While we’ve seen plenty of engagement rings slide onto shaky, post-proposal fingers, we aren’t jewelers. To help you choose the perfect engagement ring and diamond, we had to bring in a real expert. 


Who’s our Expert on Engagement Rings in Austin? 

Instead, we talked to Calvin Smith Jr. of Austin’s own Calvin’s Fine Jewelry. As a family business since 1997, it’s fair to say that Calvin’s got years on us when it comes to expertise on engagement rings in Austin. When Calvin Sr. and his wife Jackie started the shop, it was considerably smaller; but it’s grown over the years and added more family members to their staff with each growth spurt! 

Now, they continue to create engagement rings with love for those in love, as they say, in their original location off Far-West Boulevard. 


What are the Four C’s of Diamonds? 

The most basic tenants for diamonds are the four C’s: cut, clarity, color, and carat. 


In a round diamond, there’s three grades: cut, polish, and symmetry. Each one is graded to determine the overall judgement of the cut. All other shapes are graded only on polish and symmetry. 






Clarity refers to the inclusions in the diamond (small flecks or feathers) that vary in placement diamond to diamond. These small “imperfections” create your unique diamond. 






Color ranges from D and works down from there. Further down, the color is warmer with less blue and more yellow undertones. 


Carat refers to the size of the diamond. In the US, the average carat size for an engagement ring is 1.08 to 1.20, but it varies from person to person based on personal taste and style. 


What are the most common cuts?

The cut determines the shape of the diamond, so different cuts create distinct looks ring to ring. Picking the right one depends entirely on personal preference. 


Round, the most classic shape, is often paired with additional details like a cushion of smaller diamonds.


Compared to round, the oval has a larger circumference. Pear is another, similar cut that looks a lot like the oval cut but features one end that creates a subtle point (like a teardrop). 


Emerald, compared to oval, is a similar overall shape, but is more square and open inside, like a window, rather than having as many refractions inside. 


Cushion is when there’s a focal diamond with smaller diamonds going around in a halo. This is an incredibly popular addition to any shape of center diamond. 


What’s the difference between Earth-mined and Lab-grown?

They are both graded on the same tenants; the key differences are price and origin. 


Lab-grown diamonds are created from a diamond crystal seed over the course of 8 to 15 weeks; it will grow into the rough form just like an Earth-mined diamond. These diamonds are 30-40% less expensive than mined. 


Earth-mined are optically and chemically the same as a lab-grown diamond, but rather than being produced by a man-made process, they are found in their rough form naturally and then processed from there. 

Tradition often dictates a preference over Earth-mined because of the exclusivity of a rare, precious diamond; however, they are visually (and physically) the same.


How much do people spend on engagement rings in Austin?

We’ve all heard the adage “three months salary,” but realistically the range is more diverse than a simple rule can cover. Anywhere between $4,000 to $10,000 is typical to see with $6,000 being the average right now. 

As far as how to pay that price, a majority of people do finance, rather than pay outright, for their engagement rings in Austin. Calvin’s offers financing through Wells Fargo. 


How do people pick a ring?

If you believe movies, the propose-r always picks the perfect ring (and knows the right ring size!) without any discussion, but realistically, most people pick out engagement rings in Austin as a couple.  

Some people will opt to purchase a plain setting without their partner’s input for surprise engagements. Afterwards, the ring can be brought in to adjust and add more intricate styling based on their wishes then. 


What do people consider for picking a ring?

Engagement rings can be small, understated or bring the bling 24/7. It’s about what you want to look down at every day. 

Some people have special concerns for their ring in everyday life. A medical professional who wants to get gloves over their ring easily might want a simple, lower setting that’s less likely to catch, for example. Ultimately though, engagement rings are chosen for form over function. 


How easy is it to get a ring resized (if you get the wrong size)?

Typically, it’s very easy to re-size a ring. The main concern when picking a size for a surprise engagement ring is that it not be too small. It’s much better to lean large so that in the proposal moment, the ring slides onto their finger when they say, “Yes!” 


How far in advance do people buy a ring?

Calvin’s likes to have at least two months to design and source the ring leisurely, but they can make it happen in three to four weeks if needed. 

However, many people will shop and research rings well before they are ready to buy to compare styles and maybe ask some sneaky questions to narrow it down. 


Now that you know all about engagement rings, that just leaves … the rest of the proposal to plan! Overwhelmed by it all? When it comes to proposing, we’re the experts. Schedule a free proposal planning consult to hear how we can help you. 

Photos courtesy of Calvin’s Fine Jewelry .


September 18, 2020

Engagement Rings 101: Expert Advice on Engagement Rings from Austin’s Favorite Jewelers  


Hey there, I'm Tessa!

Founder and lead planner of Amore Austin. It's my mission to transform couples' dream proposals into reality by using creative solutions to design and execute luxuriously romantic proposals that are as unique as the couples we love to serve.


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