Lab-grown engagement ring on vanilla silk background.

Where to Start When Shopping for Engagement & Wedding Rings

How well do you understand the diamond shopping process? Are you after a unique bespoke design, or will a beautifully crafted ring bought straight out of the showcase work? What shape and color do you have your heart set on? Do you understand what the 4 C’s of diamond buying are? If you’ve been asking yourself these types of questions, getting a little more knowledge is a good thing before you head to the jewelry store. See our tips on where to start when shopping for engagement & wedding rings, and buy with confidence.

The Most Critical of Wedding Ring Shopping Tips — The Ring Style

If you’re co-shopping with your partner-to-be, then hopefully, settling on the design for your engagement or wedding rings won’t be too fraught.

However, if you’ve decided to surprise your partner with the traditional bended knee and a surprise ring to pop the question, do some research first. If you’re not sure of your partner’s taste in jewelry, you will have to use a little subterfuge. Try asking family and friends, leaving jewelry catalogs out, or stopping by jewelry stores when shopping together and casually looking at ring designs. For more ideas, take our Engagement Ring Quiz.

If you have any misgivings that your partner may not be thrilled with the chosen design, make sure you have the option to swap the ring for another, like our loaner program.

Think about the Design Basics

Whether you’re going into a physical jewelry store or shopping online, having a reasonably firm idea of ring design basics will help with the diamond shopping process. It can stop you from becoming mesmerized by an enormous number of patterns, colors, cuts, precious metal choices, and all the combinations thereof.

So, what are the essential elements of ring design? These include the precious metal, the band style, the setting that holds the gemstones, and the diamond shape.

Precious Metal

Three engagement rings that are precious metals, one rose gold, yellow gold and white gold

The precious metals used to construct the ring are commonly yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum.


The usual center diamond color for an engagement ring is clear white. However, surrounding the center stone with diamonds in hues of green, blue, yellow, and shades of brown can make a stunning design.

Diamond Shapes

Chart showing the different shapes of diamonds

Diamonds can be cut into many different shapes. These shapes include the Princess, Cushion, Heart, Pear, Marquise, Radiant, Asscher, Emerald, and Oval.

Band Styles

Choices you will need to make include whether to select thin or wide bands and then twisted or split shape designs.

Stone Settings

Settings range from a simple large center stone in a prong setting to complex bands of multiple stones running along bands and surrounding the center stone.

Knowing the 4 C’s — an Important Step in the Diamond Shopping Process

Here’s a handy wedding ring shopping tip for you — be across the 4 C’s relating to diamond quality. These four diamond characteristics are cut, color, clarity, and carat. The unique combination of these characteristics in each diamond determines the grading that applies to each stone. And this subsequently determines the value of each gem.

Armed with this basic knowledge, you should be able to discuss aspects of the gems you’re interested in with the diamond ring merchants. You may find that you can negotiate a better price. For more detailed information, take a look at our Diamonds 101 or book an education consultation with one of our diamond experts to get the most thorough diamond education.

Sustainable or Mined?

Another of our wedding ring shopping tips is to consider your budget and whether a sustainable or mined diamond is your best choice. Lab-grown diamonds have some environmental benefits, the majority of which is a smaller carbon footprint than diamonds extracted from the earth’s crust.

Sustainable diamonds also have a cost-benefit, as they come in roughly 50 to 70% under the price of an equivalent mined stone.

Classic Design or Contemporary Trend

Another wedding ring shopping tip before you settle on the final ring design is to consider whether to opt for a classic design or a contemporary trend. It’s important to remember that you will be wearing these rings every day, so make sure it’s a design that you will love to wear most of the time. If you need guidance in choosing the perfect ring, take our Engagement Ring Quiz.

Carbon Diamonds for Beautiful Diamond Jewelry Designs

Carbon Diamonds is a highly reputable diamond jewelry store passionate about promoting the benefits of lab-created diamonds. We cut and craft these stones to exacting and beautiful designs that you will be proud to wear as engagement or wedding rings. If you need advice on any part of the diamond shopping process to select your rings, call us or book an appointment. And if you want a special design, we can fashion custom rings for you.