So you finally found the love of your life, and she loves you back. Heck, she even loves your dog! Now it’s time to pop the question. Not so fast! First, you have to shop for the engagement ring.
Maybe you could write a book about your knowledge of chicken wings, beer, and football, but what you know about jewelry wouldn’t fill half a piece of notebook paper. If the thought of diamonds and jewelry stores and gold or platinum choices make you break out into a cold sweat, never fear, read on. This is the guy’s ultimate guide playbook for choosing the perfect diamond ring.
Just for fun, we related it to sports, something you are probably more familiar with than ring shopping.
#1: Listen to your coach (fiance).
Before stepping foot into a jewelry store, you need to be sneaky and keep your eyes and ears open. Answer several questions. What type of jewelry does your soon-to-be fiance wear? Delicate? Chunky? What type of metal does she prefer? Are her hands small? Understanding your love’s style and preferences is key to winning the engagement ring buying game. Also take into consideration the work she does. For example, a woman who works with her hands on a daily basis may not want a ring that sets high up. Get a broad idea of the type of ring that will make her swoon.
#2: Prepare your offense (budget range, style).
Examine your budget, and the timeline you want to propose. How much can you afford to spend? Buying a nice ring that represents your commitment doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Decide in advance the price range ballpark, and strive to stay close to it. Plan on how you will pay for it, whether it will be cash, credit card, or a loan from very nice parents.
#3: Choose the playing field (jewelry store).
If any friends or family have recently gotten engaged, ask them where they shopped, and get their opinion on their ring buying experience. Another smart step is to take to the internet and peruse the well-established jewelry stores in your area. Visit several of their websites so you can begin to get a feel of the type of rings each store offers, and price ranges. This is the groundwork where you can begin shaping your decision of the type of diamond and setting that will best suit your fiance, and your budget. Narrow your list down to reputable, professional jewelry stores, and get ready to hit the street.
At this stage, it’s important to keep in mind you don’t need to…
#4: Rush your plays.
The decision of selecting a diamond engagement ring is enormous, and one you shouldn’t take lightly. Letting emotions run high and choosing a ring on the fly, or feeling pressure to make a choice to hit a preset proposal time and date can backfire into ending up with a ring that isn’t perfect. Give yourself plenty of time with this decision, and, if you run into snags, better to postpone the proposal than buy the wrong ring.
Now that you have done some preliminary homework, you need to…
#5: Pick your team (best friend, sales associate, designer).
Team mates are critical to all sports, and they are also indispensable during the engagement ring shopping experience. Assemble your team as follows:
- Best friend. Nobody understands a girl like her BFF. Talk your girlfriend’s best buddy into helping you choose the right ring. Set a time to go shopping with her, and get her take on the style that would best suit your love. She will bring insight that you would most likely never have considered.
- Sales associate. As you begin shopping, collect business cards of the sales associates you meet, and note the ones who seem experienced and helpful. When you narrow down the jewelry stores you like, make certain you speak with the associate who was friendly and shared valuable information.
- Jewelry designer. In many cases, a ring will need to be designed, or changed in some way. Throughout your shopping experience, gather information on what each jewelry store offers in the way of designers. Can they set stones? Are they able to design one-of-a-kind settings? A jewelry designer may very well be the key to the perfect engagement ring.
#6: Be able to read the rankings.
No matter your budget, you must strive to buy the highest quality ring you can afford. This means, unless you are experienced in diamonds, a crash course in choosing a top notch engagement ring is in order.
- One of the measurements of a diamond’s quality is the clarity. Flaws and inclusions, or lack thereof, affect the ranking on the clarity scale. Very, very slightly included (VVSI) is a top of the line designation, while an included (I1) measured stone has inclusions that can be seen with a 10X loop. Inclusions, even those small enough to escape the naked eye, affect the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. The higher the clarity, the higher the price of the diamond. Familiarize yourself with the diamond clarity scale and choose a diamond with the highest clarity you can afford.
- Another important measurement of a diamond’s quality is the color. Colorless diamonds are the most rare, exquisite, and expensive. Diamonds are graded from D all the way down the alphabet, with more color being present the further away from D you get. A diamond with D color is dazzlingly colorless, however, grades of F and G are also beautiful, and less costly.
Give a bit of consideration to exactly how much quality you are willing to purchase, and narrow down the clarity and color of diamond you desire for your fiance’s engagement ring.
#7: Understand size matters.
The size of the trophy matters in sports, and the size of the diamond matters in engagement ring shopping, in terms of both price and quality. In most cases, the price of the stone hinges on the carat weight. The bigger, the larger the price tag. This is where your previous investigation of your girlfriend’s jewelry preferences comes in handy. If your soon-to-be wife wears more delicate jewelry, a more petite stone may be your best bet. Opt for a larger stone if your love has not-so-small hands, or favors bolder jewelry. Again, a large part of your decision is based on your overall budget.
#8: Decide on a shape.
Diamonds come in a variety of shapes, or cuts. The most common cut is round, and many beautiful engagement rings sport a round center stone. Other shapes include the pear-shape, marquis, oval, princess-cut, emerald cut, and heart-shape, to name a few. Round shapes are generally less expensive than the “fancy cut” shapes.
It’s enormously important to choose the right diamond shape when buying an engagement ring. Call on your team mates (the best friend) for opinions, and look at several different options to see which one grabs your attention.
#9: Make some decisions on the junior varsity elements (setting, side stones).
Once you have decided on the diamond’s quality, shape and size, the next item on the table is the setting. The multitude of options at this stage can boggle the mind and derail the entire plan. Break it down into three pieces.
First, select the setting’s metal. Gold or platinum are popular traditional materials. Recently, engagement ring settings have opened up to silver, rose gold, and even mixing two or more metals for a truly unique look. After selecting the diamond, choose the type of metal for the engagement ring.
Second, decide on the side stones. Side diamonds are often the perfect accents to the center stone, and are used frequently in breathtaking engagement ring designs. Another beautiful statement uses colored side stones to set off the entire look of the ring. Look at several styles of rings, both with side stones and without, before you decide.
Third, think about detailing. Is your future wife the type who would like filigree along the side of the band, or would she prefer a classically traditional style? The setting details enhance the center stone and make it uniquely yours, so spend time deciding what delights you and which style is best suited for your love.
#10: Review the rules of the game.
Once you have found the perfect diamond engagement ring, it’s time to turn to the fine print. Talk the terms of the purchase over with your experienced sales associate. Make certain you understand what is included in the price. Will they size the ring at no charge if needed? Is there a warranty? Will they provide periodic servicing, such as checking the prongs and buffing out scratches? Also ask if the jewelry store has a trade-in policy, in case you and your wife want to trade up to a larger diamond sometime in the future. Get everything in writing.
#11: Review the tapes (think it over).
The best decisions are not reached in haste, and this is a gigantic mile stone! Unless you are absolutely convinced the ring is the right one, go home, sleep on it, and think it over. Consider the type of ring you began searching for, and whether or not that is what you are ending up purchasing. Calculate whether or not you are staying within your budget. Methodically reviewing the ring and shopping experience and weighing your options will help you be confident in your final choice.
#12: Know when to punt.
If at any time you lose confidence in your sales associate, or feel pressured to settle for a diamond you are not crazy about, remember you can always leave the store. Choosing an engagement ring should be exciting and exhilarating, not stressful. If your needs are not being considered, go somewhere else.
Choosing an engagement ring takes a large commitment of time, patience, and financial resources. Once all the pieces fall into place, and you select the perfect engagement ring that fits your girlfriend’s style and lands within your budget, it’s time to pay for it. Congratulations! You win the game! You have taken an important step toward your happiness and your future. You’re a champ!
Now all you have to do is decide how to propose…
Are you shopping for the perfect diamond engagement ring for your soon-to-be fiance? Visit Janvier Jewelers today and work with one of our experienced jewelry professionals to choose a diamond and setting in a style that will speak to her heart for decades to come. Stop by our store in Newark, Delaware, give us a call at at (302) 366-7448 or fill out our online contact form!