The 6 Most Common Engagement Ring Mistakes, According to a Jeweler

Whether you’re clandestinely shopping or dictating to your S.O. exactly what you want, choosing the right ring can be as hard as choosing “the one.” After all, you’re supposed to wear that thing ’til death does you part. So we tracked down Stephanie Gottlieb of New York City’s SG Fine Jewelry to find out the most common mistakes she sees customers make when looking for engagement rings. Here’s what she told us. (Also, if you love all things sparkly, do yourself a favor and follow the lady on Instagram.) 

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mistakes to avoid when picking out an engagement ring
Stephanie Gottlieb Fine Jewelry

Under-Guestimating the Ring Size
“Worst-case scenario? Proposing with a ring that is too small. Yes, it’s tough to guess a finger size, but there are ways to get close. My favorite undercover option? Ask a friend to take them to the jewelry store under some other guise to try on rings. If not, find another ring to bring to your jeweler to size (as long as you know which finger they wear it on…that’s super important), or you can guess based on height/weight. Psst: It’s always safer to go a little bit bigger than smaller.”

Shopping for Diamonds Online
“It’s important to see diamonds in person and educate yourself based on real-life samples to understand the size/quality that works with your budget. Most people start their diamond education online, and therefore have preconceived notions about what quality is ‘acceptable’ for their diamond selection. It’s extremely difficult to judge a diamond without having seen one in person, and most of the time our clients end up loosening their requirements for quality when they’ve had that opportunity.”

the most common mistakes people make when picking out an engagement ring
Stephanie Gottlieb Fine Jewelry

Obsessing Over the Setting
“An engagement ring setting can change the entire tone of the piece. But at the center of it (usually) is the main stone you choose. This takes up the most of your budget. So above all, make sure you love your diamond more than your setting, which is changeable down the road.”

Going for an Uber-Trendy Setting
“Can you change your setting? Yes. But a setting can run anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 depending on how intricate the details are. Also, some people have an emotional attachment to their original engagement ring design and don’t want to change it later on. So, even though it’s totally doable to update, I usually recommend not to pick something too trendy that you might regret in just a few years."

Stephanie Gottlieb Fine Jewelry

Trying Too Hard to Avoid Being a Copy Cat
“Pictured in the middle above are two pavé engagement rings with round stones, our most popular request, and also the number-one style clients come in saying they ‘can't get’ because their friend has it already. A lot of women stay away from certain ring styles because their friends have it. But this is a big purchase, and something you have to wear and be happy to see on your hand every day. So you should get what you want. Who cares if your friend has something similar? The regret you’ll have for not getting what you love will definitely outweigh the amount of time you spend with your friend.”

Buying a Diamond Online That Seems Too Good to Be True
“If a diamond price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The diamond industry has become pretty transparent, and I actually encourage my clients to check out because it’s definitely a good place to price-check. But there are often small things about a diamond’s quality that can change the price drastically, and these are often qualities you might not know to look for. Things like ‘strong fluorescence,’ which may or may not actually affect the visual appearance of a stone, but it definitely affects the price; or, perhaps the stone is not certified by an esteemed diamond-grading lab (like the GIA); it may be clarity-enhanced, which hugely takes away from the value of the stone. It’s always best to see a stone in person if possible, and if not, to buy from a trusted source that will stand behind their sales and be available should you end up not being happy with the purchase.”


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...