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What You Need to Know When Buying a Diamond Engagement Ring

Updated on September 30, 2016

It’s a dream come true! You’ve found the girl you’ve been searching for, and you feel ready to propose to her. Congratulations! Now what? Time to break out the fine Champagne and bring on the wedding feast, right? Hold up there buddy, before you make it down the aisle you’ve got some shopping to do first. Whether that means crafting it yourself, or purchasing one off the market, you have a ring standing between you and your wedding night.

It’s just a tiny piece of metal, but honestly finding the right ring can be a hassle for a lot of guys. Most men don’t really pay that much attention to jewelry in general, let alone spend time ogling rings in a jewelry store. That all changes though when you meet your “special someone” and have a major purchase ahead of you. Probably now for the first time in your life you are looking more carefully at people’s fingers and the kinds of trinkets they’re displaying. Possibly you have even looked around online and have taken a peek at the cash you’re likely to blow on this ring. Perhaps it’s even put you off a little seeing some rings in the five digit range. Well don’t worry and don’t fret. There are plenty of options out there for a guy, even with a limited budget, and in this guide we’re going to show you how to get a good deal on the perfect ring.

Step 1: Style and Size

The first thing you have to do is figure out what kind of ring you want to get. Don’t just assume that she will like anything you get her. This ring is going to sit on her finger for the rest of her life. It’s your job to make sure that whatever ring she gets, she will be happy looking at each and every day. This means doing some research and finding out what she likes. There’s two ways that guys typically go about finding what kind of ring their lady likes. The first is the indirect way. This means asking her friends if she’s ever mentioned what she likes in a ring, or just looking at her current jewelry style and figuring out what would match it well. The second way in the direct way. This method means bringing up marriage to her as an idea, and talking about things with her from there. This way you can have her directly tell you what she’s looking for in a ring and even take her into stores to have her try things on. Whatever method you choose is up to you, but if circumstances allow, I would recommend the direct method. It will make things easier from here on out. If you decide that you would like to surprise her, be sure to also find her ring size before you look for a ring. This can be done in a few ways. One way is to use a pencil and piece of paper to trace the inside of an existing ring, then take your sketch to a jewelry store and see if they can match it. Another could be to slip one of her rings on your finger and use a marker to mark on your finger how far it slides on your finger. But in any case, just be sure that you know her ring size first. It could potentially cost you hundreds of dollars to resize a ring. Be sure that you don’t make a mistake.

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Step 2: The Stone

Now that you have the girl and you have an idea of what she wants in a ring it’s time to move on to the next step. Do research. Learn all you can about rings. I recommend learning more about rings on your own, but the main things that you’re going to want to learn are the four C’s of diamonds. Not every girl wants a diamond ring (Perhaps a gemstone is more her style), but in general a diamond ring is typical of engagements. Knowing the four C’s of diamonds can save you a lot in the long run, and keep you from making a mistake in the buying process.

  1. Clarity
  2. Color
  3. Cut
  4. Carat

14k White Gold Engagement Ring
14k White Gold Engagement Ring | Source

Clarity basically translates to “how many imperfections are in the diamond”. It ranges from Flawless to heavily included. Included means that it looks like it has a buff or scratch on the inside of the diamond. Knowing the clarity of your diamond is important because knowing how included a diamond is will also translate to knowing if you are getting ripped off or not. Though many of the inclusions in diamonds are small and often difficult to see with the naked eye, having a diamond with slight inclusions will cost you hundreds of dollars less when compared to a very slightly included diamond. Knowing what kind of clarity of diamond you are getting will also give you a rough idea of how much you should be paying for that diamond, or for that diamond ring.

Color. You may have thought that all diamonds are colored the same, but not so. Color is another one that can save you lots of money. Diamonds are in general all the same color, but many contain a slight tint. For example some are a little more yellow, and some are a little pinker. Depending on the color, you can find some diamonds for a really cheap price. Grey, Brown, and yellow diamonds are generally the cheapest, while Pink, purple, Green and Blue diamonds are generally a bit more pricy. Learning about diamond color can help you find a more affordable one.

Cut. When miners pull a diamond out of the earth its shape generally looks a lot like a regular old bulgy rock you’d find on the ground. It takes fine craftsmanship and powerful tools to shape diamonds into the rock you would find on a ring. The proportions to which it is cut from rough stone is the cut. Not all cuts are created equal; some diamonds are cut better than others. Depending on the type of cut you have, you can have a diamond that reflects light well or not so well. Some are graded as Excellent cut diamonds, while others are graded as Poor cut diamonds. Finding a cut that looks good on your diamond, but still fits the budget can be a big factor towards finding a good diamond.

Carat means the size of the diamond. Diamonds are weighed in carats rather than grams or ounces. Finding out what kind of size of diamond you want on your ring is extremely important. Maybe you want the center stone on your ring to dazzle the world, or maybe you don’t need it to be all that large. Either way, the bigger the diamond the more expensive it will be. Finding a diamond that is large enough to fit your girls hand and small enough to fit your wallet will be a huge factor you will need to consider in your quest to find the right rock.

So now that you have done some research, and you know generally what kinds of clarity, color, cut, and carat you’re looking for in a diamond, you’re ready to go do some shopping. Before you even set foot in a store though, be sure to set your budget. There’s an old myth that says that you should spend about 2 months’ salary on a ring. You know who came up with that outdated saying? The jewelry stores themselves. Don’t feel like you need to break the bank to go buy a ring, there’s no reason to start your marriage in debt just because you poured your life savings into a ring. If you are really worried about the price of a diamond ring you can always look into diamond alternatives. Maybe a gemstone could be more your girls style. Sapphire, ruby, and emerald rings are becoming increasingly popular these days. Or if you don’t think your girl would mind you could end up going with a diamond imitation, such as moissanite which is nearly identical to a diamond only about %80 cheaper than a diamond, and almost just as long lasting. Or if you really want to go the cheap route, and your girl really wouldn’t mind you could get a synthetic diamond like cubic zirconia. Whatever your choice is make sure that your woman of choice would be on board with whatever you go with.

Ostbye Engagement Ring
Ostbye Engagement Ring | Source

Step 3: Settings

Almost just as important as the stone is the ring setting. There are several different kinds of ring settings that you could choose from, but they mostly range from heavily detailed, to very plain. Some ring settings have a lot of intricate grooves across the surface and support dozens of small diamonds along the band, and others can be very plain with hardly any detail. This factor, and the factor of the material your ring setting is made from (Gold, silver, etc.) will be two big players in determining the price of a ring.

Step 4: Shopping Around

Research done, and conceptual rings imagined, you are ready to do some shopping. Not just ordinary shopping, but intelligent shopping. I’ll give you an example of what I mean by that. I live in the Provo, UT area. Some time back I wanted to find a ring for my wife (at the time girlfriend), I had an idea of what I was looking for, but wanted to go to a couple different jewelry stores to compare prices. The two of us went to a few stores but the two jewelry stores that helped us out the most were Dukes Jewelers and Hur Jewelers. Both stores had incredible staff that helped us learn more about diamonds and rings than I ever would have been able to from a website. It also helped both of us to see how rings looked on her hand when she tried them on. The fact that they had an enormous selection of rings and that their staff were very customer oriented helped immensely. It also gave us an opportunity to compare prices. I was able to leave those stores feeling extremely confident that I knew what I was looking for, and what would make my woman the happiest. This kind of shopping was great because we didn’t throw all of our eggs into one basket, but rather tried out several jewelry stores and found what worked for us both.

Now it’s time to get buying. If you feel like buying in the store is more your style, you could always go with that, but another more cost effective method would be to buy online. The idea behind this is to look online and start looking for diamonds and ring settings separately. There are tons of websites that will sell you cheap ring settings, and modestly priced diamonds. Compare prices that you found in the store to what you find online. If you find that you can get a diamond and a ring setting separately for a good price, buy it, take it to a jeweler and have them set the stone inside of the ring setting for you. A good jeweler will usually do it at a pretty good price if you ask nicely.

Hopefully you now have a decent idea of where to start your journey for the perfect ring. It will all pay off in the end to know that you got her this gift without putting yourself into debt. Now get to it, and work hard, and get ready for that perfect moment when she says Yes!


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