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5 Reasons Why Shopping for an Engagement Ring Sucks (and How It Can Be Better)

Updated on April 19, 2017

When you decide to propose to the woman you love, you may paradoxically experience a sinking feeling. Not because you have any qualms about marrying her, but because proposing means taking on a task men often dread: shopping for an engagement ring. Truthfully, shopping for an engagement ring sucks. Expectations—society’s, hers, your own—are high, which means the potential for messing up is also high. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Here are some of the pitfalls, and ways you can make the whole experience better:

5. You don’t know her ring size

Chances are, you may not have even bought her a ring before. If you’re trying to surprise the love of your life with a proposal, you may get the ring size wrong. Some tips:

  • If you can, measure some rings she already owns to get a sense of the right size.
  • Find a jeweler you trust in advance to resize it just in case. Remember, it’s usually easier to size a larger ring down.

4. You don’t know what she likes

This is a problem for the same reason as number 5. It mainly comes in when you’re trying to surprise her. With literally thousands of styles of engagement rings out there, from simple to ornate, how are you going to pick the perfect one? Some suggestions:

  • Check out rings she already owns to determine the type of precious metal and styles she prefers.
  • Get a diamond you like in a simple solitaire setting and present it to her with the suggestion that you go shopping for a new setting, so she can pick exactly what she wants.

3. Engagement rings send a message

Everyone knows what a diamond ring on the left ring finger means. You may feel that you’re locked into buying a certain style of ring or size of diamond to send the exact message you want. Your best bet:

  • Don’t get swept up in hype. Regardless of what some advertising campaigns might say, true love is not about massive debt. Be realistic about your budget.
  • Traditional symbolism isn’t necessarily bad. You’ll save her a lot of questions from confused friends and family if you get her a ring that isn’t wildly nontraditional.

2. Does it have to be a diamond?

Diamonds make a great stone for an engagement ring not just because they’re beautiful, but because they’re durable. They resist both scratching and breaking, which means that they’re perfect for something she’ll wear every day for a long, long time.

  • Look on the bright side. Diamonds are tough, and they go with everything. You won’t be replacing a cracked stone down the road.

1. Diamonds are expensive

There’s no way to get around this completely. Diamonds are rare, and good ones are pricey. But there are ways to sensibly cut your cost:

  • Learn the diamond grading standards. What jewelers don’t want you to know is that you don’t need a perfectly colorless, flawless diamond. The shade differences and inclusions that bump diamonds even several steps down the scale aren’t visible with the naked eye. Shop accordingly.
  • Avoid mall stores. Retail markups make an already-expensive purchase truly exorbitant. To make your money go further, check out live auction sites, such as Auction King. These can be your best opportunity to get a diamond at below-market rates.

What kind of rings do you or your significant other like?

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