For many women, getting married is a day they’ve dreamed about for a long time. If you’ve decided to take your relationship to the next level and propose, you should make sure you find the perfect ring for her and make her dreams come true. While finding the perfect ring for her may seem like an intimidating task, if you consider the information provided below, you should be able to find a ring that fits your budget, matches her style, and truly represents your love for her.
These days, the rule of spending 2-3 months of your salary on an engagement ring is considered an old way of thinking. Even in the 1920s, an era known for its wealthy youth, booming businesses, and luxurious lifestyles, no one had ever been told that they should spend three months of their salary on an engagement ring.
This “rule” was actually created by the DeBeers company during the 1940’s as part of an ad campaign. DeBeers was hoping to cash in on the savings of WWII soldiers coming home and getting married. Since they didn’t have any bills they had to pay while they were fighting overseas, a majority of the money soldiers made was put into savings. After years away from women and civilian life, they had no problem digging into their savings to get married.
Today, that way of thinking can actually limit your selection of rings. The truth is, you should spend what you can actually afford on a ring. Instead on focusing on finding a ring within a certain price range, focus on finding a ring that actually suits your partner. Instead of choosing a diamond, she may opt for a less expensive colored stone. Instead of wanting a stone-encrusted band with a larger center diamond, she may actually want a simple solitaire ring. She might also not see getting into debt over an engagement ring as a good thing. Neither of you probably want to begin your new life together in a bunch of debt.
If she still sees the worth of a ring as a symbol of her worth to you, you can still find high-end diamonds from sources like online retailers and auction sites. These sources have become increasingly popular for several reasons:
- They can bring you a much bigger selection than brick-and-mortar jewelers because they aren’t limited to the space available in a building. Unless their actual diamond source has run out, most online retailers won’t run out of inventory.
- They can save you literally up to 50% because they don’t have the overhead costs of a brick-and-mortar store. Online sources sell directly to consumers so you don’t have to pay a middleman the marked-up retail prices.
- You can actually find high-end jewelry at auctions. Whether they’re traditional storage unit and government auctions or eBay-style auction websites, many auction sources do actually have access to high-end engagement rings. Many of these rings also have a certification, so you can feel confident buying diamonds and other gemstones from them.
Find Out What Your Partner Actually Wants
Like we said before, instead of focusing on finding a ring within a certain price range, you should focus on finding one that actually suits your partner. She will be wearing it for the rest of her life, after all.
Thanks to the internet, sites like Pinterest have made saving favorites and creating mood boards easier than ever. Checking out her Pinterest, or asking her friends to help you, is a great way to find exactly what ring she’s been dreaming of. If there’s one there within your budget, Pinterest has a direct link to where you can find it. If there isn’t one there within your budget, all you’ll have to do is look for very similar styles.
If your partner doesn’t have a Pinterest, there are several other ways to figure out what ring may be right for her:
- You can always ask your her friends. They’re your biggest allies when it comes to the ring. They want to see her be happy, and if you’ve already talked marriage with your partner before, there’s a pretty good chance she’s confided in her friends.
- Pay attention to what kind of jewelry she already owns. It’s a pretty good indication of her personal style. Consider if it’s most gold or silver-toned, glitzy or simple, and colorful or monochrome.
- Consider her personal style. This can go beyond just her jewelry choices. Is she inspired by romantic vintage pieces? Is she traditionally feminine? Is she an edgy trend-setter?
- Make a stop at your local jeweler, but not for a ring. Tell her you want to go in to look at some watches (even if it’s a total lie) and that you want her to come with you. Inevitably, while you’re looking at watches, she’ll be looking at engagement rings. Make sure to keep an eye out for any rings she lingers over.
The 4 C’s
So let’s say a classic diamond ring is the one for your partner. The next step is to decide on the diamond. While some jewelers carry pre-made rings, most people opt for custom designs. Don’t worry, it’s not as expensive as it sounds. In this case, “custom” doesn’t necessarily mean created from scratch. To most jewelers, “custom” means pairing a pre-made setting that they offer with a loose diamond that they offer.
When it comes to gemstones, each has a different standard of what is desirable and makes them more valuable. For diamonds, this is determined by the 4 C’s:
- Clarity is the measurement of inclusions in a diamond. An inclusion is like a birthmark of a diamond. It is created while a diamond is still forming and is unique to each diamond. In fact, it’s a great way to make sure your stone is a genuine diamond. Still, a “perfect” diamond is one that has no inclusions. These are extremely rare and extremely expensive. You probably won’t find any of these stones from your neighborhood jeweler. The less inclusions the diamond has, the more expensive it will be.
- Cut isn’t the same as stone shape, unlike popular belief. While the stone shape is, well, the shape (round, heart, princess), cut is the way the facets are cut into the stone to make it sparkle. It is considered the most important element to a diamond by most jewelers. The GIA’s international grading system ranges from Excellent to Poor. The closer to Excellent the diamond is, the more it will sparkle.
- Color refers to the amount of yellow tinge to a white diamond. White diamonds are graded D-Z, with D being completely colorless. The closer to D a diamond is graded, the more expensive it is. If you’re look to save a little on a diamond, a near colorless grade is a great option. These stones only have a slight color to them, which can only really be detected by an expert.
- Carat weight is the weight, not the size, of the diamond. In most cases, the higher the carat weight, the more valuable the diamond. This is where you have to ask yourself, are you going to sacrifice clarity, cut, and color to say that it’s a bigger carat weight? Or are you going to get a higher-quality diamond that may not be as heavy?
While most people think it’s just the carat weight that counts, a harmonious balance between all the 4 C’s is the best way to get the highest-quality diamond without overpaying for it.
Size Does Matter
Once you’ve figured out what type of ring fits your partner the best, you’ll have to figure out what ring size she is. Remember that bigger is better in this case, and that it’s easy to size a ring down, but sizing a ring up may mean having to get a whole new band. There’s nothing more awkward than popping the question and then being unable to slip the ring on her finger because it’s way too small.
The easiest way to get an accurate ring size is to take one of the rings she already owns and have a jeweler measure what size it is. Just be sure to bring it back before she notices it’s missing! If you’re afraid of getting caught or losing the ring, trace the inside of it onto a piece of paper. Then, you can either have a jeweler look at it, or print out an online ring size guide and match the circles.
Another way to get her ring size is to ask for the help of your greatest allies: her friends. Depending on what her and her friends like to do, they may all go engagement ring shopping “just for fun” or even just subtly ask her for her size.
Obviously, the most accurate way to get a ring sized for her is to just take her into a jeweler and have her finger professionally sized. Depending on your relationship, an engagement may not be a big surprise, so going to get her finger sized may be no big deal. If there’s absolutely no way that you can sneak away a ring or ask for her friends’ help, remember that the average ring size is a 6 or 6.5 and that bigger is always better.
Commit And Get Insured
Now that you’ve done all the work to find the perfect ring, you’ll have to buy it. Unless you buy a ring straight off the sales floor, it will take about 6-8 weeks to have a ring that you ordered delivered, so plan accordingly.
Make sure you get a detailed receipt from the jeweler with all of the stone and band information on it. Also, get the stone graded by an independent gemological association to ensure that you got exactly what you paid for. Keep in mind though, that getting a stone graded may be impossible for some antique and very small stones.
Another really important step is to get her ring insured. This engagement ring will most likely be the most expensive piece of jewelry she owns, so you want to make sure you’re covered if something happens to it. There are two ways you can go about getting insurance for her ring:
- If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, call them and ask about adding a jewelry rider to your policy. This may be more cost-effective than getting a separate policy, as some companies give discounts for bundling insurance packages.
- If you don’t have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, you can call a jewelry insurance company and get a separate insurance policy. Make sure to show your proof of purchase as well as an appraisal of the ring.
No matter what way you go about getting the ring insured, make sure you take it to a jeweler to get appraised first. Some jewelers will even do this right when you buy the ring.
Remember that getting engaged is a huge deal to most women, and that finding the perfect ring for her is very important. No matter what her style or your budget is, there’s a ring out there for everyone. With the right tools and proper knowledge, you can be sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck and a ring that truly shows her how much you love her.