How Soon Before You Propose Should You Start Engagement Ring Shopping?

Author Cristina LaPenna
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Date Aug 12, 2015

How Long Before You Propose Should You Start Shopping For An Engagement Ring

You're ready. You have officially decided that your significant other is the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Naturally you are now starting to think about how you are going to propose. If you have a specific proposal date in mind, whether it is an upcoming holiday, an anniversary, or a birthday, you need to make sure that you allow yourself enough time to find and purchase the perfect engagement ring.

Most people are under the impression that buying a ring is like buying a t-shirt - You go into the store and a few short hours later you leave with a brand new shiny ring in hand. But buying an engagement ring can be a similar process to buying a car, and creating the perfect engagement ring can take a bit longer than most people anticipate. Depending on the specific details of your ring, the process could take anywhere from a few hours (lucky you) to a few weeks or months.

The following are factors to consider that affect the time that it takes for the ring to go from an idea in your head to a purchase in your pocket, so you can set a realistic timeline for your proposal:

Researching: 1-5 Days

Before you even step into a store, you should consider doing some research on your own. The more educated you are, the better you will feel about your decision. Research includes learning about the 4 C’s of diamonds, how the same size diamond can vary greatly in price, and if certain diamond shapes are more expensive than others. But, research also includes observing and learning about the ring style of your future fiancée, talking to her friends or family for ideas, finding out her ring size, and creating a realistic budget.

The time it takes for research varies greatly from person to person. Some people won’t feel comfortable purchasing a ring until they have explored every option available, while others know exactly what their partner wants because it has already been spelled out for them! We suggest taking however long you need to make sure that you really research and feel like you are somewhat confident and knowledgeable in what engagement ring your partner would want.

Exploring Your Options: 1-2 Weeks

After you’ve done your research, you will really need to explore all of your options in order to select the perfect engagement ring. If you don’t already have a specific jeweler in mind that you have worked with and trust, between your career and daily life events it will probably take you a few days or more to see the jewelers that might be a good fit. After the initial visits, most people will return to the jeweler that they want to work with for a more in-depth consultation.

Exploring your options also includes looking closely at different loose diamonds and types of settings. After narrowing down all of the possibilities to a final few, many people spend another few days deciding between the top selections to pick what parts to combine to create the engagement ring of their partner’s dreams.

Finalizing and Ordering: 1-4 Weeks

After you have decided on what your engagement ring will look like and what diamond you will use, different situations will alter the time it takes to create the ring specifically for you.For example, if the diamond engagement ring that you want will be built to fit your partner’s finger size, it is going to take longer than if you purchase a complete, already perfectly sized, pre-set ring directly from the jeweler.

Another situation that often happens is the setting that you want needs to be adapted to the size and shape of your chosen diamond. This process takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how easily the setting can be altered and how long it will take.

If you already have a diamond that is an heirloom or a family stone and want it to be re-set in a new setting, this process can often be done in a few days, depending on if the jeweler has the new ring that you chose, or if they need to order it, and if it needs to be sized or not.

Sizing: 1 Day - 1 Week

One of the most common factors that affects the timing of purchasing your ring is getting the ring sized. The average jeweler will stock rings from the sizes 6 to 7. After you figure out what size ring your partner is and you are able to confirm it, more often than not stock rings can be resized at the jeweler to the perfect size.

The turnaround time for sizing a ring depends on if it can be done in the store or not, which is anywhere from an afternoon visit to a week, or if a new ring needs to be ordered, potentially longer. Click here to learn more about how a jeweler sizes a ring.

Custom-Made Rings: 3+ Weeks

If you can’t seem to find the perfect engagement ring from the jeweler’s stock, you might want to consider having your ring custom-made. This is the timeliest of all of the processes, taking anywhere from a few weeks or months to be delivered to your jewelry store from the time you approve the design and place your ring order to the time you are able to walk out of the store with the ring.

In addition to providing the jeweler or designer with many images and detailed explanations of what you want and expect, you should make sure that you understand the store’s policies about custom-made designs. You should also have a clear understanding and agreement on the cost of the customization, as well as exactly when you can expect for them to finish your ring. If you need your engagement ring within a certain timeframe, most jewelers will go out of their way to help you have the ring by your specific date, but make sure to remember that they can’t work overnight miracles.

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