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How to Get the Engagement Ring You Want

It can be pretty hard sometimes to sit back and let your man make an important decision that could affect you for the rest of your life. We’re not talking about the proposal here; we’re talking about the ring! Since you’re the one who has to wear it (proudly?) for the next several decades, it definitely behooves you to ensure that you get the one you want. But how can you impart that information without making him feel like you’re pushing? Here are a few ways.

1. Drop hints. Sometimes men can be pretty thick, so you might have to be persistent. But by leaving web pages with rings open on your desktop (so that he’ll see them), strategically placing photos of rings where he’ll find them (with post-it notes detailing what you like), and even pointing out your faves in diamond-store windows while you’re out, you can hopefully give him the clues he needs to pick the perfect ring.

2. Enlist the aid of other women. Traditionalists may not be into picking the ring with their man. In this case, simply tell your female friends or family members what you like so that they can offer advice when your boyfriend is ready to pop the big question.

3. Tell him you want to design it yourself. If you’re a bit bolder, you could let your man know that you’re not pushing, but when the time comes, you want a custom-made creation to wear on your ring finger. This will not only let him off the hook for choosing a ring, it will also ensure that you get exactly what you want (and that it’s one-of-a-kind).

4. Use an heirloom. If you have an heirloom ring that’s just perfect, and you and your boyfriend have been discussing marriage, hand it over to him to use for the proposal. Just leave the details and the timing up to him, so he still has the opportunity to sweep you off your feet in his own way.

5. Buy it yourself. This is a very modern sentiment, but more and more girls are opting to get the ring of their dreams after the proposal (and on their own terms). If this is your plan, you should let your man know so that he doesn’t end up buying a ring you’ll never wear (that he is unable to return).

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Who Should Decide on the Engagement Ring?

In most cases, it’s ultimately up to the man to decide on the engagement ring he will use to propose to his future wife. But unless a girl is lucky enough to find a man who has not only exquisite taste in jewelry, but also understands her taste in jewelry, she could end up with a ring that doesn’t suit her at all (and a big dilemma over whether or not to tell her new fiancé that she wants something else). Although tradition demands that the ring be a surprise, a lot of modern women are opting to have some input during the selection process. Some of them are even going so far as to point out the exact ring they want. And while this takes a lot of pressure off the prospective groom, it can also make him feel somewhat excluded. So who should really decide on the ring?

The truth is, the woman has to wear the thing for the next 50 years (or more). So she should get what she wants. And while most women are fairly particular about their style, they could have a number of potential rings in mind. So if the man wants to do the choosing but still get something his fiancé will love, he needs to peg her particular style. In a way, it’s more like a collaboration than a single person making a decision (which both parties should get used to since that’s what makes a good marriage work).

But how can a man figure out his fiancé’s style? There are a few ways. First he can look at her jewelry collection and get a feeling for what she likes. He may also ask her to mark pages in a catalog, bookmark websites, or even go to a diamond retailer. Of course, this may tip her off that he’s preparing to pop the big question. Another option is to ask female relatives and friends for help. If a man is sneaky, he might get away with having her pick the ring without even knowing what he’s up to (although most girls are pretty savvy on this score).

In short, the man will almost always choose the ring (although some modern couples discuss the prospect of marriage, including the ring, before the proposal). But if he’s smart, he’ll find a way to suss out what she wants. Either that or he should make sure that the retailer will allow him to trade in the ring he buys (at full value) for one that his fiancé wants (and let her know that the decision is hers).

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What to do if You Lose Your Engagement Ring

In the event that you lose your engagement ring, you don’t want to find yourself without recourse to recover the value. Whether it goes down the drain, you leave it in a public restroom while washing your hands, it is taken from your home or your person during a robbery, or it simply slips off somewhere along the way, you want to be sure that you don’t lose both the ring and the cash value in the bargain. For this reason, it is important to get insurance as soon as possible once you have the ring on your finger (or even earlier if you’re fiancé plans to hold it for a while before presenting it).

The first step is to have the ring appraised. Regardless of what your honey paid for your engagement ring, you’ll need certification papers from an appropriate source in order to relay the value of the ring to your insurance company. Plus, the ring may be worth more or less than what was paid for it. And it’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion, just in case it turns out that the rock in question is not what was agreed upon when your fiancé purchased the ring. An outside appraisal is quite simply a good idea, even if you buy from a trusted source. From there you simply turn the paperwork over to your insurance provider so that they can begin loss-coverage on an item that is near and dear to your heart.

But what if you lose the ring before your insurance coverage kicks in? This could present a real problem. With no insurance in place, you lack the ability to recover the value of your ring in the event of loss or theft. This means your only recourse is to find the ring. So your first step is to retrace your steps. Try to remember the last time you saw it or were wearing it and go from there. It’s possible that you just set it down somewhere (like on a sink) and it is still there. If you know where you lost it, you could also see if the location has a lost-and-found; maybe someone turned it in. If all else fails, you’ll have to advertise (with flyers or in local publications to see if perhaps it was found and taken home).

If your engagement ring was stolen, you can file a police report. And if it went down the drain, it may be stuck in a bend, in which case a plumber could try to find it. But the odds of recovering your ring once it is gone are pretty slim, so your best bet is to get insurance as quickly as possible.

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Upgrading the Diamond in Your Engagement Ring

Let’s face it, ladies; not all of us get the engagement ring of our dreams the first time out. This doesn’t mean that you should gun for another engagement (or a man who better understands your gemological sensibilities). Certainly it can be difficult to look at your ring finger, day after day, and dislike the gem that is supposed to bring you such joy. But there is something you can do about it, and it doesn’t involve a divorce! By simply upgrading your diamond, you can have the ring that you’ve always wanted and keep the man you love.

Of course, you have to go about it in the right way. Your happy hubby can soon turn sour when you openly dis his gift of love and devotion. He probably spent a lot of time poring over settings and stones to choose the one that he thought would suit you best, so he might be understandably offended when you want to cast it off. But there are a couple of ways to get your way while still making your partner feel good about his purchase. Find a way to compliment something you like about the ring even as you pursue your ultimate goal of exchanging the stone. Tell him the setting is absolutely perfect for showcasing a larger diamond. Or say that you want to put the current stone into a matching bracelet once you remove it from the ring. You can make it clear that you love every part of the ring and that your goal is to spread the love, so to speak.

Or you could be honest. Just say that when he bought the ring, he didn’t know you as well as he does now. The two of you can even go diamond shopping together so that he can have some input on the new shape of your engagement ring. You could also suggest the upgrade as an anniversary gift (he should be happy to get a little help with ideas on this score). In short, it’s not too hard to get the upgraded diamond you want for your engagement ring without stepping on anyone’s toes in the process. You simply need to know how to handle your man and you’ll soon have the rock you’ve been craving to decorate your third finger.

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What to Look for in the Cut of a Diamond

When it comes to the four Cs of diamond buying (cut, color, clarity, and carat), most people seem to feel that size is the most important aspect of the selection process. However, it is the cut of the diamond that can have an effect on each of the other points of consideration. For example, a large table (the flat surface on top of the stone) can showcase even the most minute inclusions. And that’s just one way the cut is important to the overall quality of the stone. So before you settle on a diamond, think about how different cuts can affect the overall purchase.

The first thing to know is that there are various facets of a stone that will differ from cut to cut. The portions of a diamond that are important are the table, the crown (the height of the top portion of the diamond), and the pavilion (the depth of the bottom portion of the stone). The girdle (where the crown and pavilion meet) and the cutlet (the small surface on the very bottom of the stone) also play a role in both the brilliance and overall quality of the stone, but they’re not as important (unless they are badly bungled). The exact measurements of these portions of the stone are going to determine whether or not it sparkles, displays flaws, exhibits color, and so on, so you need to consider which cuts emphasize different traits.

An emerald-cut diamond, for example, tends to have the largest table, meaning it requires an exceptionally flawless stone to pull off. The same goes for an asscher cut. If the clarity or color is off, it will be more pronounced in these cuts. Round cuts, on the other hand, tend to exhibit the most brilliance, but this can be reduced if the stone is cut too shallow (as in, a small pavilion depth). Pear- and heart-shaped diamonds, while unique, may reflect light strangely because they are not entirely symmetrical. And cushion, oval, and marquise cuts simply aren’t very deep, but they tend to be less expensive because they contain fewer carats.

So regardless of the cut you choose, it will have an impact on the beauty of your stone. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should discount certain cuts because of the potential for problems, it just signifies a need to take care when choosing the cut of your stone. Just be sure to look for any flaws that may be more apparent due to a particular shape.

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What to Avoid When Buying Diamond Jewelry Online

All in all, purchasing diamond jewelry online is a great way to find the most options, save a ton of money, and avoid the ever-present upsell you’ll find in retail stores. However, not all online vendors are entirely scrupulous in their dealings. Let’s face it: the worldwide web is the wild west of the modern era, a lawless no-man’s land in which you’ll find both honest purveyors of goods along with those unsavory souls who would rob their Granny for a dime. In short, you need to use some common sense in order to protect yourself from the latter type of character. Here are just a few things to avoid when buying your diamond jewelry from an online retailer.

1. Prices that are too high or too low. If you pay too much online, you simply aren’t exercising due diligence. You need to price check if you want to find a good deal. On the other hand, you probably want to avoid prices that seem too low, as well. No one can afford to sell diamonds for less than they paid, so if the cost is too low, you’re likely being sold a bill of goods, so to speak.

2. Perfect diamonds. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Flawless diamonds are not only rare, they are impossible (unless the stones are lab-created). Some vendors may call diamonds flawless with the understanding that flaws are not visible to the human eye, but even if that is the case, it’s still a patently false statement. So avoid any site that claims to have perfect stones.

3. Unsecured ordering. If you do any online shopping at all, you should be aware that unsecured ordering means your sensitive information (credit card number, billing info, etc.) is not protected from prying eyes. So unless the website you’re ordering from has the lock icon (complete with security info), you should shop elsewhere.

4. Lack of certification. One thing that any diamond dealer on the up-and-up will offer is a certificate to verify the authenticity of your purchase. If this is missing, then you should think twice before buying from the vendor.

5. No returns. When it comes to buying diamonds online, you should always have the option to return your purchase if it isn’t what you want (since you can’t really see or touch it until it arrives). A 30-day money-back guarantee is pretty standard. This should give you plenty of time to get an independent appraisal to ensure quality.

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Why Diamond Jewelry is a Great Investment

Did you know that in World War II, many people were able to escape Nazi Germany by trading their diamonds for safe passage? In fact, many wars see people using diamonds, which retain their value even when currency has gone belly up, as a means of survival. Although it is both gratifying and frightening to think that one day your diamond jewelry could actually save your life, it is just one example of why investing in diamonds could be a great idea. However, there are certainly more practical reasons to do so.

For one thing, it is an investment in the future of your family, both literally and figuratively. With the recession ongoing and the value of the dollar dropping, it can be hard for families today to make ends meet. But even when cash has become devalued to the point that you simply can’t stretch it as far, your diamond jewelry will still fetch a pretty good price. And although women no longer require dowries in order to wed, it can’t hurt to come into a marriage with a box of heirloom jewelry. At the very least, you might end up wearing a really great engagement ring (thanks to Grandma) that is far nicer than the one you and your fiancé could afford.

In addition, diamonds are extremely durable and lasting where other commodities or investments might not be. For example, silverware, cars, and even housing cannot retain the same value over time. They are subject not only to wear and tear, but also to the height of the market. As we have all recently witnessed, housing prices can drop even more quickly than they rise. Not so with diamonds. There is always a market for these gorgeous stones. And what about investing with the stock market? Stocks fluctuate, and you can lose your shirt just as easily as you can make a fortune. The value of your diamonds may not increase significantly year upon year, but they will always be worth at least what you paid for them because the supply is finite.

In short, you have every reason to invest in diamonds and you’d be hard pressed to think of a reason not to. They are durable, portable, versatile, and always valuable. So even if you’re only looking to pass them on to future generations, you will be making an investment in your family by purchasing diamond jewelry.

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78-Carat Diamond Goes to Auction

Although the thought of diamond mining might automatically bring African operations to mind, there are actually quite a few Canadian mines producing stones for the world market. And one of them, the Ekati Mine in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (owned largely by BHP Billiton Canada, Inc.), has produced a whopper of a gem. The 78-carat rough diamond goes up for auction today (auspiciously, Valentine’s Day, a holiday that has long been kind to the diamond industry) and it’s anyone’s guess what the high bid might be on “the most significant diamond” (according to Ekati communications leader Alexander Legaree) to come from the mine in the last 13 years.

The stone has been dubbed the “Ekati Spirit” in reference to the spirit of the people of the North, and indeed, the mine operates just 200 km south of the Arctic Circle. The press, however, has mainly referred to the spectacular find as simply the Ekati Diamond, a name that is more likely to stick after sale. The stunning gemstone is pretty amazing even in its rough state. It appears colorless and seems to have few or no flaws towards the center (at least to the naked eye). Once it is cut and polished, it may be ranked amongst some of the top diamonds in the world.

As for what it will cost to own this dazzling rock, the authorities seem undecided. Although Ekati brought in several appraisers for the task of determining what the stone might go for at auction (or simply to get some idea of the starting bid), none of the jewelers consulted would offer an estimate on the diamond’s value. But the auction house in Antwerp, Belgium should have no trouble assisting in this matter. Having likely moved plenty of gemstones in their time, they will no doubt be able to come up with a fair starting bid to get the action going on this rare bit of bling.

And Ekati and BHP Billiton are bound to make out like bandits. A stone of this size is not only rare, but becoming rarer. With only a finite amount of diamond deposits residing within our reach in the Earth’s crust, finds like this one are few and far between, which makes this stone a pretty sought after commodity. Despite the recession, people with money to spend will come out of the woodwork to purchase this particular stone. And Ekati looks to get a sum in the multi-millions for this diamond, if past auctions are any indication.

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Does Size Really Matter?

There are certain times when size matters immensely. You’d rather be in a big truck than a tiny convertible in the case of a driving accident. Hiking the hill behind your house is a lot easier than tackling Mt. Whitney. And a California King gives you plenty of room to stretch out, unlike the cramped twin bed you and your honey tried to snuggle up in during your college days. Ladies, you could probably think of plenty of other examples, but let’s just leave it at that. The real question is: does size matter when it comes to your engagement ring? And the answer is a resounding YES!

Of course, you may be thinking that size only matters if the rock is too small. But this simply isn’t true. The engagement ring can also fall into the category of being too big, which is equally problematic. What must a guy think of your values if he buys you a ring that so big you can barely lift your hand? A man who loves you will purchase a ring that is both beautiful and fitting for the occasion, one that won’t make you look ostentatious or have you worrying about being burgled every time you walk down the street. If your guy gives you a ring that is over-the-top ginormous, it could be a sign that he assumes you’re only in it for the money (and he’s okay with that). Any man who views women this way may not make for the best mate, so that’s something to consider.

On the other hand, you don’t want the ring from the Cracker Jacks box or something that you need a microscope to view. Sure, you don’t expect your man to max out his credit cards and go into bankruptcy to secure your “I do”, but with online diamond retailers offering amazing prices, he should be able to spring for something sizeable enough to be seen by the naked eye. In truth, there is a basic guideline for ring-buying and it is that a man spends three months’ worth of salary on it.

Of course, this could lead to vastly different ring purchases for a woman dating a lawyer versus one dating a waiter, for example. But purely in terms of size, you should look for something that is between one and three carats. And if your man wants to spend more money, simply insist that the diamond be of the highest quality. This way you can have a beautiful ring without feeling like you need a piece of locking luggage to cart it around.

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Diamond Pendants for Bridesmaids

Every bride frets over what to give as a bridesmaid gift. You want it to be something special that suits the girl who receives it, but it can be difficult to find something that works for everyone (especially if you have multiple attendants). And with other wedding plans taking up the majority of your time and attention, you really can’t spare the energy to select individual or personalized gifts for each bridesmaid. On top of that, you want to choose something that not only signifies how much you appreciate their friendship and the role they’ll play in your impending nuptials, but also offers endless utility. To that end, you really can’t go wrong with the gift of diamonds.

While earrings are nice, not all women have pierced ears (and some need specialized metals for sensitive skin). And diamond rings are definitely out (for obvious reasons). Bracelets could be an option, but they’re bound to be a little outside your price range and you may have an issue with the sizing. So that pretty much narrows the field down to diamond necklaces, and in this respect, pendants are the way to go.

For starters, by giving them each a diamond pendant, you’ll ensure that they have matching accessories for your big day (and pieces that complement their bridesmaid dresses, to boot). Alternately, you could elect to get them each a different style as a way to give them the same gift (easy for you) while still keeping each one unique (to make them feel special). Further, can you think of any woman who wouldn’t want to wear a diamond pendant? Probably not. And of course, they might not have any nice accessories to pair with their dresses for the occasion, so you would solve that little problem, as well.

There are a number of gifts that would be suitable to give your bridesmaids, but the timeless offering of a classic diamond pendent is never a mistake. It’s not only an easy item to find, you can also save a ton of money by purchasing online (while still leaving your bridesmaids with the impression that you splurged on them). It’s a win-win situation that will keep your wedding party happy and ensure that everyone standing up for you looks as gorgeous and radiant as you feel when you announce, “I do!”