“Engagement rings have become expendable,” says master jeweler Todd Bracken. “But you should still learn and know about craftsmanship and durability.”
Here are Bracken’s tips to make sure you get the ring of your dreams — that lasts at least as long as your marriage.
Education is important when choosing an engagement ring.
Sapphires and rubies are historically used for engagement rings as well, but they’re still not as durable as diamonds. “Ruby and sapphire are 9 on the scale, but it’s not just one step up from 9 to 10,” Bracken explains. “A diamond is four times as hard as a sapphire or ruby.”
Bracken cites current trends for ring settings that are extremely dainty and fragile. “Wire shanks, thin bands, and halo settings are popular, but they won’t last,” he says. “Following style trends means that in about ten years, you’ll get tired of your ring and want something else.”
“I recommend Tiffany. I used to be a contractor for their rings for many years,” says Bracken. “It is extremely expensive and you don’t get a lot for the money, but it’s top quality. You may see a style you like there and you can mimic it elsewhere — for less quality and money.”
“Most people need their girlfriend’s help, whether it’s by showing 40 different pictures of her favorite style or by just having her choose,” he says. “It’s not going to be a surprise, but she’s getting what she wants. If you’re not letting your partner choose your blouse or shoes on their own, you probably don’t want them picking out your engagement ring without any input.”
Bracken is a fan of second-time fiancées. “They know what they want and they go for it,” he says. “Usually, they’re older, they have more money and they’re more decisive so it’s a lot easier. They automatically go for quality.”