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Engagement Ring Crash Course

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So you found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You have a good idea on how you want to pop the question, but now you need the bling. For the stereotypical guy, chances are you don’t have a lot of experience in a high-end jewelry store. Never fear, this article will give you a crash course in how to buy the ring of her dreams and get you started in the direction you need to go.


First and foremost, before you even step into the jewelers, talk to her best friend or sister. It’s not a myth; girls sit around with their girlfriends and talk about what kind of ring they want. Don’t ask why, we just do. The closest girl in your girlfriend’s life will most likely know what shape, band color, and general look of the ring you should be looking for. They can also be utilized to sneak around and get the ring size. Try to take an old ring to the jeweler with you (make sure it’s one that fits her ring finger!), or if she will notice a piece of jewelry missing, trace the outline of the ring on a piece of paper. For sizing, a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of a bigger size; it’s easier to size down than to size up. Also, even before walking into the store, have an idea of what sort of budget you are working with and leave some wiggle room. She may have champagne taste and you may have a beer budget, so you may both have to meet somewhere in the middle to make sure she is happy and you don’t break the bank.


Now, you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for, you’re feeling confident that you know exactly what you want and how much you wanna spend. You open the door, step into the store…AND ALL THE RINGS LOOK THE SAME!!! AND OMG ARE THOSE THE PRICES???  Breathe in….Breathe out…it’s okay, things may seem overwhelming at first, but here’s a guide to some of the buzzwords you will hear as you talk to the very helpful store associate.


The Four C’s: All have to do with the rock itself


Clarity: This means what the stone is working with imperfections wise. It can range from mineral deposits to actual fractures in the stone. Luckily, most imperfections can’t be seen without a microscope or magnifying glass so there’s some wiggle room in what you should get.

Here’s the scale:

  •           IF= Intentionally Flawless
  •           VVSI= Very, very slight imperfections
  •           VSI= Very slight imperfections
  •           SI= Slight imperfections
  •           I= Imperfections

So the less imperfections there is, the more expensive the rock will be

Color: This has to do with the color of the diamond ranging from colorless to yellow

There’s an alphabet scale for this too:

  •           D, E, F= Colorless
  •           G, H, I, J= Near Colorless
  •           K, L, M= Faint Color
  •           N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z= Obvious Color

The more color in the diamond, the cheaper the diamond will be.


Carat: This is the weight of the diamond. The more it weighs, the more expensive it will be. On average, most engagement rings are one carat or over. Ways to lessen the price and keep the weight up is not have one rock the size of a carat, but surround a medium-sized stone will smaller clusters. Then the ring as a whole will weigh a little more, but you will get more bang for your buck since it’s easier to find lots of smaller diamonds instead of larger ones. Plus, the smaller diamonds will add more sparkle and shine opportunities.


Cut: This is the shape of the diamond, which is hopefully information you received from her BFF because this category falls mostly in the personal preference category. Here are some examples of cuts of diamonds:

  •           Princess
  •           Round
  •           Marquise
  •           Emerald
  •           Pear
  •           Asscher
  •           Oval
  •           Heart

Current trends are saying the princess cut is the most popular, and princess and oval cuts are not as expensive as a rounder cut. The oval cut is said to look the largest even if the carat weight is lower.


Now, you’re pretty sure you have the diamond(s) picked out. Now is time to figure out the band and overall look of the ring. You’ll hear words like metal and setting thrown around. The metal is just referring to the band metal. Options include yellow gold (for a classic look), white gold (very popular), rose gold, and platinum ($$$$$). There are many setting options to choose from. Just a few choices are bezel, which is a metal rim encircling the stone and extending slightly above it, making it a very secure fit. The channel setting puts the stones in a metal channel side by side to flow continuously either around the whole band or just part of it. A pronged setting has 3 or more metal claws holding the stone in a sort of basket shape and bending slightly over the top of the stone to securely hold it in this. This is a more cost-effective option. Then we have a pave (pah-vey) setting. This sets multiple stones very close together to make it look like the ring is “paved” in stones. Most settings are just a personal preference for what your bride-to-be likes, but there will be price considerations to keep in mind, generally the more metal or intricate work involved in a setting, the higher the price tag will be.


The ring is built and you barely broke a sweat! Congratulations!! One last tip, don’t forget ring insurance! This is huge. In all probability you won’t be rushing to propose the second you step out of the jeweler’s (or maybe you are, I don’t know), but if anything happens to that ring between the final purchase and bending down to one knee, you need a just-in-case plan. There’s (of course!) a couple different options. You can include it on your home owners or renters insurance as an asset or sometimes the jewelry store itself offers different plans. Make sure you have a receipt and an appraisal when you go to get insurance for it. Also, be sure to ask how the ring will be replaced if disaster strikes. Will you get cash for the ring, a brand new ring, store credit towards a ring, etc..?


Now, lucky duck, you have a beautiful partner in crime you want to spend the rest of your life with, a shiny sparkly ring to propose with, now all you have to do is ask! You’re on your own with how to execute the proposal, but hopefully these tips here got you through choosing the very important engagement ring.Box

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