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Shopping for the perfect engagement ring may seem like an overwhelming task, with all of the styles, designs, and diamond sizes staring at you from under the glass. However, at its core, the ring buying process is no different than the path that leads you to a new car, a bigger television, or other long-term commitments.
OK, maybe the unspoken commitment from an engagement ring is a little different than your commitment to a bigger television. But that analogy alleviates some of those pre-ring purchase jitters, right?
As long as you've taken the time to educate yourself (we'll tell you everything you need to know!) and understand the preferences of your significant other, finding the perfect engagement ring is easy.
This is always the first question on the "So you've decided to get hitched..." checklist. We've all heard the "two month's salary" rule, but realistically, that's a bad rule to follow for deciding on a gesture of lifetime commitment. The thought is always more important than "cash or credit."
Establishing a budget with some flexibility will immediately make your search easier by limiting your options. Most jewelers offer equally flexible payment plans, as well as a vast knowledge of the latest trends and styles in diamond rings.
You know that couple that collectively chose her engagement ring? Yeah, try not to do that. While it is in some cases more practical to shop together, it's much more thoughtful, romantic, and memorable if you do the shopping alone. There's no better time to score brownie points among your soon-to-be fiance's social network than to surprise her with a ring that perfectly fits who she is as a person.
This can be the trickiest part. Although resizing the engagement ring after your proposal is an option, she'll prefer a ring that caters perfectly to her finger. Anyone who knows a recently engaged woman knows she won't want to take it off for any reason.
Pay close attention to the rings she wears regularly, and any rings she is prone to removing on occasion. The trick here is to find one that fits her, but isn't enough a staple of her daily routine that she'll notice it missing for a day or two.
Knowing the style and design she prefers in a diamond ring will go a long way towards shortening the purchasing process. Pay close attention to anything she may mention about jewelry or diamond shapes (Square? Diamond-shaped? Pear? Diamonds along the band?), and browse through some of her jewelry if necessary.
Asking broad questions about jewelry or making a casual stop at a mall jewelry store to browse "watches" can also reveal important traits she admires in a ring. Just remember: asking about jewelry is like defusing a bomb within 10 seconds; if you're too obvious, she'll catch on quickly and blow up the surprise.
With adequate preparation, there's no reason to fear the engagement ring purchase process. You've made it this far, so you probably have a good idea of what her answer is going to be. Have fun and take pride in the fact that you're taking a big step in life!