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 inspiration, read our guide to the best diamond jewelry online, and if you’re specifically looking for rings for the groom-to-be, we rounded up the best wedding bands for men.
- Best Engagement Rings Overall: With Clarity
- [PAID PLACEMENT]
Best Ethically-Sourced Engagement Rings: Brilliant Earth
- Best Affordable Engagement Rings: Quince
- Best Diamond Engagement Rings: Blue Nile
- Best Lab-Grown 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 Rings For Variety: Zales
Best Engagement Rings Overall
With Clarity: Handcrafted Engagement Rings That Shine
Best Ethically-Sourced Engagement Rings
Brilliant Earth: Conscious Jewelry For Peace Of Mind
Best Affordable Engagement Rings
Quince: Elegant Rings At Fair Prices
Best Diamond Engagement Rings
Blue Nile: Endless Selection For Custom Pieces
Best Lab-Grown Diamond Engagement Rings
Vrai: Gemologist-Certified 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 Rings For Variety
Zales: Designs At Every Price, For Every Look
What To Consider When Buying An 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 Gisbert advises to reflect on the stone’s hardiness: “Emeralds, for instance, are a softer stone. If the wearer uses their hands a lot, then I suggest a protective setting as well as perhaps 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 easy 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,” she says. “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 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 the mining process altogether, and reclaimed materials such as heirloom diamonds or old family jewels 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 where it sits (which is usually 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,” says Krumenacker. “That’s why, if you see a woman walking down the street with a very thin engagement band, the stone is what really catches your eye.” To give presence to a small stone (or to create a more statement piece), one can add a halo of pavé around it, or complement it with other diamonds or colored-stone accents. There are other alternatives, too: “Nowadays there’s a trend around delicate Victorian-style designs,” finds Krumenacker, adding that beauty is created by “a smaller diamond that’s held in place by a lace of intricate metalwork.”
- Shape: Stones come in a variety of shapes. “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 give character and uniqueness to a ring. Square cuts, such as the Asscher, typically are thought of as streamlined and clean where as curvy styles are more whimsical and less traditional.
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, you might want to have a conversation around the engagement ring and find out whether or not your partner prefers to have input on it—after all, they’re going to be the ones wearing it,” recommends de Gisbert. 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 Gisbert, even for those who have a precise idea of their preferences: “Different stone shapes can be more flattering than others on some hands. You might be surprised at what feels good when worn and what looks great on your hand versus what you initially had in mind.”
How Long In Advance Should I Look For An Engagement Ring?
If you’re ready to pop the question—or even if you’re just thinking about it—you don’t want shipping times on a potential ring to put a damper on your big moment. “To be extra cautious and mindful of potential delays, I recommend giving yourself three months,” says de Gisbert. “That way, it can be a relaxed experience versus rushing to get something done.” Keep in mind the return policy of your chosen retailer. Although, hopefully, there’ll be no reason for the ring to go back to the store.