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Be Prepared: Your Engagement Ring Purchase

If you’re going to propose, avoid the pitfalls by planning in advance.

If you’re going to propose, the worst thing that can happen is hearing “no.” But there are other problems that can arise — and a lot of them revolve around the ring. This is your guide to avoiding them, and how to troubleshoot any issues you might run into with this important purchase.

Timing is everything

When it comes to getting engaged, timing is everything. The ring, for example can take more time than you think.

Set a goal date for your proposal — engagements peak from the winter holidays through Valentine’s Day, but there may be a time of year or special vacation you choose instead.

Six months out.

This is the time to get serious about shopping, whether you do it alone or with your fiancée-to-be. About half of couples shop together, either in person or online. Get a good idea of what kind of ring she’d like, what you can afford and her ring size. We’ve got online tools to help you out:

If you’re considering a custom design, meet with a jeweler now. Look at models, share sketches and get the process going.

Five to Four months out.

If you’re going with a custom design, you should already be in the prototype phase. No ring is really off-the-rack. You’ll be choosing from settings and diamonds separately. Get your finances or financing together.

Three months to go.

Ideally, you’ve got the ring in hand, or you know it’s on the way. This is the time to insure it and find a place to keep it secure. Your sock drawer is not secure, no matter what you think. Remember where you put it, too!



So you’ve got the ring, and three months to wait. Great, you’re ahead of the game. For those of you who didn’t heed this timing advice, you may run into some common problems.

What if the ring doesn’t come in time?

Even with perfect planning, things happen and the ring isn’t on time. In that case, check out promise rings — they may not be her dream ring, but you’ll have something to put on her finger if you’re stuck for time.

What if it’s the wrong size?

Take it to your jeweler immediately. Some resizing can be done in-house, some may require sending the ring off to a bench jeweler. You won’t know until you take it to a pro. Keep in mind that not every ring is stocked in every size in every store — depending on who makes the ring, it can take several months to get the right size in stock.

What if the diamond falls out or I need another repair?

Check the jeweler’s policy — you may be able to get the diamond replaced under warranty. If your jeweler doesn’t have a full replacement policy, this is why you got the insurance. You got the insurance, right?

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