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Diamond Engagement Ring Shopping Plan

Be the man with the plan for diamond engagement ring shopping and get the right start on the rest of your life.

As with anything, big or small, devising a plan before you plunge in headlong will save you some costly mistakes. When you’re planning to buy a diamond engagement ring, a clear plan will help you navigate what can be a pretty confusing endeavor. Here’s a handy checklist to help you along.

Pay attention when your fiancée-to-be talks about other women’s rings. Virtually no woman lacks an opinion on another woman’s engagement ring. It’s valuable intel in your quest.

Find the woman you want to marry

Since you’re here, let’s assume you’ve crossed that off the list. Congratulations! We don’t have to tell you how lucky you are.

Get the lay of the land

Usually, that involves some research, and the easiest way to do that is to go online. Since you’re here, cross that one off too. Be careful when you’re looking around — there’s an awful lot of chatter and noise on the Internet about this very subject, and you can become confused quickly. As you go through this checklist, we’ve linked to more in-depth discussions to keep you focused.

Decide if this will be a surprise

If you have your heart set on proposing with the ring in hand and without her suspecting, you’ll be making a lot of decisions on your own. We’ll help you with figuring out her style, the kinds of rings you might want to look at and get you started on the basics.

If you and your fiancée-to-be already know you’re going to get married — it’s just a matter of making it official — you might want to take a more collaborative approach. A lot of couples in this situation shop for her engagement ring together — studies say about 50% of engaged women helped with ring selection. With that settled, the surprise is in the proposal.

And whichever route you take, how you propose has become really important. The Knot has 50 ideas to help you out.

Tune in

Whether you’re going shopping solo or together, it’s really important at this stage to listen to your fiancée-to-be. Pay attention to how she talks about other women’s rings. This is especially easy if your friends are all at the same point and getting engaged and married. Virtually no woman lacks an opinion on another woman’s engagement ring. Even if you wouldn’t normally care, don’t check your fantasy team on your phone when this is happening. It’s valuable intel in your quest.

If you’re in it together, go online together; you can both keep track of rings on Pinterest or go window shopping before a movie or dinner. In this case, you are just looking. You want to watch her eyes, what catches her attention and listen to what she says. It’s not necessarily easier to do this together, because you really have to be, as they say, “in the moment.”

Stop with the virtual, get into a store

You can look at images and still not “get” the big deal. Diamonds (if that’s what you want) are incredibly beautiful when you look at them live and in person. The folks at the jewelry store want you to see them and try them on — just ask.

Before you head out, compare ring styles — there are two parts to a diamond engagement ring: the shank — the actual round part — and the setting. The setting holds the diamond and can have a huge influence on a ring’s look and style. Get an idea of what the differences are. And set a budget. You want to know what you can or want to afford and not have to downsize your options after you see the perfect ring. A good salesperson will help you find something you love within your budget, and then you can decide if it’s enough or if you want to spend a little more.

Shop around

You want to do business with a reputable jeweler. As you shop around, take notice of the inventory, and whether the people there are willing to work with you to find the perfect engagement ring. If you find a ring style you like, but the diamond doesn’t “wow” you, a good jeweler should be willing to find one that does and swap it out. This way, you can build your own engagement ring.

But what if, after all your groundwork, you pick the wrong ring? Make sure your jeweler accepts returns or exchanges — there will probably be a time period attached to it, so find out what that is too. While it might be a blow to your ego if your choice isn’t quite right, you’ll at least have a chance to make it good.

No matter what, make sure the jeweler you choose guarantees things like stone replacement (they can get banged and broken or come out of the setting) and guarantees of the mountings. Also check policies on trade-ins (many couples upgrade to a bigger or better diamond on an anniversary, as your earning power and salaries increase), cleanings and inspections. Talk about this up front and understand the rules. You or your fiancée-to-be will have to bring the ring in for maintenance and cleaning to keep the warranties alive, so know the schedule.

Think of yourself for a minute

Consider whether you’ll want matching wedding bands — that is, if her wedding ring and yours will be the same style or metal. It can go either way, matching or not. But if you choose to match, you can have a platinum or gold band, and gold can be white, yellow or rose. If you have a preference, go in that direction for the engagement ring, because she may want that to match her wedding band. There are other metals used in wedding bands, including palladium, titanium, tungsten and stainless steel.

Pull the trigger

Time to “man up” and make the purchase. You can feel great — you’ve done your due diligence, figured out her preferences, planned (or are planning) a proposal and have found the right ring for her and for you. Go ahead, you’re ready!

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