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How to Choose an Engagement Ring-An easy guide

Updated on July 5, 2012
An engagement ring for the woman of your dreams!
An engagement ring for the woman of your dreams! | Source

You found the woman of your dreams, now let me show you how to choose the engagement ring of her dreams! At this moment you might feel very happy and excited to give her the ring. However, the thought of buying the ring might make you feel nervous and confused.

There are two scenarios: you might be going together to choose the engagement ring or you might be doing it on your own. I've worked for many years selling jewelry, and I've created this guide to show you how to pick the right ring for her if you are going to do it by yourself. So let's get ready to have some fun!

What's Your Budget?

Yes, you love her madly and want to give her only the best. However, you have to be realistic as to how much you can afford. The question might rise as to how much should you spend. Traditionally, it is said that the engagement ring should cost 3 month's salary.

Don't worry, this is not set in stone. There are so many options out there, and many rings for different budgets. You don't have to stress out thinking that the ring has to be a certain price for her to say "I do".

If you ever feel that the ring does have to be certain price, costing several thousands of dollars, then please reconsider marrying this person. Marriage is a beautiful thing, and the last thing you want to do is marry a gold digger!

Princes solitaire engagement ring
Princes solitaire engagement ring | Source

What's Her Personality Like?

With so many designs of rings, it can feel overwhelming to choose just one ring. However, she is unique and that will determine what kind of ring she would love. Some points to keep in mind are:

Is she modern or more traditional?

-If she is more modern, she will most likely like a square shape stone, also known as a princess shape.

-If she is more traditional, then a round shape would suit her best.

• With the jewelry that she already wears (or if she wears any for that matter) do you see a common trend:

- She wears more silver, white gold, yellow gold or the combination of the both at the same time?

• With her jewelry, is it more dainty or big and bulky?


• If she wears different rings, do you see if the stones have a common shape, such as round, square, triangular, etc?


• If she doesn't wear jewelry is it because she is not that much into it or is it because she has an allergy to certain metals?


• We all have to use our hands all the time, but does she work or do things where she has to be careful how she uses her hands?

-In her job, does she constantly have to keep wearing gloves? Then you should choose a ring that doesn't sit too high, otherwise it could catch on her gloves.

- Does she works with little kids? Then make sure that the ring feels smooth and there aren't any sharp edges that could hurt the kids.

- Does she have to cook a lot? Again, a ring with a low setting and something that doesn't have too many openings on the gold design would be better. If not, her ring will constantly be smothered with food.

Know your metals

There are different types of metals such as silver, gold and platinum.

• Silver

This is not a metal that you are likely to find in an engagement ring. However, if you do happen to find some keep this in mind:

- Silver will have a stamp of .925 inside the ring, this way you'll know that it's not some other metal.

- It looks really good when it's brand new, but due to its nature it tarnishes, so it constantly has to be cleaned.

-Since it's not a strong metal, over time the ring will loose it's shape and the stones won't be set too securely.

-Sizing is another issue. Silver is hard to work with, and that's why most jewelers don't like to or can't work with it. You will have to find a silversmith to do this.

-Be careful about imitations, diamonds are not likely to be set in silver. If you see any clear stones it's most likely CZ (cubic zirconia)


Beautiful diamond engagement ring  set in yellow gold.
Beautiful diamond engagement ring set in yellow gold. | Source

• Gold

You'll find that most engagement rings are made out of gold. Here are some things you should know:

-Gold will have a stamp of 10kt, 14kt, 18kt, the difference is in the amount of gold it contains.

-Gold in it's purest form will be 24kt, which makes is very rare and expensive, and also very soft.

- 10kt will be the least expensive and also the strongest. The 10kt means that it contains 10 parts of gold and the rest is made up of other metals. The same goes for 14kt, containing 14 parts of gold then other metals; and 18kt, having 18 parts of gold and the rest other metals. In this example 18kt will be the most expensive.

-The kt stands for Karat.

-Gold by nature comes yellow, but other metals can be added to make it have different colors, such as white, pink or even green.

-White gold is very popular right now, but since it's not its natural color overtime it starts to turn yellowish again. How long this takes can vary from one person to another. Once this happens it has to be rhodium plated, which means you'll have to pay for this service to be done. On average it has to be rhodium plated at least once per year.

-Over the years due to normal wear, the shank(bottom part of the ring,opposite where the stones are) will become thinner and it will have to be re-shanked, which means adding more gold to make it thicker again.

-The small parts of gold holding the stones are called prongs, they will also wear and will need need to be retipped with gold again.

• Platinum

This is what you should know:

- Inside the ring it will have the stamps of PT.

-Platinum is more rare than gold, therefore it's more expensive.

-If she is allergic to other metals, this is a great choice since it's hypoallergenic.

-One of the advantages is that since it's a natural white metal, you don't have to worry about it fading like you do with white gold, or tarnishing like silver.

-It's heavier than the other metals, you will be able to tell the difference by just holding it.

-The stones are set more securely.

-Just be aware that Platinum scratches very easily, and only after a few months old it will loose that beautiful polished look. However, it can be polished again.

Know your diamonds...

Since diamonds are the most popular stones for engagement rings, here are some things you should know:

• When dealing with diamonds you'll come across some technical terms, also known as the 4 Cs. These 4 factors will influence the price of your ring. Here is a brief explanation:

-Cut

This is not the same as the shape, it refers to the way the diamond is cut to allow light to pass through it allowing it to sparkle more.

-Color

All diamonds have some color to them. The quality of the colors can range from D-Z, D being the best and Z being the worst.

-Clarity

No two diamonds are ever going to be the same, they posses tiny pieces of carbon or tiny bubbles known as inclusions. Depending on how many you can see in the diamond, it will fall into different categories ranging from F-I3. F being flawless and I3 having very visible inclusions to the naked eye.

-Carat Weight

This tells how much the diamond weighs. Make sure you don't confuse this with Karat, which is used for gold.

Diamond engagement  ring and matching wedding band set in platinum.
Diamond engagement ring and matching wedding band set in platinum. | Source

Time of the Proposal

When are you planning to pop the big question? If you are going to propose right away, keep these things in mind:

• Just so you know, in jewelry stores, women's rings come in a standard size 7. Jewelry is not like clothing, so the stores don't carry every size. Anything else would require sizing. So you may not be able to just walk in and out with a ring (unless you don't mind if the ring is not the right size).

• Then depending on the style of the ring, in jewelry stores, anything that requires the ring to be more than 2-3 sizes bigger or smaller may require a special order. Something like this may take several weeks to get in.

Protecting your Engagement Ring

Congratulations, you were able to choose an engagement ring that she will love! Now you have to remember she will be wearing this ring everyday of her life, therefore you want to make sure that it is protected.

• You want to make sure that once you buy it, you call your insurance company to add it to your Renters or Homeowners insurance policy.

• Depending how much you spend on it, make sure that your current policy will cover it in case of a loss, if not ask how you can buy additional coverage. A dear friend of mine had some people steal her ring from her house. Her ring cost $10,000, but her insurance company only paid $1,000! So please make sure you take this extra step to safeguard her ring.

• Although your insurance company will protect your ring in case of a loss, your ring will need maintenance, so you should buy the guarantee that's being offered. However, go over it and know what will and won't be covered.

• Don't think that just because you spent a lot of money you will never need anything done to your ring. It's called "fine jewelry" for a reason. It's very delicate, and over time it will require some work to be done such as:

- Stones getting loose, therefore they will need to get tightened.

-White gold will definitely need to be rhodium plated.

- Prongs (the small metal parts that hold the stones in place) will need to be retipped, or if they have already been retipped once, you might need a new "head" to hold your center stone.

-Depending on what kind of work she does, the ring might need to be reshaped.

-If she loses or gains weight, the ring will need to be resized.

-Overtime the shank (the band metal portion, opposite where the stones are) will wear out, so more gold will need to be added to make it thick again.

-You might want to get your engagement and wedding band soldered together, so they don't rub against each other and causes scratches.

Congratulations! Now you are more prepared to choose an engagement ring. All you have to do now is practice how you are going to propose!

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