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Tag: engagement rings

I remember when John and I first started to think about getting engaged, I was really excited – but also completely overwhelmed.

Excited, of course, because I was inching closer to marrying my best friend! Overwhelmed, because though I’ve been a wedding expert for most of my life, it seems, I was extremely nervous about making such a large purchase when I felt so uneducated on what I was buying (well, what John was buying ;)).

I don’t want anyone else to feel that way, so today, we’ve teamed up with the jewelers at Ritani to offer some engagement ring shopping tips! Whether you’re two months or two years away from getting engaged, I hope you feel more equipped for this big step after reading our Q&A.

P.S. Don’t miss the part about their in-store preview program – such a great opportunity!

Southern Weddings: What do you recommend couples do to prepare before they go ring shopping, if anything?
Ritani: If you’re in the market for a diamond, read up on basic diamond and ring education, including the differences between diamond shapes, the 4 Cs (see below!), and the differences between the most popular ring styles and metals. Before you go shopping, try to narrow down a few basic choices like what diamond shape you like and what style ring. But, know that just as with your wedding dress, you might like a totally different style of ring on your finger than in photos! A Pinterest board can help you gather ideas.

Consider how a certain ring will mesh with your existing style — if you go for a more classic look, try a solitaire or classic setting; if you love vintage-inspired jewelry, explore shapes like cushion, pear, or marquise.

Finally, get a sense for pricing by comparing diamonds and rings on a few different websites. It’s important to remember that diamond shopping is not about finding the “best deal”–rather, you should think about getting the best quality for whatever your budget allows.

SW: How many stores should couples visit when looking for an engagement ring, and how should they decide which stores to go to?
Ritani: We recommend visiting two or three stores in addition to your online research. It makes a big difference to see different types of diamonds in person, as well as try on a few rings. You’ll be able to get a feel for engagement ring styles while also learning about the differences in diamond grades.

If you prefer browsing in-store, plan to visit a handful of independently-owned jewelry stores. Independent jewelers will have more unique designs and be able to design custom rings. Ritani has a network of more than 200 independent retailers throughout the country, so if you need help finding a reputable store, head to to find a certified partner.

That said, companies that offer both an online and in-person experience can provide the best value; you get the selection and pricing of an online store with the value of talking to a professional in-person and seeing the diamond first-hand. Ritani offers a free in-store preview option, which lets customers make sure their rings are perfect before they buy.

With our free in-store preview program, you can pick out your engagement ring and diamond online. Our expert jewelers set the ring (with the diamond you picked and in your size), then send it to a local store for you to see it in person before you decide whether you’d like to buy. If it’s not perfect, there’s no pressure to buy. It’s a great way to test out your investment before “driving it off the lot.”

SW: Tell us about the four C’s and what couples should know about them.
Ritani: The 4 C’s of diamonds are cut, color, clarity and carat weight.

Cut refers to the quality of a diamond’s proportions and symmetry. It is angles which allow a diamond to capture light and reflect it, the key ingredient for sparkle. For a truly brilliant diamond, consider those with grades of Very Good or Ideal.

Color refers to the “whiteness” of a diamond, or its lack of color. The less color in a diamond, the higher the value. The GIA grades diamond color using letters to represent the absence of color, beginning with D (colorless) and ending at Z (light yellow or brown).

Clarity is how clean a diamond is, inside and out. “Flawless” diamonds are perfectly clear and smooth (and extremely rare). “Included” diamonds have noticeable scratches or internal markings that make them look dirty and dull. Clarity is generally a less important characteristic because most imperfections can’t be seen unless under professional magnification. Many customers choose a diamond in the VS2, VS1, VVS2, or VVS1 categories.

Carat weight is a measure of a diamond’s weight, and a reflection of its size. Unlike the other 3 Cs, carat weight is not necessarily a reflection of quality: you can often find diamonds with low carat weight that are more brilliant and sparkling than their larger cousins. For the best value, look at diamonds slightly lighter than the carat weight you initially want. For example, instead of 1-carat diamonds, consider 0.98 and 0.99-carat diamonds. While there is no “perfect” carat weight, the average carat weight sold in most U.S. states is around 1 carat.

For the most sparkle, the most-desired combo is a 1-carat Ideal Cut, Colorless (D), Flawless diamond.

SW: Tell us about the different metal options that couples will be presented with. Are there pros and cons to each?
First, take personal preference into account. Take a look at the jewelry you wear regularly to pick the right metal color. Do you go for classic yellow gold, on-trend rose gold, or timeless silver? From there, consider durability, how sensitive your skin is, and budget. Our most popular metal is 18k white gold.

If you’re really active and work with your hands, you will probably do best with a high-durability (and hypoallergenic!) ring setting like platinum or palladium. Platinum requires very little maintenance and will not need to be replated over time, but it does cost significantly more than other metals. If you don’t do much with your hands and don’t require a super-durable metal, go for a more affordable metal like yellow gold or even sterling silver.

When you’re ready to start browsing for your own heirloom, head over to Ritani’s site. Wishing you all the best in this exciting process! xo

This post is sponsored by Ritani, a company we’ve worked with for years. Thanks for your support of the brands who support Southern Weddings!

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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When I began pulling inspiration for my future engagement ring back in my dating days, of course I considered a classic diamond. But, this was 2010, Prince William and Kate had just gotten engaged, and so I also loved the idea of a sapphire ring. After trying and failing (!) to convince my Mom to let me use her right-hand sapphire ring as my engagement ring, I was excited to consider some colored options when John and I visited our local jewelry store to browse.

Sadly, the (otherwise very nice) clerk immediately steered us away from colored stones, and I reluctantly gave up the idea. Had I known about Leibish & Co. at the time, today I might be rocking a pretty blue ring on my left hand, but since I’m not, at least there’s hope for all you fancy colored diamond lovers out there! I’m excited to show you what Leibish & Co. has in store today, including, of course, sapphire engagement rings :)

Leibish & Co. is an internationally-recognized specialist and online dealer of natural fancy colored diamonds and colored diamond jewelry, like ruby engagement rings. The business began in 1979 and today is a leading supplier to renowned jewelers, designers, and manufacturers throughout the world, as well as stylish and sentimental brides and grooms! We have a soft spot for family businesses, and Leibish & Co. definitely qualifies – it’s helmed by a father and his five children.

Leibish & Co.’s stones are mined in Australia, Africa, India, and Russia and all come from legitimate, conflict-free sources. I was also happy to see that their selection is one of the largest online, with fancy and ideal cuts in hues, clarities, and sizes set for any budget.

In addition to ruby and sapphire beauties, they also have an enviable collection of emerald engagement rings. To browse their full selection and learn more about colored diamonds, visit their website!

And I’d love to hear: did you ever consider, or do you proudly wear, an engagement ring with a colored stone?

This post is brought to you by Leibish & Co. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Catherine Marks reply

    These are so pretty! I have a normal diamond, but I love to see a colored stone engagement ring! I am also partial to sapphires, as it’s my birthstone, but I love emeralds too.

  2. avatar Bri A reply

    I love that this sweet company is being highlighted (and amazing use of the word helmed!). I’ve always dreamed of a colored side stone and I love the two tone settings shown here!! Side note: I’d love to see a post on choosing your own ring vs being surprised. I have a pretty specific dream ring but would also love to see what my future hubs comes up with… I know there are so many perspectives and I’m curious what others think!


Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Who’s already thinking about Valentine’s Day plans?! While I love a delicious dinner out, John and I usually opt for something else on February 14th, since restaurants can be crowded and expensive in the evening. If you’d like to do something out of the ordinary, too, we’ve rounded up three of our favorite date ideas with the help of Texas jewelry company Bailey, Banks, and Biddle. (And just saying: if your love language leans toward gifts, you might want to leave this browser open where your significant other can see it… any of these pieces we’re sporting would make an amazing Valentine’s Day present!)

Before we get to the date ideas, though, I want to make SURE you don’t miss the amazing giveaway we’re hosting with Bailey, Banks, and Biddle!! I know, we usually put these at the bottom of the post, but this one is just too good for you to miss…

From left to right: Statement Round Quilted Engament Ring, Intricate Basket Engagement Ring, and Quilted French Pave Princess Cut Engagement Ring, all by A. JAFFE

One lucky person will WIN his or her choice of one of three A. JAFFE engagement ring settings and a .55 carat loose diamond. We saw these rings in person to photograph them, and let me tell you: they are extremely beautiful. Whether you’re engaged or not or already have an engagement ring or not, ENTER below! One of these would make a great right-hand ring, too :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Official rules for this giveaway can be found here.

And now, on to the date nights! First up, Kristin and Kyle opted for a mid-morning get-together. Many of y’all already know our Editor-in-Chief’s love language is brunch, so pancakes and swirly coffee were just the tickets for their love day celebration. If you’d like to try a brunch date yourself, head out on the weekend or take a few hours off work mid-week (a sure-fire way to beat the crowds!).

All photos by Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacqui Cole. Kristin’s jewelry includes pearl earrings, a pearl bracelet, and a pearl cuff bracelet. Girl likes her pearls :)

Date Idea No. 2: Marissa and Brandon also chose to forgo dinner, and instead focused on the best part of any meal: sweets! They hit up three different dessert spots for what we like to call a “dessert crawl.” Ideally, your dessert locations would be in walking distance from each other, so you can burn off a few calories in between indulging! “Since I work days, and Brandon works most evenings, the ‘dessert crawl; was such a fun way to celebrate without the time constraint of a dinner reservation,” says Marissa. “We even chose to get our last desert to go, so we could enjoy some time walking and chatting!”

All photos by Blue Ribbon Vendor Jessica Bordner. Marissa’s jewelry includes a diamond station necklace, stackable rings (available in store or via special order), and a custom A.JAFFE map necklace. Brandon is wearing a Jack Mason watch.

Date Idea Number 3: If you don’t want to brave the crowds at all, you can try what John and I did, and order in! We picked up pasta from our favorite local spot, then gathered all of the throw pillows from the rest of our house and cozied up in front of the fireplace. For dessert, we made these molten chocolate lava cakes – YUM!

All photos by Blue Ribbon Vendor Julia Wade.

There you have it! Three easy and fun Valentine’s Day date ideas, and a great source for a Valentine’s Day present, if you’re looking for one :) Don’t forget to enter our engagement ring giveaway at the top of the post, and please tell me: what do you have planned for Valentine’s Day?

This post is brought to you by Bailey, Banks, and Biddle. Thank you so much for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Allison reply

    All such fun ideas! I guess I’ll just have to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the new few weeks. :)

  2. avatar Brooke Paris reply

    These are all so cute! I love seeing the real lives of the southern weddings gals!

  3. avatar Bob Weiss reply

    Just love Southern Weddings

  4. avatar Connie Nicholson reply


  5. avatar Darrick Barrett reply

    Taking her to a mountain hot springs spa!

  6. avatar luther reeger reply

    very nice thanks for the chance

  7. avatar kristin romine reply

    So elegant and feminine!

  8. avatar Deanna Garrett reply

    That ring is sooo pretty

  9. avatar Bernice Wright reply

    Beautiful ring

  10. avatar Donna DePaolo reply

    How lovely and classic!

  11. avatar Constance Smith reply

    Thank you!

  12. avatar Janice Lee reply

    I and my husband have different schedule for Vday… so i planned to have a post celebration og sunday.. Maybe a dinner date and watch a movie after.. for me true meaning of Valentines day is not how much you spend or buying expensive gifts but to make your special someone feels how you truly love them and valued… I may not have much money even how i wanted to get him a nice stuff but being with him is priceless specially on heart day… Happy Valentines Day to all!! And to all folks behind this… I do really love your rings and hope i could wear one of them oneday…. Goodluck!

  13. avatar Cynthia Rieke reply

    My parents named me thinking I would be a southern belle as my father’s family was from the south. Whenever I visit the south I always feel like it is Deja Vu.
    These rings are beautiful! Recently married, my engagement ring was my husbands grandmother’s over 100 years old. While it has sentimental value, it is showing its age and I would love have my own ring to pass down.
    These rings are gorgeous and thank you so much for making it possible to win one.

  14. avatar Chris Jarboe reply


  15. avatar Ronnie Trompeter reply

    Hope we win

  16. avatar Joseph Fleming reply

    Nice looking diamonds.

  17. avatar pat reply

    beautiful jewelry

  18. avatar Melanie Alioto reply

    My sweetie and I exchanged cards and had a wonderful prime rib seafood dinner on Valentines Day!

  19. avatar Mary Wawrzonkowski reply

    A relaxing night in with my wonderful husband. I’ll make his favorite dinner and dessert and we’ll Netflix binge. Perfect.:)

  20. avatar James Barczak reply

    Nice to win that ring!

  21. avatar Karen Waring reply


  22. avatar Brenda reply

    Love the rings

  23. avatar Sue Doersam reply

    I would love to win one of these beautiful rings!! My ring size is 7.

  24. avatar Donna Godfrey reply

    Love these rings

  25. avatar marcia hunt reply

    i would love to win this ring its so lovely and would make my wedding the best

  26. avatar Sue Doersam reply


  27. avatar Twilla Hardy reply

    I’ve be.en married for over 30 years , never had a ring like this . Sure would like to win this

  28. avatar oksana ognevchuk reply

    would love to win!!!!

  29. avatar walter tucci reply

    love is not something you find, it is something that finds you.

  30. avatar Jacqueline Charles reply

    That is something that can be handed down through the family.

  31. avatar Deborah Fuller reply


  32. avatar Barb Eck reply

    My wedding & engagement rings were recently either lost or stolen, I would love to have this as my ring for our 45th anniversary which is coming up in April. Thank you for the contest. Barb

  33. avatar joann reply

    I want to win this beautiful ring

  34. avatar Corinne Soper reply

    Love to win one of these rings.

  35. avatar Cecilia Griffin reply

    Hope I win Than k. YouFor letting me enter.

  36. avatar yuri reply

    To tream my lady with a full breakfast in bed ! she just got her sabbatical from school approved !. she need a lot of pampering ….
    Thanks GUYS !

  37. avatar Karen Gallaghef reply

    This would be a wonderful romantic time. We have been married for 15 years. We have not taken another anniversary since our fifth anniversary due to my declining health. My health causes me to walk with a cane or in a wheelchair. This would really be a great time for us!

  38. avatar Karen Gallagher reply

    It would be wonderful to win one of the diamond rings.

  39. avatar Stephanie Anderson reply

    Your diamonds are so beautiful!

  40. avatar Karen Washington reply

    The ring is beautiful I would love to win one

  41. avatar Linda Baillie reply

    Thank. You

  42. avatar Patricia Fugate reply

    I love all kinds of rings.

  43. avatar Paula Deeter reply

    Love them all….

  44. avatar Carson Fallquist reply

    My bride would love this ….

  45. avatar Donna Brever reply


  46. avatar Becki Cannon reply

    Cool ideas

  47. avatar KATIE KICZA reply


  48. avatar Madeline reply

    This could be a great stress relief for my fiance its absolutely gorgeous

  49. avatar Roxanna Kennedy reply

    I would love to win this .

  50. avatar Nancy Price reply

    Been married for 46 years this April, I would love to win a new ring!

  51. avatar Nakishia Stile reply

    Late but spend time with my family.

  52. avatar Linda Meyers-Gabbard reply

    Been so long since we’ve been on a date night….lol love these ideas. Thank you

  53. avatar Lora Huffman reply

    out to eat NO dishes yahoo

  54. avatar Assia Elhiba reply

    Thank you

  55. avatar Teresa Stroup reply

    my fiancé could not afford to purchase a diamond ring for our engagement, so my ring is sterling silver with a CZ. It would be nice to be able to replace it for him.

  56. avatar Cheryl Hill reply

    I love the way the ring looks, it’s elegance and so detailed design with it’s perfection.

  57. avatar Corina reply

    Out to dinner and a movie!

  58. avatar Linda Clark reply

    These rings are so beautiful!!

  59. avatar linda Ingle calloway reply

    i want it

  60. avatar Paula VanSlyke reply

    Would love to have one of these rings!

  61. avatar Alexis Garcia reply

    These rings are beautiful

  62. avatar Michelle Baker reply

    Diamonds are a girls Best Friend😀

  63. avatar Debbie Weaver reply

    Lovely gift

  64. avatar Rinda Jarvis reply

    Lovely pictures

  65. avatar Kseniya Krivoruchko reply

    Picnic on a cliff of LA Jolla in California while overlooking the ocean.

  66. avatar Vanessa Royal reply

    Go on a romantic getaway for 4 .

  67. avatar tara mckenzie reply

    Thank you!

  68. avatar Carolyn reply

    A walk in the sea breeze.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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