Articles tagged with: Diamonds
Should You Surprise Her with an Engagement Ring?
As you begin thinking about getting engaged, it is a good idea to contemplate some different routes you can take to reach that point. First question...should you completely surprise her or should you involve her in the process?
1. Total Surprise.
She has no idea what is coming. This is the traditional method. You select the design, metal, diamonds/gemstones and ring size based upon your detective work, her personal style from your perspective and ideas of what you think she would want.
Complete Bridal Set. You purchase both the engagement ring and the wedding band. She doesn't have to lift a finger (except for her ring finger, that is), and she has absolutely no choice about her rings. If it is a ring that is custom designed and already has a band paired with it, this can be more cost effective over the long term.
Engagement Ring Only. You purchase just the engagement ring and let her be involved in the selection of the wedding band(s). Again, this is the traditional method. Usually purchasing the engagement ring alone can be an intimidating task. I tend to suggest that you let her be involved in picking the wedding band. You never know if she might have something different in mind than the traditional band.
Pro: You can create a magical moment, sweeping your loved one off their feet, causing a strong emotional response. There will be a great sentimental value in the fact that you did all of the work yourself, and your special lady is sure to love anything you select. Great choice for a sentimental gal.
Con: She will have no input as to design, metal, stones or size. The ring may need to be sized. Will you worry about if she likes it? Will she pine over another design to grace her finger?
2. Options That Use Her Input
There are a number of ways to still create that magical moment of the engagement ring proposal with a little less stress and guess work.
Present her with a solitaire with the intention of resetting it. You can focus your surprise on the stone, by choosing a special diamond, sapphire, ruby, or spinel, and then have this stone set in an ultra simple prong setting. After the proposal, you can let her know that you want her to be involved in the selection and custom design of her special ring. Being allowed to participate in the design of her own ring, collaborating with you and the jeweler, will be a rich and rewarding experience for her. This is a great choice for a contemporary woman. It also allows you to spread out the cost a little bit (stone first, some shopping time for her, before you need to put down a deposit on the mounting).
Ring shop in advance. This is a very common practice. You’ve been together for awhile and both feel you are on the track to being engaged. Take her into a store where you feel comfortable (Diamonds Direct, obviously) and spend some time letting her try on rings and talk about what she likes. Have your sales associate write the information down for you, including a ring size. Then, when you are ready 5 days later or 6 months later, then information will be there for you to surprise her with a final product.
Pro: She will love being involved in the creation of a fine piece of jewelry. This is something that she will wear and look at every day, and it will be an expression of her style as well as your commitment to her.
Con: Some of the surprise element is missing, and she may get antsy in anticipation of when you are going to present it to her.
In a nutshell, you really have to do what is comfortable for you. If you are more traditional and want to choose the engagement ring completely, then chances are your lady knows that about you and will appreciate it. If she has been very verbal about choosing an engagement rings and is dropping hints about styles, then you might be safer getting her involved. The most important part is that you both have realistic expectations and respect that this is a symbol of something much bigger than just a ring.
On a side note, I received the sweetest thank-you gift from a client today. Kathy and her husband, Joe, have been married for 30 years. To celebrate their anniversary, he bought her a beautiful new diamond engagement ring. When Kathy came in to pick up her ring, she presented me with a nice card and the cutest Christmas tree ornament. She was in the store choosing out her ring when we found out the offer we placed on our new house had been accepted so she wanted to get me something for the new house. I already modified it a little by adding the infamous “McMahler”. I couldn’t help myself!
Buying diamonds online
Maybe we can call this my Wednesday rant. I have something to vent about. Before I start and have you fellas explaining to me all the reasons I am wrong or going on about saving money or time constraints, let me just say that I am woman and I can’t explain why I feel a certain way, but that’s the way it is so deal with it. Ladies, are you with me?
There is a big trend in jewelry that I am not down with. Shopping for your diamond online. Yes, I am a jeweler so I am biased on this topic, but I think shopping for your engagement ring (or any piece of jewelry) is part of the romance. Whether you shop alone or bring your significant other along, there is something to be said for going somewhere and having a conversation with a jeweler. I love my clients. When I sell an engagement ring, I literally cannot wait to hear about the proposal, to see the ring on its new owner and get their input on how it turned out. And I really believe that most ladies love having that experience as well. Who doesn’t want to have a family jeweler?
When I have a new client call who is also shopping for diamonds online, I don’t really get worried. Nine times out of ten, I have no problem presenting a diamond that is competitive and usually more affordable. Just because it is online, does not mean that it is more affordable. If the online distributor can get it for a good price, so can I!
Many people feel that just because a diamond is graded a certain way that it will look like all other diamonds with that grade. Not true! Many of these large diamond houses can have diamonds graded as something better than they actually are. We see it all the time. By definition, an SI-1 clarity diamond should have no imperfections visible to the naked eye. Even though this is a fact, we keep seeing diamonds that have been sold in large retail store and online which have huge, blatant imperfection that is clearly visible to the eye. You cannot go on grade alone! It makes much more sense to go see a jeweler, like myself, who can bring in a few diamonds in your price range and lay them out in front of you. Compare the qualities. Figure out what is the most important to you when it comes to the quality of your diamond.
With the amount of technology in our world, the personal experience of great customer service is lost on us. If we want something, we point, click and it is ours. This is fine when you are buying a CD or some stationary or some office supplies, but not something like an engagement ring. Would you feel comfortable buying a car without seeing it, taking it for a test drive and checking under the hood? No. Diamonds and gemstones have just as many complexities, if not more, as a car. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for!
When I think about shopping for an engagement ring online, I get this mental image of a guy at his computer, eating a sandwich, clicking on the little arrows to narrow down his diamond search. What is romantic about this? Shopping for the single most romantic symbol of your life while sitting at your desk on your lunch break? Make an effort. Drive to the jewelry store. Get to know the person you are buying this ring from. I guarantee that when you have a problem with that ring, that online store will not be as motivated to make you happy as I would be.
There is also something to be said for having a place where you can go. Show us exactly what you want, tell us what your significant other is like, tell us what you are comfortable spending, give us your timeline. We want to help you. We are motivated to help you make this proposal a success. We want you to come back for anniversaries, birthdays, children, etc. We have a desire to develop a long term relationship with. The person who is available to have an online chat with you is not as motivated to support you as we are. It doesn’t hurt that we are all hopeless romantics at Diamonds Direct too. We love a good “how did you pop the question” story.
My last plug…support Main Street America. Small businesses are the life blood of our country. We’ve all seen what happens when large companies get too large. Show the little guys some love. I can guarantee we value our relationship with you much more than these huge chain stores.
A jeweler's input on getting engaged.
Getting engaged is a big deal. In fact, if you are planning on getting engaged, you can expect to run the full gamut of human emotions. You are committing your life to be bonded to another person’s…FOREVER.
Not running away yet? Okay, I’ll get to the good stuff.
And what do we do to symbolize this commitment? An engagement ring is purchased and presented. Generally, this ring will contain a diamond and come with the question, “Will you marry me?” I am assuming that since you are taking a moment to read my blog that you find jewelry interesting, would like to be engaged or you feel obligated because we are friends. No matter why you are reading, I have information and opinions to help you along your way.
Every single day (except Mondays and Sundays), I talk to people about getting engaged. This puts me in a unique position to dish on what I think is important with some authority.
The single most important thing you can do with your partner before getting engaged is talk about expectations. Ladies, if you are in a serious relationship, chances are you have some idea how much money your boyfriend makes or has saved. I cannot tell you how many times we have couples come in together to look at rings and they are not just on different pages…they are on different planets! For example, the other day a couple came in to see what we had. The woman let us know that she was interested in having a 1.50-2.00 carat diamond. The gentleman did not say much about this. We began showing her different diamonds in that size range. They left eventually. Within half an hour, we get a call from him. He has a budget of $2,500. This leaves him with about a $8,000-$10,000 gap to reach her expectations. Most ladies will be perfectly happy with a $2,500 engagement ring. You can get something substantial for this…however, if you take a girl out and show her 2.00 carats all day, you can guess she might expect something like that!
Another equally important thing (and probably what should be your first step) is to make sure you are ready. There are a lot of people who get married because they think it is the next step in life. Just because something is the next logical step according to people around you, does not make it the next step for you. Have the important conversations with your partner regarding family, money, religion, life in general, etc. Your life is a big commitment. Take your time. Marriage is serious stuff! Hopefully I am not the first person telling you this.
Now the fun stuff…let’s talk about diamonds! Let me first say, please remember this is mostly just my opinion mixed with some facts. Diamonds are my business, but I don’t claim to know everything. I am just hoping to help point you in a good direction…in my opinion. J
Research is important when it comes to buying a diamond. I recommend looking up as much information as you can, asking friends about their experiences and educating yourself in the terms you’ll need to know when buying a diamond. Research different websites that are selling diamonds and see what different sizes and qualities are selling for. That being said, I feel very strongly that you should buy your diamond from someone you can talk to, face to face. Obviously, my business relies on people doing this, but from the standpoint of getting what you pay for (and the service after the purchase), it is important to have somewhere to go and speak with a person. I also think it is important to stay away from large chain stores. No offense to those places… but from my experience of shopping around at various stores, I never felt important or satisfied. Broad statement? Perhaps.
When it comes to choosing the size and quality of diamond you want to focus on, you have to ask yourself what characteristics are important to you. If I was shopping for a diamond for myself, I would most likely look for a G-H color, SI-1 clarity with a super awesome (aka ideal or excellent) cut on it. The reasoning behind those specific characteristics? Color is something that is graded by laying a diamond on its side. By getting a G-H color diamond, I would be on the edge of colorless and into the near colorless range. The diamond will still face up very white and not have any hint of yellow to a majority of people. Clarity is something that many people can spend more money than they need to on. I would choose an SI-1 (or even a strictly graded SI-2) because even though it means “slightly included”, it also means there are no visible imperfections to the naked eye. As long as it is graded correctly, I should need at least 10 times magnification to see the imperfections. You can spend thousands of dollars more on a higher clarity, but in all reality it will look almost exactly the same as an SI quality diamond. The cut seems to be the thing that I won’t ever skimp on. Diamonds need to be sparkly and they get their sparkle from the way they are cut. Ideal or Excellent cut diamonds are where it’s at. These qualities can be applied to any sized diamond to reach the desired budget.
Some other important questions to ask yourself…
Girls: Do I want to be surprised by what he chooses? Would I prefer he set my diamond in a solitaire and let me choose my setting later? Does he know my ring size? Does he know the shape of diamond I prefer?
Guys: What is my budget? Have I shopped around enough? Do I have a good grasp on her style? White gold, yellow gold, platinum or palladium? What are her expectations? Have I given myself enough time to have a ring put together?
For anyone looking to cut back their budget or have a different look, think about a sapphire or ruby as a center stone. They are almost as hard as diamonds and come in a variety of colors. I have a yellow sapphire! We’ll talk about gemstone engagement rings in a future blog.
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