Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Choosing an Engagement Ring: Top 10 Rules

Thinking about popping "the question" and sealing the deal with an engagement ring? These are the Top 10 Rules for Choosing an Engagement Ring:

1. Don't buy junk. The ring is going to last for the rest of your life, so make it count.
2. How you give the ring is as important as the ring itself. Your ring will forever be connected with the moment that you give it to her.  Make it count!
3. Choosing the design: Work with a designer that is going to draw up a bunch of designs for you and then allow you to pick a design.  A lot of people just take a picture of a ring that they like to a jeweler and say "make this"!   However, you might want to add a personal touch, or ask the designer to produce a bunch of variations and see if you like the variations.  Pick a designer with an artistic flare.  Try avoid copying iconic designs. Some designs are so closely related to a particular jeweler or designer, that your future fiance 's friends are always going to ask, "was that ring made by...."?  It is better to be inspired by a ring and add your own personal element with the help of your designer than  just copy something outright.
4. Protect the Diamond: Make sure the ring protects the diamond. Although diamond is the hardest substance known (by far), it doesn't mean that they can chip or shatter. Make sure that the prongs are set in such a way as to protect the delicate girdle of the diamond.  Any point (e.g. for a pear stone) on a diamond should have a prong to protect it.  Cocktail rings do not typically follow this rule, but these rings are not worn as often as an engagement ring and are less susceptible to everyday bumps.
5. Listen to your Future Fiance: If she has any inkling that you might want to get engaged, your fiance-to-be will start dropping hints as to what she likes and doesn't.
6. Sizing the Ring: If you are going to surprise your girlfriend, one of the most difficult things is getting the size right.  Small differences can make a great difference on comfort.  If the ring contains a lot of stones down or around the side of the shank, it might not be possible to resize.  The resizing process might also ruin the delicate features of some rings.  So try to find a ring that your girlfriend wears on her ring finger.  If she does not, find a ring that she wears on her right hand ring finger and take that to the jeweler, or trace a circle on the inner part of the ring with pen and paper  and bring that to the jeweler.  If none of this is possible, make sure you choose a ring that can be resized.  
7. GIA Certificate: Make sure the diamond comes with a GIA certificate. There are other diamond grading services that can be used, but GIA is the most prestigious.
8. Thin vs. Fat Shank:  Thin shanks typically make the main diamond look a little larger.  Fatter shanks often look more luxurious.  There is no right answer here except to make sure that the shank size is consistent with the diamond size.  If you go to a cheap jeweler, they are going to use an off-the-shelf shank that might not fit the diamond that you have.
9. Supporting stones:  One of the most common mistakes is to buy an expensive main diamond and then have cheap diamonds on the side of the shank.  The cheap diamonds are going to detract from the beauty of the main stone.
10. Price: This is one rule that I don't believe in.  You often hear that an engagement ring should cost three months salary.  Well if this is going to put you in financial difficulty or sour the process, then what's the point?  You should feel that an engagement ring is expensive relative to your income, but don't pick something that is going to make you uncomfortable about the process even before you start your life together.

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  1. Price is the most important thing. If you don't spend enough money on a ring then it is a sign of not being sufficiently committed to the marriage!!!

  2. I believe that the design is far more important than the price. Creating something that has a personal meaning far outweighs the price of the ring.