Rings are about more than just weddings and engagements. You can put a ring on it for so many different occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, friendship, fashion, and more. A beautiful ring can be gifted to anyone you hold dear, including yourself.

Different types of rings are best suited for different occasions and recipients, but the rules of ring-giving are made to be bent. Let’s take a look at the different types of rings, from their cut and clustering to the type of metal or gemstone used in each.

Classic engagement rings

Engagement rings are the ones that come to mind when someone says “put a ring on it,” but they’re not the only rings out there. Classic engagement rings come in as many different types as there are types of couples: solitaire rings, halo rings, drop rings, and more.

engagement ringThe most popular combination that I’ve been seeing for modern engagement rings is white gold with diamonds—either one solitaire diamond, or a 3-stone cluster, with one centre stone and two round-cut flanking stones. When purchasing an engagement ring, make sure to source ethically (all of Best Buy’s diamonds are conflict-free).

My best advice for purchasing an engagement ring? Talk to your partner to narrow down your options before popping the big question. You’ll likely want to choose a ring that you’ll both love for the rest of your lives, although I know some couples who have chosen simple rings for their engagement with the promise to each other that they’ll upgrade as their lives grow together! To keep the surprise of the ring without risking a surprise in a bad way, consider asking them to pick out a few options that they would love and leaving the final decision up to the person doing the proposing.

Buying a ring for yourself

I’m not at a place in my life yet where I’m ready to get married, but… Well, that’s not going to stop me from wearing a great ring. I went through a rather hysterical (and very confusing) couple of months last year where I really, really thought I wanted to get married, but long story short, it turned out that I just wanted to wear a great ring.

eternity ring cubic zirconiaSo, as any stridently independent person in their late 20s would do, I bought myself a couple of amazing rings. Just because no one else is going to put a ring on it right now doesn’t mean that I can’t!

I went with a few semi-precious rings, which are a blend between fine and fashion jewelry. Typically, semi-precious jewelry is finished in a fine metal (gold, rose gold, or silver), but filled with sterling silver. Choosing coloured, semi-precious stones (like amethyst and other stones) is a great way to do this, but another option is opting for cubic zirconia.

There are plenty of options—I’m a fan of cluster rings, in particular—but eternity rings make a very classic gift for yourself. After all: who else is guaranteed to spend your entire life with you, from your very first breath to your last?

Put a ring on a fashionable friend

bauble crystal ringI am, if nothing else, the person who buys their friends way too much jewelry. Last December, I bought one of my friends not one, not two, but three pairs of earrings for Christmas—I bought the first pair and promptly forgot about them, then saw “earrings” in my notepad and bought another. And then, of course, there were Black Friday sales, so I picked up a “second” pair of earrings… Only to realize the week before the holidays began that I had forgotten all about the first.

So, when all else fails, I opt for fashion jewelry for my friends. My favourite material to buy in right now is sterling silver with onyx gemstones: it’s a great pairing that’s durable and eye-catching without being too expensive. The black hue of the onyx helps keep things casual, and pairs well with fun outfits.

When shopping for jewelry for your friends, keep your eye out for terms like “gold plated” (a great indicator of a semi-fine piece) and “crystal.” High-quality crystal costs a fraction of what a true gemstone would, whether naturally grown or lab-created. Because crystal items are easier to manufacture and sell at an affordable price point, you’ll get a significantly wider range in styles. The ring featured here is plated in 18K gold, but each gemstone is made from Austrian glass crystal. It’s the kind of item that your bestie can wear for a night out without worrying about losing it. With proper care, however, gold plating can last for decades—so they can enjoy their ring without any pressure for years to come!

Birthday rings (and other special occasions) 

green ring sterling silver bandYou don’t have to go with a ring for every special occasion, but they’re a lovely twist on old standbys. (Necklaces are another popular choice, so mix things up year by year!) Jewelry is always a great gift, and a special ring can be the perfect way to celebrate a non-engagement special occasion.

Best Buy’s selection of birthstone rings are a great place to start looking. For a milestone birthday like 40 or 60, look for fine jewelry pieces in your loved one’s favourite precious metal. For any old birthday, however, you can feel comfortable choosing items made from sterling silver, or with a gold plating. Birthstones are a fun way to present your partner with a ring that says “I love you” without saying “will you marry me,” and they provide a pop of colour that your standard diamond would not. The exception, of course, is April, whose birthstone is the diamond!

Birthstone rings are a great place to look for a gift even when you’re not celebrating a birthday, as they offer a more creative outlet than a colourless diamond. Someone whose favourite colour is green might appreciate an emerald ring to celebrate their graduation, for instance, even though it’s the birthstone for May!

If you’re open to a mix of materials, you can even search to see only green rings when shopping on the Best Buy site. Just click the filters that apply on the lleft-handbar: for instance, a search for green rings with a sterling silver band turns up a mix of emeralds, green amethysts, and peridot.

To browse for the perfect ring (or sort for a ring that you’ve already picked out in your head), shop rings online at Best Buy.

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