1. Set Your Budget. The standard rule of thumb is about two months’ salary, though some jewelers’ finance packages may help you up the ante on this. The bottom line — know how much your budget can handle before you start shopping and then stick to your budget no matter what.
2. Get The Facts. Before you start, learn all you can about diamonds and all of your choices (store bought; custom-made; modified family keepsake, etc.). “Be knowledgeable,” says Gary Baker, President of Beverly Hills Jewelers. “The more research someone does, the happier they are with their purchase.” Search the Internet, consult with a trusted jeweler, or browse through magazines. Memorize the Four C’s (see insert) and use them as your guide to find the right ring. Remember that a smaller, quality diamond is a better investment than a large, dull stone.
Also take into account your fiancé’s style. Things to consider are the way she dresses, her lifestyle (a physically active00 bride needs a sturdier ring), and any hints or comments she’s made regarding her preference. Since she’s the one who will actually be wearing the ring, it’s important to follow her lead. “One of our client’s gave his girlfriend, who did a lot of work with her hands, engagement earrings,” says Rejena Carrreas, Vice President of Carreras, Ltd. “They were Hearts of Fire diamonds and she was absolutely thrilled.”
When you’re ready to buy a ring, do some comparative shopping. “Many times you’ll find the exact same ring for a variety of prices,” says Baker, “so it’s important to shop around.” Knowing what’s on the market will also give you an edge with any negotiating you may need to do.
3. Make Your Selection. Congratulations, you’re now ready to choose your ring! When making your selection, be sure to take any time factors (shipping, custom designs, engraving, etc.) into consideration so the ring will be ready on the date you’ve chosen to propose.
The Four C’s
The following four characteristics are used to determine a diamond’s value:
• Carat– measurement used to determine a diamond’s weight/size.
• Clarity– degree to which a diamond is free of inclusions.
• Color – Gradations ranging from beginning yellows to colorless (extremely rare).
• Cut– the way a diamond is shaped to enhance it’s light-reflecting properties and light dispersion.
Add some extra dazzle to an engagement ring with a glamorous gemstone! These colorful beauties, which add color and shine to many an engagement ring, convey the following special meanings:
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