The Rules of Engagement (Rings): Sure-Fire Ways to Pick the Perfect Ring
By Devorah Isenberg , Thursday, October 07, 2010 8:24 AM
For someone whose definition of the phrase “must-have item” has so far extended only to flat-screen TV’s and sports cars, the prospect of choosing an engagement ring
can be daunting. Here you are, a guy who has hardly even noticed a piece of jewelry in your life, and you are supposed to drop a significant portion of your paycheck on a sparkly stone that will sit on your fiancée’s finger and tell everyone how much you love her?
Buying an engagement ring does not have to be a frightening experience. It’s important to learn a little about diamonds
before you make the purchase, just as you would read up on horsepower and fuel efficiency before buying a new car. These simple rules can help take the stress out of the engagement ring shopping period, and you will end up with a killer engagement ring her friends will secretly covet.
1. The engagement ring does not have to be a surprise. Although the chick flicks would have us believe that the girl is shocked when the guy whips out that little velvet box, chances are, if you are thinking about marriage, she is too, and you’ve probably even discussed it. She knows what’s coming.
Although tradition would tell you to ask her best friend for help choosing the engagement ring, you should probably do that only if you’re pretty confident in your engagement ring choosing abilities or if you know she loves surprises. These days, more couples than ever are going engagement ring shopping together, which allows the girl to finally get to have an opinion about the one piece of jewelry she will probably wear more than any other. And remember, you can always present a non-surprise engagement ring with a creative proposal that will take her by surprise.
2. Learn a little something. It might not be as gripping as Car and Driver, but the educational section
of a jewelry website that specializes in engagement rings will tell you everything you need to know about diamonds and engagement rings.
Frequent some online forums where educated consumers will be discussing everything from fluorescence to crown angles. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what those are quite yet.) Focus on the Four C’s—Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat. Try to pick up some of the important vocabulary words so you’ll be able to make an informed choice when it comes time to buy the diamond, and remember that it all comes down to personal preference.
3. Learn a little more. Especially if you are planning on surprising her with the engagement ring, it is now time to start paying attention to your girlfriend’s taste in everything from jewelry to makeup. Consider her lifestyle—a preschool teacher who works with her hands will probably want a ring with a low profile that won’t get caught on anything, while an interior decorator known for her sleek design concepts will probably be looking for something with modern flair. There are literally thousands of engagement ring settings available, so in order to choose the engagement rings of her dreams, put yourself in your girlfriend’s impractical high-heeled shoes for a few minutes. Would she appreciate the glittery look of a halo setting, or maybe the alternative elegance of a sapphire center stone?
Here’s a pop quiz. Would your soon-to-be fiancée prefer this ring,
Or this one?
If you don’t know, or if they both look the same to you, do a little more research into setting styles and her personal taste and style.
4. Set a budget. Once you see all the stunning engagement rings available, it’s pretty easy to let your imagination take hold and start bookmarking engagement rings that cost more than your house. In order to make a responsible purchase, you will want to think about budget very carefully. Yes, a diamond engagement ring is an investment, both literally and symbolically, but at the same time, you aren’t doing your fiancée any favors if you spend money you don’t have on her engagement ring.
Think long term—reputable jewelry houses like Whiteflash often offer a lifetime upgrade policy—which means that you can trade in your current diamond for a bigger or better one and only pay the difference forever. Also, keep in mind that no two engagement rings are exactly the same—the same dollar amount is going to amount to slightly different characteristics in two different stones. When in doubt, opt for quality (i.e. cut) over quantity, or carat size. (For more on that, refer back to step 2.)
5. Get some help. When it comes down to it, you aren’t just going to go online and click “purchase” like an engagement ring was some 2 AM Ebay impulse buy. Before you buy an engagement ring, a qualified sales representative should review all your options with you, making sure you know exactly what you’re getting. (Anyone who guarantees eternal domestic bliss is suspect.) While some customers prefer brick-and-mortar stores for their “human element”, the fact is that online shopping can be a more practical option for many guys. But don’t let shopping online mean you wander alone through virtual aisles of merchandise—the best online boutiques offer friendly and attentive customer service that would put a mall-counter sales clerk to shame.
For more specific questions ask our experts