The Engagement Ring

For most guys, the engagement ring is something that will boggle your mind.  Not because you don’t understand the meaning of it or what it symbolizes, but simply because you can’t quite quantify in your head how something so small can cost so much money.  With that sort of money you can buy a car, help with your house deposit, go on a couple of holidays and the list goes on….but a word of advice…this is certainly something you should not try to rationalize with your other half.  You need to start appreciating that this is something that your girlfriend has been dreaming about for a lot of her life!

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When I was about to buy a ring for my girlfriend (now my wife!), I did a crazy amount of research because I did not want to mess up this buy.  So I have collated a list that you should use as a basis before making one of the biggest purchases of your life:

1 – The Budget

You need to set yourself a budget.  Now there is this saying that says your budget should be the same as your gross income for 3 months.  In my opinion the guy who wrote this was definitely not planning an Asian wedding.  This would be a huge amount of money to fork out when you are about to start your life with someone where there is going to be so many imminent expenditures.  Remember you can always buy a bigger diamond in the future if you have the money, but this concept does not work the other way around!  I would say 1-1.5 month net income max.

2. Getting you moneys worth!

Being a classic Asian I could probably write a thesis on this after all of the research I did into this but I will condense it down for you.  On the whole the majority of engagement ring cost will be on the diamond and not so much the band/ring it sits on.  The majority of the value of the diamond is based upon “The 4 C’s”.  These are Colour, Clarity, Cut, Carat (another word for size).  The table below shows the spectrum in which these fall.

Now the amazing thing is you might have two diamonds with exactly the same features but each costs a different amount.  Here are some things you need to look into if you want to save some money:

Certification – When a diamond is produced someone needs to assign its Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat. This is done by a Gemologist.  There are many companies around the world that employ gemologists e.g. GIA (Gemological Institute of America), EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) etc.  It is interesting that if the diamond has been assessed by GIA it will be more expensive than EGL for exactly the same features.

The Name Can Cost – If you buy an engagement ring from Hatton Garden, the diamond may be the same as buying from a local jeweller but will cost you a lot more for the fact that you bought it from Hatton Garden – determine the exact characteristics and certification of the stone you want and then buy from the place which sells this the cheapest. Look at websites like bluenile.com, which will give you an indication of what you can afford on your budget.

Negotiate – Buying a ring is not like going to Tesco’s and buying a loaf of bread – there is not a fixed cost and there is an expectation from the jeweller that there will be some movement on the price.  I say this but if you go to a place like Tiffany’s there may not be but for any independent jewelers – take your negotiation skills!

3 – The Element of Surprise

Some girls want to go with their partner to “help” them select an engagement ring and others want it to be a surprise. If you fall into the latter category make sure you have a good idea about what you partner is looking for or would like in terms of design.  Think about the following:

a. The cut of the diamond (i.e. the shape) – will she like a square type (princess cut) or round type (brilliant cut) or another shape?

b. Would she like a classic style ring or vintage, modern etc.

c. Would she like yellow or white gold or platinum?

4.  Your Partners Ring Size

Know the size of your partners finger – the jeweller cannot the make ring ring without this vital bit of info! Best way is to try and take one of her existing rings.  If her siblings or parents know you are planning to propose – get them to get hold of one!

5 – Insurance!

Last bit of advice before we finish – don’t forget to insure the ring immediately – being so small it is not the most difficult thing to lose!!

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