Look up the rules for buying an engagement ring, and you'll find pages and pages of rules that often don't seem to have a lot of facts behind them. They're either repeated mindlessly or hint at some odd problem that is never fully explained. The real rules for buying an engagement ring are much simpler and more practical, and they allow for more variety when you choose the actual design of the ring.

Keep the Wedding Ring in Mind

When you buy an engagement ring, remember that it will eventually be nestled next to a wedding ring. The two rings should look good together and need to fit comfortably together. If you want to buy a ring (for either occasion) that is, say, a bypass or wrap design, that could interfere with the other ring and make it difficult to wear both. While there's no rule stating that an engagement ring can't be an interesting shape, you would do well to get one that is more conventional in terms of shape and that will allow another ring to sit comfortably on the same finger.

It Doesn't Have to Be a Diamond

When people think of engagement and wedding gems, they tend to think of white diamonds (diamonds that appear clear are called "white"). What if your intended really likes rubies, though? You can get an engagement ring with any type of precious stone. Remember, it's the intent that makes the ring an engagement ring. Yes, you want the ring to be fine jewelry and not costume if you can afford it, but if you want stones of different colors in the ring, go for it.

That all being said, a white diamond is seen as the traditional engagement and wedding gem. If you or your intended prefer to have a white diamond and not another precious stone in the ring, that's totally fine. The rule is that it doesn't have to be one, not that it can't be one.

You Can Totally Buy What You Can Afford

There's this idea that the ring you buy has to cost at least three months' salary, but that's an old marketing scheme developed back in the 1930s. It used to focus on one month's salary, not three, by the way. You can spend three months' worth if you want, and you can spend more if you want. But if you can't afford to spend three months' salary on a ring, don't. Your jeweler wants your engagement and wedding to be happy times and know that buying a ring you can easily afford is the best way to go. Look, store staff will try to sell items; that's their job. But they also will listen to you and help you find a ring that meets all your needs, including staying within your budget.

Contact a local company to learn more about women's engagement rings.