7 Things Every Man Should Know Before Buying An Engagement Ring
Every great proposal has three essential elements: true love, the immortal question, and a dazzling engagement ring. The first two are easy—once you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it’s a no-brainer, really—but the ring. Oh, the ring. How do you encapsulate your history and future, the depths of your devotion, and your limitless love, all in a piece of jewelry? It’s no small task, but one which can be made much easier once you learn these seven simple rules.
1| Don’t guess their ring size
Picture this: You’re down on bended knee. You ask the love of your life those four special words, they graciously and joyfully accept. You slide the ring onto their finger and a tear rolls down your cheek—as you realize it won’t go past the knuckle.
It’s a common mistake to make and, in truth, isn’t the end of the world. But if you’re the type to spend months planning the perfect proposal, it pays to get every last detail right. If you’re able to find a ring that already fits your beloved’s ring finger (hint: wait until they’re asleep and conduct a swift bit of jewelry-related espionage), check an online size guide or take it to a jewelry specialist at Ernest Jones, who’ll be able to identify exactly which size you need.
2| Don’t fly solo
The most important thing to remember when buying an engagement ring is the person you’re buying it for. No pressure, but if all goes to plan they’ll be wearing it for the rest of their lives, so you need to be positive they’ll love it forever.
The surest way to be certain is to go ring shopping together. If you're put off by the obvious drawback of ruining the surprise, consider asking a trusted friend or a family member for their guidance. There’s no such thing as too many second opinions—just be sure you choose someone who'll keep the secret until after you’ve got down on bended knee.
3| Know the four Cs…
For the uninitiated, diamonds are measured on four scales: color, clarity, carat, and cut. Generally speaking, colorless diamonds with few inclusions or flaws (i.e. with better clarity) are prized above all others, and are therefore more expensive. Similarly, more carats—which denote a heavier (though not always larger) stone—mean more money. The final C, cut, means the actual shape of the stone, and is a matter of taste more than anything else.
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4| But don’t be tied down by them
Of course, the four Cs aren’t hard and fast rules. Sometimes differences in color or clarity are invisible to the naked eye, and are only worth more to an appraiser. It’s also worth remembering that some prefer a smaller, more modest stone, while others find colored diamonds or other gemstones make for a more modern ring. There are also other factors, including setting and band width, which can transform the look of a ring as much as the carat or cut. Unless you yourself are a jewelry expert, it’s unlikely that you’ll know which of these qualities are most important, and crucially, how they work together. Fortunately, every jeweler at Ernest Jones is trained in the art of diamond-spotting, and can help you to choose the right stone, at the right price for you.
5| Forget about the two-month rule
This one’s simple. Don’t be beholden to the old trope of spending two months’ salary. Set a budget that works for you, and keep it firmly in mind while you’re shopping. Remember: Weddings are expensive work!
6| Don’t rush
Think of buying an engagement ring as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a thing to savor and obsess over for as long as necessary. Think you’ve found the one on your first visit to the shops? Cool. Make a note, take some pictures, ask if it’s likely to sell out, and continue on. Look online, search the high street, make sure you’ve explored every possible avenue before parting with any money. If you’ve set yourself a deadline, forget about it until you’re as sure of the ring as you are of your partner.
7| Remember why you’re doing it
For all the worry and confusion it can bring, shopping for an engagement ring is a unique opportunity to show your fiancé(e) just how much you're devoted to them. Remember why you’re doing it—or rather who you’re doing it for—and it’ll all come naturally.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.