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The Engagement Ring Guide for Guys, Part 2

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The Engagement Ring Guide for Guys, Part 2

Diamond Industry

The Engagement Ring Guide for Guys, Part 2

August 27, 2015 BY Alon Ben-Shoshan IN Style Guide

If you haven’t already read part one of this series, I recommend that you do that first. Part one explains diamonds, which your engagement ring will almost certainly include. Part two is dedicated to metal color, diamond shape, ring size, and style preference – basically, everything else.

I hold the very unpopular opinion that if you’re going to buy your girlfriend an engagement ring, you should first ask her what kind of rings she prefers. I know, I know. This ruins the surprise, and it seems a lot less romantic. However, keep in mind that an engagement ring is a piece of jewelry that your future wife will wear every day (or almost every day) for the rest of her life. Do you know how disappointing it will be for her to look down at a ring that she feels lukewarm about forever?

If you don’t take my advice, then please, for goodness sake, at least take a look at her pinterest profile. Talk to her friends! Maybe her mom knows something about a deep-seeded childhood desire for a pear-shaped diamond in white gold. If you still want to go at it alone, then listen very, very closely.

Metal Color

Diamond Foundry already published an article about the four most popular metal choices white gold, yellow gold, platinum, and rose gold. I wrote another article about the difference between white gold and platinum in particular. This time, I’m just going to focus on which metals look best against which skin tones.


The basic rule is that people with very pale skin and pinkish undertones should stick to white gold or platinum. If the skin is sensitive, then choose platinum (it’s hypoallergenic). Rose gold is a potential alternative. However, depending on the pinkness of the wearer, it can make a finger look like a finger-shaped tomato. People with tan, olive skin look great in yellow gold. People with black or dark brown skin can pull off any of these metals. Black skin is the type AB blood, the universal receiver, of metals on skin tones.

Diamond Shape

Technically, you can cut a diamond into any shape. However, there are basically 10 shapes that diamond cutters actually use. These shapes are round, princess, oval, marquise, pear, cushion, emerald, asscher, radiant, and heart. We’re just going to focus on eight of those shapes because, honestly, if your girlfriend wants a heart or a pear shaped diamond, you would know already. They are uncommon shapes.

diamond shapes

Round is the most popular diamond shape. It’s not super fancy, but it reflects light best and makes the diamond look brighter. The princess cut was created in the 1980s. It works really well in most ring styles, and it’s a popular shape for engagement rings in particular. An oval diamond has many of the qualities of a round cut. However, the oval shape can give the illusion of greater size. That said, the football-shaped marquise cut is best if you want to emphasize the size of your diamond.

A cushion cut is a softer square shape. It’s a classic cut, and works well in antique or antique-style rings. An emerald cut creates a “hall of mirrors effect,” where the interplay of light and dark creates reflected repetition. An asscher cut is similar to an emerald cut, but the squaring of lines draws upon the princess shape. Radiant cut diamonds were also popular in the 1980s, and they act as a bridge between princess and cushion cuts.

Ring Size

This is where your “I want to work alone” mentality might really do you in. There’s no easy way to guess ring size. You can steal one of your girlfriend’s other rings and work from there, but the size of that ring does not necessarily predict the size of her “ring finger.” You can also come up with some ludicrous story about how you “need to buy a ring for your mom” and “want to see how the ring looks on a real finger.” This, obviously, really only makes sense if your mom and girlfriend have similar hands/skin tones.

ring size

The most common women’s ring size is 6.5. If you’re really at a loss, get a 6.5 and have it resized after you propose. However, make make sure the ring you chose can be resized – not all rings can.


I could write 10 separate articles about ring style, and it still wouldn’t cover all your options. However, you probably already know something about your girlfriend’s style and jewelry preferences. So rather than take you down the rabbit hole, I’m just going to focus on three popular diamond settings – solitaire, halo, and three-stone.

ring settings

Solitaire, as its name suggests, highlights a single diamond. It’s a classic, popular choice. If your girlfriend likes simple, minimalistic jewelry – or, if she doesn’t really wear jewelry – then solitaire is a good option. The three-stone, on the other hand, is best for girls who like some flash and sparkle. However, I wouldn’t recommend a three-stone unless you can afford some nice diamonds. The only thing worse than receiving a mediocre diamond is receiving three mediocre diamonds. Finally, the halo setting has a more antique look. Popular in Victorian times, this style sports a central diamond surrounded by many smaller diamonds. It’s great for women with vintage tastes. 

Sadly, I cannot offer you at tidy conclusion as I did in part one. Unlike diamonds, preferences surrounding the ring itself are subjective. Yes, if your girlfriend has very pale skin, then she probably shouldn’t wear gold jewelry. But if she loves yellow gold, then get her a yellow gold ring. The most important thing is that you and your future wife are happy. More importantly, congratulations – you found your person!

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