A Guide to
Finding an Affordable Engagement Ring That your Sweetheart Will Love
Your Budget When a guy's shopping for an engagement
ring, salespeople often do a sneaky thing they make him
think that the amount of his love is tied to how much he spends on a
ring. Better to figure out how much you can afford to spend before
you step foot in a store. The standard rule is two months salary
but this is also a rule that the diamond
industry created! However it's still a decent place to start, but
then figure out your personal budget.
Attention You're going to have to make a lot of choices
platinum or gold? Modern or traditional? Flashy or understated? It's
easier if you've done your homework beforehand. Look at the jewelry
your sweetheart wears on a daily basis if it's all silver with
intricate designs look for a platinum
engagement ring with intricate designs (often called filigree).
If it's just a few heavy gold pieces, well, then go in that direction.
3) Choose a
Stone While jewelers will sell you a preset ring, you can often get a
better deal if you choose the diamond separately. It helps if you
know what shape your sweetheart wants round, pear, marquis,
etc. The most classic shape is a round solitaire. More homework
read The Four Cs of Diamond Buying. You'll thank me later.
saving tip look for a diamond with high color and cut, but
with slightly lower clarity. Make sure you look at the stone with a
jeweler's loupe (like a magnifying glass) but most flaws (or
"inclusions") can barely be seen even with a loupe.
4) Choose the
Setting After you've got your stone, then comes the setting. You
could go for simple with a solitaire setting, or you could add
filigree, extra side stones, and other details. You can choose gold,
white or rose gold, platinum, or even titanium.
Your Budget If your intended is always talking about huge diamond
engagement rings, but two months of your salary wouldn't buy a Big
Mac, you're going to have to stretch the budget. Ask for a stone with
more surface area it won't sparkle as much but it will look
bigger. Ask for stones that are slightly less than the next carat
(0.8 instead of 1 or 1.9 instead of 2) the almost
indiscernible difference can add up to big savings. Instead of a
diamond solitaire engagement ring, consider a less expensive center
gemstone (such as tourmaline, blue topaz,
sapphire) flanked by two small diamonds. Choose white gold instead
of platinum. And consider an antique engagement ring.
6) Get a Buddy
Don't go into a jewelry store alone. They're scary places full of way
too many choices. If you can, bring your sweetheart's best friend or
mom along to help you choose. But if you're worried they'll spill the
beans, bring a trusted buddy of yours. Make sure they have taste, or
you'll be trying to propose with a ringpop. Also, assuming they like
the person you're buying it for, this is a great moment to bond with
your parents and get their advice.
7) Think About
Bringing Your Sweetheart With You You'll lose the element of
surprise, but you'll be sure that she likes her engagement ring. More
and more couples are doing it this way.
8) Get a
Quality Jeweler Ask for recommendations from friends and family. My
advice is to stick to the mom and pop jewelers and try to avoid the
national chains they often sacrifice quality for mass
marketing. But make sure the store is accredited by the Jewelers of
America or is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Before you buy, find out what the return policy is so that you can
exchange it if you didn't do your homework properly.
9) Plan Ahead
You may not be able to just walk out of a jewelry store with a ring.
Not only will you need to save up for it, but depending on what you
order it could take a couple weeks for them to set the stone, do any
engraving, or even custom design your ring (like Brad Pitt did for
Jennifer Aniston). So if you want to propose on a certain date, make
sure you start working on the ring early.
10) Get it In
Writing Would you buy a house without an inspection? No? Well then
don't buy a diamond without an independent diamond-grading report
from the GIA or the American Gem Society. It should include the 4 c's
of color, cut, clarity and carat, as well as the shape and size. And,
like your house, don't forget to get the ring insured