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The Rookie’s Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

The Rookie's Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Ok, so you’re seriously thinking about popping the big question, and you’ve started researching THE ring. Now it’s time for you to learn upfront the best strategy for getting a ring she dreams about, all at a budget that works for you.

Here’s our step by step guide to help our engagement ring rookies become a savvy veterans in no time.

 

1. Understand what kind of ring she’d prefer. 

Ask yourself some key questions, such as:  Does she want to have input or pick out the style of ring?  Do you want her to be involved and do you want to take her shopping?  Do you want everything to be a surprise?

If she’s involved, great.  Now you can learn what she likes.  When shopping together, try to find out what shape diamond and what style ring she likes (simple vs. ornate) and what size diamond looks great on her hand. 

If you don’t want her input, pay attention to any hints she’s dropped along the way.  “I loved her ring!” is a statement that should be remembered for later.  Show her photos of celebrities with their rings to get a feel for her taste.  Worst case, you ask a friend of hers you trust or pop into a jewelry store just “for fun” and watch her reaction to certain types of rings.

2. Know your budget

A quality engagement ring can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars.   It’s really your call, and you should try to ignore any peer pressure from family and friends.  The only thing that matters is that she loves it and that you can afford it. 

There’s also an urban myth out there that you should buy a ring that costs two months of your salary, but this idea is outdated and doesn’t apply to ring shopping today. 

Financing programs are available so you can make payments over 6 or 12 months, but you’ll likely need to put down a substantial deposit.  Remember that after a proposal comes a wedding, a honeymoon, wedding rings, etc. so get something she’ll love but don’t push yourself financially to the edge. We strongly suggest that you know your budget before you start looking at rings and get tempted to buy something that it is out of your range.

3. Educate yourself about diamond rings.

The quality of a diamond ring can vary tremendously and you can play with lots of different levers including the four Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight), the style of the ring and the metal type (gold vs. platinum). 

Use the Internet as an introduction to diamonds but also take the time to see diamonds for yourself so you can understand how a 1 carat differs visually from a 1.25 carat, whether you can see the difference between an SI clarity and a VS clarity, and how a J color looks less white than an F colored diamond. 

A diamond’s cut can play the biggest part in how the diamond sparkles. It’s important to see for yourself how a well-cut diamonds sparkles much brighter than a poorly cut one.

 ll be willing to sacrifice carat weight to have the brightest, prettiest stone in your budget.  The only right answer is the one you feel great about!

4. Choose your ring store. 

Make sure you get a great value on our diamond, but don’t stop there.  Diamond rings are like cars… they require occasional maintenance and repairs, so make sure you understand how a jeweler stands behind their product and how ready they are to service you in the long term. 

Here are some key questions to ask: Has the store or e-commerce site been around a long time and are they well regarded by institutions like the Better Business Bureau?  Do they sell wedding bands as well or just engagement rings?  Do they have repair experts on site to take care of any repairs on maintenance?  Will they clean and check the prongs on your ring at any time, without charge?

Don’t think of an engagement ring as a “one and done” event.  Use the ring as an opportunity to start a relationship with a jeweler that will last for life. 

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