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How to Pick An Engagement Ring

9 Aug

marriage proposal03

The decision to marry a woman is one of the most pivotal and most important choices that a man will ever make in his lifetime. And, a man asking a woman to marry him is one of the most nerve-racking times of his life. The moment is vulnerable and intimate, and the answer that the woman gives him changes both of their lives forever. First, the guy has to find the right woman to marry, then he has to work up enough nerve to ask her to marry him, but first, he has to pick a ring. The ring decides whether a woman will blown away by her proposal or just be thrilled to get the offer. And, most men do not have a clue about finding the right ring. Buying the perfect ring is a combination of a few different factors, but the most important features of getting your girlfriend the right ring is knowing her ring size, understanding the four C’s, and finding the right price point.

There is nothing that is worse than asking a woman to marry you, hearing her say yes, and finding out that the ring that you bought does not fit on her finger. Failing to get a big enough ring is like saying that she is too fat to be your wife and proving that you do not care enough about her to find her correct ring size all in one ignorant and malicious gesture. Nothing says ‘I hate you, and you need to lose some pounds,’ like jewelry that will not fit over your woman’s swollen knuckle, so do your homework before you buy a ring. The first method to try when procuring your lady’s ring size is simply taking one of her rings to a jeweler. But, if your girlfriend is the feminine, human version of Smeagol (yes, that was a Lord of the Rings reference), a certified ring hoarder, and she counts her jewelry collection everyday, then you may have to use another tactic. You can wait until she is out of the house and trace the outline and inseam of the ring, or you can make her best friend an ally, assuming that the best friend is a woman. If her best friend is a guy, then you have another set of problems. Ask her (female) best friend to be discreet and to find out your girlfriend’s ring size for you. She will return with the correct ring size for you, and she will probably also give you your girlfriend’s preferences in order of priority for the 4 C’s of a diamond ring.

Most men have no idea what the 4 C’s are, but that acronym is actually the most important part of deciding which ring to buy for your prospective wife. Cut, color, clarity, and carat almost exclusively decide whether your girlfriend will be thrilled by your choice in a ring or just relieved that you finally asked her to marry you. As a rule, relief is not what you want from a woman to whom you just presented a diamond ring. Each category that describes the diamond represents an equally important factor in assessing the worth of the ring.

diamond chart

The cut of the gem reflects your girlfriend’s specific taste. Diamonds are generally cut into princess, round, radiant, emerald, asscher, marquise, cushion, and heart shapes, and each design changes the way that light is reflected in the diamond. Clarity refers to the number of inclusions or imperfections in the diamond and is measured in order, from F1 (flawless) to VSI1 (very slight inclusions) to SI (slight inclusions) to I (inclusions). Most diamonds have mineral deposits and small fractures internally and on the surface of the stone that can only be seen through a monocular handheld loupe, so they are arranged by the number of defects in the stone. The fewer inclusions a diamond has, the better the diamond is. The color category ranges from completely colorless to yellow on a scale from D to Z. D-F is considered to colorless, G-J is nearly colorless, K-M is faintly colored, and N-Z is a colored stone. The less color that a diamond has, the more valuable it is with only one exception. Certain colors like pink, canary, and chocolate are more desirable in diamonds, but only because those colors are extremely rare. And, an engagement ring is traditionally supposed to be colorless. The last ‘C’ alludes to the weight of the gem. Diamonds are measured in carats, and the more carats a diamond weighs the more people will pay to own it.

Your girlfriend may be a size queen and want a big diamond or she maybe more interested in the sparkle and shape of her diamond. Each of the four C’s and the setting of the gem drive the price of ring up. You as a consumer have to decide what type of ring will make her proud to wear her ring and how much you can afford to spend. The rule of thumb for buying an engagement ring is that the ring should cost you three month’s salary, but that number is more of a reference point than an absolute. You have to find the type of ring that will make your girlfriend happy and allow the two of you (assuming that she is going to marry) to live comfortably after the marriage. The perfect ring should meld perfectly between  both of your desires. You should not go directly to the bigger, franchise jewelers to buy an engagement ring. Jewelers know that men come into their stores to buy a beautiful ring for their future wives, and they take full advantage of the ignorance of these guys. Always use an independent jeweler when trying to buy an engagement ring. They set their prices to compete with the larger chains, and you will usually find a better deal there. And finally, the price of a ring drops precipitously once the weight of the stone goes below one carat. A 0.9 carat diamond ring will cost considerably less than a one carat ring, plus you can dress up a smaller diamond with a halo setting (a cluster of small diamonds surrounds the bigger diamond).

Shopping for an engagement ring can be a daunting task for any man without the right information. However, with a little know-how and a little help from her girlfriend, you can pick the perfect ring for your girlfriend. Knowing her ring size, understanding the ways that rings are evaluated, and buying a ring that you can afford insures that your proposal will go well. Use those tools to your advantage.

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