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Buying an engagement ring for your soon-to-be fiancé can be pretty nerve-racking. Chances are, you’ve never done this before and you don’t really know what to expect. Jewelry probably isn’t your forte and it’s easy to feel like you’re being duped. But as long as you understand a few basic principles, you’ll be alright.
4 Tips for Purchasing the Perfect Engagement Ring
Most guys don’t know much about jewelry, which poses a problem when they walk into a jewelry store or browse through listings online. You may feel comfortable on a car lot, but you’re out of your element here. The good news is that you aren’t alone. And while you may not become an engagement ring expert over night, you can waltz through the process with relative ease if you understand and follow a few of these key concepts.
1. Try to Grasp the “Why” Behind the Ring
To you, an engagement ring might just be an expensive piece of metal with a shiny object fixated in the middle. But to your future wife, an engagement ring symbolizes much more.
As Estate Diamond Jewelry explains, “It is the ring that signifies an unbroken circle of trust, love, and loyalty. Every day, it will act as a reminder of this moment in your lives, the point from which you embark on a lifelong journey.”
When you look at the “why” behind the ring and realize it’s the visual representation of your trust, love, and loyalty, suddenly the process of buying the perfect ring becomes less frivolous – and that’s a good thing.
2. Understand the Four C’s
Are you familiar with the four C’s of diamonds? These are the four characteristics that are considered most important when determining a diamond’s quality and value.
- Cut. Arguably the most challenging to understand, a diamond’s cut has to do with the shape of the diamond and the reflective qualities that result from this cut. Common types of cuts include cushion, emerald, oval, princess, radiant, and round.
- Clarity. Most diamonds are going to contain some flaws. Remember, diamonds are naturally occurring elements – they’re never perfect. But when buying a diamond, you want one that has the least number of flaws and inclusions possible.
- Color. Colorless diamonds are probably what you want. If you see yellow in a diamond, then this is an indicator that it isn’t as pure as you’d like. Diamond color is rated on a scale of D through Z. Those graded D through F are the highest quality (and rarest), while those graded G through I show virtually no color to the untrained eye.
- Carat weight. Carat weight is the one you hear all the tabloids and celebrity gossip columns talking about. A carat is simply a unit of measurement and indicates how large the diamond is. Total carat weight refers to the collective weight of all the diamonds in the ring (setting and center stone).
Once you understand these four characteristics, you’ll become much more confident in the buying process. You’ll start to use language that those in the industry understand and won’t feel so helpless.
3. Figure Out Her Ring Size
One of the biggest challenges guys often have in the engagement ring shopping process is trying to determine their girlfriend’s ring size without giving away the secret. There are a number of options here, but be patient. You’ll have to wait for the right moment.
Some suggestions include asking a friend or family member, borrowing a ring from her jewelry collection, and tracing the inner circle of a ring she already owns when she’s in the shower or at the gym. If all else fails, make a guess and try to overestimate. Rings can always be sized down relatively easily (and often at no cost).
4. Get the Ring Insured
After purchasing the ring, it could be weeks or months before you’re able to pop the question. Until that time, the ring will be in your car, pocket, or house. The last thing you can afford is for the ring to get lost, misplaced, or stolen. And while there are ways to prevent some of these outcomes, you can save yourself some risk by insuring the ring.
“You can buy it as an extension to your homeowners or rental insurance, or get it from a special jewelry insurer,” jewelry aficionado Carmel Lobello says. “You’ll need a receipt and an appraisal (which costs a fee). You’ll want to know how they’ll replace the ring. They may offer cash, or they may reimburse you when you buy another ring through a specific jeweler.”
Just Enjoy the Process
Take a deep breath. There’s no reason to put so much pressure on yourself. While buying an engagement ring is important, this isn’t the most significant decision of your life. Choosing to propose to your girlfriend and spend the rest of your life with her is much more significant. The ring is just the visual representation of your commitment.
When you take a step back and look at the situation in more detail, it becomes clear that this is a process worth enjoying. It’s not beneficial to stress over the selection of the ring, the price tag, and her reaction. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you should take some time to relish the experience. Reference the tips highlighted in this article and everything else will fall into place.