Buying an engagement ring was the most nerve wracking transaction of my life. This wasn’t like purchasing my first home or buying a new set of golf clubs. I was going to ask my girlfriend to marry me.
There are endless articles across the internet about how to purchase an engagement ring. I gathered information and took the process one step at a time. Knowing the essentials of what you want to purchase is critical, like any major transaction. The more emotion I could take out of the process, the better. This allowed me to focus on what I truly wanted for my girlfriend, within a budget I could manage.
In order to have a successful engagement ring buying experience, you should focus your energy on these main areas:
What does your partner want? The engagement ring goes on your partner’s hand--not yours. I asked my girlfriend if she had any idea what style of ring she would like. By this time, we had already been openly discussing the prospect of getting married. I didn’t need to worry about being coy. She went to a jewelry store in her free time and tried on a few rings and got her ring finger sized. All together, she provided me pictures of rings she loved, styles she hated, and her ring’s size. You will want to show your jeweler these pictures, as it only helps them help you find the right ring.
How much should you spend? You have most likely heard of the 3 times monthly salary rule. My process was different. I intentionally saved for this purchase for months and became comfortable spending the amount I accumulated on a ring. To start, I asked my girlfriend if there was a certain size of diamond or dollar amount that she wanted me to spend. She did not have any requirements, which made it easier on me. I made the determination that I would spend up to the amount I had already dedicated to this ring and no more. Going into debt to purchase an engagement ring was not an option.
What are the 4 C’s? Known as the “universal method of assessing the quality of a diamond”--the 4 C’s are Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat. Don’t get too hung up on this. You want a diamond that looks big and sparkles. Your partner’s friends don’t walk around with a loupe to inspect the diamond you purchased. I found a diamond that had a slight imperfection that couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. This alone saved me over a thousand dollars compared to other diamonds of similar size and color.
Where should you purchase the ring? My process--I asked my girlfriend’s best friend and my best friend for recommendations. Both had experience in purchasing jewelry and I knew they wouldn’t lead me astray. In total, I met with three different jewelers. You should meet with jewelers multiple times to make sure they are the right fit for you. Each has their own style and specialty, and you will quickly know which one is best.
Purchasing an engagement ring can be an intimidating process. Remember the most important aspects--your partner’s wishes, not going into debt, and finding a reputable jeweler you enjoy working with. Putting together a plan ahead of time allows you to avoid being sold anything you don’t want or that is out of your budget.
Oh, and she said yes!