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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

How to Buy the Bling That Will Make Her Sing! -A Gentleman's Guide to Purchasing the Perfect Engagement Ring

Please welcome guest blogger – Kyle Grabenstetter. Kyle is a former Financial Wellness Peer Educator from the University of Illinois Extension Financial Wellness Program from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.

As most guys know, buying the perfect engagement ring for one's significant other is something that requires time, thought and care in regard to a number of different variables. We want to buy her the best ring we can, but we often do not know what to look for when shopping. This guide is intended to help manage all of the chaos and help you create a plan of action that will allow you to find the perfect ring at a price that doesn't empty your pockets.

The first step in finding the perfect ring involves a little communication. What does she like? If she is open to trying on rings and finding styles that she may like, take her shopping. Let her try on rings and show them to you. You will get a lot of information in a little amount of time. If she wants a complete surprise, ask her girlfriends to do you the favor. Another way you can get this information is by utilizing her Pinterest if she has one. Often times websites like these are absolutely golden when it comes to finding gifts for your lady as they allow you to see what her interests are without actually having to ask her directly. Below are some things to pay attention to when you begin your search for her ring.

Ring Design

  • Solitaire – This is a circular diamond cut and setting for the center stone.
  • Princess Cut – A Princess cut has a rectangular center stone cut.
  • Halo – The halo is a ring of diamonds around the center stone. This is another popular stylistic aspect of rings that many women love.
  • Pave – A pave is a line of smaller diamonds on the actual ring itself. The pave is what makes the ring sparkle and can often make or break a ring. Paves can come in single, double or even triple layers for extra sparkle. (Of course this will mean extra cost as well).

Gold Type – Though there are only two major choices between white and yellow in regards to the color of gold for your ring, one hugely important thing to take into account is the karats of the gold itself. Pure gold is too soft to work with when making jewelry so when dealing with gold, jewelers deal in karats. The thing to remember here is that the higher the karat, the purer the gold you are purchasing. Pure gold is 24 karats and most engagement rings are made with gold mixed with other metals to increase the hardness and durability of the ring. Most engagement rings tend to be anywhere from 10-18 karats. 14k tends to be the best medium in regards to hardness and purity (14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal), so this is what you will typically find in most engagement rings.

Diamond Quality – Another supremely important thing to think about is the quality of the diamonds you are purchasing for your ring. When dealing with diamond quality there are three major things to think about: color, clarity and carat weight. The color of the diamond is measured based on an alphabetical scale with most diamonds ranging from "D-Z". "D-F" diamonds are colorless and as you get further down the alphabet, the more "yellow" color your diamond will have. When looking at clarity it is important to remember that this spectrum deals with inclusions that may or may not be seen under a microscope at 10x zoom. Most of these inclusions are not obviously visible to the naked eye.

A large majority of engagement ring jewelers will provide you with charts to further aid you in understanding what you are buying – you just have to look around on their website or ask.

Unique Characteristics – Sometimes there are things about a ring that can't be measured. Does it speak to you will she truly like it? I know for me I sacrificed a larger center stone for more diamonds overall which made for a lot more sparkle overall. Take into account whether the ring design can be changed. You can change the setting, but not the ring. If she is all about the center stone, then look at designs that accentuate it and make it really shine.

Price - Now for the part that speaks most to us at the end of the day. How much will all of this cost me? Do a budget. Know what you can and cannot afford. She does not have to know how much you spent so look online, shop around and above all do your research. Wholesalers offer designer rings for fractions of the retail price. Most guys tend to use the big diamond stores given their convenience, but don't count out the smaller guys.

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