By Michelle Demaree

So, you want to buy her an engagement ring? You are probably receiving unsolicited advice from your buddies, family and even the guy at the coffee shop. Warning: the barista might make a great caramel macchiato, but it is doubtful he knows much about fine jewelry. You need concrete advice from a luxury jewelry expert on how to get the most bling for your buck, which is why I have put together this must-have R.I.N.G.S. guide. Gentlemen, straighten your ties! There is much to consider.

“R” is for Recon the Shape

Engagement Rings 683x1024 - Men's Guide to Engagement Rings

You are on a Reconnaissance mission to find out your finance’s favorite shape and choosing the right cut is highly important. Disappointment is not an option. You are a man on a mission.

If you’re planning to surprise her, consider her personal style: simple, big and sparkly or bohemian chic. You don’t want a ring that is going to clash with her personality or the rest of her wardrobe. You may not see much difference between round and an oval but trust me, if she loves the oval, get the oval.

If you include her in the ring shopping process, traditionally you’ll be expected to decide a budget range. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing that information with her, you can always share the carat weight and your diamond concierge can handle the details privately. This means you can spend $25,000 but she may think you spent $50,000 based on that gorgeous rock.

“I” is for Invest Wisely On Clarity

Knowing how your dollars are better allocated when it comes to clarity is imperative. I always tell my clients, spend your money where you can see it. Buying for high-clarity reasons makes sense with certain shapes, such as Emerald Cuts and Asscher Cuts, but this may not be the case with others.

In fact, the only place you may notice the difference in clarity on certain shapes is in the price tag, so be vigilant if you think you may be overspending on clarity. Think about this — would you rather spend money on something you cannot see or spend it on a larger stone or higher color grade that you can see?

“N” is for Need to Know Your Certs

Becoming wise to the world of the various diamond certifications, or certs, is a must for all aspiring gentlemen. Institutions, such as GIA (the Gemological Institute of America), are third party diamond graders who certify the grade of each diamond. Houses like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston carry GIA certified diamonds. You can trust that when a GIA certificate says F-VS2, it is an F-VS2.

Other certification options such as EGL, AGS, GSI, AGI, HRD, IGI also grade diamonds but are known to have less stringent criteria. That means that they command lower prices but heads up! It also may mean that your F-VS2 could instead be a G/H-SI1.

“G” is for Give the Ring Your Personalized Touch

Aside from the fact that you will forever be her hero for giving her the ring of her dreams! Adding a meaningful touch to this sentimental treasure is your next-level move as a true gentleman, in love.

Engraving the shank of the engagement ring is becoming increasingly popular. Alternatively, you can add personality and inset the shank with both of your birthstones. If she is a Pink or blue diamond gal, adding pink diamonds on the interior band is a special touch, fit for a princess. Another classy move is imprinting your fingerprint on the inside of the ring, keeping you two forever connected. Swoon. I also have done diamond laser engraving. This is quite novel, since the engraving is not visible to the naked eye.

“S” is for Set It Up Right

Setting. Is. Everything. You can have the most breathtaking diamond in the world and if you put it in the wrong setting it can make that diamond sink. If you custom set the ring right, it will sing and sparkle forever.

Each diamond is unique and has different dimensions, angles, depth and millimeters. The basket must be made to fit the exact measurements of her diamond. Otherwise the integrity and security of her setting is compromised. A hand-forged setting ensures that her diamond will stay in place and not be lost into obscurity, causing heartache for her and a hard, swift punch to your bank account.

oval diamond ring - Men's Guide to Engagement Rings

There you have it! R.I.N.G.S., a guide to get you on track. Of course, there is another acronym that is often ballied about in your search for the perfect luxury engagement ring: the 4 C’s of Diamonds. I believe there are actually 6 C’s to diamonds:

  1. Cut – Cut determines how intense the sparkle of her diamond is! Of all the diamond 4Cs, CUT is the most complex and technically difficult to analyze. Excellent and Very Good cut diamonds have the highest light return. Each diamond is graded and priced for cut based on its proportions in symmetry and polish.
  2. Color – The GIA diamond color chart has six categories, ranging from completely colorless to lightly colored. Remember lower color grades have a more noticeable warm to yellow hue. Colorless is always ideal (D,E,F) but commands a higher price tag. Near colorless (G,H,I,J) works for certain shapes but the sweet spot tends to be G color.
  3. Clarity – Clarity is the measure of how many internal inclusions  or external blemishes a diamond has. Skilled graders use 10x magnification to find tiny imperfections not seen by the naked eye. I never let my clients overspend on clarity and make sure to select stones with ideal inclusions.
  4. Carat Weight – Carat weight is the measure of a diamond’s weight. Carat weight is typically the biggest factor in determining the price of the diamond. Not all carats are created equal – meaning some 4 carats look bigger than others.
  5. Certification – It’s a good idea to get a GIA-certified diamond if your budget allows. Remember there are other certification agencies but just go one notch up in color and clarity to achieve the same GIA cert status on your stone.
  6. Character – My additional metric is Character. Character is a quality that is indiscernible on a certificate and only determined by the eyes and heart of the beholder. Keep in mind that despite matching certificates, no two diamonds emit the same energy, sparkle and personality.

There you have it. Gents, this is an exciting and stressful time. This delicate dance between getting her dream ring and spending a big chunk of your savings is no small feat. The good news is you can play on a major league level with Rodeo Drive quality at a value that will allow you to sleep at night. You know what they say, it’s all about who you know (wink).

I have assisted thousands of couples with their rings during my years at Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. To learn more about my stress free process to get her dream ring at a value, connect with me here. [email protected].

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