How To Buy an Engagement Ring
By Sharon Goldman Edry
So you've finally gone out and bought the diamond of your -- well, your girlfriend's
--dreams. Think you're ready to get down on one knee and pop the question? Not so fast! A
diamond with no ring to slip on your lady's finger is just a loose stone: beautiful, but,
well, impractical. You need the right setting to pop that baby in, but how do you know
which ring to choose?
Sure, you wouldn't know a ring setting from a china tea set, right? And after you've
already spent time learning how to buy a diamond, including the 4Cs, who wants to make
more complicated choices? But picking the right ring is just as important as choosing a
beautiful diamond. A great setting helps the stone look its best, holds it in place,
leaves room for side stones and gives your bride-to-be a chance to show off her personal
style. And since your bride-to-be will have to wear the ring for years to come, our
ring-buying guide will help you choose the one she really wants, so you won't end up in
Need a crash course into the realm of rings? Let's get started with a few of the most
popular types of settings:
Let in the Light
The classic setting to hold a solitaire diamond -- if you have been paying attention at
all you've seen it in every DeBeers or Tiffany's ad -- is called a prong setting. This
ring is pretty basic: the prongs are attached to the head of the ring, holding the stone
in a firm grip. This setting offers a sense of security (no worries about your big
investment popping out) and a way to brilliantly show off the stone, since it is lifted up
to reflect light through all parts of the diamond.
Flush it Out
If you're looking for a modern look, try a flush setting, where the diamond is sunk into
the mounting so it is almost level with the surface. Only the table (that's the top) or a
few upper facets of the stone show. It offers great protection for your diamond and while
it doesn't reflect much light, its streamlined modern lines are the way to go if she is a
Go Bold with a Bezel
A version of the flush setting, the bezel setting is a collar of gold that wraps around
the diamond, which is nearly level to the surface of the ring. A bezel adds height,
dimension and a great modern look.
The Power of Pave
If you want a cluster of tiny diamonds, rather than just one large stone, the pave setting
may be the right one. The stones are carefully set so that the surface of the ring looks
like a road of glitter. But if you want a ring that will immediately show an obvious
value, don't go here - only the savvy will see how valuable a pave ring is.
Once you have a setting in mind, you'll have a couple of other decisions to make.
What metal should the ring be made of? Your basic choice is gold or platinum. Platinum is
the stronger, denser and more pricey of the two: consider it especially if you're going
for a classic prong setting, since a smaller amount of metal will still hold on tightly to
your heavy investment. It's the prestige choice and although you might think it looks like
white gold, it doesn't feel like it: it's much heavier. She will definitely understand the
difference, trust us. Because platinum is white, it also shows off colorless diamonds. But
if your diamond is I or below in color, you might want to choose yellow gold, because the
whiteness of the platinum might make the diamond look a little yellow.
On the Side
Bet you've never thought about the side of the ring, but there's often stuff there, too.
For example, sometimes a couple of beautiful side stones can make your diamond look even
better (and your bride-to-be won't mind the little extra!). You can choose from either
small round diamonds, triangle shaped or baguette (a fancy name for rectangular). You may
also go for a setting that has beautiful scrolls, geometric designs or other shapes on the
shank (the side) of the ring.
Ring Do's and Don'ts:
DON'T present a family ring without consulting her first. Think about it -- what if your
loved one can't stand the marquise shaped-diamond your great-grandmother left you? Do you
want that on your conscience? Unless the diamond is spectacular, let your bride-to-be
choose her own, and even if she accepts the family jewels let her pick out a new setting
of her choice.
- DO let her help pick it out, if possible. Learning about rings is helpful, but you can
be a jewelry expert and still not pick out what she really wants. The truth is, every girl
wants romance: a proper proposal, including the ring -- but she also wants to be
practical. That means she'd rather pick out what she wants herself. So have your cake and
eat it too at Alrashid Cyber Mall, where you'll get a free 14k gold mounting with every
diamond of a carat or more. Use it to slip on her finger and then let her pick the final
setting from our extensive selection. Two words: Brownie points!
DO consider her personal style before choosing a setting. Does she tend towards the
traditional? Go for the classic prong setting. Does she like a bold statement? Go for a
bezel setting or add a dash of color with side gemstones like sapphires or rubies. Does
she go for the dazzling original? Try a pave setting.
DO listen for clues. Don't tune her out like you normally do when she window-shops or
leafs through issues of Modern Bride. Pay attention - if she yells "Platinum!"
at the top of her lungs to her friend on the phone, don't assume she means her Visa card.
DO consider the shape and size of your girlfriend's hand before you buy a ring. It
doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if your girlfriend has tiny fingers a
large, heavy setting will look like she's carrying a cell phone taped to the back of her
hand. And a tiny, thin setting on a large hand - well, it won't look like much at all.
Here's the bottom line: It may take a bit of extra time and patience to pick out the
right ring, and you may never need to use this information again. But since you're about
to spend the rest of your life with your bride-to-be, make sure she's content with the
final choice. Because here's how it works from here on, guys: if she's happy, you'll be