Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Choosing an Engagement Ring

Whether you are a jewelry person or not, most people (especially gentlemen) will make at least one purchase from a jewelry store in their lifetime. You guessed it, the engagement ring. Sometimes people refer to it as a bridal set, wedding ring, or proposal ring. Whatever the name, it's the ring with a center diamond (usually) and accompanied by a kneeling man (usually). It is also, often times, the first jewelry purchase the gentleman has ever made.

There are 5 questions one should be able to answer:

1. What metal does she usually wear?
yellow gold, white gold or platinum, rose or pink gold

two-tone or tri-color

2. Which diamond shape or cut does she like best?

3. How would you describe her style?

simple and traditional

antique or vintage



4. What size is her wedding finger (left ring finger next to the pinky finger)?
Blue Nile, a leading online retailer of jewelry, offers this useful ring measurement guide. Besides asking her directly or taking her to a jewelry store, you can do the following:

a. Ask her mom, sister, or best friend. The "surprise" effect, however, might be lost if the ladies talk so mum is the word.

b. Steal or borrow one of her rings, preferably one worn on the left ring finger, next to the pinky. You can take it to a local jeweler for sizing or you can use the ring measurement guide above.

c. If she is a heavy sleeper, you can take a piece of string and measure her left ring finger, and convert according to this diamonds.com guide.

d. If you completely do not know, it is best to get a standard size 6.

Rings with a wide band (5mm or larger) require 1/4 or 1/2 size larger than a thinner band (around 3mm). Another important consideration? Some people have hands that swell more than others depending on temperature or sodium intake. Be sure to measure hands at room temperature because fingers will swell in the summer heat and shrink in the winter or A/C cold.

5. How much do you want to spend?
Ah, so this is what it comes down to... In all honesty, it is best to have a budget because with emotional purchases, those strings can get tugged, especially if you have a very persuasive salesperson. Having a final figure in mind also helps you shop accordingly because $1,000 and $10,000 opens up different doors. The truth is that all doors have beautiful rings behind them. A good salesperson should be understanding, and if he or she pushes you too much, you should be comfortable telling them you would like to stay within your budget. If the jewelry store is willing to negotiate, a budget will also help with bargaining.

People often ask me what is the average amount. I would say most customers spend somewhere between $3,000 to $5,000. DeBeers recommends a figure equivalent to a three month salary. While a diamond is definitely an investment and can always be passed on to your children or grandchildren, the realities of a first home mortgage, wedding expenses, a honeymoon, etc will help you decide on the appropriate budget.

Any questions or thoughts would be wonderful!

1 comment:

Albert said...

This was a very useful article. Thanks for spending the time to write this!