Put a ring on it: How to buy a beautiful engagement ring

Holidays are primetime for popping the question with an engagement ring. Buying a diamond can be intimidating—but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re shopping together or on your own, here are some guidelines to make the engagement ring process as easy as getting down on one knee.

Engagement ring checklist

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the standard for all things diamond, has the following tips on buying an engagement ring. By the way, the GIA site is one of the best resources for learning about diamonds; be sure to visit it.

  1. Know how much you want to spend. Heard about the 2- or 3-month rule (spending that amount of your take-home pay)? It might have worked decades ago, but don’t go by that now. Look at your own income and expenses and make sure you’ll be comfortable with what you’re spending. Have a number in mind and tell the jeweler, so they can steer you to stones in your price range.
  2. Do your homework. The more you know, the better consumer you’ll be. Every diamond should come with a listing of its 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight). Each C has a different impact on a diamond’s cost, so get a sense of which is most important to you and your fiancé. For instance, you might choose a larger stone and compromise on color.
  3. Find a jeweler you trust and feel comfortable with. Ask family and friends for a recommendation. A good jeweler can be a patient partner, explaining the 4Cs and helping you pick the right stone and setting.
    • Check on the return policy just in case your fiancé wants something different.
    • Get a grading report on the diamond from a reputable agency like the GIA, so you can check the quality of your purchase.

If you’re buying an engagement ring for someone…

  1. Know her ring size. Yes, you can have the ring re-sized, but part of the joy of the moment is slipping it on her finger. See if you can sneak a ring that she already wears and trace it on a piece of paper. The GIA recommends getting one a little larger, since it’s easier to size down than up.
  2. Understand her taste in jewelry. Does she wear more yellow gold or white gold/silver? Delicate or bold pieces? And, has she left hints? Have you both looked in a jewelry store window and she’s oohed and ahhed at a particular ring/stone?
  3. Make sure you can return the ring for a different style. (See #4 above.)

After you buy the engagement ring…

After the first calls to your families to break the news, make your next call to your insurance agent for a rider to your existing policy or a separate policy. And make sure you have an appraisal to give the agent. Call me for the appraisal at (617) 304-0174; it’s one of the simplest ways to make sure your beautiful diamond is protected.

Happy holidays, and congratulations on your special event! Aimee


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