Before you set the stage for that all-important question to the prospective bride, selecting the perfect engagement ring is probably the most gut-wrenching, scary moment to face. Picking out a ring that she will treasure for a lifetime, that reflects your love and all that marriage means, and one that she will wear with joy can be a daunting task. But, never fear, there are lots of helpful hints; so many that your head may end up spinning. What to do? Follow some basic, time-honored tips and make this important selection easy on yourself.
- The Jeweler: Get recommendations from family and friends about jewelers they use. This is not the time for closing your eyes and pointing at a number from the phonebook. Select a jeweler with professional credentials, such as membership in the Gemological Institute of America. They will be able to guide you to the best ring that fits your budget and educate you on the four C’s:
- Color – the less color, the higher grade
- Clarity – the fewest number of imperfections in the stone
- Cut – the brilliance and sparkle
- Carat – the measurement
- Your Budget: The reality is that your budget will help determine the type of ring you can afford. Nobody wants to start off marriage with a heavy debt. In the simplest terms, buy the best that your budget will allow.
- Shape and Setting: What shape will the center stone have? There are a number of options (for example round, square, pear, marquise). Your jeweler will likely ask you about what style rings your intended wears. Does she favor simple/minimalist designs, contemporary, vintage, or more ornate, heavy rings? What looks best on her hand? If you’re unsure, ask one of her close friends.
- Metal: Platinum is one of the most durable metals and works for those with metal allergies. Yellow gold is very tradition, as is white gold. Rose gold has gained popularity as it goes well with most all skin tones. Palladium has a grayer hue than platinum. A mix of platinum and gold is also an option.
- Timing: Be aware of how much time may be needed for the ring to be ready. Six weeks is the general standard; however, custom pieces may take much longer. If you want an inscription, be sure to order that at the same time.
- Get it in Writing: A diamond of one carat or more typically has a diamond grading report included.
- Insurance: Don’t forget to add a rider to your insurance policy for the wedding rings. It’s a simple process, but overlooked many times.
What are some current trends to consider?
o The stone doesn’t have to be a diamond. Some prefer gemstones rather than a diamond (remember Princess Di’s sapphire?). Perhaps a colored diamond is more her style; the selection is amazing.
o Settings can be simple or incorporate floral accents or scrollwork, or may be designed with the side view in mind for a spectacular look from any direction.
o While ring shape is typically round, some may be offered in a square shape. Bands may be designed as twisted or stacked.
o Vintage/heirloom jewelry is special in its own right.
Enjoy this special time of picking the ring that speaks to you and will be special to her – just because it came from you! Happy engagement!