Congratulations! So, you have finally decided to take the plunge and propose to your girlfriend. Now comes the hard bit – shopping for the engagement ring that will “wow” her and make her say “yes”. It can be a daunting task, balancing the reality of budget vs what you think she would like, and not to mention the plethora of technical diamond jargon you will encounter. So here are some tips which I hope will help you shop for the perfect engagement ring.
1. Know what ‘she’ wants. It’s her ring!
It is important that you have a clear understanding of what your girlfriend wants. It is her ring. She will be wearing it for life. So, what ‘you’ think she would like or what ‘you’ would like to get her is a recipe for your buying decision going horribly wrong. You should consider doing the following research:
- Does she want to play a role in selecting the engagement ring? If yes, then it is a process you should go through together.
- Has she been dropping hints as to what she would like? This could be leaving brochures/business cards of jewellers lying around; does she look at diamond rings in a jewellery shop when you go shopping together? Observe what kind of rings does she look at or try on.
- Has she clearly specified what she would like?
- Has she commented on an engagement ring that her friend has received?
2. Size or quality?
What is important for her – the size of the diamond or its quality? Do you want the biggest diamond for your money or of the best quality?
How important is it that the diamond is 1 carat or 1.50 carat and so on? A knowledgeable sales person will inform you that you can achieve a ‘1 carat look’ with a nice 0.80ct – 0.90ct diamond and save money in the process. Remember diamonds are cut for weight and there is a big price difference between a 1 carat and say, an 0.85 carat diamond which has been cut well and looks like a 1 carat in its sparkle.
Likewise, how important is it to get a high colour – like a D or an E? Remember, a high colour does not mean more sparkle. A high colour will add value to the diamond, so the higher the colour, the more valuable your diamond is. But I have seen lower grades of colour – like a G or an H which have amazing sparkle and hence are perfectly beautiful diamonds. And conversely, I have also seen a high colour stone such as an E colour but poorly cut and hence, looking dull and lifeless.
Most sales people are not qualified diamond graders and have a basic knowledge of the 4C’s that judge the value of a diamond. Their biggest tool of trade is to appeal to your emotional side. Which makes it imperative that you do adequate reading and shop around to get an idea of size, quality and value.
3. Have a budget
It is wise to work out your budget and stick to it because in due course you will have wedding and honeymoon expenses as well. To most women, more important than the size of the diamond is the fact that you have gone through the effort of choosing an engagement ring for her. And a genuine partner will value you sticking to your budget as well.