Some surveys indicate that December is the month most people choose to propose marriage to the person they love. Whether you plan to pop the question in December or another month, you need to know how to pick the right ring. Unless the special someone in your life has been dropping hints about what kind of size or cut they hope for, you'll need some help making the right choice. What follows are five tips to help you find that special ring.
Make sure the ring is the right size
You need to know what size to order so that the ring fits your fiancée's ring finger. You could directly ask her, but it would ruin the surprise.
You can begin by asking one of your fiancée's friends to find out. They may be able to pretend to want to borrow one of her rings for a special event and bring it to you so that you can show it to the jeweler. If there's no ring to borrow, your best bet is to buy a size that's on the larger side and to have it altered. It's far easier to resize a large ring down than it is to resize a small ring up.
Spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the four Cs of precious stone purchase
While diamonds are still the most popular stones for use in engagement rings, other stones are gaining ground, as well. Whatever kind of stone you may choose, you need to pay attention to the four Cs:
Carat: The carat of a stone is a measure of its weight. The center stone of the average ring weighs 1.2 carats. The other stones used in a ring usually weigh an additional half-carat, all together. You could choose to go with the average size or choose something bigger or smaller.
Cut: The cut of a stone may refer to its shape, or its ability to reflect light. A stone can be round, heart-shaped, pear-shaped, or oval-shaped. You can choose whatever shape you like. The sparkly quality of a stone determines much of its beauty. Many people refer to the Holloway Cut Advisor for guidance when determining the quality of a cut. It can be an inaccurate tool to use, however. It's a much better idea to simply hold a stone under bright light, and judge its ability to sparkle by yourself.
Color: Colorless diamonds tend to be the most prized stones. Diamonds with impurities have color and are graded on a scale that runs from D to Z. Stones graded D are colorless, and those graded Z have the most color.
Clarity: A clear stone should have no chips, dents, or other flaws. Poor-quality diamonds have flaws, blemishes, or inclusions that can be seen with the unaided eye. They also tend to be less brilliant and to be less durable. Flawless diamonds are graded FL. Diamonds with the smallest blemishes are graded VVS1 or VVS2.
Choose the right kind of setting
Once you have the right stone to use in your ring, you need to think about the ring setting. There are many choices. You can choose among a tension setting, a pave, scallop, channel, or other settings. You also need to choose the kind of precious metal that the ring will be made of. In addition to regular gold, you have choices such as rose gold, white gold, palladium, and platinum.
Be sure not to overreach
Jewelry companies promote the idea that you should spend on a ring what you make in two months. If you feel that you can't actually afford to spend two months' salary on a ring, however, you mustn't feel pressured to do it. You should spend whatever you feel is right. The average engagement ring costs about $5,500. You can consider financing the ring at the jewelry store, but you need to remember that if you are unable to make a payment in a given month, the interest rate could be as high as 25 percent of the cost of the ring.
If you feel pressure to spend excessively on the ring, there is a study that you should be aware of. A research paper by Emory University, titled 'A Diamond is Forever' and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration, has found that high-priced engagement rings are linked to short-lived marriages.
Be sure to insure the ring
While it may not be very romantic to think about what happens if someone loses the ring, it's sensible to consider the possibility. You can either buy standalone engagement ring insurance or buy insurance as a part of your existing homeowner's insurance policy or renter's policy.
You need to make sure that the insurance that you get includes coverage against both theft and loss. Should you need to make a claim on your policy, it can help to have the purchase receipt and the purchase certificate from a gemologist, handy. It can help ask the insurance company about what other kinds of documents they need to process a claim. It's also important to remember that loss of a ring doesn't necessarily have to involve loss of the entire article. Stones can work themselves loose from their settings, and fall off, as well. It's a good idea to have the ring checked by a jeweler twice a year.
Finally, you need to remember that as, important as it is to find and buy the right ring, your future spouse is marrying you, and not the ring. If you can't afford an expensive ring, it shouldn't really matter. It is the life that you live together that really counts.