Asking the love of your life to marry you should be one of the happiest moments you’ll share together as a couple. So why marr the moment by presenting her with an expensive engagement ring she doesn’t like?
That’s why so many men are opting to buy a proposal ring. This temporary engagement ring, also known as a placeholder ring, is an inexpensive piece of jewelry that provides you with the bling you need for a surprise proposal while still giving your finacée the chance to choose her own engagement ring.
A trend that has been growing in popularity over the last few years, the placeholder ring may not be expensive, but it’s still an important purchase. If you want to know how to choose a temporary proposal ring that she’ll love, read on!
Three Signs a Temporary Proposal Ring is Right for You
If you’re undecided if buying a placeholder ring is right for you, you’re not alone. Many men struggle with deciding what will make the best impression on their future spouse. If any of these three points apply to you, then a temporary proposal ring could be a good choice.
1. You’re stressed about choosing the right ring
If you’re not confident in your choice of an engagement ring for your future spouse, opting for a proposal ring could be a smart move. Why stress out shopping for a ring that costs more than you make in a month if you don’t have to?
By choosing a proposal ring, you can still surprise your fiancée and give her the chance to pick out the ring of her dreams.
2. You want to surprise her, but you also want to shop together
Most men and women want the proposal to be a surprise. After all, nothing beats the reaction of a surprise romantic proposal. But many women also don’t trust their partner to choose a ring that they’ll be sure to love.
A placeholder ring is a good way to keep your special moment a surprise without running the risk of your sweetheart being disappointed. It also saves you money, because there is no guarantee a jeweler will take the ring back at its full value.
3. You can’t afford the ring she loves
A temporary engagement ring is also a good solution if you don’t want to wait until you have enough money to buy the ring your girlfriend wants.
If you aren’t in a position to fork out several thousand dollars, then spending a few hundred on a placeholder ring will allow you to get engaged and continue saving for the “perfect” ring. A proposal ring can be worn for a few weeks, months, or even years before it is upgraded for a better version.
How to Choose a Temporary Proposal Ring She’ll Love: 5 Tips
Even if it’s not her forever ring, the placeholder ring you choose should still be special. It will, after all, be the symbol of a defining moment in her life and will be part of a memory she will cherish throughout your future marriage.
To help you on your mission of finding the perfect placeholder, here are five essential tips to keep in mind.
1. Pay attention to her jewelry
While it’s true that a placeholder ring won’t be the ring she wears everyday long-term, she should still love it.
Even if you don’t consider shopping for jewelry your strong suit, it is possible to impress your sweetheart. Before choosing a temporary ring, you’ll simply need to do a little bit of reconnaissance work.
- What color is her jewelry? Does she wear yellow gold, white gold, rose gold or silver?
- Does she like modern jewelry or prefer classic pieces?
- Does she like diamonds or does she love a particular gemstone?
By being observant you should be able to choose a ring she will enjoy wearing, even after she has her real engagement ring. Here are some lovely selections worth considering.
- Rose Gold Oval-Cut Natural Pink Morganite Engagement Ring
- Gold Oval-Cut Moissanite Engagement Ring
- Classic Simple Solitaire Engagement Ring
- Oval Created Blue Sapphire and Created White Sapphire Sterling Silver Ring
2. Size matters
A placeholder ring shouldn’t be super expensive, but that also doesn’t mean you should choose something so miniscule you can barely see the diamond. To get the most bang for your buck, you can forgo diamonds altogether in favor of an imitation diamond or a gemstone.
Need some inspiration? Here are three of our favorite placeholder rings that come in at $100 or less.
- Lab-Created White Sapphire Ring Sterling Silver
- Sterling Silver Classic Wedding Ring
- Vintage Emerald Engagement Ring
3. It Should Look Real
While size does matter, it also should look like the real McCoy. If you buy a super cheap ring for $20 at Wal-Mart, chances are, she’ll know right away and that will rob her of at least some of the excitement your proposal will evoke.
When selecting a placeholder ring, opt for a band that won’t warp or tarnish. Sterling silver is a fantastic choice, not only is it more durable than gold, it doesn’t tarnish easily. If your future bride prefers gold, however, you can get a gold-plated ring for a reasonable price as well.
When it comes to choosing a diamond substitute, moissanite is a great diamond alternative. It is harder than all other diamond simulants making it a great choice for a proposal ring. White or blue sapphires or rubies are also good choices because of their durability and beauty.
Here are three great options.
- Oval Lab-Created Ceylon and White Sapphire Frame Five Stone Ring in Sterling Silver
- Ruby Engagement Ring
- Round-Cut Moissanite Ring
4. Avoid cubic zirconia
Cubic zirconia may look like a diamond at first glance, but it’s not the best choice as a substitute. While cubic zirconia is often used for fashion jewelry, that’s more because of its affordability rather than its durability.
Within a few months, a cubic zirconia ring will begin showing some wear and tear such as scratches and chips. It will also become discolored over time.
Even if your fiancée will only be wearing it daily for a few months until you get her real ring, choosing a ring with more durability will allow her to wear it as she chooses for years to come. Even if she doesn’t wear it again, she will likely keep it as a memento or will choose to pass it on to your future daughter one day. Either way, you’ll want a ring that can stand the test of time.
Moissanite or white sapphire rings like these are good quality options.
- Pear-Shaped & Oval-Cut White Lab-Created Sapphire “Vacation” Ring Sterling Silver
- Round-Cut Moissanite Engagement Ring
- Pear-Cut Moissanite Engagement Ring
5. Know her ring size
Your proposal will be a lot more special if the ring you slip on her finger actually fits. So, if you don’t know her ring size, it’s time to find out. Enlist the help of her mom or sister and have them find out her size for you.
If that’s not possible, look in her jewelry box for a ring she already has and use that as a guide. If she doesn’t have any other rings, use the old string trick. Wrap the string around her finger while she’s sleeping and mark the point where the ends meet with a pen. Measure the string in millimeters with a ruler then divide by 3.14 (or Pi) to get the diameter of the ring. If, for instance, the string measured 22 millimeters, dividing it by Pi would give her a ring size of seven.
The 5 Best Gemstones for Everyday Wear
If your girlfriend prefers gemstones over diamonds, then choosing a placeholder ring with her birthstone or favorite color can be a really good idea — as long as the stone is durable enough to withstand regular wear.
The Mohs scale of mineral hardness is always the best indicator of a gem’s suitability. Diamonds, for instance, are the hardest stone and score a perfect 10 out of 10. They are not the only hard stone available for jewelry, however.
Here are the five best gemstones for a proposal ring:
Mohs scale rating: 9.5
Second only to diamonds in their hardness, a moissanite ring is a fantastic choice for daily wear.
Although naturally occurring moissanite is usually colorless, lab-grown moissanite comes in various shades including green, gold, brown, blue, purple, pink and yellow.
Here are three gorgeous moissanite rings in various hues:
- Purple Moissanite Engagement Ring
- Green Moissanite Engagement Ring
- Yellow Moissanite Engagement Ring
Mohs scale rating: 9
Other than diamonds, sapphires are one of the toughest gemstones out there and are safe for everyday wear. Sapphires also come in a variety of colors. Aside from the traditional blue, you can choose from white, pink, violet, blue-green, green, yellow and orange.
Here are three of our favorite sapphire rings
- Oval & Round-Cut Blue Sapphire and Round Diamond Engagement Ring
- Labcreated Sapphire Ring Sterling Silver
- Vintage Unique Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring Set
Mohs scale rating: 9
Known for its bright red color, rubies are a great choice for rings thanks to their hardness and durability. While the hue of this stone varies between orangey red and reddish purple, it always has red overtones.
- Ruby Ring with White Sapphire Halo 18K White Gold over 925 Sterling Silver
- Lab-Created Ruby Ring Lab-Created Sapphires 10K White Gold
- Three-Stone Lab-Created Ruby & White Lab-Created Sapphire Ring Sterling Silver
Mohs scale rating: 7.5-8
Aquamarine is a pale-blue to light-green gemstone with a fairly high resistance to scratches and abrasions. As long as an aquamarine ring is treated with care, it’s a durable choice for daily wear.
- Sky Blue Aquamarine and White Lab Grown Diamond Ring
- Round-Cut Genuine Natural Aquamarine Ring
- Aquamarine & White Lab-Created Sapphire Ring Sterling Silver
Mohs scale rating: 7.5-8
This beautiful green gemstone’s hardness is ranked at 7.5 to 8 depending on how pure it is. While emeralds are quite hard, inclusions in the stone can lead to chipping if your sweetie is hard on her jewelry. As long as the ring isn’t worn during manual labor, emeralds are a very good gemstone for daily wear.
Where to Find an Antique Placeholder Ring
If your girlfriend prefers antique or classic jewelry, ring shopping could be a bit more difficult. Chain jewelry stores tend to stock modern rings and don’t always have a ton of selection for those who prefer a vintage vibe.
If you’ve struck out at your local jewelry shops, Etsy might be your best bet. Not only does it have a lot of shops with retro rings, but it offers buyer protection, so you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off.
Here are a few of our favorite antique-style proposal rings.