Buying an engagement ring can be an overwhelming task. It is a symbol of your love for your partner and it’s a token of your willingness to take your relationship to the next level and it doesn’t help that your fiancée will be showing off the ring to all her friends and family.
For many men, the purchase of their partner’s engagement ring will be their first experience of buying jewellery. When you walk into a jewellery store you will be inundated with terms and concepts that you have never heard before.
Never fear. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to help you purchase an engagement ring that your partner will love.
Establish Your Budget
First thing you’ll need to do before you step into a jewellery store is establish a budget. It will help the jeweller show you options that are in your price range. Keep in mind that like buying a car, the price of an engagement ring can often be negotiated. Purchase a ring that you can afford. In the end, it’s not the amount of money you spend on an engagement ring that matters, but rather the thought that goes into purchasing it. Many women might rather start your life together debt-free or use the money on more urgently-needed practical items.
Find Out Her Ring Size
A common mistake that men make when planning a surprise proposal is the ring size. They’ll have the perfect ring picked out, but they get the wrong size ring for their partner’s finger. When they get down on one knee and attempt to slide the ring on their fiancée’s finger, it’s either too big or too small.
The best way to avoid this happening is to get your partner’s ring size by getting a ring that she isn’t wearing and bring it into the jewellers to be measured. If you want to maintain the surprise factor, you’ll have to be sneaky about this. Try to take a ring that you don’t see her wearing very much; she’ll be less likely to notice its absence.
Pick The Engagement Ring Band
You have a variety of metals to choose from for the engagement ring’s band. The most common include yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, and silver. You can even do a mix of different types of metals.
Not sure what she likes, then have a look at the different types of jewellery she currently wears and that will give you an indication as to what she likes and what she would prefer.
What do I need to look for in a ring?
So you’ve selected a band, we now move to the focal point of most engagement rings: the diamond. For many men, purchasing a diamond can seem like a daunting task, but with a bit of knowledge, you will be able to walk out of the jewellers with a stone your fiancée will be dying to show off to her friends.
When selecting a diamond, you’ll want to take into consideration the “4 C’s:” cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. All four of these factors determine the quality and cost of the diamond.
Diamond cut is perhaps the most important of the four Cs, so it is important to understand how this quality affects the properties and values of a diamond. A high-quality cut diamond will maximise the amount of light reflected back through the top of the diamond resulting in a stone with sparkle. The angles and finishes of any diamond are what determine its ability to handle light, which leads to brilliance.
An important note to consider when selecting the diamond is not to confuse diamond “cut” with “shape.” Shape refers to the general outward appearance of the diamond, for example, round, square or emerald.
Carat is the worldwide weight standard for diamonds and gemstones. The word “carat” comes from the “carob” seed, the original unit of measure for diamond traders. Today a carat is equal to 0.2 grams, about the same weight as a paper clip, but what’s important to remember is that as diamonds increase in size, so too does their cost – the larger the diamond, the more rare it is. As carat refers to weight and not the actual size, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different costs based on other factors, such as cut and colour, so ‘bigger’ doesn’t always mean ‘better’.
Colour refers to the purity and transparency of the stone. When jewellers speak of a diamond’s colour, they are usually referring to the presence or absence of colour in white diamonds. Colour is a result of the composition of the diamond, and it never changes over time. A truly colourless diamond is extremely rare!
Most diamonds possess varying degrees of colour creating substantial differences in value. Diamond colours are graded on a scale of D through to Z, with D being colourless and Z light colouring. All D-Z diamonds are considered white, even though they contain varying degrees of colour. An ‘icy white’ diamond is typically D, E or F and while there are differences in colour between D, E, and F diamonds, they can be detected only by a gemologist in side by side comparisons, and rarely by the untrained eye.
Clarity refers to the size, number and positioning of the natural imperfections inside the diamond. Because diamonds are formed deep within the earth, under extreme heat and pressure, virtually all diamonds contain small imperfections, known as inclusions or blemishes. Inclusions include flaws such as air bubbles, cracks, and non-diamond minerals found in the diamond. Blemishes include scratches, pits, and chips. Diamonds with no or few inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued than those with less clarity because they are rarer. Clarity refers to the degree to which these imperfections are present. Diamonds which contain a number of or significant inclusions or blemishes have less sparkle and brilliance as the path of light through the diamond is blocked. The five levels of clarity grading’s are as follows;
Flawless (FL) and Internally Flawelss (IF) – indicates that the diamonds has no visible inclusion under 10x magnification
Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – indicates that the diamond contains only minute inclusions that are difficult to locate under 10x magnification
Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – indicates that the diamond contains minute inclusions that are relatively difficult to locate under 10x magnification
Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – indicates that the diamond contains a noticeable inclusion under 10x magnification
Included (I1 and I2) – indicates that the diamonds contains inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, which may also effect the brilliance and transparency
Confidence is not one of the traditional 4 C’s, however, as buying a diamond is an important purchase in your life we feel that it is essential that you have the confidence that you are being guided by an experienced jeweller and the diamond you purchased is guaranteed for years to come.
Selecting the Diamond Shape
In addition to the four C’s, you’ll also want to take into consideration a diamond’s shape. The shape of the diamond is all a matter of your partner’s preference. Below, we list a few of the possible shapes you can get a diamond in: