Planning out your proposal can be stressful. Really stressful. And while you’re working hard to be sure she says yes, there’s one thing you’ll want to make sure is perfect for that moment – the diamond ring. But if this is your first time buying an engagement ring (let’s be honest, most of us don’t buy these things very often), getting started looking for one can be a confusing experience. Here are 8 ways you can avoid making an expensive mistake when buying an engagement ring.
Don’t go solo
You may feel pretty confident in your ability to do this on your own. You shouldn’t. Unless you’re already very familiar with how the diamond engagement ring market works, there’s a lot of unfamiliar territory for you to traverse before you can make an informed purchase. Talk to people – your parents, your friends (especially if they’re married), and even your girlfriend’s friends. Getting an outside opinion will do nothing but help you make a better choice.
Browse in secrecy
You don’t want to ruin the surprise by giving away your search history. Google is pretty smart with how it targets its advertisements, though, so if you share a computer, don’t be surprised if she starts seeing advertisements for engagement rings from all the websites you’ve been visiting. You can prevent that by browsing in private mode (also known as incognito mode), although that’s not 100% foolproof. The ultimate safety measure is to use a device she won’t associate with you at all, like a friend’s smartphone or a library computer.
Figure out what she likes
Chances are, you’ll hear a lot of different advice about what an engagement ring should and should not be. While it’s good to heed the general advice, your bride-to-be probably has a personal style that she prefers, and you don’t want to mess that up with a ring that clashes with what she wears. Take note of the colors she wears, as well as the size and style of the jewelry she already owns. You should also take a look at what she follows on social media. See if there are any brands or styles she already has picked out!
Know her ring size
Guys, don’t guesstimate. There are plenty of ways to sneakily find out her ring size without her ever knowing. Ask her friends if they know – or her relatives, if you’re feeling bold enough! You might even consider swiping one of her rings without her noticing and getting the size from that. If you really can’t figure it out, the average ring size for a woman is 6 to 6.5, so you can use that as a baseline.
Understand what makes a good diamond
There are 4 metrics that are used to judge the quality of a diamond: Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight. These qualities are referred to as the “4 Cs” of diamond quality. Each metric has its own form of measurement, so if you’re interested in learning how it works I’d recommend checking out this page for a more in-depth explanation. When looking at the grade of your diamond in these categories, you might be tempted to think that carat (or in other words, size) is the most important. While size is definitely important, the one you should pay the most attention to is the cut – that’s because a well-cut cut diamond is sure to sparkle!
Check out the certification
As I said earlier, knowing the 4 Cs is important in knowing how good your diamond is. So make sure that the appraisal came from a trustable source! There are plenty of appraisal groups to be aware of, but for quick reference, the most common ones are the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), AGS (American Gemological Society), EGL (European Gemological Laboratory), and IGI (International Gemological Institute).
Pay attention to the full package
We’ve been talking a lot about diamonds on this list, but make sure you don’t forget about the ring itself! The setting for your diamond can make or break the ring. You can consider a gaudy setting for your ring, or a smaller, more conservative style to draw attention to the gem. Whatever your choice, make sure it contributes to the ring instead of just being an afterthought.
Check out options for refunds and exchanges
You bought the perfect ring. It fits her style, you got it at a great price, and, most importantly, she said yes! But when you go to put it on… it’s just not right. Maybe it doesn’t fit, maybe it’s not the color she wanted, or maybe she just doesn’t like it. In any case, it’s not the end of the world – just as long as you have a return or exchange policy for the ring. You never know what might happen, so if worst comes to worst, make absolutely sure that you’ll be able change your ring out for another one before you buy it.