How to Shop For: Engagement Rings


If there’s one accessory that you need to be sure of, it’s an engagement ring. Committing to something forever is a big deal, so you’re allowed to be extra picky until you’ve found the perfect ring for you. With that said, we’ve handpicked our personal favourites to give you some inspiration. Add these to your Pinterest board, or just leave this post open on your bf’s computer – after all, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner (hint, hint, gents).

Before we get to the rings, let’s go over the infamous 4 Cs: cut, carat, clarity, and colour. While the ins and outs of each may seem like a lot to wrap your head around, a good understanding of these classifications will help you justify the hefty price tag, and ensure that you find something you’re 100% happy with.

Cut: The cut of a diamond is considered the most important factor with respect to its beauty. The most common shapes include round, pear, oval, square, princess, and marquise. A diamond's cut quality is based on proportions, symmetry, and polish, which affect its overall condition and light-reflecting abilities (or ‘brilliance’). A perfectly cut diamond should ideally reflect back almost all of the light that goes into it. Cut grades referenced on a diamond's certificate use the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) standards of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.

Carat: A diamond's weight is measured in carats (not to be confused with karat, which is a measure of gold purity). In jewellery pieces with more than one diamond, the carats are described in terms of total carat weight (T.W.), which is the combined weight of all the diamonds in the piece. Many people consider the carat to be the main factor that determines the value of a diamond, because larger diamonds are less common and more desirable. (Kim Kardashian has a 30-carat engagement ring estimated at $1.6 million!) Carat weight is typically written in decimal numbers, but can also be expressed in fractions.

Clarity: All diamonds have imperfections that vary in severity. The diamond can either have internal flaws (inclusions) or surface flaws (blemishes). The fewer imperfections a diamond has, the more valuable it is. Keep in mind that diamonds are graded for clarity under a 10x magnification, so most imperfections are invisible to the naked eye.

Each diamond is given a clarity grade using this scale:

• FL: flawless
• IF: internally flawless
• VVS1-2: very, very small inclusions
• VS1-2: very small inclusions
• SI1-2: small inclusions
• I 1-3: inclusions may be visible to the naked eye

Colour: According to the GIA, diamonds are valued by how closely they approach colourlessness. The most desired and precious traditional 'white' diamond should be as colourless as possible, but completely colourless diamonds are exceptionally rare.

Colour is graded using this scale:

• D-F: colourless
• G-J: near colourless
• K-M: faint yellow
• N-R: very light yellow
• S-Z: light yellow
• Z+: fancy yellow – a diamond with a distinct colour

6 rings we love:

Neil Lane Bridal® Collection 0.82 CT. T.W. Princess-Cut Diamond Frame Engagement Ring in 14K White Gold

Diamond Cut: Princess
Diamond Total Weight: 0.82
Diamond Clarity: I1
Diamond Colour: I

The first thing everyone wants to see when you get engaged is the ring, and this sparkler is guaranteed to impress. If you’re guilty of watching The Bachelor, you might be familiar with Neil Lane, a celebrated designer known for uniquely beautiful engagement rings inspired by Hollywood's glamorous past. This show stopper has an exceptional 0.30 ct. princess-cut centre stone, with smaller round-cut diamonds around the stone and along the ring's slender shank. Neil Lane's signature is engraved on the inside to ensure authenticity. Talk about #goals! (Peoples Jewellers, $9,999)

Vera Wang LOVE Collection 0.95 CT. T.W. Diamond Three Stone Split Shank Engagement Ring in 14K Rose Gold

Diamond Cut: Round
Diamond Total Weight: 0.95
Diamond Clarity: SI2 - I1
Diamond Colour: H – I

When you think ‘wedding’, you can't help but think of the bridal goddess herself, Vera Wang. She recently expanded into jewellery design, bringing her simple, elegant style to a line of engagement rings. And with pieces like this breathtaking combination of diamonds and rose gold, she does not disappoint! The centrepiece is a 0.37 ct. stone framed with accent diamonds. The ring also has two blue sapphires set into the bezel beneath the centre stone, a signature of Wang’s collection meant to symbolize everlasting love. Would you expect anything less from Vera Wang? (Peoples Jewellers, $3,899)

Michael Hill Designer Ring With Created Sapphire & 0.25 CT. T.W of Diamonds In 10K Yellow & White Gold

Diamond Cut: Round brilliant (Diamonds around the sapphire)
Diamond Total Weight: 0.25
Diamond Clarity: I2
Diamond Colour: H – I

If you don’t see yourself as a classic bride, there is no need to go with a traditional ring. Kate Middleton single-handedly put sapphires back on the map after accepting Princess Diana’s iconic ring from Prince William – which this ring bears a striking resemblance to. It features a created sapphire surrounded by diamonds, and set in white and yellow gold. This ring has a romantic, vintage-vibe and its uniqueness is sure to turn heads. And if you’re not getting engaged any time soon, this would be a stunning jewellery splurge! (Michael Hill, $1,249)

Michael Hill Designer Arpeggio Engagement Ring With 1.21 CT. T.W of Diamonds In 14K White Gold

Diamond Cut: Marquise
Diamond Total Weight: 1.18-1.22
Diamond Clarity: SI2-I1
Diamond Colour: HI

The marquise cut originated in the court of King Louis XIV of France, and is often referred to as the “navette cut”, which means ‘little boat’. More recently, this shape has been seen on celebs like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Portia de Rossi, who both have east/west set marquise-cut rings. This north/south set diamond is enhanced by a double halo, and features a signature pink sapphire in the bezel underneath the stone. The wow factor is further enhanced by additional round-cut brilliant diamonds set into the band. (Michael Hill, $4,999)

0.70 CT. T.W Canadian Ice™ Centre Diamonds, 14K Canadian Certified Rose Gold Anniversary Ring

Diamond Cut: Round
Diamond Total Weight: 0.70
Diamond Clarity: I1-I2
Diamond Colour: HI

Rose gold has been popping up everywhere lately, and it exudes a warmth and romance that’s perfect for an engagement ring. This ring glistens with a row of shimmering round diamonds that creates a pretty, flower-like effect. It features beautiful Canadian Ice™ diamonds, which are known for their excellent clarity and colour. These diamonds were mined in the Northwest Territories and are certified and laser-engraved to authenticate their Canadian origin. (Ben Moss Jewellers, $2,399)

0.43 CT. T.W. Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring

Diamond Cut: Princess
Diamond Total Weight: .43
Diamond Clarity: I1
Diamond Colour: I

Not everyone wants a glitzy ring – and that's okay! Solitaire rings are an elegant, classic style that has been around for decades. With a solitaire, the diamond is the star of the show, and you should take your time to find the perfect stone and setting combination. This one stood out to us with its dazzling princess cut and thin yellow gold band, designed to beautifully complement the stone. The ring is elegantly crafted with a prong setting that lifts the diamond into the light to enhance its brilliance. This ring would be beautiful stacked with a thin wedding band for a delicate set. (City Jewellers, $2,699)

Did one of these rings catch your eye? Check stores for availability, and to browse many other gorgeous styles!

Wood serving board: Chapters, $24.50
Black wood and marble serving board: Chapters, $39.50
Wood and marble serving board: Chapters, $38

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