Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

June 19, 2023

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones By Valley Rose


Engagement rings represent a timeless symbol of love and commitment. They are a significant investment and hold immense sentimental value. When selecting the perfect engagement ring, it is crucial to consider various factors, including the style, metal choice, gemstone preference, and ethical sourcing. This comprehensive guide will explore each aspect in detail, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision and find the ideal ring that reflects your unique style and values. 


Exploring Engagement Ring Styles


Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones
Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

1. Solitaire Engagement Rings

Solitaire engagement rings are classic and elegant, featuring a single center stone. This style emphasizes the beauty and brilliance of the diamond or gemstone, making it the focal point of the ring. Solitaire rings offer timeless simplicity and versatility, allowing the stone to shine without distractions. They are perfect for those who prefer a traditional and understated design.

halo style engagement rings

2. Halo Engagement Rings

Halo engagement rings add extra sparkle and brilliance to the center stone. This style features a ring of smaller diamonds or gemstones surrounding the main stone, creating a halo effect. The halo enhances the overall appearance and gives the illusion of a larger center stone. Halo rings are popular among those who desire a glamorous and eye-catching design.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

3. Three-Stone Engagement Rings

Three-stone engagement rings symbolize the past, present, and future of a relationship. This style typically features a larger center stone flanked by two smaller stones on either side. These stones can represent milestones, such as friendship, love, and commitment. Three-stone rings are meaningful and sentimental, making them a popular choice for those who value symbolism in their jewelry.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

4. Vintage-Inspired Engagement Rings

Vintage-inspired engagement rings draw inspiration from different eras, such as Victorian, Art Deco, or Edwardian periods. These rings often feature intricate details, filigree work, and unique designs. Vintage-inspired rings offer a sense of nostalgia and romanticism, making them ideal for those who appreciate timeless elegance and a touch of old-world charm.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

5. Modern and Minimalist Engagement Rings

Modern and minimalist engagement rings are characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and simplicity. These rings embody contemporary aesthetics and are often crafted with sleek metals, such as platinum or white gold. Minimalist designs focus on the beauty of simplicity, showcasing the stone in a refined and understated manner. Modern and minimalist rings are perfect for those who prefer a sleek and sophisticated look.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

6. Avant Garde & Asymmetrical Engagement Rings

Avant-garde and asymmetrical engagement rings defy traditional norms and embrace unconventional designs. These rings feature unique shapes, unexpected stone placements, and artistic elements. Avant-garde rings are for the bold and adventurous individuals who seek to express their individuality and make a unique statement with their engagement ring.

engagement ring metal choices

Exploring Metal Choices

Choosing the right metal for your engagement ring is essential as it sets the overall tone and complements the chosen gemstone. Each metal has its unique properties, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Here are some popular metal choices for engagement rings:

1. Platinum

Platinum is a luxurious and durable metal known for its strength and purity. It is hypoallergenic and naturally white, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or allergies. Platinum engagement rings are highly valued and offer a timeless and sophisticated look.

2. White Gold

White gold is a popular alternative to platinum, offering a similar appearance at a more affordable price point. It is created by alloying yellow gold with white metals, such as silver, palladium, or nickel. White gold engagement rings have a lustrous and bright appearance, complementing various gemstones beautifully. It is important to know that most 14k and 18k white gold is plated with rhodium to give it a bright white appearance. You can choose to have your white gold ring unplated for a warmer hue or replate your ring every so often when the plating wears off. 

3. Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is a classic and traditional metal choice for engagement rings. It exudes warmth and elegance, symbolizing timeless beauty. Yellow gold engagement rings are versatile and can be paired with various gemstones, creating a stunning contrast and a vintage-inspired aesthetic. Yellow gold comes in many shades from green undertones to peach undertones. For example here at Valley Rose our gold is peach gold and has a neutral look that compliments every skin tone. 

4. Rose Gold

Rose gold has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its romantic and feminine appeal. This metal is created by alloying yellow gold with copper, resulting in a warm and blush-colored hue. Rose gold engagement rings offer a unique and contemporary look, perfect for those who desire a touch of individuality.

5. Gold Karats

Jewelers recommend 14k (58.3% pure gold content) or 18k (75% pure gold content) for engagement rings, anything lower or higher than these Karats presents issues from durability to tarnishing. Most jewelers have a secret recipe for their gold alloy, that is the mix of the other metals in addition to the gold. Each alloy recipe is customized to compliment the jewelers designs and working process.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

Selecting the Perfect Gemstone

The choice of gemstone for your engagement ring is a personal and significant decision. While diamonds are the traditional and popular choice, there are various alternatives available that offer unique colors, characteristics, and ethical considerations. Here are some popular gemstone options to consider:

1. Diamonds

Diamonds are renowned for their brilliance, durability, and timeless beauty. When selecting a diamond, it is essential to consider the 4 C's: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. The cut determines the diamond's sparkle and brilliance, while color and clarity affect its appearance. Carat weight determines the size of the diamond. Ethical sourcing of diamonds is crucial, ensuring they are traceable with known provenance and responsibly mined.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

2. Sapphires

Sapphires are vibrant and captivating gemstones available in various colors, with blue being the most popular. They symbolize loyalty, trust, and sincerity. Sapphires offer a unique alternative to traditional diamonds, adding a touch of color and individuality to an engagement ring. Ethical sourcing of sapphires means they are fully traceable ensuring they are responsibly mined and cut with minimal environmental impact.

salt and pepper diamonds for ethical engagement rings

3. Salt & Pepper Diamonds

Salt and pepper diamonds are unique and unconventional gemstones known for their natural inclusions and grayish-black color with specks of white. These diamonds offer a distinctive and rustic appearance, perfect for those seeking a non-traditional and avant-garde engagement ring. Salt and pepper diamonds can be ethically sourced, traceability and known provenance is important to ensure a minimal impact. 

4. Other Gemstones

In addition to diamonds and sapphires, there is a wide range of other gemstones to consider for an engagement ring. Emeralds, rubies, aquamarines, morganites, and opals are just a few examples. Each gemstone has its unique characteristics, colors, and symbolism. Exploring alternative gemstones allows for a truly personalized and meaningful engagement ring.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

Understanding the 4 C's for Diamonds

When choosing a diamond for your engagement ring, it can be helful to understand the 4 C's: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. These characteristics determine the quality and value of the diamond. But if all this is confusing, don't fret! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and these elements only matter if they are important to you. We recommend prioritizing cut and clarity grades over color to get a better value and higher carat weight for your budget.

Here's a brief overview of each aspect:

1. Cut

The cut refers to how well a diamond's facets interact with light, affecting its brilliance and sparkle. The quality of the cut directly impacts the diamond's overall appearance and beauty. Well-cut diamonds reflect light effectively, creating a dazzling display of brilliance.

2. Color

Diamonds range from colorless to various shades of yellow and brown. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grades diamonds on a color scale from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow or brown). Colorless diamonds are highly valued for their purity and brilliance.

3. Clarity

Diamonds contain natural inclusions or blemishes that affect their clarity. The GIA grades diamond clarity on a scale ranging from Flawless (no inclusions or blemishes visible under 10x magnification) to Included (inclusions visible to the naked eye). Higher clarity grades indicate a higher level of purity and rarity.

4. Carat Weight

Carat weight measures a diamond's size and is often associated with its value. Larger diamonds generally have a higher carat weight. However, carat weight alone does not determine a diamond's quality or beauty. It is essential to consider the other 4 C's in combination to make an informed decision.

Selecting the Perfect Gemstone Cut

The cut of a gemstone plays a crucial role in its overall appearance and beauty. Different cuts showcase the stone's unique characteristics and brilliance. Here are some popular gemstone cuts to consider for your engagement ring:

oval cut engagement ring

1. Oval Brilliant Cut

The oval brilliant cut is an elongated version of the round brilliant cut. It offers a timeless and elegant look, with its elongated shape creating the illusion of longer fingers. Oval cut gemstones exhibit excellent brilliance and sparkle, making them a popular choice for engagement rings.

round cut diamond engagement ring

2. Round Brilliant Cut

The round brilliant cut is the most popular and classic choice for diamonds and other gemstones. It's symmetrical shape and numerous facets maximize brilliance and sparkle, creating a stunning display of light. Round brilliant cut gemstones are versatile and complement various engagement ring styles.

pear cut 3 stone engagement ring

3. Pear Brilliant Cut

The pear brilliant cut, also known as teardrop cut, combines the elegance of a round cut with the uniqueness of a marquise cut. This cut features a rounded end and a pointed end, creating a beautiful and distinctive shape. Pear cut gemstones are known for their excellent brilliance and can add a touch of sophistication to any engagement ring.

marquise cut diamond engagement ring

4. Marquise Brilliant Cut

The marquise brilliant cut is an elongated shape with pointed ends, resembling a boat or a football. This cut maximizes the stone's carat weight, creating an illusion of larger size. Marquise cut gemstones exude elegance and sophistication, making them a popular choice for those seeking a unique and eye-catching engagement ring.

Cushion Cut Teal Sapphire Ethical Engagement Ring By Valley Rose

5. Cushion Brilliant Cut

The cushion brilliant cut, also known as the pillow cut, features a square or rectangular shape with rounded corners. This cut combines the brilliance of a round cut with the vintage charm of an antique cut. Cushion cut gemstones offer a romantic and soft appearance, perfect for those who desire a vintage-inspired engagement ring.

emerald cut sapphire engagement ring

6. Emerald Step Cut

The emerald step cut is characterized by rectangular facets arranged parallel to the gemstone's edges. This cut showcases the gemstone's clarity and color, creating a mirror-like effect. Emerald cut gemstones exude elegance and sophistication, making them an excellent choice for those who appreciate a timeless and understated design.

radiant cut diamond engagement ring

7. Radiant Brilliant Cut

The radiant brilliant cut combines the brilliance of a round cut with the geometric shape of an emerald cut. This cut features cropped corners and a square or rectangular shape. Radiant cut gemstones exhibit exceptional brilliance and offer a unique blend of modern and vintage aesthetics.

Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring: A Guide to Styles, Metals, and Gemstones

8. Princess Brilliant Cut

The princess brilliant cut is a square or rectangular shape with sharp corners. It features numerous facets that maximize brilliance and sparkle. Princess cut gemstones offer a modern and contemporary look, perfect for those seeking a bold and eye-catching engagement ring.

ethical sourcing engagement rings

The Importance of Ethical Sourcing

When selecting an engagement ring, ethical sourcing should be a top priority. Ethical engagement rings are crafted with responsibly sourced materials and are made by workers who benefit from fair labor practices. Here's why ethical sourcing is crucial:

1. Responsible Mining Practices

Ethical engagement rings prioritize responsible mining practices. This means ensuring that the diamonds, gemstones, and metals used in the rings are extracted in a manner that minimizes environmental impact and upholds fair labor standards. Responsible mining practices seek to protect local communities, workers, and the environment.

2. Certification and Transparency

Ethical engagement rings can come with certifications or guarantees that verify the origin and ethical sourcing of the materials used. Look for certifications from organizations such as the SCS Sustainably Rated Diamond Standard for diamonds or certifications for fair trade and fairmined gold. These certifications ensure transparency and provide assurance that the ring was sourced responsibly.

3. Supporting Sustainable Initiatives

By choosing an ethical engagement ring, you support sustainable initiatives within the jewelry industry. Ethical sourcing promotes fair wages, safe working conditions, and responsible environmental practices. It helps create a more equitable and sustainable future for both the workers and the planet.


Custom Engagement Rings: A Personal Touch


custom engagement ring design


For a truly unique and personalized engagement ring, consider working directly with a jeweler to create a custom design. Custom engagement rings allow you to choose the style, metal, gemstone, and other intricate details according to your preferences. Here are some benefits of opting for a custom engagement ring:

  • Uniqueness: A custom engagement ring is one-of-a-kind, reflecting your personal style and love story. It stands out from mass-produced rings and carries a special meaning that is exclusive to you and your partner.

  • Tailored Design: Working with a jeweler allows you to create a ring that perfectly matches your vision. From selecting the gemstone and metal to choosing the setting and engravings, every aspect can be customized to meet your preferences.

  • Symbolic Details: Custom engagement rings offer the opportunity to incorporate symbolic elements that hold personal significance. This could include birthstones, family heirlooms, or engravings of meaningful dates or messages.

  • Quality Craftsmanship: Custom engagement rings are meticulously crafted by skilled artisans who take pride in their work. The attention to detail and craftsmanship ensure that you receive a high-quality and durable piece of jewelry.

  • Reach out to our team to inquire about Valley Rose's custom engagement ring service:

Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect engagement ring is an exciting and significant decision. By exploring various styles, metal choices, gemstones, and ethical considerations, you can find a ring that perfectly represents your love and values. Whether you opt for a classic solitaire diamond ring, a unique gemstone design, or a custom-made creation, make sure it reflects your personal style and symbolizes the everlasting commitment you share with your partner. With careful consideration and attention to detail, you can find the perfect engagement ring that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Remember, an engagement ring is more than just a piece of jewelry; it is a symbol of love, commitment, and the beginning of a beautiful journey together. Choose wisely, and may your engagement ring be a cherished reminder of your love story for years to come.



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Sizing & Care

Ring Sizing Guide

Print and download this chart to find your ring size. Make sure you use exactly 8.5"x11" letter paper. You can use a string or a piece of paper and wrap around your finger or nuckle to measure the circumference and match to your size.

Brilliant Earth Ring Sizing Guide ↠


Necklace Sizing Guide

Follow this chart to see where the necklace will fall. All necklace sizes are described on the product pages. We suggest getting a piece of string and measuring necklace on your neck to ensure best fit. 


Special Care Instructions

To keep your jewels looking their best please keep these tips in mind to extend the life of your pieces. 

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