Getting engaged is a celebratory event in every couple’s life. It is a historical milestone in your relationship, that makes your commitment to each other binding and official. So, everything about the proposal will be etched in your memories forever. And the engagement ring, being the symbolic icon that seals your relationship status, should be just perfect in every way.
In this day and age, a marriage proposal without an engagement ring is almost unheard of. So, how did this tradition originate? After a little digging, I found all the answer on this article on Psychology Today which explores the origins of this ritual. It so happens that the ring is not just a sentimental icon, but also an economic promise from a man. The exchange of the ring means the man is committed to stay loyal to the woman. This leads to the secondary custom of the woman keeping the ring, even if the man bailed.
Thus history asserts the importance of the engagement ring as a symbol of commitment and trust. Apart from the traditional aspect, there is also the aesthetic factor that makes it important. It is a ring that the lady will wear all her life. It is also an expensive piece of jewelry. Hence, it is natural for any woman to desire a ring that appeals to her and looks flattering on her finger.
If you are at that stage in your relationship where you are ready to propose, and your girlfriend is dropping hints, it is likely that she has a good idea of how her dazzling engagement ring should be. So, it is wise to do your research first and only then buy the ring for this special occasion.
Follow these rules of engagement ring shopping, and you will not go wrong.
1.Set your budget first
This is one area where you shouldn’t be thrifty. Consider the engagement ring to be a lifetime investment, and pay accordingly. Calculate the affordable limit by factoring in your salary and other relevant factors. It is wise to do your research before you step into a store, as you can scan and compare options, re-analyze your priorities and figure out your personal budget before actually meeting a sales person. The budget will also help you narrow down your choices. Since engagement rings come in a variety of styles, sizes and designs, you can avoid confusion by shortlisting the most cost-effective choices.
2.Do your research diligently
Remember that your girlfriend should love the ring, more than anyone else. And women can be rather particular about what they like to wear and what they don’t. So, be serious with your research and identify a ring style that will appeal to her. You could even consult your girl friend to learn what she exactly wants. However, if you want to keep the proposal a surprise, make sure you choose a ring based on her taste. There will be several options in metal, color, stone setting and designs. Each choice will yield entirely different results. So, it can be a daunting task.
If you are serious about getting the perfect engagement ring that will sweep her off her feet, take notes on what she likes and doesn’t like in jewelry. Or rope in a close friend who can help understand her preferences discretely, and go with the clues she gives.
3.Study the basics of ring shopping
Every expensive shopping decision should involve preparation and planning. Only then can you avoid regret. Since most engagement rings feature diamonds, it is a good idea to understand how to determine diamond quality before you embark on shopping.
Diamond quality is determined by the 4 all-important C’s—Carat, color, clarity and cut. These factors are universally used to determine a diamond’s worth. Here is what each of these stand for:
Carat:This refers to the overall weight of diamonds in a piece of jewelry.
Color: Colorless diamonds are most expensive, and the stone becomes progressively yellow or brown as we go down the scale.
Clarity: This factor measures the amount of blemishes or imperfections that are inherent in the stone. The more flawless a stone, the higher its price.
Cut: This depends on how the stone is cut to adjust its shine, hide imperfections and reflect light. The cut has a direct bearing on the appearance and beauty of a diamond.
Each of these C’s further has its own grading scale to determine the final quality level of the stone. So, it is a good idea to understand these standards and what they mean. This will help you establish the value of the diamond you are about to purchase. You can then make a suitable decision that gives you the best deal for your budget. It will also allow you to choose one diamond over another, based on your unique preferences.
When you compare the information available to you and use the Cs to your advantage, you may be able to get a larger diamond or a lower-weight diamond that is radiant and looks more than its actual worth.
4.Never compromise on quality
In the world of fine jewelry, if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. Hence, don’t fall for unrealistic claims when it comes to engagement ring shopping. Always shop at accredited and reliable jewelers to ensure you get what you pay for. Established names in the diamond industry are bound to do credible business and are hence less risky. So, visit only known jewelers. There are several international certifications awarded to jewelry organizations that allow you to check for genuineness of the product. Find out whether your chosen piece comes with all the required certifications and guarantees, to ensure it is a quality product. If you intend to get the ring during a sale period, check what the return policy is. If the ring size isn’t correct or you decide to exchange it for another one, you should have enough time after the purchase.
5.Always go shopping with a friend
Just like with wedding dress shopping, engagement ring shopping can become confusing if you aren’t sure of what you want. A second pair of eyes will help you stay objective and steer clear or confusion. So, ask a friend or family member to join you when you visit the shops.
It is a good idea to invite a friend who shares common tastes with your girlfriend, or knows her preferences well enough to help you make the right decision. If your girl friend has a best pal or sister, she should be the right person for the job. Just ensure that this person can keep it a secret, for you do not want them to ruin the surprise of the proposal for you. Or if you would prefer, you could also ask your fiance to join you. Involve your girlfriend in the process, and there is no way you could possibly make a wrong decision.
6.Think of how you can make it unique
Few men make an effort to find a ring that is truly unique. However, when they do this, the proposal becomes very meaningful. Make a statement with a designer engagement ring that is a cut above the common designs we see everywhere. This sounds exciting, but you may be worried about how to go about it. Fortunately, finding such a ring or even having one custom-created is not difficult. Simply seek the services of an expert diamond jeweler like Whiteflash, and choose from breathtaking designer engagement ring collections that are sure to impress. Take this route and surprise your soon-to-be-bride with a special ring that nobody other than her will have.
You can also choose the stone separately, and pick a unique setting for it. This gives you the flexibility to have it set in the metal of your choice. You can also add details like filigree work, engravings or extra side stones for more opulence. This is a great idea if you are an artistic person and your girlfriend is fond of custom pieces. Antique rings are also a good idea, as they come with a romantic history and are usually one-of-a-kind.
7.Make sure you get the size right
Don’t disappoint your girlfriend by choosing the perfect ring, but the wrong size. Although most jewelers offer a resize option, it is always best to get the ring in the right size at the beginning itself. You can always ask your girl friend directly for her ring size. If she doesn’t know, either use a plastic ring sizer to find the size, or have a jeweler measure her finger.
However, if your proposal is a surprise, finding out the ring size without asking may not be easy. Nonetheless, it is likely that her family or friends will have this information already. Check with them to find out, but ensure they don’t break the surprise. Or you could simply grab a ring of hers without her noticing and use it for reference. Just make sure that she wears it on a similar sized finger, to avoid a mistake. If you cannot sneak it away without her noticing, you can always trace the outline of a ring and use that to get the right size. This way, it is less likely for her to notice a ring is missing.
8.Don’t forget to ask about post-purchase care
When you choose the ring, you should also be concerned about how easy it is to maintain and care for. The ring will require regular polishing, cleaning and tightening, as it is constantly subjected to wear and tear. So, discuss these factors with the jeweler before the purchase. Find out whether the stone offers restoration and repair services, or if they can recommend someone for the job. Also ask about the cost for such services. Find out about the frequency at which they recommend polishing. Also inquire if the ring you have chosen needs any special handling or care. Not all women approve of rings that are very delicate and high maintenance. So, it is a practical factor to consider when making your decision.
9.Prepare to wait and get the documentation right
You may not always be able to walk out of a store with the ring you like. The design you like may not be available in the right size, or the jeweler may need time to engrave the ring. If you want a designer ring and have it custom-created from scratch, you should put aside several days for it. Plan for this timeline when you go shopping. Everything depends on your order, and you do not want to make a hasty decision. Plan in advance, do your research, visit the store and get a feel of the entire process before you commit to a choice. If there is a particular date on which you wish to propose, plan sufficient buffer time to get your ring beforehand and not miss it.
Also, ensure that you collect the relevant inspection documents and certifications for the product. This should include the diamond grading report, after-purchase instructions and insurance if any.
Buying an engagement ring is a tedious process. Nevertheless, it is inevitable and fun. It is in fact, the first step in your wedding planning. So, enjoy the process and your fiance will always appreciate the effort you put into making a wise decision.
For more tips on planning your wedding, shopping for your wedding attire and all wedding-related tasks, keep visiting us here on the Best for Bride blog page.