I just recently celebrated five years of marriage to my beautiful wife Lori in September of this past year. Marriage is a great thing and one of those things that God intended for man to populate the Earth. Looking at this topic made me recall when I was debating asking her to be my life partner and wife. I am writing this guide to help out some guys who may not always have an idea of how to start the process of buying an engagement ring.
First thing is the obvious. You find a girl, make sure you love her and vice versa and that you want to spend your life with her. It is a good idea to make sure she is not materialistic as money is a common theme over why couples fight. Now some people I know have said they will not buy a ring until they are married a certain number of years. That is a good idea in theory, but not very traditional and most women would not go for that. There are also some couples I have heard that agree to get a cubic zirconia ring until they can afford another one. You would need a very great woman for her to go for that, but I am sure that happens more often than not with the economy in the shape it is in today. Can anyone say swiss cheese?
So with that out of the way here are some tips. First off, you need to decide how much money you want to spend so you don’t overextend yourself. There has been a common knowlege theory that an engagement ring should cost two months salary. I personally believe money does not buy happiness and that is ludicrious. There are several deals that can be found out there. Sometimes people will actually inherit a ring from a family member. This is not bad, but I think most people would want their own memories and not someone elses. Also with over 50% of marriages failing you would want to make sure you get it back. As far as price goes buy what you can afford. If you have a lady demanding a two carat ring you may want to run, but that is just my opinion. I teases my wife for a bit that she was going to get 1/8 carat diamond, but did get her a 2/3 carat diamond that she loved and cost me less than lots of people spend on a quarter carat ring.
The setting of the ring is simple. That is the metal that is around the ring. Some people like gold ( various carats like 10k, 14k, 20k) or platium. I have not heard of many settings in silver. You also can get a solitaire, cluster, or mutliple stone ring. My advice is going to focus on the solitaire. A cluster is basically a bunch of chips of diamonds that are put together to look bigger than it is. A mutliple stone ring will have the main stone in the middle an either smaller diamonds or other stones like rubies on the sides. I was never big on them. When me and the boss ( my pet name for the wife) I will get her a three diamond ring for the past, present and future.
Some things to know about diamonds. Basically you have the size, color, clarity, and cut. The cut is simple that is the basic shape. There are various shapes. i have found round and princess cut to be the most simple to deal with when I was shopping. The carat is basically the weight. This can have various ranges such as 1/8 carat, 1/5 carat or even a full carat. Some will even be denoted with decinals instead such as 1/5 or .50. Clarity relates to imperfections under the diamond and blemishes. These are usually not real noticable, but these are what jewlers are looking for with the loop they put up to their eye. The less imperfections the diamond has the more expensive it typically will be. Finally color refers to the color of the diamond. There are diamonds that are rare and pink and expensive, but for our purposes I am just going to focus on standard diamonds. The standard diamond will range from colorless and almost transparent to a light yellow. The more yellow in the diamond the less valuable and high quality it is considered to be. Often there may be one spot that has a bit of yellow that is hardley noticeable and that is how you find your deals. Now that we know a bit about diamonds lets talk about ways to get them.
One thing most people do is go to those highly overpriced stores at the mall. You will typically pay top dollar for these or superstores like Tiffany and co. You can find used rings on everyplace from craigslist.org, ebay and the local paper to pawnshops. If this is all someone can afford there is no shame, but I think it is a good idea to form you own memories. Often if you are buying someone elses engagment ring the union probably did not work. That is a bit of bad luck in the ring to me. I am a bit superstitious, but so are lots of other people. You then can start looking for new. You can go to the mall if you like, but you will probably spend way too much money. You also can check out discount stores like walmart and k-mart. Typically some of their stuff is not bad, I had seen rings there that unless you use a magnifying glass look just fine. Most people wont examine your Fiance’s ring off her finger so as long as it is nice and real, why worry about the name of the store? The next step up quality wise and price are your Sears and JC Penny stores. You also can find a good buy here. We actually got our wedding rings at JC Penny’s and everyone loves them and they were $100 less for the set than at one of those mall stores. Another good place to look is club stores like BJ’s Wholesale club. These compare pretty favorably with the rings in the Mall shops like Kay. They are a bit cheaper and are of very similar quality. You also can look at an online store. There are several out there. SOme are on ebay. The rings are new and basicaly you just have someone trying to save a few bucks by not having a store front. Just about anything you buy is cheaper online than a store front. You can enter creative terms in search engines to find them. Some like discount diamonds, cheap engagement rings, and the like might find you a good site. I would check the return policy and pay by credit card in the event that something goes wrong and if you get the ring online make sure to have a jewler in your area check it out.
This is what I did. I checked all the above avenues and either did not like anything I had seen, or could not afford the stuff that I did. I ended up going through an ebay store called Diamandgenic ( I think). I got my wife a .668 carat diamond tha was very clear and the clarity flaws were not noticeable unless looking with a magnifying glass. The setting was 14k gold but only had four prongs. I wanted to insure it was stable so I did take it to a jewler to have some extra prongs held. I took the ring to a family friend who was a jewler and he told me it was a very nice ring and he siad that I got a great deal. Lets say I spent less than $600 on a ring that I have seen several over $1,500 that do not look a bit better unless you are a professional. The wife loved it and was really happy. All her friends were impressed. Not that I care, but I think it was nice to show her friends she did not get a little chip. I did tell her if that was all I could afford that is all she would have gotten.
Those are my tips and I hope you like them. Here is the story of my proposal. This will sound funny, but it is not a joke at all. I really did this. I was planning to take my wife to a nice place to eat and then propose. After our dinner at McDonalds I got to thinking. If she turned me down that would be a waste of a good meal. I then decided I was going to ask her that night while I had the nerve. This is part since I have the ring three months before asking and thought about it numerous times. I had my nerve up it was now or never. We got to church were she had chior practice. I started talking to her. I told her that I had been thinking for awhile and that I could not be her boyfriend anymomre. She started to cry thinking I was breaking up with her. I then pulled out the ring and told her that “I think I will be your husband if you will have me”. She then started crying more and said yes. I then handed her the ring and said “here baby. Put this on”. She proceded to hit me and told me to put it on. It was about a size and a half too small, but she got it on there. She said that was a unique proposal and always likes sharing that with people. The next night I took her out for the nice dinner since I knew she was going to be my wife.