Choosing an Engagement Ring – Advice for Men
You’ve found that special love of your life, the girl that makes your heart sing. You are ready to put a ring on her finger and make it official. Now comes the scary decision, which ring to choose to make her heartstrings flutter! To help you with your engagement ring search, we’ve come up with a guide and some helpful tips.
Determine Your Budget
Remember, a jeweler is just like any other salesman. It is their job to sell you their product, and in this case it’s to have you happily leave as the proud owner of the biggest sparkler that you can afford, or more likely, finance!
However, digging yourself deep into debt over the engagement ring is not a good way to start a life with the one you love. Save ahead of time, set a price and stay with it. A good rule of thumb is to spend about one months salary.
What Are Her Tastes
If you want to surprise her than you’ve got a bit of sleuthing to do! Your love is going to wear this ring for a very long time so make sure it’s to her tastes. Look at the jewelry she already wears, does she like white gold or yellow, are her tastes simple or flashy. Does she like ruffles and lace or does she have an “arty” flair? Is she more of a traditional girl? Or does she even wear much jewelry?
If she is a woman who prefers understated elegance to eye-popping glitter, then she will most likely love a diamond solitaire ring, with its quiet sophistication. If she loves bling, she is much more likely to prefer a pave styled ring with all its sparkle. And if she’s a romantic, who loves the beauty of times since past, then she will most likely fall for a vintage style. And your “arty” gal will like something a little different, such as a princess or emerald cut diamond.
Research Ring Styles
Unless your love has given you definite hints on which ring style will win her heart, then the next thing you will want to do is familiarize yourself with the various styles of rings on the market today.
Mostly you will encounter the classic diamond solitaire style and rings with side stones, of which the most popular is the pave style. Variations within these two basic style groups, include petite styled rings, cathedral, vintage, halo and intricate settings.
The Diamond Solitaire
The solitaire is the classic icon in the world of engagement rings. The design is simple, understated yet incredibly sophisticated and divinely elegant. The solitaire ring features a single diamond set atop a simple band. There are variations of the solitaire ring that add more personalized character to the ring but the basic attitude of the ring stays romantic, graceful and timeless.
Pave means “paved” in French and describes a ring in which the band is literally paved in diamonds. The pave diamonds lead up to and accent the main center diamond and can also surround the center stone in which case the setting is called a Halo design.
The pave style is very sparkly and will not go unnoticed. Women who choose this style have a secret love for glamor and sparkle!
Both solitaires and paves come in petite, cathedral and vintage styles. Petite rings have bands as narrow as 1.5mm and are delicate and feminine. That narrow band also shows off the center diamond. Vintage designs with their milgrain detailing and intricate engravings are perfect for the women in love with romantic styles of bygone eras. Cathedral settings feature lovely graceful arches that hold the center diamond in place.
The center diamond is usually the most expensive portion of the engagement ring. The Four C’s (cut, clarity, color and carats), along with the diamond’s shape, will determine the price of the diamond. And don’t forget the fifth C: Certification. Make sure your diamond is GIA certified.
The two most popular diamond shapes on the market are the princess cut and the round cut. The princess cut is a perfectly square-cut diamond. The round cut is just as it sounds: perfectly round. Both are stunning and beautiful; however, carat for carat, the princess cut will be slightly less expensive than the round cut.
A diamond in the D, E or F category is considered colorless and thus more valuable. While it is true that a diamond which falls into this category is a more valuable diamond, a diamond which falls into the G, H or I category is just as beautiful to the naked eye and less expensive.
Do not be too concerned over the clarity of a diamond. Unless the diamond appears milky and obviously lacking a high clarity level, the eye cannot tell the difference between a very clear diamond and a less clear diamond. Stay with SI1 or better and you’ll be fine.
The cut of the diamond is where to put your money. The cut refers to how the diamond is sculpted and proportioned. The sculpture of the diamond dictates how much light will bounce through and off the diamond and thus determine how much brilliance and sparkle the diamond will have. Look for Excellent/Ideal cuts.
Typical diamond sizes for an engagement ring are between .5 and 1.5 carats and will depend on your budget. A diamond under one carat is still beautiful and captivating, and should be considered for anyone on a budget. Another tip, a Halo setting can be one way to make a center stone look larger.
Shop Online and Save
There are many advantages to shopping for your engagement ring online. You’ll find that prices are lower and the selection is higher. There’s no sales pitch and it’s easy to compare styles, diamond quality, price, return policies and more all from the comfort of your own home. You can save your energy for thinking of ways to pop the big question!
About the Author: Linda Neubauer blogs at “Everything Princess Cut”. For more Information on solitaire and pave engagement ring settings, visit their Solitaire Engagement Rings and Petite Pave Diamond Rings pages.