Expert-approved tips to choose the perfect engagement ring ahead of Valentine's Day

Kate Mendonca
Shopping Editor
Gold jewelry diamond rings in box

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As we approach Valentine’s Day, many potential grooms-to-be are preparing to pop the question on what’s arguable one of the most romantic days of the year. It’s no surprise then, that according to a 2019 survey of 2,000 adults, the majority of respondents chose Feb. 14 as their preferred day for a proposal.

ALSO SEE: Shop these sweet Valentine's Day gifts that aren't chocolate

With less than a month to go until the big day, if you’re looking to find the perfect ring to commemorate your relationship, a new, more affordable alternative to mined diamonds may be the right choice.

Hands holding diamond.

There’s no denying the appeal of a diamond ring to mark an engagement, since the precious stone symbolizes commitment, faithfulness and love. However, in light of growing ethical and environmental concerns, the gemstone’s appeal seems to have tarnished lately, and consumers are opting for alternatives that are fairly-traded, as well as cost-effective. 

While stones like Moissanite and cubic-zirconia are popular alternatives to traditional mined diamonds, there’s also another sustainable that still guarantees the same quality and shine - lab-grown diamonds. 

What many people don’t realize is that unlike faux stones like cubic zirconia, lab-grown diamonds are every bit as precious and durable as mined diamonds. In fact, if you were to give a jeweler a microscope to inspect a diamond that was grown in a lab next to one that was mined, they’d be indistinguishable. 

Close-Up Of Cropped Hands With Wedding Ring

"It's like getting ice from your freezer versus getting it from a glacier," explains Anna-Mieke Anderson, founder of lab-grown diamond company MiaDonna.

Along with MiaDonna, brands like Couple are helping to change the conversation around lab-grown diamonds and are making it easy to find alternatives to mined stones with their selection of engagement rings that would make any jewelry-lover swoon. 

Their chic and timeless designs take the guesswork out of choosing an engagement ring for a partner, while also offering the option to customize a design for a personalized touch. 

If you’re part of the majority and are planning to pop the question this Valentine’s Day and have yet to start shopping, it may be a little late to start according to Couple’s cofounder Jeff Brenner. 

“I usually recommend shopping for a ring six months ahead of time to be safe, but at least three.” Brenner said. “It really depends on how confident you are in what your partner wants and how much advance research you’ve done.” 

ALSO SEE: Money-saving shopping hacks to stay on budget this year

Though last minute rings can almost always be sourced, an engagement ring is definitely a purchase you shouldn’t rush. Before buying, you should take your time to shop around and compare designs from multiple retailers, and make sure that you aren’t pressured into buying something you don’t love. 

Ahead of making an important jewelry purchase, whether it’s an engagement ring, a push present, or a gift for any other special occasion, Brenner shared his top tips that every shopper should consider: 

  1. Listen, observe and pay close attention. You have no idea how many people make the wrong call because they are just not listening and picking up on hints like open magazines left on the coffee table!

  2. Set a budget, learn about the options that fall within it and take time to consider [your choices].

  3. Finally, if you can’t make a decision, opt for a timeless design vs. trying to create something unique.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, shop some of our favourite lab-grown diamonds that are sure to be a hit this holiday season. 

The Classic

Image via Couple.

SHOP IT: Couple, from $4,499

The Trio

Image via Vrai.

SHOP IT: Vrai, from $2,112

Dajini Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Ring

Image via Etsy.

SHOP IT: Etsy, $2,448

Miabella Lab-Grown Diamond Stud Earrings

Image via Walmart.

SHOP IT: Walmart, $669

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