A Guy's Guide to Buying Engagement Rings
Now that you're ready to start looking at engagement rings for that special someone, it's time to do a bit of research to make sure you pick just the right one.
If you've never been shopping for engagement rings before, it's understandable that you feel a little lost at first. While nothing can replace the knowledge of a good jeweler... Here's a bit of an introduction and a "what to watch for."
Engagement rings are a very important symbol of commitment, and perhaps she's been dreaming of receiving hers for a long time. With a bit of planning, you can surprise her with a ring that will be exactly as she's always wished. Below are some key tips to consider during the research stage:
1. First, keep an eye out for the obvious stuff. Is she dropping hints, like making sure you notice how much she loves the look of her friend's new ring? If she is, tune in and take notes, because in those few moments she may specify exactly what she likes, and what she'd prefer to be different in a ring of her own. If you miss a hint like that, then the next few steps are even more crucial; if you're lucky though, you might pick up such useful info such as whether she prefers diamond solitaire rings, or how important the size of a diamond is to her. Maybe she'd prefer a collection of smaller jewels, or a more classic, even vintage look?
2. The next thing to consider when it's time to start ring shopping is her preference for the jewelry she already owns. Does she prefer yellow gold, or does she lean more toward white gold and silver? Are the designs of her current jewelry more modern, conservative, intricate or simple? Are there any items she never takes off, like an heirloom locket or watch? A quick scan of her current collection should tell you a lot about her preferences, and even give you an idea of what will match with the ring you choose.
3. Another key thing to be sure about is the correct size of her finger. This one can get a bit tricky, especially if you're trying to surprise her. To help you out, find a printable ring sizer online that will make it easier for you to choose the size that will fit her just right. Lay one of the rings that she likes to wear onto the sheet and voila you know the correct ring size.
4. Having a bit of background on diamonds never hurt either. Here are a few quick definitions of the "Four C's" of diamond quality, to help prepare for the next step in your buying process, visiting a quality jeweler to learn even more:
Nothing is more important to the brilliance and sparkle of a diamond than its cut, as it is responsible for around 40% of a diamond's price. A well cut diamond will reflect light from one facet to another and back through the top, creating a dramatic sparkling effect that only a diamond can emit. Only the most skilled diamond cutters can shape a diamond with exacting precision, to release its full brilliance, taking into account such factors as proportions, finish, and of course symmetry.
The whiter the diamond, the more valuable it is. Even the slightest hint of color can have an effect on the cost of a diamond.
There are also various colored diamond choices available today, but when it comes to the white ones, their quality is rated on scale from D-Z. A "D" is pure white, whereas a "Z" would be visibly yellow.
The clarity of a diamond refers to the number and nature of inclusions or blemishes that are visible when you view it under a microscope. Some diamond professionals refer to clarity as "purity" or "quality," but neither of those start with "C," so we'll stick with clarity. Clarity scale runs from I (Inclusions aka flaws) to Fl (Flawless). Obviously the closer to Flawless you get, the better (and more expensive) the diamond.
The last and most obvious characteristic that a diamond is measured by is its Carat weight (abbreviated "ct.") which is usually a shown as a decimal point, e.g. 0.72 carat. The majority of diamond engagement rings are less than 0.5 carat.
The last question that you'll face when it comes time to pick a ring will be "How much should I spend?" Many jewelry sellers will tell you that a certain number of months of salary is the standard, but we disagree. Instead, we think that your investment should be whatever you feel comfortable with, and whatever suits your budget.
Remember, when researching the perfect ring for her, the best thing you can due is to pay attention to the hints she leaves, even if she's not meaning to. She might be obvious about it, and she might give you nothing at all to work with, so follow the guidelines above as closely as possible. And don't be afraid to ask us for help from a good knowledgeable jeweler.