For many men, finding an engagement ring to propose with can be an arduous and mind-boggling task. Platinum, silver, white gold or gold? How many diamonds? How much should I spend? What in the world is her ring size?
These questions are among the most common, and jewelers often see beleaguered men staggering into their stores, overwhelmed with all the options. That's why in this guide, we'll condense the information down to easily-digestible nuggets.
The most important thing to look for in a ring is if it will suit her personality and is something you'd be proud of giving her. Finding something in your budget isn't hard, as most jewelers usually have a wide variety of rings, ranging from a few hundred to thousands of dollars in worth. Look for a ring that SHE would like, not you. Keep it within budget, and shop around before settling on a ring.
These are the 4 C's, the things that makes the ring and the diamonds in it, valuable. Essentially, the higher the carat, the higher the price. Expect to pay a few thousand for every carat you go up, as well as how many stones are in the ring. Clarity measures if there are any defects inside the diamond, but these are usually invisible to the naked eye, so you don't have to worry so much about this, unless you want to go all-out with the ring. For cut, this is also something that matters only to diamond purists. If you ask your jeweler to see a ring in the G-I range, (which means that the stone wont be of as high quality as those in the D-F range,) you can save a substantial amount of money for rings that look almost identical. Color is also something you should think of. Generally, Blue or pink diamonds cost much more than white or yellow diamonds. Usually, a white diamond is the best option if you're not sure of what she would like. It's classic and flatters everybody.
The general rule is that an engagement ring should cost about 2 month's of the man's salary, but this has become somewhat of an antiquated idea. The best bet is to outline exactly what you can afford and not allow too much deviation from that number. There are plenty of beautiful rings that can be found if you go to the right place at the right time. Diamond wholesalers are a good idea if you're trying to get an idea of what it is she might like. They usually have every style and a variety of prices. These are usually located around other diamond wholesalers, and if your city has a jewelry district, start there first. You can also look online to see when jewelry stores are having sales and if you go to a mom-and-pop jeweler, you will have much more leeway in negotiating a reasonable price.
Your best option here is to take one of her trusted friends or a relative (sister, mother, cousin, etc.) with you to help pick out the ring. You will both have an idea of what kind of ring she would like, and you'll also have a woman there to try the ring on and see how it looks. They also provide invaluable advice on her taste, and it's more likely than not, that you soon-to-be-fiancée has already told her what kind of ring she likes and wants. You can also use you own observation by seeing what kind of jewelry she already owns. If she's simple and hardly wears any jewelry, a classic solitaire might be the best choice. If she's a bit more traditional, perhaps a 3-diamond ring. A princess-cut would be great for someone a little more whimsical and feminine. You get the picture—and don't hesitate to ask for help from the jeweler as well. They usually have years of experience and know what kind of style would suit a person, as well as steer you towards those in your budget.
Most men will have no idea what this is, and that's completely ok. Ring sizes aren't something that's brought up in polite conversation, anyway. But there are ways of finding out her ring size without giving away why you need it. One of the easiest ways to find out would be to ask a friend of hers to somehow bring up the subject and then to let you know. Or you could ask a trusted relative to go through one of her jewelry boxes and trace the inside of the ring on a piece of paper. If you take that to a good jeweler, they will almost always help you figure out her correct size.
No matter what you decide on in the end, a ring is just a ring. That diamond is just a rock. The most important aspect to remember about this experience is that the ring is just a symbol for your promise and love towards her. Be open to changes, differences of opinion, and a lot of shopping around. Don't let the stress of shopping for an engagement ring get to you. This is one of the most exciting and life-changing moments of your life. Remember to enjoy it.