Engagement Rings: What You Need to Know

Author Long's Staff
Date Dec 2, 2021

Everything you need to know from Long’s bridal and diamond experts
By: Jennifer Brugh

Looking at engagement rings is an exciting time in nearly every couple’s love story. At Long’s Jewelers, we’re honored when we are chosen to share in this special journey! But, we know it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the engagement ring purchasing process. Thankfully, we’ve got a team of skilled associates who believe the most important step is education. So, what really goes into purchasing an engagement ring? Long’s owner and diamond expert, Judd, G.G., C.G., and bridal buyer, Sonja, are here to answer your questions and help settle those nerves.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important of the 4 C’s?

Judd: When someone looks at a diamond, what do they see or notice first? They see the size, and then they see the sparkle from the cut. And the sparkle is the most important feature, which leads you to the cut. That means that when you buy a diamond, it can be big, and it can be great, but if it doesn’t sparkle from the right cut, then what’s the point?

Q: Tell us what it means to purchase a certified diamond.

Judd: There are laboratories out there that have created a lot of scales to help guide a customer with a third-party opinion. I think it’s important to make sure you choose the proper laboratory. We adhere to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) which are the only laboratories built to support and educate the consumer. They’re consistent, and they are the only laboratories with integrity and consistency in diamond grading.

Q: If a couple brings in a family heirloom or diamond, can you make a custom ring, and how does that process work?

Sonja: Yes, we absolutely can. There are two different ways we can do this. First, many people don’t realize that when they come in to buy an engagement ring, unless it’s the right finger size, metal, and fits their center stone, it’s going to be a custom order, regardless. If a customer brings in a family heirloom, we can use one of the mountings we already have in our case or make one specifically for that stone and to the specifications that the customer wants. Or, we can do a fully custom piece in-house.

Q: Is a diamond the only way to go?

Judd: No, there is no rule. But what’s important is that whoever you’re getting this ring for has to be happy, and you have to be proud. It can be a diamond, or it can be a ruby. It can be a gold band or whatever will make you proud and make the person you’re getting it for happy.

Sonja: Every relationship is different. You shouldn’t buy a diamond engagement ring just because that’s what everyone else does. You didn’t get to this point in your relationship doing what everyone else is doing. You did what’s right for you. I think that’s an important way of looking at buying this ring - it should be just like Judd said, whatever makes you happy!

Q: How much should someone expect to spend on an engagement ring?

Sonja: Some people use the three-month salary rule, but I think it all comes down to your personal preferences and finances. Nobody should be telling you how much you should be spending on this piece when you're trying to start your life out. You don't want to push the bank and overdo it, but you want to get what you think is special.
I think it’s important that people come in with a budget. In regards to how much they want to spend, it's better to have that in mind and let the sales associate know. We will work together to give the best options that meet your budget - whether that’s $2,000 or $100,000.

Q: What is the most popular diamond shape and the most popular setting right now?

Sonja: Rounds will always take the lead as the most popular diamond shape. It’s classic. Ovals are definitely becoming more popular. It still has that classic look to it, but just a little bit of flair compared to the round diamond. With settings, we're seeing a lot more simple, dainty mountings now than ever before. Solitaires are also still classic, and we see them more and more. Really simple, classic styles are taking over right now.

Q: What is your selection of mountings and loose diamonds like?

Sonja: We have the largest selection of mountings and loose diamonds in New England! We pride ourselves on having something for everybody in our cases. Whether you're looking for something simple or if you're looking for something very ornate, different, or even vintage - we have everything across the board. In metals, we always recommend platinum, but if somebody's looking for a different colored metal - we have those, too!
With loose stones, if you want to come in and spend $500 or $500,000, we have a little bit of everything. We have all different shapes, colors, clarity; you name it. We have it.

Q: What’s the difference between coming into Long’s Jewelers to buy an engagement ring vs. buying an engagement ring online?

Sonja: I think the major difference is the education behind it. Some websites give you a little bit of education, but you're not physically seeing that stone in front of you. We pride ourselves on education here. The customer needs to know exactly what it is that they're buying and see it in front of them before making that decision. I think a lot of people look towards buying online for the convenience factor, but we make it as easy as it can be here.

Judd: I spend a lot of time with customers buying diamonds, and they tell me when they come in here, “I thought it was going to be overwhelming coming in here. But I was even more overwhelmed online.” They're really confused by the abundance of possibilities online and not being able to see those diamonds in person. The difference at Long’s is that you can visit any of our multiple locations for convenience, comfort, and selection. As a brick-and-mortar store, you can see the diamond in person with your own eyes. There's nothing more reassuring and more confidence-building than you trusting your gut.

Q: What should couples expect from their experience with Long’s Jewelers?

Judd: You're not going to feel pressure to buy something. Our staff is made up of experienced diamond specialists and does not work on commission. We want you to try a few things so you can make a choice you feel good about. Take the time to process everything. We encourage customers to come in and spend as much time as they need to make the right choice. For us, it’s all about relationship building and creating a relationship that goes well beyond your first purchase. We take care of you through services, wedding bands, gifts for anniversaries, and kids. We’ll take care of your friends and family. Our stores are always here and available for anything you’re going to need, whenever you need us. We’ve been around for over 140 years, and we’re not going anywhere!

Sonja: The number one thing is quality of service. We always pride ourselves on the service that we give. We really like to get to know our customers while helping them make this big decision. As soon as you come through the door, you can feel that warmth and that we’re excited to see you. We really love being a part of these milestones in our customer’s lives.

Q: Should couples start shopping together for an engagement ring?

Sonja: I think it varies. Some couples want it to be a surprise, and the wearer knows nothing about it, and I think that’s a very special way of doing it. But it’s such an important decision to make, and it’s great to make that decision together and to be able to have that experience together, as well.

Q: What information is important to know before purchasing an engagement ring?

Judd: There's nothing wrong with doing a little research on your own, going online, and learning a little something. I think it's really important. Whether you come to Long’s or you go anywhere else, you should want to learn a little bit about this. There's a lot of confusing, complex things, and this is not like buying a sweater. This is one of the most important purchases you'll ever make in your life outside of a car or house. You should take your time to learn, and make sure that you feel comfortable and confident before you pull the trigger with whomever you buy your diamond from.

Engagement Rings - Browse the Collection