By Courtney Corbridge
You've made it through the toughest decision: you know the one you're going to marry. But now for that ring. Here are some tips to find the right one for her—and for your wallet.
What are you willing to pay?
First things first, you need to know what you're willing to pay. Sometimes jewelers can be bullies with a smile, but you have more sway over them than they have over you. The best way to keep yourself safe is doing some research on quality diamonds before you go, and then shop around. The average female engagement ring, with band and stone, goes for roughly 5k, but it’s easy to spend a lot less or a lot more, so in the end it’s knowing her style that’s most important.
Lately, this means taking your girlfriend with you. But it doesn't have to. And though she may not be able to tell you she wants a VS1 grade, G color, 1.5 carat, very good cut diamond. She (or some of her friends) will likely be able to cue you in to the overall look she's after. Once you know that, reputable jewelers with GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGSL (American Gem Society Laboratory) certifications will be able to help you with the infamous “4 C's” and find you the best option within your budget.
So on to what will matter most to her:
· The metal
The most common metals in fine jewelry are currently yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and platinum. Each has different benefits, but largely they will all hold up over time, so it’s primarily a choice of color. An easy way to choose without giving yourself away is to watch what she typically wears.
· The Stone
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But emeralds, pearls, sapphires, morganite, and a few other precious gems are making a comeback. You might look into her birthstone for a start—or perhaps her favorite color. As always, do your research and make sure the gem you’re looking into doesn’t have severe inclusions or a low rank on the Moh’s hardness scale.
· The Size
When she says big, she isn't necessarily talking about the carat weight, though that is related. Each carat weight has various diameters, depending on the depth and the cut of the stone. It is possible to get a larger diamond diameter without sacrificing your savings. As mentioned later, halos and multi-stone settings can also aid in the appearance of size.
· The Shape
Deceivingly, the cut of a stone and the shape of a stone are not the same thing. While cut refers to how the diamond is crafted (and how it will reflect the light), the shape is a little more basic.
Common shapes are round, princess (square), marquise (eye shaped), pear, emerald (rectangle), cushion (rounded square), and asscher.
· The Setting
The setting is where the gemstone actually sits on the ring, and there are a variety of settings to choose from. Most traditional are the prong, cathedral, bezel, and tension settings. Each one can customize and create a unique look—even for simple solitaire styles. But for added emphasis, you can get twisted settings, halos, and multi-gem settings which can increase the appearance of the central stone’s size.
· The Band
Typically when people talk about bands, they are referring to wedding bands, but the engagement ring has a band too. They can be thin or thick, twisted, encrusted with jewels, or vintage—and everything in between. There are as many options as there are women, but having a basic idea of whether she wants added sparkle or the pop of a tiny band against a single stone will help you sort through your options faster.
Article sponsored by Touch of Love.