When it comes to engagement rings, some girls are in the “I want to be completely surprised” camp, and that is absolutely fine. Mr. High Wire and I, however, decided to approach this endeavor together.
One note before we get started: Of course I would have loved anything he proposed with, and the ring is merely a gesture behind the ever more important part—spending the rest of our lives together.
But romance aside, logically speaking this was the largest expense either of us had anything to do with in our entire lives so far, besides maybe a car, so we wanted to make sure we did our research and got exactly what worked for us.
Image Via Niche Marketplace
I wound up being absolutely fascinated by all of it. There was so much to learn about metals, stones, settings, and the different types of places to buy them all. Neither of us had much background in fine jewelry.
First off, a quick diamond lesson from Gillets Jewelers:
Diamonds are available in varying colors, sizes and qualities. They naturally occur in colors ranging from very clear fine whites to pinks, bright yellows, greens and browns. The majority of diamonds used in jewelry today are white diamonds.
The value of a white diamond is determined by what are commonly referred to as the 4Cs. The 4Cs are the Diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Each of the 4Cs are important and the most valuable Diamonds are those that possess the best of all four measurements.
If you don’t have an unlimited budget (and who does?), it is important to figure out which of the 4 Cs you value as most important and which ones are less important to you.
The Diamond Buying Guide online gives us a good definition of each:
Cut is probably the most important, and most challenging, of the four Cs to understand. The brilliance of a diamond depends heavily on its cut.
Most diamonds contain some inner flaws, or inclusions, that occur during the formation process. The visibility, number and size of these inclusions determine what is called the clarity of a diamond. Diamonds that are clear create more brilliance, and thus are more highly prized, and priced.
Colorless diamonds are the most desirable since they allow the most refraction of light (sparkle). Off white diamonds absorb light, inhibiting brilliance.
A carat is the unit of weight by which a diamond is measured. Because large diamonds are found less commonly than small diamonds, the price of a diamond rises exponentially to its size. Read this guide to get a better understanding of what a carat is and how it affects the appearance of a diamond.
Here are how I ranked the 4 Cs:
1. Carat – I had a specific sized stone in mind. Plenty of others would gladly go for a smaller stone with higher ranks in the other Cs, but I wasn’t one of those people.
4. Color – I found it difficult to see a difference visually between a stone with a better color than another (usually how much “yellowing” the stone has), but there was a large difference in price. We were able to go lower on the color scale (since that didn’t rank important to me) so I could get the carat weight and cut we wanted.
Ring shopping took place over a long stretch of time. I started shopping online to get an idea of what I liked. We went to our first appointment back in December of 2009 and didn’t make a final decision until April of 2010.
We didn’t officially get engaged until October, however. If you want to know a time I struggled during this process, that would have to be it: being absolutely positive a proposal was on the way, but having no earthly clue when it was going to happen. That was an agreement we settled on to keep the romance about it all alive.
So, for anyone who feels like ring shopping takes the romance out of the whole thing, I’d have to respectfully disagree. The proposal was still absolutely breathtaking and magical, which I’m sure you could feel when you read my proposal posts. I was also very surprised, but of course it wasn’t absolutely out of thin air. But these days, what couple ISN’T discussing getting married before an actual engagement happens? Few, I’d guess.
I was interested in the following:
- Round diamond (also known as brilliant)
- Four prongs to hold up the diamond (I would later change this to six.)
- Thin band
- Setting – either solid metal (white gold) or a channel-set band (I didn’t wind up with either of those.)
I ended up losing interest initially with the channel-set band. In my opinion, he’s not proposing with a ring. He’s proposing with the most special part of the ring—the diamond. And I’d rather he invested the money in a stone with higher rankings in the 4 Cs as opposed to sinking money into the setting. I’d wind up tossing that idea completely out the window when I found the ring he ultimately proposed with, but that was my initial thought process when we began our official search.
Image via SunStar
How involved were you in the ring-buying process?