Buying an engagement ring can be an overwhelming task. There’s a lot of pressure on this purchase.
An engagement ring is a symbol of your love for your girlfriend, and it’s a token of your willingness to take the relationship to the next level. Plus, it doesn’t help that your fiance will be showing off the ring to her friends and family.
For many men, the purchase of their partners engagement ring will be their first experience in the the wild world of jewelry. When they walk into a jewelry store they’re intimidated with terms and concepts that they’ve never heard before.
Never fear, because we have put together the best guide to help you purchase an engagement ring that your girlfriend will flip over. Let’s get started.
Establish Your Budget
First thing you’ll need to do before you step into a jewelry store is establish a budget. It will help the jeweler show you options that are in your price range. Keep in mind that like buying a car, the price of an engagement ring can often be negotiated.
You may have heard that a man is supposed to spend 2-3 months salary on an engagement ring. This is crap. Hoping to cash in on retuning GI’s itch to get hitched, this “rule” was invented whole cloth as part of a crafty ad campaign by the DeBeers company during the 1940’s. But there’s nothing romantic about going into major debt. Buy the nicest ring that you can afford. In the end, it’s not the amount of money you spend on an engagement ring that matters, but rather the thought that goes into purchasing it. Many women would rather start your life together debt-free or use the money for a sweet honeymoon than have you blow all your savings.
If you want to propose, don’t delay because you can’t afford a better ring. The ring is supposed to be a symbol of your love, and what does it say about your love that you’re willing to postpone your marriage to buy a better rock? A humble ring will be a memory of that hard-scrabble time when you two were young. You can always get her a nicer ring for an anniversary present somewhere down the line.
Find Out Her Ring Size
This where a lot of men mess up in the purchasing process. They’ll have the perfect ring picked out, but they get the wrong size ring for their girlfriend’s finger. When they get down on one knee and attempt to slide the ring on their lady’s finger, it doesn’t fit and awkwardness ensues.
If you get the wrong size ring, all isn’t lost. You’ll just have to take the ring back to the jeweler and fork over some more money to get it properly fitted. But it’s best to avoid the cost and the potential embarrassment at proposing time by making sure the ring you pick is the right size.
The best way to get your girlfriend’s ring size is to get a ring that she isn’t wearing and bring it to the jeweler to be measured. If you want to maintain the surprise factor, you’ll have to be sneaky about this. Swipe a ring from her jewelry box while she’s getting ready in the bathroom or recruit one of her friends to pocket a ring while she’s over her house. Try to swipe a ring that you don’t see her wearing very much; she’ll be less likely to notice its absence.
Research Her Style
You want to pick a ring that fits your woman’s unique style and preferences. Getting a ring that she’s over the moon for will score you romance points that will last a lifetime.
Again, because of the clandestine nature of the engagement proposal, you’re going to have to harness your inner James Bond for this style reconnaissance. When you’re with your girlfriend, take note of the type of jewelry she wears. Does she wear a lot of gold? Maybe she’s a silver or platinum woman. Perhaps there’s a particular stone she wears a lot, like her birthstone, that she’d like more than a diamond. Does she like simple, understated pieces? Or does she favor the big, glitzy variety? Think about her personality; is she an outgoing girl who you know is going to want to show off her ring to everyone she meets? Then go for something big and sparkly. Is she an earthy woman, who doesn’t wear much jewelry at all? Look for rings that are simple, yet beautiful.
Another way to get a feel for her engagement ring preferences is to take her right into a jewelry store. The key to this is to go under another pretext. Tell her you need to go to the mall to look for some new shoes and that you’d like her to come along. When you’re walking to the department store, go past any jewelry store and say, “Hey, I want to stop and look at some watches.” While you’re busy pretending to be interested in the Omegas, dimes to donuts your gal will be looking at the rings. Look at what she’s gazing at. Make a mental note of it. Say something casual like, “That’s a nice one,” and gage her reaction. Go back to looking at watches. Leave. Mission accomplished.
Pick The Engagement Ring Band
You have a variety of metals to choose from for the engagement ring’s band. The most common include yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, and silver. You can even do a mix of different types of metals. Each metal has their advantage and disadvantages. For example, platinum is an extremely durable metal and will last a long time. However, it dulls much more quickly than gold, and it’s harder to bring back the initial luster it once had.
Gold, on the other hand, is shinier than platinum, and because it’s a soft metal, it’s easier to buff and polish it to get back the ring’s original luster. Gold’s advantage over platinum is also its weakness. Because it’s a soft metal, gold wears down faster. In about 15 to 20 years, the engagement ring may have to be reshanked because it’s worn too thin.
While you may be interested in the durability of the engagement ring band, your future wife is probably more interested in the way it looks. Right now, silver-looking engagement rings are the most popular. If your lady is a woman who stays on top of the latest fashion trends, go with a platinum or white gold band. If she’s more of a classic type of gal, go with the traditional yellow gold band.
Selecting a Quality Diamond: The Four Cs
So you’ve selected a band. We now move to the focal point of most engagement rings: the diamond. For many men, purchasing a diamond can seem like a daunting task, but with a bit of knowledge, you can walk out of a jewelry store with a stone your fiancee will be dying to show off to her friends. When selecting a diamond, you’ll want to take into account the “4 Cs:” cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. All four of these factors determine the quality and cost of the diamond.