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In case you didn’t know, the holidays are prime time for engagements. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the perfect setting and/or gathering where family and friends will be present. There’s also just something “feel good” about this season.

So you’re looking to propose to that special one in your life, but don’t have a clue where to start. I’m here to provide you with a bit of assistance. While I am the farthest thing from a jeweler, I do know some basics when it comes to engagement rings.

Because the love of your life will be wearing this ring forever, you’ll want her to like it. Pay attention to the jewelry she currently wears or the comments she makes about jewelry. Does she like silver? Does she like gold? Is her style modern, glitzy or simple and subtle? If this is too much of a hunt, ask a close friend of hers (who is a good secret keeper) to do some digging for you.

You’ll also need to find out her ring size. One option is to grab a ring she currently wears. If none of these options work for you, you can always bring her to the store with you or do an online search together.

Traditionally, it’s been said that you should spend two to three month’s salary on an engagement ring. But let’s be honest, for some that might not be realistic. No worries. Set a budget and know your negotiation point. Spend within your limits. You can find something great within your budget.

When it comes to the stone of the ring, there are four things to know: cut, color, clarity, and carat. These are also known as the 4 C’s.

The cut refers to the shape of the diamond. The most popular cut is round. Other cuts include: princess, emerald, marquise, oval, pear, radiant and heart.

The diamond color is based on the absence of color in a diamond. On the Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) diamond color grading scale, D is a colorless diamond and Z is considered light or a diamond with a yellow tint.

Now if you are looking for a colored diamond (yellow, pink, chocolate, black, etc.), go speak with a jeweler. These diamonds are a little different than white diamonds, so a jeweler will be able to best help you select one with vibrant hues. Pink and blue diamonds are considered the rarest, though. If you are looking to learn more about colored diamonds, here is a great article.

The clarity of a stone refers to any imperfections, inclusions and blemishes the diamond may have. GIA’s clarity rating scale goes from flawless to imperfect. Flawless diamonds are free of inclusions or blemishes and imperfect diamonds, well, are not. Inclusions can be visible to the naked eye or seen better using a 10x magnification. Ask your jeweler to show you.

Carat is the unit of measurement used to weigh the diamond. Something I learned from my research is that if you go down a carat, for instance you get a 1.9 carat diamond instead of a 2 carat diamond, the cost is considerably less and the size difference is difficult to notice.

One thing to remember about finding the perfect engagement ring is if you plan to wear wedding bands, make sure you choose a setting that will pair well with a band. Many times people get unique and elaborate engagement rings created, which is fine. But if a band wasn’t designed with it, you’ll most likely have a hard time finding a band that matches.

The setting refers to the way the diamond is placed in or on the ring. Some settings include channel, bezel, pave, micro pave, prong, cluster and bar. The type of metal she likes will come into play here. Metals typically used are yellow gold, white gold and platinum. Platinum is the most durable and it’s hypoallergenic, but it also the most expensive.

Some people may tell you to shop and purchase the rings online. I will not advocate that. There is no way to tell what you are actually buying, no way to see the diamond and how it stands with the 4 C’s.

While you can go to a large jewelry retailer like Jared or Zales, I advise going to a mom and pop jeweler. As a supporter of small businesses, many times I feel like I get a better quality of service and product with small vendors. Ask friends and family for a good recommendations and make sure the store is accredited by Jewelers of America or is a member of the GIA.

Other things to remember with engagement rings purchases:
– Know the store’s return policy (in case you didn’t follow any of the suggestions and got a ring she didn’t like… LOL)
– See if there is a warranty
– Insure the ring

Buying an engagement ring is a big purchase, so here are some additional resources:
How to Buy an Engagement Ring
Gemological Institute of America 4 C’s education
Colored Diamonds

So remember Seek, Spend, Stone, Setting, Shop. Hope this helps a bit in your engagement ring process. And congratulations!! 🙂

If you need some ideas for your proposal, drop me a line. I would love to help!

– G