Diamond Engagement Rings

Choosing the Right Diamond Engagement Rings

Personal nervousness aside, for practical reasons it's not easy to pick out an engagement ring. No matter what your budget -- as long as it's not, say, $50 and a ball of string -- you're likely to find yourself faced with a wide variety of options regarding stone, ring metals, and styles. This is, of course, mostly a problem with the asker, who not only has to dredge up the courage to propose, but also has to come up with a nice ring to sweeten the deal. Well, gentlemen (and the occasional lady), you can't go wrong with a diamond engagement ring. While there are those among us for whom gold or other exotic metals are a source of irritation, there has never been a known case of a diamond allergy.

Diamond engagement rings have a 500-year history in Western society, though of course for most of that time they were exchanged only by the wealthiest of individuals. The lady Mary of Burgundy received the first recorded diamond engagement ring in 1477 from her beau, the Archduke Maximilian of Hamburg. Fortunately for young men everywhere, diamond engagement rings are much easier to both procure and pay for now than they were in the days of Mary and Max. (By the way, Mary said yes).

Making the cut

As you peruse the available diamond engagement rings, you'll need to keep several things in mind. First, you'll need to remember your spouse-to-be's preferences regarding jewelry. This specialized knowledge is something you'll have to carefully winkle out during your various conversations, unless of course you have the intestinal fortitude to just come right out and say, "I'm buying you an engagement ring. What do you like?" One of the important factors is determining whether or not she's allergic to a particular metal; ignore this factor at your peril. After all, offering her something she's allergic to might give rise to an uncomfortable situation.

Second, buy the most diamond engagement ring you can possibly afford. A good rule of thumb, they say, is something equivalent to twice your monthly salary. Other considerations include durability, ease of wear, and attractiveness, since she'll ideally be wearing it constantly for the rest of her life. All this may narrow the range down considerably, but even so you'll find plenty to choose from.

Maximizing your investment

One way to get the best bang for your buck is to choose the gem cut carefully. Unless she's wedded to the idea of a marquis- or round-cut diamond, consider a square cut, such as the princess or, even better, the emerald cut. Both cuts make better use of the stone, with less wastage. The emerald cut is the best bet in this regard. Because emeralds are brittle, a special cut was developed for them that takes the shape of a rectangle with the corners lopped off, combined with a relative few wide, clear facets. These larger facets make it relatively simple to spot poor cuts, flaws, and undesirable color than with other types of diamond cuts. Even better, for reasons known only to the Gods of Style and Commerce, emerald-cut diamonds tend to be less expensive than most other cuts. That being the case, you can afford an engagement ring with am emerald-cut stone as much as 25% bigger than the stones in most diamond engagement rings. Now there's a deal you can't turn down!

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