So you're thinking about proposing...

So you’ve finally met the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, forever and ever, until death do you part. Before you just flash the words “Marry me Sarah” on the big screen at a baseball game, or drop the ring in her champaign at dinner, please read these quick tips. It’ll save you your sanity, maybe some money and ensure you have a memorable proposal. After all, she will remember this moment forever, whether it’s a success or a disaster.

Before you head out to purchase her engagement ring, there is some key information you should be armed and ready with. First, do you even know what style of jewelry she likes? Have you found her stash of wedding magazines with her favorite pages bookmarked? If you are shopping blind, you could end up with anything. You’ll find it more difficult to say “no” to the salesman’s desperate attempts to convince you that the bigger the diamond, the better. Instead of heading out blind, here are a few ways to ensure you are at least in the ballpark of her jewelry taste.

1. Ask her best friend. Yes, it’s true, they have spent hours hanging out looking at wedding magazines. They know what each other’s favorite wedding gown styles and are and possibly even the diamond cut she gravitates towards. If you are really lucky, she’ll have the magazine with the pages bookmarked from their last hang out.

2. Go shopping with her. If you have talked about marriage, then it won’t be a surprise to walk into the jewelry store the next time you’re at the mall. Just keep some mental notes, contrary to popular belief, you can still surprise her with a proposal, even if she knows it’s coming. Try and remember the ring she looked at, but she thought it might not be in the budget. She may have no idea what you are willing to spend, and that could be the ring she really wants. (By the way, you can expect to pay about 2 months salary on an engagement ring.)

3. Look in her jewelry box. You can tell what style of jewelry she gravitates towards by looking at her jewelry collection. While she may not have any diamonds (or, she might), you can tell if she likes simple, intricate, vintage, white gold, yellow gold, etc. If you can’t tell what style she likes, and all you see is “jewelry” in her jewelry box, take a photograph and ask one of her girlfriends, or your mom. Women understand this and they will help you out.

By the end of your investigation, it would be helpful to head into the jewelry store with your partner's ring size, her preference in materials (white gold, yellow gold, platinum, etc.), her style preference and a budget of what you’re willing to spend. When you are choosing a diamond, remember that bigger isn’t always better. You have to look at the stone from all angles, literally and figuratively. A diamond varies in clarity and color, and in my opinion, I would rather have a smaller quality diamond than a large diamond with poor clarity and color. You can ask the jeweler about the difference and they’ll explain this too you.

When you choose your diamond, you should receive a certificate. Your certificate simply means your diamond has been certified by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society). It basically holds the details of your diamond, including measurement, weight, grade, etc., on a certified document. It serves as proof of your diamonds authenticity and value. Remember, if your diamond doesn’t have a certificate, you are trusting the authenticity and value claims of your salesperson.

Make sure you view your diamond under a 10x loupe magnification and have your salesperson show you the inclusions. It’s important to know your diamond for future cleanings, rhodium re-coating (for white gold) and ring inspections. You should bring in your ring every six months to have your diamond checked and to maintain any guarantees that your diamonds will stay put on the ring.

Ok, so you know what she likes for a setting, which diamond you want and why you want it, and now you even know the blueprints of your diamond. It’s time to order your engagement ring. It will take a few days for your ring to be ready, so in the meantime, you can plan the big moment. This part is up to you; just remember to think about what she would like and how she’ll remember this day. Don’t worry about being perfect, and if part of your plan goes astray, just improvise. She’ll never know what your original plan was.

Oh, and I may not be speaking for everyone, but I am speaking for most people…women don’t want their diamond engagement ring stuffed in cheesecake or drown in champaign. For one, she can’t put it on right away, you have to have it cleaned. And two, if she doesn’t find it in time, she could chip a tooth or even swallow it! This would definitely be a mood killer. Be creative, but remember to keep it romantic and classy, so she’ll look back and smile on the memory forever.

Good luck and presumably, congratulations.

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