First “real” post of my one man’s wedding series has to do with diamonds. I spent my sweet time working to not mess up my engagement ring purchase and I seemed to have done an OK job. So, for the clueless men out there who are in the position I was a few months ago, I thought I’d share how I did it and what I learned.
I decided early on that I wasn’t going to take the total surprise approach with my proposal. That’s not my style. I like to be sure of what I’m doing and the outcome. That said Tina knew a ring was coming her way, she just didn’t know when. Since I had nothing to hide I wanted to pick her brain about the type of engagement ring she thought she’d like. So, Tina & I looked at rings online, and I made mental notes of her preferences. Then one Saturday I paid a visit to Chicago’s Jewelers Row.
I had no idea how to shop for an engagement ring. My goal for the day was to get familiar with the process. I knew I wouldn’t buy until later and I knew I was unlikely to visit the jeweler I would purchase from. What was important to me was learning about diamonds and getting an idea of what the engagement ring would cost. I went to two popular jewelers that day and got the same spiel on “the 4 Cs” (color, cut, clarity, & caret) as well as similar ballpark numbers on cost. The most important lesson I learned: you have to find the mix of Cs that works best for you and your soon-to-be fiancee. A diamond that rates high in all aspects costs an arm and leg so, unless you’re rich, sacrifices are in order. If she likes rings that really pop then you can’t give up color because that’s what makes the diamond sparkle. If she wants a big rock then you can’t skimp on carat. If she likes flawless and symmetrical then you need to pay attention to clarity and cut.
I followed my first visit to Jewelers Row with a second a few weeks later. This time I went with Tina, after surprising her with the outing. We went to the better of the two jewelers I had visited and had a completely different experience. The jewelers swooned over us. They were very willing to pull out big rocks which made for a lot of fun. Diamonds are good looking stones, and I enjoyed watching Tina explore the possibilities of her engagement ring. Also, I was happy to get her input. I learned that she REALLY likes sparkly things, so color became key. Carats were a concern and she is a fan of square cuts. Clarity was the least important factor, but I knew I couldn’t get anything too flawed.
After the second visit I felt informed and ready to make a decision. I knew what Tina did and did not like and I had a clue about diamonds. I also knew what to look for in an engagement band. I ended up purchasing a ring from a jeweler my dad has known for years. He showed me a limited selection of diamonds based on what I told him and sure enough one turned out to be perfect. On February 12th, 2011 I proposed to Tina with a respectably sized, square radiant cut, very high color GIA certified diamond set in a platinum band that is simple and elegant. She loved it, said yes, and we’ve been happily engaged ever since.
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