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When it’s time to shop for an engagement ring, there’s plenty of wisdom, lore and superstitions out there to guide the way. And, if you don’t have enough of that ingrained already, everyone who knows your intentions is happy to chime in with their opinion. But, many of the traditions surrounding engagement rings are becoming outdated and do not apply to every couple. The truth is, an engagement ring can be anything you want it to be, so shove these engagement ring myths aside.

Bigger is better 

With Kim K rocking 15 carets and Lady Gaga showing off over 10, the prevailing trend among celebs is big bling. Even our best friends, and our frenemies, are flooding Instagram with snaps of whopping rings, #huge. But, for many ladies, bigger is not better. In fact, often a scaled-down ring is the best choice. Petite hands may look overwhelmed by an enormous ring and chunky stones can get caught and snagged on everything, making them a tough choice for busy mamas and ladies who work with their hands during the day. Carats do not equal love.

It’s has to be expensive

The historical advice to spend at least two month’s salary on an engagement ring is enough to force many potential-fiancées into a number-crunching stupor for weeks. That’s a sizable chunk out of any budget, especially if there is a costly wedding and exotic honeymoon just around the corner. There’s no need to start your marriage in ring-induced debt. Buy a ring you can afford. As the years go on, it will be a lovely reminder of where you started out. Plus, if financial circumstances change, she can always upgrade later.

It should be a surprise

Every groom-to-be pictures that perfect moment when he snaps open the velvet box and his girl gasps in shock at her ideal ring. But what if the surprise is more of a disappointment than a delight? Standing in jewelry store surrounded by rings of all shapes, sizes and styles can be overwhelming for many men. Instead of making him go through the guesswork, many couples are choosing to shop for rings together, after the engagement. Or, if you are committed to slipping on the ring as she accepts, try doing a little pre-shopping together to help him narrow down the options

All engagement rings are diamonds

Diamonds are, by far, the most popular choice for engagement rings. But, if the traditional sparkler doesn’t speak to her style, there are plenty of other options. Among the celebrity set, Jenny McCarthy and Kelly Clarkson both don yellow sapphires, Halle Berry sports an emerald and Duchess Kate wears that famous blue sapphire. From her birthstone to her favorite shade, there’s no wrong way to select a stone for her ring. Plus, looking beyond diamonds opens up a whole new range of options for every budget and style.

You need two rings

For decades the bulk of engagement rings were diamond solitaires, which could be combined with a metal or diamond wrap or surround on the wedding day. Recently, these bridal sets became slightly less popular as couples opted for more complex engagement pieces worn with a separate wedding band. Either way, most married ladies ended up with a pair of rings on her left hand. While these are both gorgeous and timeless options, many modern brides are choosing to wear their engagement rings as sole stunners, without the addition an a new piece on their wedding day. Wearing one ring, rather than two, allows couples to choose more intricate settings, larger rings and more personal choices.

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