The Complete Guide to Engagement Ring Buying

The Complete Guide to Engagement Ring Buying

Navigating the world of jewelry, particularly when it comes to choosing something as significant as an engagement ring, can be a daunting journey. This is the reality we at Noor and Leila recognize and strive to simplify. Our blog was born from this understanding – to demystify jewelry industry lingo and guide you through selecting that perfect piece.

Embarking on a marriage is a monumental step, and we're here to cheer you on through this exhilarating phase! Our Engagement Ring Buying Guide is more than just a checklist; it's a thoughtful curation designed to navigate the complexities of choosing a ring that resonates with your love story.

The Checklist:

    1. Before Diving In:

    2. The Heart of the Ring – The Center Stone:

    3. Crafting the Perfect Setting:

    4. Final Considerations:

As we unravel each element of this process in our guide, we do so with a blend of passion and precision, understanding that each decision you make is a reflection of your unique journey and values. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge, ensuring that every step of your ring selection journey is as meaningful and personal as the commitment it symbolizes.

Before Diving In

Conversations That Matter

The myth that every proposal needs to be a surprise is just that – a myth, often fueled by romantic comedies. Reality check: surprises aren't for everyone, especially for something as life-changing as an engagement. In the quest for the perfect engagement ring, the most crucial step is the conversation you'll have with your partner.

Before even starting your engagement ring shopping, it's crucial to engage in a heart-to-heart with your partner. Discuss your mutual feelings about marriage. Are you both on the same page as to your future goals and plans? Have you discussed the potential of children, career goals, etc. It’s best to have any difficult conversations now rather than get surprised once you’re engaged or married.




As far as the proposal goes - Does the idea of an engagement ring appeal to both of you? Who is going to propose?

While these conversations may lack cinematic romance, they’re rooted in the genuine, deep connection and benefit your relationship. They can help align your dreams and expectations.

And remember, surprises in the proposal can take many forms. It’s becoming increasingly common for partners to jointly choose their engagement rings, blending the element of surprise with a shared decision. Certain elements of the ring could be a surprise (assuming that’s okay with your partner), or even many elements of the proposal itself can be a surprise. It’s about planning a moment that’s special for the both of you, while crafting a lasting symbol of your love.

This isn't just about choosing the right engagement ring; it's about understanding each other's hopes, dreams, and what marriage symbolizes for you both. It’s about unraveling the layers of your relationship and finding common ground in your aspirations and timelines.

Ring Budget: Shopping within your means

You might have encountered the age-old adage that an engagement ring should cost three months' salary, but did you know its origin is steeped in clever marketing rather than tradition? This notion was crafted by De Beers, a major diamond producer, during the economic downturn of the Great Depression when diamonds weren't exactly flying off the shelves.

Initially, diamond rings were not the standard. In a strategic move to boost sales, De Beers launched an ad campaign suggesting that true love's testament lay in gifting a diamond ring worth at least a month's salary. This narrative took off, and by the 1980s, the suggested spend inflated from one month to three.

However, at Noor and Leila, we believe the value of an engagement ring shouldn't be dictated by an arbitrary rule, but by what feels right for you and your partner. You should be smart financially about how you shop for a ring.

Many couples today are opting for more affordable rings, channeling their resources towards a dream honeymoon or a home. But shopping more affordably doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality. Exploring lab-grown stones and alternative gemstones is a beautiful and meaningful way to symbolize your commitment without adhering to outdated standards or supporting unethical production.

Engagement Timeline: Crafting Your Unique Story

Every love story unfolds at its own pace, and so should the journey of choosing an engagement ring. Understanding your timeline is vital. It's not just about the time needed to select and purchase a ring, but also about cherishing this chapter of your story. Whether you need a few weeks or several months, have fun and respect the rhythm of your relationship.




Practically speaking, each jeweler operates on their own schedule. For instance, at Noor and Leila, our engagement rings are made-to-order and typically have a lead time of about 6-8 weeks, reflecting the time and care put into crafting each unique piece.

Should you choose to commission a bespoke ring from us (and we warmly invite you to do so), remember that the time frame might extend, varying with the complexity and detail of your design.

Moreover, it's essential to consider practicalities such as fit and personal taste. If there's any uncertainty about whether the ring will be a perfect fit, or if it will truly resonate with your partner upon seeing it, familiarize yourself with your jeweler's policies on resizing, returns, and exchanges. These details are crucial and can be found on our website – we encourage you to review them to ensure peace of mind with your selection.

The Heart of the Ring – The Center Stone

Now, let's dive into the most exciting part: selecting the ring! The first thing to think about is a center stone. This choice hinges on personal style preferences and the practical aspects of daily life.

Diamonds or Gemstones: Understanding the Mohs Scale

In the realm of engagement rings, diamonds have long stood as the epitome of commitment. However, at Noor and Leila we invite you to explore beyond the conventional.

There a many sustainable durable gemstones we can’t wait to introduce you to, but first we want to get into why every stone doesn’t make for a good engagement ring.

Let’s take Opal for example. While they exude an undeniable charm and beauty, they may not be the ideal choice for an engagement ring's center stone. Let's delve into the reason behind this, courtesy of the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness. This scale is a definitive guide to the durability of various minerals. Diamonds top this scale with a perfect score of 10. Comparably, Moissanite sits at a 9.5, making them an excellent choice for an engagement ring that endures daily wear.

The world of gemstones offers a wide spectrum of choices beyond diamonds. For instance, sapphires have a robust hardness rating of about 9 (and they come in SOOO many colors). While not as hard as diamonds, they're significantly more durable than opals, which have a much lower rating of 5-6 on the Mohs Scale. Some other great stones we recommend include Emerald, Ruby, and Alexandrite.

When selecting a center stone, a good rule of thumb is to consider stones with a Mohs rating of 7.5 or above. This ensures that the gem is resilient enough for the demands of an engagement ring. If you have a specific gemstone in mind, a quick online search of its name along with "Mohs Scale" can provide insight into its suitability for your ring.

The 4 C’s: Clarity, Cut, Color, Carat

When diamonds (or moissanites) are your stone of choice, the 4 C's become your guide in this journey. Each 'C' – Carat, Color, Cut, Clarity – tells a part of the stone's story. Moissanite is graded similarly to diamonds, but we’ll highlight a few differences for you.



CARAT - carat sizes are usually measured in the same way as diamonds, where one carat equals 0.2 grams (200 milligrams). It's important to note though that carat size alone does not indicate the dimensions or visual appearance of a moissanite gemstone. Moissanite weighs approximately 15% less than a diamond of the same diameter. This weight difference has no effect on the ring itself, it’s purely necessary to consider if you are comparing diamonds to moissanite while shopping.


COLOR - The color spectrum of moissanite begins at D, signifying colorless, and extends all the way to Z, indicating a distinct yellow or brown hue. As you progress from D towards Z, there's a gradual increase in the prominence and intensity of the color tint.

To make it easier to understand, "white" moissanite is typically categorized into two main color groups:

          • Colorless: Grades D, E, and F

          • Near Colorless: Grades G, H, and I

At Noor and Leila, our standard offering of moissanite is in the DEF colorless range, although we are more than happy to accommodate other preferences upon request.

But the beauty of moissanite doesn't end with just the traditional white. Our collection extends to an exciting palette of colors, far beyond what you find in diamonds. We offer moissanite in vibrant shades such as canary yellow, champagne, dark and light blue, dark green, gray, and even black. And for those seeking an even broader spectrum, we have sapphires available in 17 different colors. From the subtle to the bold, we provide a kaleidoscope of options, ensuring you can find that perfect hue to match your vision. With Noor and Leila, the rainbow is just the beginning!


CUT - There's a common misconception that the 'cut' of a diamond refers to its shape - like round, princess, or pear. However, the cut actually pertains to how the gemstone's facets play with light. This aspect is crucial as it predominantly influences a diamond's brilliance, fire, and overall visual appeal. Even a diamond with perfect clarity can appear lackluster if the cut is poorly executed, being too shallow or too deep.

In the world of diamonds, which are naturally mined, there's a variety of shapes and sizes, and occasionally, some stones may present unique challenges in achieving the ideal cut. Minor deviations in the cut are not uncommon given the diverse nature of these stones.

Moissanites, on the other hand, are crafted in controlled laboratory conditions, replicating the natural formation process of this exceedingly rare mineral. In this environment, the cut of a moissanite is meticulously controlled. There's no reason a Moissanite should be anything other than an 'Excellent' cut grade.

For both diamonds and moissanites, the quality of the cut is paramount. A poorly cut and polished stone, regardless of its size, clarity, or color, can end up resembling a dull piece of glass, lacking the vibrant sparkle and life that these gems are renowned for. It's the precision of the cut that unlocks the true beauty and splendor of these stones.


CLARITY - This refers to the purity of the stone and presence of blemishes. All natural gemstones have imperfections (inclusions), which range from extremely obvious to barely noticeable, even at 10X magnification. The grading system ranges from FL for Flawless to I for eye visual (visible to the naked eye). All of our moissanite stones are at least VVS1, which stands for very very small inclusions, and our close to FL.


Choosing Your Center Stone Shape

Each diamond shape brings its own unique set of advantages and considerations. For instance, an oval cut diamond presents a larger appearance than a round cut diamond of the same carat, offering more perceived size for your investment. However, it's important to note that oval cuts might not hide inclusions as effectively as a round cut, so aiming for a higher clarity grade is advisable for this shape.

When it comes to choosing your diamond's shape, there are no absolute right or wrong choices - it's all about personal preference. If you prefer sparkle and brilliance, brilliant cuts are the way to go. Shapes like round, pear, oval, or radiant are expertly crafted with numerous facets to catch and reflect light, maximizing that sought-after sparkle.

For those who adore understated elegance over high sparkle, consider shapes like the Asscher, emerald, or baguette cut. These cuts offer a more minimalist aesthetic while still exuding grace and sophistication.


Crafting the Perfect Setting


Security Meets Style

With your center stone selected, the next step is choosing the right setting, where security should be your primary concern, closely followed by aesthetic appeal.

There a few popular engagement ring settings used to secure your stone and we’ll highlight the security implications of each.

          1. Prong Setting

            • This classic choice, featuring metal claws that grip the stone, is both popular and practical. While it beautifully showcases the stone, allowing maximum light entry for brilliance, it's essential to ensure the prongs are well-crafted and regularly checked to maintain their grip. All of our designs use a minimum of four prongs and we often like to use six or eight if customers like the look, as it ensures a very durable ring design.

          2. Bezel Setting

            • For those seeking a blend of modern aesthetics and robust security, the bezel setting is ideal. The metal completely encircles the stone’s edge, offering superior protection against knocks and slippage. We particularly recommended bezel settings for those with active lifestyles.

          3. Channel Setting

            • Stones set within a metal channel provide a sleek, smooth surface, reducing the risk of snagging and stone loss. This setting is perfect for those who favor a streamlined look without compromising the stone's security.

          4. Pavé Setting

            • Small stones are set closely together, held by tiny beads of metal. This setting offers a stunning, glittering effect but requires careful craftsmanship to ensure each stone is securely held. Prongs once again factor into security here. Many company’s offer dainty Pavé settings on thin ring bands. Be very careful with these, it’s incredibly easy to lose stones with such designs.

          5. Tension Setting

            • A contemporary choice where the stone is held in place by the tension of the metal band itself. It creates a visually striking floating effect for the stone. However, it’s crucial that the tension is precisely calibrated for optimum security.

Customizing the Band

With the precious stone of your choice in place (or not if you’re just doing a band), it's time to focus on the band - an element that is just as crucial in defining the overall look and feel of your engagement ring.



First, consider the type of metal that resonates with your style. Are you drawn to the warm hues of rose gold or yellow gold, the sleek elegance of white gold, or the enduring strength of platinum?



Color preference plays a significant role in this decision. Think about what your partner likes to wear. A cohesive look with their existing jewelry collection is often desirable – for instance, choosing platinum might not be ideal if their jewelry box is filled with yellow gold items.

The choice between rose gold and yellow gold involves more than just color; the karat of the gold slightly influences its hue and overall appearance. Since pure gold is naturally yellow, the higher the karat, the more yellow the metal will appear. As a starting point though, 14k is the most popular type of gold used to make jewelry in the US and is our bestseller as well.



White gold and platinum might appear similar visually, but they differ in aspects like density and maintenance requirements. Platinum’s density and rarity makes it more expensive than white gold. Some people prefer platinum because it has a little more weight to it, and you don't have to worry about the rhodium plating on white gold naturally wearing away over time. Others like that a white gold ring feels a little lighter on your finger (and your wallet).



Beyond the classic plain metal band, there are various styles to consider, such as the timeless elegance of an eternity band. Our Classic Eternity Band and Baguette Band are exemplary choices that add an extra layer of sophistication. While the idea of an eternity band is that the stones go all the way around, we often recommend against this and avoid this in our designs. Over the lifetime of your jewelry, you’re likely to resize at least a couple of times. We leave ~10% of the band empty of stones so that your ring can easily be resized.




Consider how an engagement ring will pair with a wedding band. Rings with low and wide settings often pose challenges in achieving a flush fit with a band, leading to gaps. While our Curved and Open wedding bands offer solutions, it's wise to factor in potential band pairings while selecting your engagement ring setting. This foresight can save you from future styling frustrations.



Determining the Ring Size

Choosing the right size is the final, yet critical, step. It's important to ensure a comfortable fit – a balance between snug and loose. You can get professionally sized at a local jeweler or use one of our free ring sizing kits for accuracy.



Remember, sizing can be adjusted post-purchase. We offer complimentary resizing within 30 days of receiving your ring. However, it's always wise to check the resizing policies of your jeweler beforehand to avoid any fitting issues later. The perfect ring isn't just about aesthetics; it's also about how comfortably it fits into your life.

Final Considerations:

Warranties and Insurance: A Safety Net for Your Symbol of Love:

We're nearing the conclusion of this guide, and by now, you're equipped with all the necessary knowledge about your ring. However, these final pieces of advice are crucial for ensuring your ring's longevity.

It's essential to familiarize yourself with the warranty and insurance policies of your jeweler. Unforeseen incidents can occur, and your ring might need maintenance to retain its pristine condition. While we all hope for the best, it's prudent to prepare for any situation.

At Noor & Leila, every piece of jewelry comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty, safeguarding against manufacturing flaws. However, this does not extend to regular wear and tear. Many local jewelers can easily take of ring re-sizing, rhodium re-plating for white gold rings, repolishing, and even replacing side stones or main gems if they become worn or dislodged.

It's important finding someone to help with wear and tear is distinct from insurance; jewelers can’t help fix loss or theft. For those seeking coverage against such risks, many of our customers have found Jewelers Mutual to be a reliable insurance option. Ensuring your ring's safety and maintenance is key to enjoying its beauty and significance for years to come.

Care and Maintenance: Preserving the Legacy of Your Love

Now that the stunning ring is yours, maintaining its beauty is key. Proper care and cleaning are essential to ensuring your engagement ring stays in pristine condition for years to come.

Be mindful of exposing your ring to saltwater and chemicals. Substances like lotions, makeup, and chlorine found in swimming pools and hot tubs can be harmful to both platinum and gold rings. These elements can cause damage and should be avoided to preserve the ring's luster and integrity.

When it comes to cleaning, a simple do-it-yourself approach at home is often the best starting point. You can read more about it in our jewelry care guide.

Should your ring require more than what at-home cleaning can provide, professional cleaning services are available. These services use ultrasonic cleaners or offer repolishing to bring back the ring's original shine or matte finish.

While the natural wear of precious metals has its own charm, some prefer to keep their rings looking as good as new by opting for periodic repolishing. However, it’s important to repolish sparingly, as each session can result in a slight loss of metal. Remember, taking care of your ring is not just about preserving a piece of jewelry, but cherishing a symbol of your special bond.

Let’s Wrap Up


In every piece of advice, every tip, and suggestion we've shared, our goal has been to empower you with the knowledge and confidence to find a ring that truly resonates with your personal story. At Noor and Leila, we celebrate every step of your journey and are honored to be a part of this remarkable chapter in your life. Here's to the love that brought you here, and to the beautiful future that awaits.

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