PROPOSAL 101: An Hombre’s Guide to Buying The Perfect Ring
With wedding season in full swing, we wanted to share some helpful tips if you feel ready to make that life-long commitment and finally propose. Buying an engagement ring can be daunting (How big should the ring be? What should my budget be? What style should I get?) For those worried about popping the question, JamesAllen.com, the fast growing online retailer of engagement rings and loose diamonds, has shared some expert tips below of the top things you should know before getting down on one knee, including: Budget, Ring Size, Style & Shape, and the Four C’s.
Determine Your Budget.
First things first, forget the age-old “three months salary” myth … there is no such thing as a right amount to spend on an engagement ring. But if you’re looking to get the most bling for your buck, consider a few things:
Certain cuts will maximize brilliance and minimize the appearance of inclusions. For a more noticeable stone that seems bigger than it is, go for an elongated, fancy shape such as emerald or pear. There’s a reason why halos are such a popular choice as well – they consist of tiny diamonds surrounding the larger, center stone, creating the illusion of one very big diamond.
Take it down a notch. Another way to save big is to buy an “under-sized” diamond – one that is just shy of the standard carat weight you were aiming to buy. If you’re looking for a 1-carat Round diamond, consider one that is slightly under a full carat. The difference will be virtually imperceptible and you’ll save a nice chunk of cash.
Online jewelers like JamesAllen.com eliminate the middle man and have less overhead, so they can sell the same products for less, saving you an average of 30-50% off retail store pricing. They also offers a money-back guarantee, free ring resizing and 24/7 customer service, so you can feel secure with your purchase.
Get Her Ring Size.
Size matters. Before you even think about designing the perfect engagement ring for your partner, you’ll have to know which size to choose. Luckily, this is easier than it may seem:
Ask a close friend or a family member – but remind them to keep it hush hush.
Borrow a ring from her jewelry box (one she won’t notice missing for a day) and use a free online ring sizer or request a free plastic ring sizer from JamesAllen.com that will be delivered to your home for ultimate convenience.
If your partner is a heavy sleeper, take a piece of string while they’re asleep and measure their ring finger. Cut the string and bring it to a local jeweler, but be careful not to pull the string too tight.
Find Her Style. Aside from getting a “no,” the worst case scenario of a proposal is your partner not loving the ring you picked out. The diamond shape, as well as the setting, will need to be taken into consideration. A few possible shapes include round, princess, or pear, whereas setting refers to the way the diamond is placed on the ring. You can take cues from a look inside her jewelry box or asking her girlfriends for style insight but as long as you know your partner, you don’t have to be an expert to know what their ideal ring style is.
If she’s classy, modest and reserved, she’ll like round-cut, solitaire engagement rings
If she’s stylish, practical and modern, she’ll like princess-cut, channel-set engagement rings
If she’s bold, daring and passionate, she’ll like emerald-cut or side-stone engagement rings
If she’s social, established, and traditional, she’ll like three-stone engagement rings
If she’s courageous, nonconformist and artsy, she’ll like tension engagement rings
If she’s extroverted, feminine and playful, she’ll like halo engagement rings
If she’s sentimental, romantic and classic, she’ll like heart-shaped or vintage engagement rings
A Quick Tutorial: The Four C’s.
The Four C’s – cut, color, clarity an carat – are the industry grade standard from the Gemological Institution of America (GIA). All four of these factors will determine the quality and the cost of the diamond you choose.
Cut: The cut of a diamond not only refers to the diamond’s shape, it also refers to how effectively the diamond returns light back to the viewer’s eye. A well-cut diamond will appear very brilliant and fiery, while a poorly cut diamond can appear dark and lifeless, regardless of the color or clarity. Well-cut diamonds also tend to appear larger than other diamonds at the same carat weigh.
Color: When diamond shopping, a stone with the least amount of color possible is generally preferred. Diamond color is graded on a scale from D-Z and is divided into five broad categories (colorless, near colorless, faint, very light, and light). Diamonds come in all colors of the spectrum, with the predominant color being yellow, caused by the trace element nitrogen.
Clarity: It is important to select a diamond that does not have any inclusions that will affect the overall beauty and durability of he diamond. To be 100% sure that your diamond will be clean of “eye visible” inclusions, stick with diamonds graded VS2 or higher. Its also a good idea to balance the clarity grade of your diamond with the color. If you’re looking at diamonds in the D-F color ranger, focus on clarity grades of VS2 or higher.
Carat Weight: The size of a diamond is proportional to its carat weight. A diamond will increase in weight much faster than it increases in actual “face-up” diameter. The average engagement ring sold in the U.S. is less than 1/2 carat in weight.
Protect Your Investment. Aside from buying a house, an engagement ring will likely be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make and something your partner will wear forever. Whether your ring is $500 or $50,000, insuring your ring leaves you with a feeling of emotional and financial security. There are a few options you have when it comes to insuring your engagement ring:
Purchase an Extension: If you have a renters’ or homeowners’ insurance policy, you can purchase an extension, also referred to as a “rider,” that specifically covers your ring.
Jewelry Insurance: If you don’t have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, another other option is to insure your ring through a company that specializes in jewelry insurance, which may offer more coverage than a standard homeowners policy
Ask Your Jeweler: Some jewelers work with insurance companies to offer ring insurance. For example, JamesAllen.com has partnered with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company to provide customers with the option of insuring jewelry purchased with its personal jewelry insurance.