Congratulations, you've found the ONE!!!
Now it's time to ask that all important question, but first there is a matter of a Ring...
You may be asking yourself, "Where do I begin?"
For the record, I have never personally shopped for an engagement ring, and it's hard to imagine a more significant and meaningful purchase! I have helped literally hundreds of men and couples find the perfect engagement ring! So here are a few words of my advice:
If you've read my previous posts you may notice a theme here. Your mother, sister, friend may know someone who knows/recommends a Jeweler. This is a great place to start! However, make sure to do a little reconnaissance work of your own, and work with the Jeweler that gives you the best "feeling." They should be extremely knowledgeable, able to explain the 4 C's in detail, as well as the intricacies of ring design, construction, and metal properties. Your Jeweler should be a GIA Graduate Gemologist or the store should have at least one on site.
2.) Educate Yourself.
Do some research so you have a knowledge base to better communicate with your Jeweler. Make sure to visit the websites for The Gemological Institute of America and American Gem Society. There is a lot of information on the web, some good, some misleading. Why not skip it and head straight to the experts?! The #GIA is the World's foremost authority on Diamonds and Gemstones. They are independent, not-for-profit and my Alma Mater. They work in conjunction with The AGS. I've posted their links at the bottom.
3.) Set Your Budget
Everyone has a budget, whether it's $300 or $300,000, it's best to have a general idea of what you want to spend. Be honest with yourself and your jeweler. There is no rule that says you need to spend 2 months salary, although this was a very successful and cleaver ad campaign by DeBeers. The amount you spend on an engagement ring should be what you feel comfortable with.
4.) Narrow Down A Style She Likes
Does your girlfriend have a pinterest board? I've found this to be a very helpful tool, and it's been a big help to me when men have brought in pictures of rings their significant others have "pinned." Do couples shop together? You bet they do! This is another great way to get a feel for her individual style. Mothers, sisters, friends can be of help as well, but beware! They can also hinder by imposing their own wants, tastes and beliefs onto your very special purchase. It's great to ask their opinion, but I find it's best to leave them at home. This ring is a symbol of your love, no one else's. And nobody knows her better then you! There is a reason you've decided to marry her.
5.) Be Realistic About Time Frame
Once you've picked a jeweler, educated yourself, narrowed down a budget and style, it's time for your jeweler to get to work. Some clients might find their jeweler has the perfect ring ready to go right out of the case! In my experience, more often then not, the ring and diamond are chosen separately.
Your jeweler will bring in a selection, usually around 3 stones, in the general size, shape and budget you've discussed. Once you find the right stone, it's important to be ready to jump on it. Jewelers typically have stones sent in for you to view, this is known as "memo." The jeweler doesn't own the stones, but one of their dealers does. The diamond dealer trusts the jeweler enough to loan them stones, and the dealer trusts the jeweler to return them ASAP if not sold.
Once the stone and it's mounting are chosen, it's time to set the diamond! If setting the stone is a simple job, and the jeweler already has the mounting appropriate for the size and shape of your stone, you can expect everything to be ready within a couple of hours to a couple of days. For more complex custom creations, or if the mounting needs to be special ordered, give your jeweler at least 6 weeks. You should expect to put half down, and pay the balance at the time of pick-up. When the ring is ready to be picked up , your jeweler should provide you with an insurance replacement appraisal. You will want to forward this to your insurance agent. Or, have them fax your agent. I'm always happy to do this for my clients!
A note about ring sizing: Don't worry if you don't know your girlfriend's finger size! Most rings come in an average size of 6 to 6.5. Your jeweler can size the ring up or down after you present her with the ring. If a couple shops together, I will make note of her size, but otherwise there is no point in guessing because it's almost always wrong. Not only are our hands slightly different sizes, our fingers can fluctuate in size depending on the season and time of day. It's best to have an experienced jeweler size her finger.
That was easy right?! This process can take a few days to a few months, so make sure to give yourself some time. Most importantly, have fun!!!
Hopefully this article has proven insightful and helpful! As always, feel free to send any questions and comments my way! Happy Fall! ~Lisa