Whether you're reading this to surprise your partner with a ring, or you're shopping for your own, the world of finding an engagement ring can feel utterly daunting. Luckily, Rony Vardi and Leigh Plessner, the co-founders of cult jewelry line Catbird (the Brooklyn-based business behind almost every indie bride's ring), shared with Insider exactly what you need to know before beginning your engagement ring search. Read up on four of their essential tips below.
What's Your Budget?
Because the market has so many options and expectations can get overwhelming, it helps to have a number to ground your search. The Knot's 2015 Real Weddings Study surveyed 18,000 brides and found that the average amount couples spend on an engagement ring is $5871. Though many people say the old salary rule is outdated, the standard in the past has been about two to three month's worth the take-home salary of whoever is purchasing the ring.
Do You Know the "Four Cs"?
This is specifically if you plan on going with a diamond, as diamonds are graded and priced according to "the four C's," which are cut, carat, color, and clarity. Diamonds are the most popular and are a durable stone, so popularity aside, they do make a great option to endure years of wear.
Do You Know the Certifications?
Authentications and certifications depend on the type of stone, but full-carat, brilliant-cut diamonds, for example, would warrant a GIA certification, which is the renowned, trusted authority on gem stones. For something like a black diamond, GIA certification is not applicable, as their grading standards are built for white, brilliant-cut diamonds, as Catbird's founder explains.
Do You Know How Returns and Insurance Work?
For something as important and expensive as an engagement ring, it's expected to get it insured. "Usually insurance companies will ask that you that provide a receipt of purchase, or sometimes even an appraisal, depending on the kind of coverage you're looking for," Vardi explains. Most ring purchases are final sale, though many retailers will provide complimentary repairs.