Find the one. Check. Ask her father for her hand in marriage. Check. Plan the perfect proposal. Check. Buy the perfect engagement ring. Hmmmm. Buying the perfect engagement ring can be a daunting task, it is not strange to find a lost Romantic facing the mission of a lifetime. Let’s face it, you get one shot at this, and you are nervous enough to pop the question, so you need a bold piece inside that pocket that makes you feel confident as you are about to get on one knee.
We have written 8 points to make it as simple as possible for you to find the perfect ring, and help you get that YES.
1. Define your Budget
Plan this before you walk into a jewelry store, it will be of great help to your jeweler, as he/she will know what to show you. It is often said that you should buy a ring worth 3 months of your salary, but don’t feel pressured. Stay away from debt and buy the best ring you can get. Let’s get it straight, what is important is the thought you put into purchasing it. So steer away from starting your marriage with debt.
If you want to propose but can’t afford it, don’t let this stop you, a proposal is about the love you have for each other and not about the rock you choose. A simple ring will be a nice memory of the harder times when you were young. You can always get a nicer one down the road for an anniversary present or a special occasion.
2. Find Out Her Ring Size
Some men freak out at this point but don’t worry about it; you’ll win if you do things carefully. The best way to find the ring size is by secretively getting her finger sized by a jeweler. The best way to do this is to get their friends to take her shopping and casually try on some jewelry.
Another great plan is sneakily taking one of her rings to a jeweler and getting it sized. Make sure the ring fits her ring finger as many women wear plenty of rings and different fingers and they may be in different sizes. Go to her jewelry box while she’s getting ready in the bathroom and grab one that she does not wear that often so she won’t notice its gone. Otherwise ask one of her girlfriends to grab it for you.
Don’t worry if you mess this up and it does not fit, most jewelers will be able to get it resized but you want to avoid having to pay extra an for her to wait after she is excited to have received it.
3. Get Her Style Right
Most girls have fantasized with the proposal moment for many years and it is not rare that they have a clear idea of what they want. If you get it right you will get an infinite amount of love points to your favor.
We have helped many wise men that as good detectives observed casually to any clues drop by their love, you want to do this. When you are with your girlfriend take note of what kind of jewelry she likes, is she into small and simple pieces or the big and shiny range? Is she into rose, yellow or white gold or maybe silver or platinum? What’s her personality like is she outgoing and energetic, maybe she likes a shiny ring to show it around? Or is she a peace filled woman who doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry? Consider smaller simple rings.
What you want to know at the end of this is, in broad terms, what kind of ring would she be into.
A great thing we have practiced and succeeded in many times is designing a personalized piece with the man. A guided process to craft a unique and thoughtful piece fully centered on memories, personality and personal style is hard to go wrong with.
4. Choosing your Diamond: The Four C’s
This is the focal point of your engagement ring. This can be the most daunting task for many men with so many variants, yet with a little knowledge you can walk out of a jewelry store with a ring that your girlfriend will be over the moon for.
When choosing a diamond you want to take into account the four C’s; cut, color, clarity and carat weight. All four of these pillars determine the quality and cost of the diamond.
Cut is not the shape of the diamond but how well the diamond is cut, the better the cut the more it will shine and let light through. The better the cut the more expensive it will be. Nature defines the other 3 C’s but the cutter defines this one. Out of all the C’s this is the most important as it will define the rest of the features, if it is not cut right it will not have that sparkling brilliance.
Color is graded on a scale that ranges from D (colorless or white) to Z(light yellow). Truly colorless diamonds are the most rare and most expensive. White diamonds are the most popular but at the end of the day it comes down to preference.
Clarity means the imperfections a diamond has, the fewer the more expensive it will be. When we talk about clarity we mention inclusions, which are nothing else than other minerals, particles or tiny fractions within a diamond, the fewer the better. Clarity is also measured with a scale, SI1 and SI2 are at the beginning and you wont be able to see the imperfections without special tools.
When picking your diamond avoid stones with inclusions in the top and in the middle as they can affect the dispersion of the light and make it less clear.
Carat Weight defines the weight of a diamond. The heavier the stone and the pricier it will be. Usually heavier diamonds are bigger, this is an important point where you will want to take out your notes to what your girlfriend wanted. A simple Carat Weight will range around .3 carats an average for us goes around 1 carat and a generous weight can go over 2.5 carats. Some engagement rings have many diamonds, and you will listen and read of TCW, this means the direct total sum of all the diamonds weight mounted on the ring, not one stone on itself.
5. Selecting the Diamond
Parallel to the four C’s, you’ll also want to look into the diamond shape. This is very particular to your girlfriend’s preference. There are 5 main types, which are not a significant difference in price, except for the brilliant or round shape that can be up to 30% more expensive due to higher demand.
6. Select the Engagement Ring Band
The important thing when choosing the band is what metal it will be made of. The most common metals to choose from are yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum and silver. You can also do a mix of different types.
Each metal has its pros and cons, for example, gold is very shiny and its soft nature makes it easier to polish and bring back its original luster. Gold’s disadvantage over hard metals like platinum is that it wears down faster, in about 2 decades it might have to be serviced because it’s worn too thin. On the other hand platinum is a very hard metal and it will last longer, yet it looses its shine faster and its harder to bring back.
This was important to know, however don’t guide your decision on these but rather on color preference. At the moment a strong trend is to go for rose gold as it looks great with many diamonds and uniquely stylish. Many classic styled women prefer a yellow gold band. As many modern styled women will be inclined to a silver tone band like white gold or platinum.
7. Choosing the Setting
This is where the diamond sits. This choice comes down to what you are personally after, as it is the main differentiator between engagement rings at first glance. You can go for the classic Tiffany shape ring, as they popularized it, where a single usually brilliant stone is mounted on the ring.
Another popular mounting if you are using a smaller stone is the Bezel stetting, where a metal rim encircles the sides of the diamond. This is a secure mounting that will favor women with active lifestyles.
With the setting you want to listen to what your girlfriend likes as there are many variants and styles, including diamonds on the sides of a center diamond, a band with many diamonds around among many other beautiful options.
8. Alternatives to Buying a Diamond
Many women are inclined to unique and special stones or rings that not necessarily include a diamond. Popular choices we have encountered are rings with a turquoise stone as the color and historic native American traditions make it very attractive. Natural stones in general from around the world are a great alternative if your girlfriends look for something more original. Lets not forget about opals, they are great choices they are brilliant, beautiful, unique and perfect to make beautiful pieces.
Written by the Issai team, with inspiration from the GIA institute and online sources.