Getting the perfect engagement ring can be a stressful task. There are several factors to take into account. First, if the girl wants to help design the ring, there are still ways to surprise her. When, where, and how she is proposed too will be a huge surprise no matter what. But, a simple way to keep the ring a surprise is to have the girl pick out three rings she really likes and the guy can have the final say. Typically, if you are with someone for some years, you will know they are going to propose soon anyways. Read this guide for yourself or send it to someone as a hint;) What you need to know to get the perfect ring:
- Budget- Seriously, NEVER go in debt for a rock that sits on your finger. Love is better than debt.
- Ring Finger Size-Find out the ring size you will need if you decide to go full on surprise. (sneak one of her rings to bring to the jeweler, ask her friends if they have similar size hands)
- Double Check- Before I go into all the ways to get the best diamond for your buck, make sure they want a diamond!!! Some people would prefer a precious stone or just a band for their engagement ring. If they are a diamond dreamer, find out if they would want a vintage diamond ring. Vintage rings are ethical, more cost efficient, and usually one-of-a-kind. Kate Moss and other famous celebrities have gotten vintage diamond engagement rings.
- No Mall Jewelers- My number one tip for buying an engagement ring is to never get one from a mall jeweler. Any ring you can get in a mall is not unique and typically over-priced. Find a reputable jeweler from friends or the internet in your area.
- Choosing a diamond: When picking a diamond, you must know the 4 C’s of a diamond. That is: cut, clarity, carat, color. I put them in order of importance.
Cut: The cut is the angles and proportions of the stone, not the shape of the stone. This is the most important element because it is what makes the stone sparkle. A bad cut will make a perfect stone not sparkly. Do not get a bad cut stone because it costs less. You can save money in other areas. With a good cut stone, light will reflect from every facet.
Clarity: Clarity is the level of inclusions or cloudy spots that are in a stone. Remember, diamonds are naturally occurring and few are perfect. Clarity ratings are shown below. I personally would recommend on not going below a rating of vs2 because then the stone will look very cloudy to even an untrained eye. The stone photographed below is VVS2.
Carat: Carat is the weight of the stone. Many people confuse carat with stone measurements. Carat is the perfect place to cut costs. Say you want a 1 carat diamond. You can get a .8 carat that is cut to have the same stone face measurements of a 1 carat, BUT it will be approximately 20% less. You can give the illusion of a bigger carat with certain settings and if the ring finger size is smaller. Carat size is preference, but usually at least 1 carat is fitting for most people and can be budgeted for the love of your life. Below is a custom marquise 1.5 center stone with a halo around it next to a non-custom .5 carat marquise with a halo. The other picture to compare is the same 1.5 stone next to a .66 carat round brilliant diamond. My finger is a size 3.5, so these stones may look different on different fingers.
Color: Below is the color scale for diamonds and how it is rated in letters.
Another place to cut costs is color. It is expensive to get a near colorless stone. You can save over thousands of dollars by picking a stone that is above the color I and it will still look colorless. This part of the stone choosing is preference though. I choose a stone that had some color in it to give my stone a watery pretty appearance. I think stones that are too white look like cubic zirconia.
6. Shape- After carat size, shape is usually the most important thing to someone. The most prominent 10 diamond shapes are pictured below. Round is classic. Marquise was created for the royals, is rare, and elongates the finger. Oval and Emerald cut stones will also elongate the fingers. It is important to note that certain shapes will need a certain clarity, as emerald, marquise, and asscher cuts show inclusions easier than other shapes. Certain shapes are also not ideal below 1 carat, such as the asscher and especially the heart shape.
7. Choose a Metal- The first step to choosing a setting is to decide what metal to use. Yellow gold, white gold, or platinum. If you go with yellow gold, you don’t have a substitute. If you want a whiter silver metal, you can decide between white gold and platinum. Platinum is more expensive, dulls faster, but is more durable. White gold is cheaper and less durable that platinum, but it keeps its shine for longer. Below is white gold next to platinum and yellow gold.
8. Choose a Setting: Setting entails how the diamond is sitting on the band.Go custom. Instead of getting a pre-done already made style setting, customize and create one with your jeweler. Pre-done settings never look as striking and sometimes don’t properly fit the stone. My setting photographed below is custom done with filigree and a cathedral. My favorite part of it is the knife edge band that is sleek and modern. Check out this website link for all your setting questions :http://yourdiamondteacher.com/rings/all-about-ring-settings-the-engagment-ring-setting-guide/
9. Lastly, choose when to propose or wait to be surprised with the ring you just helped create and take cute pictures:)
Serious Budget Fixes: If you are really strapped for cash, use silver for the setting and look into other stone options. If your girl really wants diamond, but can’t afford it, use cubic zirconia, white sapphire or moissanite.
Heirloom Stones: Want to have a super sentimental stone and save money? See if anyone in your family has a stone they want to pass down to you. Heirloom stones can be reset to look completely new and modern, while saving you the cost of a diamond.
Ethical Diamonds: Here is a good source for info about ethically buying diamonds. http://www.brilliantearth.com/conflict-free-diamond-definition/