You remember the first time you saw her.
It may have been love at first sight. It may not have been, but you felt that strange “something” when she walked into the room. Or maybe you were “just friends”… until you weren’t anymore.
Whatever the case, your heart is telling you that she’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and what’s more, your head is in agreement. If either had hands, they’d be high-fiving. So the next step is the ring.
It’s likely you’ve been informed already that the ring matters. It REALLY matters.
And we know there is a rather (ahem)… sizable selection of engagement rings for women to be found. But fear not! Your perfect engagement ring is out there. And this guide we’ve put together will teach you exactly how to choose the right engagement ring for your future Mrs.
Learning how to choose the right engagement ring for women is not as hard as you think.
While it’s not unusual for couples to ring shop together, there’s something beautiful and romantic about going it alone. That whole rugged venturing into unchartered territory thing. Kudos to you!
So be not overwhelmed, explorer, by the vast sea of engagement rings for women. This list of considerations will help you navigate any stormy seas.
Don’t worry. You’ve got this.
1. Engage in Engagement Ring Espionage
So you’re going the traditionalist route and looking to surprise her with a ring she’ll love. The first rule, pay attention.
Notice her jewelry preferences. For example, does she prefer silver/platinum to yellow gold? Is she more inclined toward vintage, classic or modern jewelry? How does she feel about diamonds?
Give yourself a few weeks to watch and take mental notes. (Yes, mental. Written notes could be intercepted.)
Also, consider getting some backup – in the form of her best friends and/or her siblings. They can be hugely helpful further down the road.
And by all means, swear them to secrecy.
2. Where Do You Go Now?
Once you’ve gathered the important information from your espionage activities, you can start your jeweler search.
Ask married friends and family members who currently sport engagement rings where they went. If that doesn’t generate any leads, check for stores with an industry organization affiliation. Jewelers accredited by the Jewelers of America or members of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) are good places to start.
Always find out what a store’s return policy is too. You want to be able to exchange the stone if it’s not exactly the one she wants. (Don’t start sweating. This is a just in case.)
And finally, if you’re working from a humanitarian bent, you may consider shopping at jewelers who sell only conflict-free diamonds and who adhere to a strict, zero-tolerance policy toward conflict diamonds. Be sure they deal with only reputable diamond suppliers who participate in the System of Warranties and follow the guidelines of the Kimberley Process.
3. The Engagement Ring Erector Set
So now you’re well-informed on your soon-to-be fiancé’s preferences, gathered your band of secret-keeping sidekicks and picked out the jeweler.
So, here’s the thing. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll happen upon the ring as you walk into the store. Perfect. Because now you get to do the cool part. You get to build the perfect engagement ring.
You will need to consider a few things in the construction:
“The 4 Cs”
If the stone is going to be a diamond, you need to know these four characteristics of the stone in regards to quality. They are Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat Weight.
- The more colorless a diamond is, the closer to perfection it is. When purchasing a diamond, less color means a higher quality stone.
- Diamonds with more clarity and the fewest amount of flaws such as inclusions and blemishes are considered more valuable.
- A diamond’s cut grade is proportionate with how well it interacts with light. The higher the grade, the more dazzling the diamond.
- Diamonds are measured in carats, so the carat weight of your diamond has a huge effect on its price. (The phrase karat with a “k” refers to the purity of gold.)
A qualified jeweler will help you better determine these four characteristics.
While cut refers to the angles of the facets of the stone, shape refers to the actual geometry of the stone. Is it square, oval, round, etc.?
The metal framework which will hold the stone you’ve chosen can set the tone for her special engagement ring.
When it comes to the band, there are a variety of metals to choose from.
Platinum is super durable. It’s also hypoallergenic so it’s a good choice if she has sensitive skin.
Gold is softer and more diverse. It comes in a variety colors, including white, yellow, rose, and even green.
Palladium sounds like a roller skating rink but is actually a metal in a hue that is similar to platinum, but grayer.
This is optional, of course. But having an inscription ensures that her ring will be one-of-a-kind and right from your heart.
4. You Can Budge on Your Budget
The old advice was that you should spend two months salary on a woman’s engagement ring.
The new advice says to simply buy the best ring you can without going into major debt or selling an organ.
If your wife-to-be leans toward the extravagant while your budget leans in the other direction, that’s workable. Maybe get a ring with a slightly larger surface area. It won’t be as impactful, but a one-carat ring will look much larger if the stone isn’t set as deep.
If you’d rather keep the look of the stone intact, here’s a helpful tip. Buying just shy of the next carat – for example, opting for a 1.8 instead of a 2 – can garner a savings of nearly 20%.
As for clarity, buying on the shyer side can still give you plenty of sparkle. Many defects are not even visible to the naked eye.
5. Get It in Writing
This one is no joke.
Diamonds that are one carat or larger should be accompanied by a diamond grading report issued by an independent gemological association such as the GIA or the American Gem Society.
You might also get a “fingerprint” of your ring on the bill of sale, which would include the stone’s 4 Cs, shape, dimensions, and any cosmetic enhancements.
If there is anything else that affects its value, i.e. if it was made by a famous designer, is an antique or period piece, or is handmade or custom-designed, this should also be noted.
Get it on paper, man.
6. Now Sit Back (or Pace the Floor) for Several Weeks
Now that you know how to choose the right engagement ring, keep in mind that once you order the ring, there will be a waiting time. It could potentially take up to six weeks to arrive, maybe longer if you’re having it custom designed. But it will be worth the wait.
Just know that if her best friends and/or siblings are starting to champ at the bit to spill the beans, you may need to resort to bribery. Chances are, they’re almost as excited for her to get it as you are.
Congratulations and good luck! She’s going to love it.