A traditional engagement ring is composed of a diamond and a setting. Whether it is a diamond set in gold, white gold, or platinum is also a consideration, but the style of the two main parts of the ring can change dramatically, depending on individual taste.

Years ago it was a tradition for the groom-to-be to choose a ring and present it to his beloved. Today it is increasingly common for the bride and groom to choose the rings together as a fun and meaningful beginning to their life together.

Because an engagement ring is a purchase that will last a lifetime, it should be undertaken with thoughtful care. How much to spend varies from person to person, but a popular rule of thumb is that an engagement ring reflects two months salary. That can be a good starting point in designing a budget, but regardless of the amount you decide to spend, the most important consideration should begetting the quality and style you desire.

The style of an engagement ring setting should match the personality and lifestyle of the person who will be wearing it. Know that an engagement ring setting with diamond side stones will take up more of your budget than a simple band with a solitaire ring. One exquisite diamond in an elegant setting reflects a streamlined taste, while others might prefer an intricate pave setting with rows of diamonds.

"Baguette" side stones give a contemporary feel to a ring, and gemstone settings are great for a woman who loves color. More modern, tension settings are becoming very popular, and are easy to match with the wedding band, in both style and metal.

Choosing the most flattering width of the ring is also important. Someone with small hands might prefer a narrower setting, while a woman with longer fingers might prefer a wider band that doesn't disappear on her hand.

Once you decide on the right combination of diamond size and quality, combined with a complimentary setting, you're sure to have chosen the perfect ring.