The engagement ring is the most important ring you'll ever buy…including the wedding ring. It's the symbol of your love and the precursor to the most important event of your life. People either spend far too much time worrying about buying it or don't put any thought into it. Both usually end up bad, but don't worry, we're here to help you out.
This guide can help you decide on the perfect engagement ring and cut through the jeweler's lingo. This may be your first foray into the jewelry world and it can be intimidating.
Before You Walk Through The Door
There are several things you'll need prior to stepping into the jewelry store. The first item you need to decide is your budget. The old wives tale goes that you need to spend about two months' salary on your engagement ring. Do you know who came up with that? It comes from a 1940s ad campaign from…you guessed it…a jewelry company.
Your budget should depend on how much you can afford not what society wrongly expects you to fork over. Your soon-to-be-wife might not care for being $3,000 in debt from a wedding ring or might think that money could have been better spent on the honeymoon. Take into account your significant others tastes and what you can afford without refinancing your house.
Imagine spending hours or weeks planning the perfect engagement moment only to have it ruined because the ring doesn't fit. Have the right ring size before you buy the engagement ring. Asking her is a little too obvious, so you need to be sneaky. Find a ring she doesn't wear often and take it with you to the jewelers.
Getting the Band Together
You're there. The salesman sees an easy mark and is ready to bilk you for thousands of dollars, but you're ready. The first thing you'll want to choose is the type of band metal…not metal band, that's a different blog.
Bands come in yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, platinum and silver. Silver is the most widely chosen because of its expense and hardiness. It keeps its shine well and can be buffed back into shape easily.
The golds have the best shine and can be easily buffed back after they lose their luster. The main problem is durability. Gold is a soft metal, which is one of the reasons it can get its shine back so easily, so it wears quickly and can lose shape because of impacts. Normal wear and tear on a gold band may mean you'll need a new band after five years or so.
Platinum has a great shine at first, but loses its luster quickly. It's also hard to get that luster back because it's one the hardiest metals available. It's also expensive, but if your significant other does a lot of activity, then platinum might be worth it.
Knowing the 4Cs
With the band no longer a concern, it's time to go after the diamond. Jewelers detail diamonds based on cut, color, clarity and carat weight…or the 4Cs. They'll throw these out at you, so you'd better know what they mean.
No, it's not the shape of the diamond. A diamond is all about sparkle. The cut of the diamond is the angles and proportions to create a sparkle effect with refracted light. Light should come into the stone and be refracted through the top of the stone. Diamonds that are improperly cut may not refract the light properly and thus not give it that sparkle.
How important is it? It really depends on the person. If you think your significant other wants something flashy and big, then a good cut is important. If they prefer understated jewelry, then you can worry less about the cut.
You probably think diamonds are diamonds. They're clear, but they can actually range in color from clear to yellow or class D to Z. The further along the scale, the yellower the diamond. Clear diamonds are the most expensive followed by white diamonds, which are the most common, and finally the yellowish diamonds.
Once again, the choice should depend on preference. Clear diamonds will accentuate the sparkle more, but yellow diamonds add a splash of color and are less expensive.
Every diamond is different. Even after careful cutting, a diamond often has slight imperfections. These imperfections include small internal fractures and mineral impurities and are called inclusions. The more inclusions mean less light refraction and less sparkle.
Clarity is rated on a scale with SI1 and SI2 having inclusions not able to be seen by the naked eye. That's usually the best range for your diamond.
This is the one everyone has heard before, but has no clue what it means. What's the difference between a 12-carat diamond and an 18-carat diamond? The 18-cart weighs more. The heavier the diamond, the more expensive and the jeweler wants to sell you the biggest they've got.
Unless your significant other wants a huge rock to show off, you can get away with a lighter diamond. A good jeweler has the ability to make a diamond look much larger than it actually is.
Shape and Setting
Picking the perfect engagement ring is almost done. You just have to worry about the shape and the setting. Diamonds can come in a variety of shapes, but the most popular are round, princess, pear, oval and heart.
Round is the most traditional and classic shape, but the square princess diamond is incredibly popular right now. Don't let popularity sway you though because your significant other will wear it for a long time.
The setting is how the diamond is placed in the band. The Tiffany setting with a single diamond held in the center is popular and has been around for ages. It's simple and sophisticated without a lot of flash. It says “Hey, I'm a diamond look at me.”
The Eternity Band is the opposite. Instead of a single diamond, you have several smaller diamonds around the ring. A Bezel Setting looks a lot like the Tiffany, but the diamond is inset of a protective metal bezel that surrounds it. While this may not look the flashiest, it protects the diamond from impact, scratches, etc.
The Channel setting is like a mix of the Eternity band and the bezel with the diamonds inset of the band. The Pave usually has one central main diamond, but it also surrounded by smaller diamonds.
Insurance or Not Insurance
If you spend thousands of dollars on the ring, then you might want insurance for it. Homeowners and rental insurance may cover it for fire damage or theft, but not if you lose it in the ocean while swimming.
You can get an Actual Value Policy that pays out on the current value of the ring. For example, if the ring initially cost $5,000 and it's been worn for five years, then they will pay out the depreciated value only. Replacement Insurance pays the market value of the ring. For example, if you had a rose gold band with a nice diamond that cost $3,000 in 1995, then it pays the cost of that ring at today's prices.
You've begun the journey to your wedding, so now it's time to start thinking about wedding planning and the all-important dress. Bridal Elegance can help you find the perfect wedding dress to go with that perfect engagement ting.