You've found your soul mate, now you just need to find an engagement ring she'll love.
No pressure there then!
Are you stressing out because you literally have no idea where to start?
Follow our advice and you'll find the perfect engagement ring in no time...
Know Your Fiance
Hopefully the fact that you are even considering popping the question means you know your fiance inside out.
If you haven't been already, now is the time to start doing your homework.
Look at the jewelry your sweetheart is wearing on a daily basis - what style does she tend to favor?
Is it all gold or all silver, or a mixture of the two?
If you're still feeling unsure take a peek in her jewelry box when she's not around and try to identify the most predominant characteristics.
Just make sure you leave everything exactly as found or you might blow your cover!
You're going to have to make a lot of choices when shopping for the perfect engagement ring so any information you can discover beforehand will prove vital.
Choosing the Perfect Stone
If you can narrow down the type of stone you want for your engagement ring you'll have much more success when you finally get around to the making the purchase.
First things first, decide on whether you want to go with a traditional diamond or another type of stone entirely.
A diamond is the obvious choice (more on that later) but more importantly than stereotype, you should choose a stone that reflects your girlfriend's personality and preferences.
From emeralds and rubies, to opals and sapphires there is no end to the beautiful gemstones you can choose to adorn your princess with.
Size isn't everything.
No matter what people say, bigger isn't necessarily better.
Your girlfriend may not want a massive rock on her finger, plus we've got a feeling that your wallet might agree with this sentiment too!
When it comes to shape there are so many options available, your head might start spinning.
The most common are round or square, also known as a princess cut, and are the two you really can't go wrong with.
Other popular cuts include emerald, which is rectangular, and marquis, which is diamond shape.
Of course, there's also heart, pear, oval, radiant, asscher...
The setting refers to the piece that holds the stone in place.
This can either be pronged or invisible.
A setting that has at least six prongs is essential for any bride to be that is likely to wear the ring during significant activity.
In principle, the greater the number of prongs the stronger and more protected the stone will be.
The band is usually made from gold, silver or platinum, although it can also be formed from other combinations of metals.
If you decide to go with a diamond, keep in mind that a gold band and setting will make the diamond look slightly yellowish so there is little point in coupling a high color grade diamond with gold, as the brilliance of the stone will not be clear.
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
Choosing the perfect diamond is easy when you know about the 4C's:
The mass of a diamond is determined by the carat weight.
For example, one carat equals 200 milligrams, whilst the point unit corresponds to one one-hundredth of a carat.
The point unit is used for diamonds with a mass under one carat.
The price per carat is determined by the weight and increases correspondingly.
The clarity of a diamond is measured by the internal defects or inclusions.
These inclusions can be anything from imperfections to minute cracks.
The clarity is impacted by the visibility of inclusions, size, orientation, color, and number.
The optimal diamond is perfectly transparent, with no colors or hues apparent that detract from its appearance.
The truth is, every diamond has its imperfections.
Color hues will affect the price - a yellowish hue would make the diamond less valuable, opposed to a pink or blue hue which could up the price significantly.
When diamonds are unearthed they are in their natural state, from here they must be shaped and polished before they become gem worthy.
The quality of the cut all depends on the handiwork of the craftsman.
Ethical and Conflict Free
If your would be bride gives two figs about the environment, you'll want to be sure that when shopping for the perfect engagement ring you choose a conflict free diamond.
What is the Conflict?
Conflict diamonds, aka blood diamonds (with special thanks to Leo), are diamonds which are extracted from unstable regions of Africa and profits used to finance civil war.
The labor practices that are employed by these large scale mining operations are unjust, unregulated and dangerous.
To top it all off, the environmental damage caused by diamond mines such as soil depletion, water pollution and flooding can be ecologically devastating.
What Can Couples Do About It?
- Look for certifications - Any reputable jeweler will know where their diamonds have come from, so ask for certifications to get the facts.
Conflict free, fair trade and Kimberley are all well known certifications that will ensure you've got yourself an ethical ring.
- Purchase an antique ring - Diamonds that were mined before the 1880's predate any large scale mining operations and are the ideal option for a bride that loves to recycle.
- Synthetic diamonds - If they're good enough for celebs like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, they'll surely be good enough for your fiance!
Synthetic diamonds look just like the real deal and are the perfect eco friendly alternative.
If you're lucky enough to have a family heirloom ring to present to your bride to be then this could be the best option of all.
Family heirloom rings embody familial connection and the ultimate bonding.
Breathe new life into your heirloom ring by taking it to a specialist jeweler for a polish.
A simple clean can make a world of a difference, adding a sparkle back into the gem and band.
Size doesn't have to be an issue either as you can always get the ring resized before the big proposal.
The most important factor with a family heirloom ring is the sentiment behind it.
Not only will this ring represent your love and commitment, it will also represent the love and acceptance of your family.
How to Discover Her Ring Size
Need some advice on how to get her ring size without her figuring out what you're up to?
Swipe A Current Ring
The easiest way to get her ring size without getting busted is by swiping a current ring from her jewelry box.
If you are worried that she'll know something has gone awry, grab a piece of paper and a pencil then draw a circle on the inside of the ring and take the sketch along with you to the jeweler.
Ask Her Mom...
Or her sister, or even one of her girlfriends!
Women love to share secrets, so there is sure to be someone who can help you discover her ring size without blowing your cover.
Top Tips for Online Engagement Ring Shopping
Everyone knows that guys suck at shopping.
Luckily for you, the internet has changed everything.
No longer do you have to navigate your way through unbearable, overcrowded malls to find what you're looking for.
Surfing the web for your shopping is actually fun!
If you do decide to buy your engagement ring online take note of these top tips to ensure everything goes smoothly:
Knowing what to look for is what it's all about with shopping online.
The trick is to keep it simple.
Searching for keywords such as 'engagement ring' and 'diamond ring' will produce lots of great quality results.
Don't buy the first engagement ring that takes your fancy.
To get the best price you will have to shop around and make comparisons between all the major retailers.
Buying online almost always means reduced prices as there are no brick and mortar stores to maintain, making overheads much lower.
Shopping on a secured site is essential, especially when making an investment as big as an engagement ring.
Look for a closed padlock somewhere on your browser page, as well as an added 's' to the 'http' address in the web browser bar when it is time to make payment.
Know What You Are Getting
Every retailer will have their own unique policies on shipping and returns.
Make sure your shipment is insured and that the company you choose to buy from offers adequate customer support.
Cover Your Tracks
If you share a computer with your girlfriend make sure you delete your history before logging off.
There is nothing less romantic than the computer beating you too it and giving the game away.
Maximize Your Budget
If you've been tucking away every spare cent from your paycheck each month to no avail, you're going to have to stretch your budget to acquire that dream ring.
It is important to figure out exactly how much you have to spend before you even start looking, this way you can eliminate any ring that cashes in above your budget with little hesitation.
Some great ways to maximize your budget include:
1. Asking for a stone with more surface area as it will appear bigger than it really is.
2. Asking for a stone that is slightly less than the next carat.
3. Opting for a less expensive center gemstone flanked by two small diamonds.
4. Choosing white gold instead of platinum.
5. Purchasing an antique ring.
Where to Shop
The list is endless when it comes to stores that sell beautiful engagement rings that will leave your bride to be swooning.
We know how hard it can be to navigate the maze, which is why we have compiled a list of the greatest engagement ring retailers on the web.
From traditional to quirky, there is something that every girl will love:
If everything goes to plan, this engagement ring will be the only one you ever buy so make it count!