So, you are thinking about getting engaged and buying an engagement ring?
Let me start by saying, congrats! Also, don’t get nervous about shopping for the perfect ring for your future fiance. It’s not as scary as you think it will be to find everything she’s ever dreamed of and you don’t have to spend a fortune either! Consider the following your “Official Man’s Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring.”
Here are a few tips that I used when buying my wife’s ring:
Tip #1 for Buying an Engagement Ring: Figure out a budget first!
A lot of people say that the key to buying a ring is the 4-C’s. Nope…wrong! It’s 5-C’s and the first one is “cost.” If you aren’t familiar with the other 4-C’s, we explain it all in our diamond guide. Another very helpful resource is the GIA.edu diamond guide.
Don’t try looking for something and then decide how much you want to pay. This is a sure-fire way to spending an equal amount of money on antacids and rogaine. The rule of thumb used to be 2-month’s salary is a good budget for a ring, but that is antiquated. A good budget is however much is comfortable to pay for a ring without sacrificing a future mortgage or selling a kidney. I decided that I would try to make an assertive effort to stick to a reasonable number. This was as important as not settling for anything less than the best for my wife.
Tip #2: Run Recon Missions
Go to some reputable jewelry stores in your area to figure out who to buy from. I know it can be a little awkward to tell a jewelry store clerk your budget, but just be honest. Trust me, they’ve heard numbers much less and much more, they need this info to help you. If the store has been around since 1923 like Gennaro Jewelers, they have sold their fair share of engagement rings and they will not judge you. In this stage, tell your jewelry consultant that you are just looking and just want to learn right now. You may get a few snooty salespeople during this process, this is a good thing! It means you are just thinning the herd. If a salesperson doesn’t want to spend the time to go over everything with you then you know you are in the wrong place. This is like no other purchase in your life, not even buying a car or house compares to this. You are buying the love of your life the most meaningful gift you’ll ever give and she’ll ever get. So don’t let anyone make you feel pressured, do your homework and get it right!
Tip #3: Get Help from Her Friends or Family
There is a good chance you have only received a small fraction of info from your beloved pre-wifey. She may have told you that she likes emerald-shaped diamonds or tiffany settings, this does not mean that you are doomed. This is useful knowledge, but just not enough, so turn to her sisters, cousins, and/or close friends for the rest. Ask them if she ever mentioned rings of celebrities that she liked. What I found out from my now-sister-in-law and my wife’s cousin is that my wife was quite specific to them about her dream ring. Score! Unfortunately, you may learn that her dream ring was J.Lo’s tapered baguette emerald ring (The Cris Judd one not Arod). I didn’t need to see a 10-carat diamond to freak out, Mr.Judd still spent over $100,000 on the ring he got her, which needless to say was out of my budget. Below you can see the giant meteor that Arod put on her finger. Good for him.
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Regardless of the intel that you get about the ring from her friends and family, try to base it in the real world. Now I knew the setting and the diamond cut. This meant now I could go shopping with a purpose outside of scoping out stores. I was officially shopping for her ring at this point. Another thing that her family can do is get her ring size for you. However, if you want to do it on your own, you could use a bar of soap and stick one of her rings on it to get an outline. Then have your jeweler measure that for you.
Tip #4: Use Only 2 or 3 of the 4’C When Buying a Diamond for Your Engagement Ring
You are now at that stage of buying an engagement ring, where you can use the 4-C’s. The 4-C’s are the cut, color, clarity, and carat. Again, if you don’t know what these are, please check out our diamond guide or GIA’s guide that I mentioned earlier. My advice is not to try to go all out with each characteristic. If you ever played a sports video game, imagine that you are creating a player and you only have so many attribute points for each category, otherwise, you’ll go over your budget. What I mean is that if you go for an ideal cut, you may have to sacrifice getting a clear or flawless or big diamond since that would blow up anyone’s wallet outside of Arod’s. You spend that Yankee’s money, buddy! Sorry, I’m a die-hard Mets fan so I can’t help this. I think the best thing to do with the 4-C’s is to first get info about what makes sense for the diamond shape. For me, emerald cut diamonds were tough since it meant that the shape didn’t have culet and wasn’t very brilliant. I quickly discovered to look primarily at the color and clarity.
My overall goal was to find a 1-carat diamond that was between F-I in color and VVS1-VS1 in clarity. These are good middle of the road characteristics and are still spectacular to the naked eye. Unless that wife of yours is pulling out a microscope each time she looks at that ring, you’re golden! Now for some other diamond shapes, you may have to sacrifice the color or clarity for cut and carat instead. It really depends on the diamond and honestly, you should speak to a gemologist or jewelry consultant about the best diamond to fit your budget.
Tip #5: Get a Quality Setting and a Skilled Jeweler
The fact is, not all settings are created equal and a trusted jeweler will know which one to go for. All you need is your budget and style, let them do the rest for you. Also, remember that if you get a low-grade metal, you are going to see a green finger and unhappy former fiance. The joy I felt after the ring was completed for me was incredible. I knew that this was only the start of the journey, but at least I started the right way. My final piece of advice is to enjoy every second of it and also don’t put the ring in her champagne glass, c’mon man you can do better than that!
If you want to get started immediately, visit Gennaro Jewelers and meet one of our jewelry consultants today! Our address is 410 Bedford Avenue, Bellmore Village, Long Island, New York. You can also either call 516-785-0134 or check out our RingBuilder app here. Once again, congrats in advance, we know you got this because you cared enough to do the research!