The moment you knew would one day come has finally arrived: You’ve found the girl you want to marry. She’s the needle in a haystack, your one and only, your best friend. You’re going to propose, but there’s one big hurdle: the ring … THE RING! .
You’re petrified, your palms are sweating, and your heart rate is through the roof. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Buying an engagement ring doesn’t have to be a miserable trudge through endless options, all of which start to blur together after a few hours. Getting the right ring her is actually quite simple. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 (and 4 and 5).
How do we know? Because we reached out to an authority on engagement rings. Since 1999, Blue Nile has been making the engagement ring buying process easier for guys like us. Now you can make this significant purchase from the comfort (and secrecy) of your computer or phone.
We asked Blue Nile for some insight into ring buying best practices, and they clued us in to the five steps that will get you there. It all comes down to education. Sharpen your pencils: we’re about to take you to school.
Step 1: Understand your diamonds.
The diamond is the centerpiece of the engagement ring–and the most expensive component. There’s a lot to educate yourself on, including the cut, clarity, color, and carat (the famous “4Cs”). There’s also nearly a dozen different shapes to choose from, any one of which can change the price. You can make concessions on color and clarity, but don’t skimp on the cut. (Pro tip: Buy nice, but not so nice you go into debt. If you want to give her an anniversary upgrade later on, you’re only making it harder on yourself.)
Step 2: Know your metals
Once you’ve found your diamond, you’ll need to pick a metal for the ring. Here’s where you get into questions of color, durability, malleability, and rarity. The metal needs to enhance the look of the diamond, fit your fiancé’s lifestyle, and not break your bank account. Platinum and Gold (White, Yellow, & Rose) are the most popular options for her ring, but there are some interesting alternatives.
Step 3: Find her size
Calm down, we’re talking about the size of her ring finger. This is a fairly precise measurement, and not one you want to fudge. If it’s too small she’ll have to struggle to get in on her finger (not romantic), and if it’s too big, it might go sailing off into the air the minute she moves her hand (not cost-effective). (Pro tip: “Borrow” one of her rings–that heirloom her grandma gave her, but one she wears often–and use it to get her exact size.) Thankfully Blue Nile provides a helpful sizing tool, plus all of the metals they carry can be resized, usually for free.
Step 4: Build to her style
We’re going to be honest here: there are only four main styles of rings. Solitaire, Side Stones, Three Stone, and Halo. Yes there are combinations of those categories, but keeping these four basic styles in mind will help you narrow things down quickly.
The ring has got to match her personal style. Remember, this is your project at the moment, but she’s the one who’s going to be wearing it. With the kind on online tools now available, you can put together a custom ring from the comfort of your kitchen table or living room couch.
(Pro-tip: You can never go wrong with a classic solitaire.)
(Another pro-tip: Propose with the diamond set in a simple setting, then tell her you want to pick out the final setting with her. With Blue Nile’s free returns and their easy exchange program, she can carry the proposal excitement and pick out a ring with you. When the final ring arrives, it’s almost as if you’re proposing all over again.)
Step 5: Protect your investment
This is one that often gets missed. Aside from the huge emotional investment you’re making, this is also an investment of time and money: it needs to be insured. Luckily, there are easy options for insurance from companies like Jewelers Mutual, policies which aren’t connected to your home owners insurance and which cover things like ‘Mysterious disappearance’ and “I wore it while mulching.” It’s about $50 a year for your average ring.