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How To Buy the Perfect Engagement Ring and Save Money

How To Buy Your Girlfriend the Perf

There are so many things to consider when shopping for an engagement ring. Where should you start? The Love Loupe sat down with James Allen engagement ring expert Sarah Rose to ask a few a questions about the process.  Read on for proposal inspiration, engagement style advice and money saving tips.

1. What should a man's first step be when he's decided to buy a diamond engagement ring for his girlfriend?


            First, he should explore general engagement ring and diamond styles. He should walk into a few jewelry stores and browse jewelry stores online to get a feel for what’s out there. Second, he should figure out what his budget is and finally, he should research how to maximize his budget by comparing prices.


2. If a guy's on a tighter budget, what are three things he can do to lower the price of the ring without sacrificing the look?


            The first way for a man to maximize his budget is to buy the engagement ring online. Because online jewelers cut out the middleman and have minimal overhead, they can offer the same jewelry and diamonds for much less than traditional brick and mortar stores. Also, online jewelers offer the widest selection of precious stones, with the added convenience of shopping from home. Second, a man can maximize his budget by educating himself on what really matters when buying a diamond. For example, diamonds are categorized according to the degree to which they are flawed (or “included.”) These inclusions, or lack of inclusions, are a major factor in determining price. Although a diamond can be categorized as “included,” in many cases, the flaws are only visible under 10X magnification. This means that two diamonds can have different characteristics and price tags, but may look virtually identical to the naked eye. As a result, a man can pay more for a diamond that looks the same as a less expensive one. If he knows how to spot the diamonds that are less expensive but still eye clean, he can save a great deal of money. Finally, another way to maximize budget is to avoid preset engagement rings (rings that are ready-made). Instead, he should pick a jeweler that allows him to design the exact ring he wants. With preset engagement rings, a jeweler has already decided how much of his budget is going toward the diamond and how much is going toward the setting. By designing his own engagement ring, he knows the exact value of each element and he decides exactly how to break down his budget.


3. What do you think is men's biggest misconception about buying an engagement ring?


            The biggest misconception is that buying an engagement will be a stressful, tedious process, when in fact, it can be quite the opposite!  Today, a guy can buy an engagement ring at midnight, wearing his pajamas, with a sandwich in hand, all from the comfort of his computer. Many men think that they need to become gemologists to avoid overpaying for an engagement ring. Over the past few years, however, there have been amazing technological advancements that truly simplify the process of choosing a diamond. For example, James Allen offers incredible 3D diamond display technology that enables you to experience diamonds better than you would through a jeweler’s loupe. Instead of having to interpret a diamond certificate that is filled with numbers and charts, this new 3D technology gives you a stunning visual impression of the diamond that is as accurate as it is easy to use. 


4. What's the best way to figure out her ring size without letting on that he's going to propose?


            Figuring out her ring size takes a bit of detective work (the fun kind!). The first option is to find a ring (it must be one that she wears on her ring finger) and take it to a jewelry store to figure out her size. Another option is for him to request a ring sizer from a jeweler (James Allen sends them out for free), carry it around in his wallet, and measure the ring when he has a moment alone. If measuring an existing ring isn't an option and you know you can trust a friend or relative to keep a secret, ask them to help. 


5. How can a guy figure out what metal, setting, and diamond shape his girlfriend would prefer without giving away the secret that he's going to propose?


Start by thinking about her personality and fashion sensibility. Is she a contemporary girl or more conservative? Is she old fashioned or does she love current modern styles?  Answers to these questions can help you to figure out if she would be happier with a classic round brilliant diamond in a simple solitaire, or an antique cushion cut dripping in pave' set diamonds. Another option is to ask someone close to her – a best friend or relative – about her engagement ring preference. Chances are that she’s mentioned it at least once or twice. If she’s never mentioned anything, it’s a great idea to ask her friend or relative to do a little investigating (it must be subtle, of course!). One way to do this is ask the friend/relative to create a fake scenario for his girlfriend. For example, her best friend could say: “My friend from work is getting engaged soon and she has no idea what kind of engagement ring she wants. She asked for my advice but I’m stumped. What kind of ring should I suggest for her?”


6. Is two months' salary still the amount men should plan to spend on a diamond engagement ring? If not, what's a more accurate amount?


            There is no “right” amount to spend on an engagement ring – it’s personal choice that varies for everyone. No matter how much he spends, an engagement ring is ultimately a symbol of love that no one can put a price on.


7. Should a guy ever buy the engagement ring/wedding band set for his girlfriend?

            Many jewelers will offer discounts for buying wedding bands with the engagement ring, so if budget is high on the priority list, he should take advantage of the financial incentives. If not, many women enjoy picking out wedding rings with their fiancés.


8. How long before a guy wants to propose should be buy the ring? 


            This can really vary from person to person; as long as he gives himself time to research and takes into account delivery dates, there really is no set timeline. Online jewelers are advantageous because they often deliver within a few business days, which means there is no pressure for him to rush his decision.


9. What options do couples have if the woman doesn't like the engagement ring the guy picked out?


            Though returns are uncommon for engagement rings, it is very important for the man to familiarize himself with a jeweler’s return policy before making a purchase. At James Allen, for example, we offer a 100% refund for 60 days. Any reputable jeweler should give their customers peace of mind by offering them a flexible return policy.


10. What's the most important thing most men forget to do when buying an engagement ring?


            Have fun! This is the most exciting gift a woman could ever receive – don’t forget to enjoy the process.            



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