propose and cannot wait, except for one small thing…. you don’t know how you are going to ask the question! I am here to help with some creative proposal ideas and, in case my ideas aren’t for you, I’ll also guide you to some expert advice. Let’s start with the ideas…

First Date Memories

Take your love to the place where you had your first date, where you can sit and reminisce. You can present the ring once you are both feeling nostalgic, bringing your relationship full circle.

Beach Time

Go to a nice beach together and when you arrive have “Will you marry me?” written in the sand or with pebbles. The location and message will be the perfect backdrop for all your proposal photos.

Furry Best Friend

Are you a doggy parent? Writing “Will you marry me?” on your dog’s collar or on a sign around it’s neck is a sure-fire way to get a yes!

In the Clouds

Propose in the sky! Hire a small airplane to fly an aerial sky banner or sky-write your proposal in the clouds.

Scavenger Hunt

Create a personalized scavenger hunt around your home, with each clue bringing your partner closer to the ring.

Jumbotron

Propose on the scoreboard during a sporting event. Note that this is only a good idea if the person you are proposing to is a huge fan of the team, and crowds!

Surprise Street Art

Have a street artist or caricaturist draw you and your partner on the street, having previously arranged for them to incorporate your partner’s name and “Will you marry me?”. When the artist presents the finished drawing, it will be a huge surprise.

Holiday Love

December holiday proposals are extremely popular, and no proposal list would be complete without them. Luckily, I previously wrote a blog covering the topic of fantastic holiday proposal ideas.

The Highest of Heights

Propose at a great height, whether it be on a mountaintop or a rooftop patio. If you want to take it even further, go on a helicopter tour or up in a hot air balloon. Something about being high up with the one you love is so romantic.

Meal Time

Say it with food. Take your love to a romantic restaurant and have the chef write the proposal on the dessert plate. Perhaps cook up a gourmet meal at home to pop the question. Are you proposing to a coffee lover? Have a custom mug made with the question inside at the bottom, so your message is revealed as they finish drinking.

Game Time

Play a trivia game with your partner and have one of the trivia cards ask “Will you marry me?”. Alternatively, put together a puzzle that has the same question, so they don’t see the message until it is complete.

Ferris Wheel

Take a ride on the Ferris wheel at a fair or amusement park, and have the operator stop when you reach the top. Then pull out the ring and ask your question.

Photo Book

Create a photo book of memories the two of you have had together. When they reach the last page, have a photo of you on it holding a sign that says “Will you marry me?”.

Fireworks

Proposing during a fireworks display is always a great time, as it is usually a public holiday and everyone is enjoying themselves. It also guarantees your partner will be looking up at the sky and won’t notice when you kneel down and pull out the ring.

Parisian Elegance

In front of the Eiffel Tower! Okay, I know that not everyone can afford to fly to Paris just to propose, but there is no more romantic place to be than in the city of lights. It’s a classic for a reason. If taking a trip isn’t in the cards, then perhaps re-create the setting in your home town. You can set up your living room like a French bistro, complete with a live violinist and fairy lights.

So those are my ideas and while I think it’s a great list, I know that some people are looking for something different. Maybe you want something a bit more personal and customized. Perhaps you want a professional photographer waiting to catch the moment. Or perhaps you don’t know what you want at all and you need someone to help guide you. Well did you know there are professional proposal planners who offer that very service?

Luxe Proposals is a luxury proposal planning company which serves Toronto and Vancouver. They offer customized ideas, full service design and coordination to bring your proposal vision to life. You just email them with your proposal date and a brief description and they will help create your perfect proposal. You can choose from one of their signature packages or have it completely customized. They will create a step-by-step itinerary and will make sure your proposal is kept a surprise. Those who are looking for a truly unique and luxurious proposal need look no further than Luxe Proposals.

There will also be people who don’t want a huge elaborate proposal, but prefer something very simple and sweet. To them I’d say, do what suits you and your relationship best. In the end, the proposal is just the very beginning, and there will be much more to come in your adventures together.