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Diamonds 101 For Guys: A Quick Guide To Buying An Engagement Ring

April 16, 2010

Hey everyone, after an extended spring break, I’m back.  Another reason I took a break is because things are going in an interesting direction with my new home in the bridal industry.

A perfect marriage (no pun intended) between etiquette and me.

As a consultant in the bridal industry, I know about what a guy goes through when it comes to buying a ring.

Picking out the engagement ring is one serious pre-engagement item. The price tag can be astronomical, but what guy is going to avoid this to propose to the lady of his dreams?

Guys, I’m thinking of you in this post, and this really is the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of questions about cuts, clarity, carats, color, gold, white gold, settings, side stones, baguette, channel settings and more.

My goal is to keep this post as simple as possible. Take notes and do more research. This post is meant to be the breeze before the wind to help you take flight into the world of the engagement rings.

1. Setting Up The Setting: To make things simple, let your lady choose out the setting of the ring.  What you can do is purchase a classic, no-frills, Tiffany-style setting to hold the center stone diamond of your choice.  This setting is usually a temporary setting used to make the proposal to your girlfriend.  This is also a way to avoid having the ring sized or buying the wrong size for her.  This setting can be in gold, but a sterling silver one is not a bad choice.  This makes things simple and easier for you in the beginning, then she can have an input on the type of permanent setting she would like to wear with her diamond .

2. Carrots, Carats and Karats:  The weight of a diamond is measured via the carat. So, be careful. Women sometimes fall into this trap of trading carats for bragging rights and not what the ring actually looks like on her finger.   So, when she says she wants at least a carat, go with what your budget allows.  Sometimes, some 3/4 carat diamond can look and feel larger than some 1 carat diamonds.  Even she might be surprised.   By the way, Karats, with a K, is a unit of measurement for the purity of gold.  For example: 24K.  Karats have nothing to do with diamonds, carats do, although they are sometimes interchangeable with their spelling.

3. Dont Get Stuck In A Princess Cut Rut: What in the world is wrong with the princess cut of a diamond? Absolutely nothing. It’s just a cut of diamond that got lucky enough to be named princess. Other cuts on a diamond are just as lovely. Don’t get stuck in thinking that there is nothing else in the world to buy or just buy it because of the name of the cut. The cut is just a name and says nothing about the beauty of the diamond. All cuts of diamonds have their charm. There is the classic round cut. I don’t know any lady who doesn’t want a round cut diamond. Even Barbie had a round cut diamond piece of plastic on her finger from Ken. Other creative cuts of diamonds are emerald cut, asscher cut and marquis. Do some research on the different diamond cuts. My personal favorite is the asscher cut. Don’t forget to do your research about the color and clarity,as well.

4.  How Much To Spend On Diamond Rocks?  There are rules about how much a guy should spend on a diamond for his potential wife-to-be. The rule of thumb is about three months worth of paychecks or salary should be the budget. Yet, what I suggest (to gentlemen and ladies) is that you do what you can do. Do not stretch yourself financially thin to propose to your girlfriend. Why are you buying the diamond and setting?  To brag to your buddies or to show someone that you love them. There are enough diamonds and rings out there that are very chic and elegant, yet reasonably priced.  This is a reason why I suggest getting the Tiffany-style setting first, then allowing your lady to pick the setting for her diamond herself.  Doing it this way, may save you money.

5. Hit Reset For Resetting: After you have made your proposal and she is wearing the temporary setting you have chosen, give her an opportunity to find the setting that she wants. Pick out a few that you think she would like or just take her happiness back into the jeweler you worked with.  Maybe she will choose a setting you think she’d like, maybe she won’t, but what she will do is save time because you will have her with you and not have to guess her ring size. I have known women who suffer through wearing a ring that their fiance picked out that they feel is simply ugly. To avoid this, work with her on the type of setting she wants for her diamond. Don’t forget to consider what metal she would like for her ring setting. Yellow gold, gold or platinum are popular metals as well as picking out a setting that the diamond would look stunning in.

Til Next Time,


One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 4:24 pm

    Good advice with getting the setting. I have never heard of doing such before. Now I don’t really care since I won’t be getting engaged anytime soon.

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