Engagement rings set in stone (pun intended) one of the most important decisions a couple can make: Getting married. But they’re also valuable accessories to be worn daily—and hopefully ever after—so the choice can be daunting. Modern fine jewelers make it enjoyable to shop for the best engagement rings online, offering a variety of prices and styles, as well as services and guarantees to facilitate the process.
“When it comes to engagement rings, there is no such thing as a silly question,” says New York-based jewelry consultant Mirta de Gisbert. To that end, many retailers have translated the in-store experience to online consultations. They have also set new standards for price transparency and ethical practices and provide comprehensive valuation reports to ensure authenticity. Online, the offer might seem endless, but Denver-based jewelry designer Stéphane Krumenacker has a wise tip: “It’s a heavily marketed world, so it’s easy to get pushed in one way or another—as cheesy as it sounds, I would recommend following your heart.”
We’ve rounded up ten of the best places to shop for engagement rings online, including everything from affordable rings to lab-grown diamonds or antique designs. For more jewelry inspiration, read our guide to the best diamond jewelry online, and if you’re specifically looking for masculine engagement rings, check out our list of the best wedding bands for men.
- Best Engagement Rings Overall: With Clarity
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Best Ethically Sourced Engagement Rings: Brilliant Earth
- Best Value Engagement Rings: Quince
- Best Diamond Engagement Rings: Blue Nile
- Best Sustainable Diamond Engagement Rings: Vrai
- Best Modern Engagement Rings: Mejuri
- Best Vintage Engagement Rings: 1st Dibs
- Best Colored-Stone Engagement Rings: Catbird
- Best Custom Engagement Rings: Allurez
- Best Engagement Ring Retailer For Variety: Zales
Best Engagement Rings Overall
With Clarity: Handcrafted Engagement Rings That Shine
Best Ethically Sourced Engagement Rings
Brilliant Earth: Conscious Jewelry For A Clear Conscience
Best Value Engagement Rings
Quince: Elegant Diamond Rings At Fair Prices
Best Diamond Engagement Rings
Blue Nile: Endless Selection For Custom Diamond Engagement Rings
Best Sustainable Diamond Engagement Rings
Vrai: Recognized For Consciously-Created Diamonds
Best Modern Engagement Rings
Mejuri: Fine Jewelry Without The Markup
Best Vintage Engagement Rings
1st Dibs: Trusted Source For Rare, One-Of-A-Kind Rings
Best Colored-Stone Engagement Rings
Catbird: Beautiful, Sparkling, Vintage-Like Pieces
Best Custom Engagement Rings
Allurez: An Effortless Way To Create A Unique Ring
Best Engagement Ring Retailer For Variety
Zales: A Wide Range Of Engagement Ring Designs
What To Consider When Buying The Perfect Engagement Ring
- Stone: Nowadays, diamonds are the most common stones for engagement rings. As a status symbol, the diamond’s popularity has resulted both from its objective qualities (it’s commonly known as the hardest substance on Earth) and the marketing around it. While it can be a great choice, you can also consider other stones such as sapphires, rubies or emeralds. But if you do, de Gispert advises to reflect on the stone’s hardness: “Emeralds, for instance, are a softer stone. If the wearer uses their hands a lot, then I suggest a protective setting as well not wearing the ring on a daily basis.”
- The Four Cs: If you go down the diamond route, you’ll encounter descriptions that refer to the diamond’s color, cut, clarity and carat—the four Cs. The color judges how colored the diamond is (colorless being the most valuable). The cut speaks of its polishing, distinguishing between round brilliant (which reflects more light and is therefore more precious) and fancy cuts. The clarity refers to the presence or lack of inclusions (or marks) in the stone (“flawless” being the clearest diamonds). And finally, the carat refers to the weight of the diamond: The more carats, the more expensive. While it might seem easier to choose a diamond based on these set parameters, Krumenacker suggests instead to be guided by your attraction to the stone itself: “There’s a tendency to search for perfection based on a chart, but that can end up feeling a bit clinical. Asymmetries and imperfections make the stone unique, which can be even more beautiful.”
- Sustainability: As Krumenacker acknowledges, “Metals and stones are mined from the ground, and there’s a pretty dark history with very bad consequences around these practices.” When you’re buying gold or diamonds, consider its provenance and read the fine print. “There’s a big movement to trace where the gold and diamonds have come from, and there are companies that focus on ethically-sourced stones or diamonds.” Lab-grown diamonds are a good alternative that skips altogether the mining process, and reclaimed materials such as heirloom diamonds or old family jewelry are not only sustainable but also a meaningful approach to buying an engagement ring.
- Setting: The setting speaks of the presentation of the stone on the metal band it sits on (which usually is gold or platinum). The most simple setting is the solitaire. “In a lot of modern settings, the idea is to hold up the stone in the cleanest possible way. That’s why, if you see a woman walking down the street with a very thin engagement band, the stone is what will really catch your eye,” says Krumenacker. To give presence to a small stone (or to create a more ostentatious piece), one can add a halo of pavé around it, or complement it with other diamonds or colored-stone accents. And there are other alternatives too: “Nowadays there’s a trend around delicate Victorian-style designs, in which a smaller diamond is held by a lace of intricate metalwork.”
- Shape: The shape is how the stone is designed. “Round shapes are the most iconic because they maximize the potential brilliance of the diamond,” explains Krumenacker. But once again, other shapes (such as pear, oval, cushion, or marquise) can result in a ring with more character. Generally, curvy shapes are more feminine, while square cuts such as the Asscher are thought of as more masculine.
How Do I Choose An Engagement Ring?
To choose the right engagement ring for your partner, do some research beforehand. “When you discuss your future together, slip in a conversation around the engagement ring and find out whether or not they want to have input on it—after all, they’re going to be the ones wearing it,” recommends de Gispert. Some people might have a very specific preference for a certain stone, setting, or design. Trying on a few rings in advance is also another must for de Gispert, even for those who have a precise idea of their preferences: “Different stone shapes can be more flattering than others on some hands. You can also be surprised at what feels good when worn and what looks great on your hand versus what you initially had in mind.”
How Much Should I Spend On An Engagement Ring?
There isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a frame for what’s acceptable or not when it comes to an engagement ring’s price tag. While you want to find a beautiful piece that lasts a lifetime, remember that what counts is its meaning as a loving commitment rather than a status symbol. Nowadays, there are beautiful solutions for all budgets. “As a designer, I’m obsessed with the authenticity of the materials. For instance, I’d advise setting a diamond in silver rather than in a gold-plated material if you’re on a small budget. And there are also truly unique solutions in alternative materials such as wood or silicone,” suggests Krumenacker. “It’s really about striking a realistic balance between what you want and what you’re aiming to pay. If you’re looking for a three-carat diamond solitaire ring but have a budget of $10,000, that’s simply not going to work—something has to give, either the size and quality of stone or the budget,” says de Gispert.
How Long In Advance Should I Look For An Engagement Ring?
If you’re ready to pop the question—and especially if your partner is already expecting you to do so—you don’t want a missing ring to delay the moment. “To be extra cautious and mindful of potential delays, I recommend giving yourself three months. That way, it can be a relaxed experience versus rushing to get something done,” says de Gispert. Bear in mind the return policy of your chosen retailer—although, hopefully, there’ll be no reason for the ring to ever go back to the store.
What Size Should The Engagement Ring Be?
Generally, ring sizes for women go from 4 to 10, corresponding to different ring diameters: The bigger the ring, the bigger the size. The easiest way to discover your size (or that of the person you’re buying the ring for) is by measuring the diameter of a ring that fits you well. Many retailers also offer sizing charts, like this one from Blue Nile, or even ring sizers to try at home. If all else fails, in most cases, a ring resizing is possible, and sometimes it’s even offered as a complimentary service by the jewelry retailer.