The Ring. THE ring. THE RING! This is a pretty darn important part of the whole engagement thing that I started discussing yesterday. Trust me. How important? Well, not to scare you guys, but pretty damn important. And just to be clear early on (I’ve found a few men who didn’t know this) you have to buy TWO rings, guys. The engagement ring is the one with the big stone (the one that really matters) and the wedding band is the one you give her at the wedding. So start saving.
First things first. Surprise, or no surprise?
1) If you’re going the surprise route. You don’t NEED to know her ring size, although there are plenty of sneaky ways to figure that out (watch her try on fashion rings in a jewelry store, have all her fingers measured just because, ring that does fit that finger and then take it to the jeweler so they can tell you what size it is). You can give her a ring that doesn’t necessarily fit and she can have it resized after the proposal. Most insurance policies on rings allow for lifetime resizing, so it’ll be included in the price. AND YES, YOU DO NEED THE INSURANCE.
2) If you’re not going the surprise route, you can ask her for her ring size. And about all of the stuff below. No big deal.
There are a few ways you can determine your lady’s ring style. First, just look at the jewelry she already owns. You’ll want to pay attention to the following trends:
Metal: Is it consistently yellow gold? White gold? Platinum? PAY ATTENTION!
Jewel cut: Most women are drawn to a certain shape of a diamond. There are round ones, square ones (Princess cut) and a whole slew of other shapes. If you see one showing up more than others, chances are that it’s her favorite.
General Trends: Are the stones held up by prongs? Or set into the metal? Does she have bold jewelry with one-3 stones? Or does she like ornate jewelry with many little stones complimenting the main stone? Are there more small stones? Or does she like big flashy rocks? You’ll notice things that you’ll see repeated in a jewelry store. Promise.
The 4 C’s (or 5…or 6)
Generally, there are 4 C’s you should pay attention to in diamond buying. Cut, Carat, Color, and Clarity. But there are also two other C’s: Certification and Cost.
Ready for this?
Courtesy of Blue Nile
Cut: We’ve already gone over this. See above picture in terms of shape. But there’s also another version of cut. The way the diamond is cut determines the amount of light that goes through it, and in turn, the amount of sparkle.
Carat: Contrary to what men want to think, THIS IS IMPORTANT. I know many women who don’t care about diamond size. You could give them a rubber band and they’d be happy. But this is something they’re going to have to wear the rest of their lives (if you do it right) and something that everyone is going to look at. You’ll want to be proud of the ring you buy.
This also has an effect on the type of ring you’re buying. If your lady likes more than one stone, then chances are the stones will be smaller. If she wants one stone (a solitaire), you’ll probably end up buying a bigger stone as it is the only focus of the ring. Ask her if size is important (wink wink) and see what she says. It’s also about what will look good on her hand.
Courtesy of Blue Nile
Color: Yes, diamonds do have colors. And I’m not talking about brown or black diamonds. I’m talking about white diamonds. They’re graded on a scale of D-Z. The closer to the beginning of the alphabet, the less color they have and the more valuable they are.
Clarity: This is insanely important. Diamonds are rocks. It’s important to remember that. And not all diamonds are completely clear inside. So it’s important to look at the grade of a diamond. Here’s another chart.
Courtesy of Blue Nile
FL, IF – Flawless, Internally Flawless: No internal or external imperfections. Internally Flawless: No internal imperfections. Very rare.
VVS1, VVS2 – Very, Very Slightly Included: Very difficult to see imperfections under 10x magnification. An excellent quality diamond.
VS1, VS2 – Very Slightly Included: Imperfections are not typically visible to the unaided eye. Less expensive than the VVS1 or VVS2 grades.
SI1, SI2 – Slightly Included: Imperfections are visible under 10x magnification, and may be visible with the unaided eye. A good diamond value.
I1, I2, I3 – Included: Blue Nile does not carry diamonds of I-grade clarity.
Certification: According to the DiamondChatForum.com, “A Diamond Certificate can be defined as a statement, issued by an independent Gemological Laboratory, that at the time of evaluation, the Diamond in question has been examined by experienced Diamond Graders, using various gemological instruments, and determined to contain the characteristics as stated in the Certificate. While discussing the various elements contained in the certificate, it is important to state which gemological instruments were used to evaluate the specific diamonds under discussion. Evaluation of a diamond is important because minute, microscopic inclusions, of a Diamond can have a major influence on the price. ” Your call on this one.
Cost: This is probably the one that matters most to you men. The better the quality, the more the cost. It’s important to think about what’s most important to you and your future wife. If it’s the size of the diamond, you may compromise the color and clarity. If it’s the value of the diamond, you may compromise size. That’s your call, too. 🙂
In the end, don’t be a cheap ass. She is going to dedicate her life to you. Show her you love her by giving her something she loves.
IMPORTANT: Ladies, considering that in giving an engagement ring, men give us a pretty pricey gift, I think it is our DUTY to buy them a hella nice wedding present. Think big screen TV, or weight bench. Or a gun safe. 🙂 You can keep your fancy ring in there.