When I started shopping for Maryam’s engagement ring, I thought I was going to be in pretty good shape. I worked at a jewelry store throughout college Christmas’s, so I figured I’d know exactly what I was up against… I was wrong. See the issue with ring shopping is two-fold. For starters, you need to know the jewelry. Second, you need to be able take what she likes and add a bit of your personality to it. It took me a long time to get the perfect engagement ring, so I figured I should share some of my experiences with you.
This is the first blog in a multi-part series to help you find the perfect engagement ring. The next few posts will be:
- The Base: Metals and Anatomy
- The Stats: Picking a Diamond
- The Finish: Buying the Ring and Popping the Question
This is a primer to give you an idea of what you should be doing as you enter the world of ring shopping and the whirlwind of proposing. So here are the three main things you need to know…
Don’t Fall for the Hype
The very first thing I started seeing and hearing when I started thinking about ring shopping was “your ring should be worth three month’s salary.” That idea made my heart sink a little… Is that before tax or after tax? What if I can’t save that much up? I had rent, a car note, student loans, and so much else to worry about. I had been saving for a ring since I met Maryam, but I was terrified whatever I would buy her wouldn’t be expensive enough. Then I thought about it… expensive enough? An engagement ring is a symbol of love and commitment, it’s not a statement of income. You should be willing to forego some ‘nice-to-have’ items in your life in order to save, but don’t put yourself in crazy debt. She wouldn’t (or at least she shouldn’t) want that. So remember, your ring should cost what you can afford.
The Surprise Lies in How and When You Ask, Not in the Question
I used to work at a jewelry store when I was in college and one of the biggest mistakes I always saw when guys came to buy rings for their soon-to-be fiancé was that they had no idea what she wanted. What metal? What cut? Which design? The men would come in, find what they like, and buy it as a sign of their everlasting commitment to their better half. They thought that talking to their girlfriend about what she wanted would ruin the surprise. But here’s the thing, she should already know you want to marry her, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. But because of that mistake, I saw more exchanged rings and angry fiancés than I cared for. Don’t be that guy.
Maryam and I talked about getting married for a long time. We talked about ring designs, Pinterest-ed ideas, and got her ring size a few times. She knew I wanted to marry her, that wasn’t a surprise to her, the surprise was her unexpectedly getting the perfect ring in the perfect way. If you can’t ask her, then find a friend who will do all the leg work for you, but don’t go in blind. So, know what she likes (and know her ring size, it’ll make your life much easier).
Give Yourself Time
This is pretty self-explanatory. The ring shopping experience shouldn’t be rushed, give yourself a few months. My suggestion is to start shopping 3-5 months before you want to propose. Start figuring out what she likes well before that though.