Guide to Choosing An Engagement Ring

So you’ve finally made it here! The moment when you decide you cannot live without your love and you are ready to propose. Congratulations! Now what?! Luckily for you, generations before you have gone through the same right of passage and now you can learn from their mistakes.

Buying an engagement ring can be a bit daunting and nerve wracking. Of course you want everything to be perfect. It can feel like you’re about to go into battle. I am here to help you. There are things you should know when buying an engagement ring. To give you an edge for success, I have compiled your 10 Rules of Engagement!

1 – KNOW WHAT STYLE SHE LOVES. Whether you are going to be a secret covert spy, or just downright obvious, do your research on what your future fiancé’s tastes are. This ring will be on her finger everyday so it is about her style, not yours. Take notice to what she gazes at a bit longer than others when passing by jewelry stores, perusing magazines, or watching commercials. Listen to comments she makes about her friends’ and family members’ rings. Does she like the simple look of a solitaire or does she lean more towards added side stones? Do her tastes reflect a vintage or modern style? If you can’t pick up on subtle clues, do not hesitate to fit some poignant questions in while talking about your future together. Knowing is half the battle.

2 – DIAMOND SHAPE IS KEY. Much like the style of the setting, most women will have a preference of diamond shape. Although Round cut diamonds still make up the vast majority of yearly diamond sales primarily due to their timelessness and elegant simplicity, fancy cut diamonds are growing in popularity. Ovals, Emeralds, and Cushions currently hold the top spots for fancy shapes. If you find yourself in a bind getting this information, sticking to the classic Round cut diamond is the way to go. Speak to your jeweler about their policy on switching out the center stone should your fiancé want something different.

3 – BUDGET. BUDGET. BUDGET. The dated thought of spending two months salary on an engagement ring is exactly that… dated. You need to decide what amount works best for you and stick to it. All of the sparkly diamonds you are about to see will make it very easy to toss your budget out of the window because, of course, you only want the best for your sweetheart! The best can be accomplished without leaving room for only Ramen noodles on the reception menu (delicious as they may be). Be upfront with your jeweler on your engagement ring budget and stick to it. A reputable jeweler will work with you to get you the best ring possible.

4 – EDUCATE YOURSELF. With the plethora of choices before you, all diamonds can very easily start to look alike to the naked eye. Know the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat). There are a few points on these that most people might not know, but I am here to give you some industry secrets. Shhh!

First, cut doesn’t refer to the shape; it refers to HOW well the diamond was cut from the rough. The range is from Excellent to Poor. This is possibly the most important of the 4 C’s because it will determine the level of “sparkle” she gets when showing it off to anyone who asks to see it.

To the average consumer, which most of us are, the highest colors can’t be distinguished by glancing at them. The price point between a D color and an H color is thousands of dollars. Thousands you don’t need to spend because unless you are walking around with the GIA certificate, no one will know! Diamonds range on a scale from D (colorless) to Z (yellow). In most cases, diamonds don’t start to show a hint of yellow until I color. If you do your legwork you might even be able to find a white looking I or J color. If you are at a crossroads choosing between a higher color or clarity for your budget, opt for the clarity. Here’s why:

Clarity refers to the imperfections in a stone. Flawless sounds like the way to go I’m sure but it is not necessary. Trained gemologists use magnification and special machinery to detect the flaws in diamonds and give them a certification grading based on their findings. Without magnification, an SI1 or SI2 diamond can appear flawless. In the industry, this is known as “eye clean”. Search for a center diamond that has the highest clarity you can afford without visible imperfections. No woman dreams about a black speckled diamond!

Carat. The bigger the better? Yes and no. When you decide on the optimal carat weight, whether it is 1 carat, 2 carats or beyond, consider this thought: Go about 0.15-0.20 carats below that and focus on the measurements instead of the carat weight. The common misconception is that all diamonds of the same carat weight look the same but that is not true. Carat weight refers to the total weight of the stone but does not account for the weight distribution. Dropping down to the next weight tier down (so to speak) but picking a diamond that has most of its weight at the top of the stone, giving it a “spready” appearance will allow you to get the look of the carat weight you want without having to shell out the money for it. A “spready” 0.80 carat diamond can yield the same table measurements as a bottom heavy 1.00 carat diamond. Feeling empowered yet?

5 – HEAVY METAL. No, I am not referring to a long-haired band. I am talking about platinum, white gold, yellow gold, or the trendy rose gold. Be armed with the knowledge of which your lady prefers. Another factor to keep in mind when choosing a metal is the hardness. Platinum is softer than 14k gold. As a result, it will get scratched easier, making it a high maintenance metal. If she plans on wearing it everywhere she goes, 14k gold might be the best choice for you. Keep in mind that metal color will also play a role in the look of the center stone. If the stone is of a lower color and contains a hint of yellow, choosing yellow gold will enhance the yellow in the stone. If you opted for a vivid yellow (popularly known as a canary) diamond choosing a yellow gold setting, or at the very least yellow prongs is a good idea. A white gold setting, or white gold prongs will bring out the whiteness of the diamond. A growing trend is using a different gemstone besides a diamond as the center stone. If you fall in this category, choose a metal that enhances the color of the gemstone.

6 – DIAMONDS AREN’T YOUR ONLY CHOICE. Colored gemstones are climbing the charts in popularity when it comes to engagement rings. Presenting her with a gemstone engagement ring is not only a great way to making her ring unique, but also another way to stay within your budget. Sapphires and emeralds are trending right now. In keeping with the tradition of giving a diamond when popping the question you can always get a setting with pavé-set diamonds on the band or don the center stone with a diamond halo.

7 – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SETTLE FOR PRE-MADE. You did exactly what I suggested you do. You listened to her subtle hints, you watched her eyes light up when she saw different styles, but there’s a problem. She likes a few different things and you don’t know which to pick. Have no fear! Create a custom engagement ring. That’s right- build your own! It sounds expensive, I know. Trust me when I tell you that it is more affordable than you think.

8 – SIZE MATTERS. Her ring size, that is. Picture this: You have done all of your research, settled on a budget, chosen your jeweler, and the ring of her dreams is in your possession! You plan the perfect scene, get down on one knee, profess your love, utter the words “Will you marry me?”, she screams “YES!” and you hear the record scratch… the ring doesn’t fit. Let’s avoid this moment together. This is not something you want happening. There are a few ways to find out this vital information.

Take a ring that she wears that won’t be missed to the jeweler to have them measure it.

If you think the ring will be missed, trace the inside of the ring on a piece of paper and show it to your jeweler.

Request a free ring sizer online and if she is a heavy sleeper measure her left ring finger while she snoozes.

If all else fails, ask her or a close friend/family member.

9 – GET CERTIFIED. GIA is the leading gemological institute with the most stringent guidelines for grading diamonds and gemstones. You can rest assured that what you’re told you are getting is what actually sits in her ring with a GIA certificate. Ask to receive the original GIA cert of your diamond with your purchase. Any reputable jeweler will have no problem providing this. This is the blueprint for your diamond. From the 4 C’s to its measurements, polish, symmetry, fluorescence, certification date and more will all be provided on your document.

10 – REST INSURED. Take the stress out of walking around town with this expensive new investment and get it insured. Your jeweler can make a suggestion on who to use or your homeowner’s/renter’s insurance can add it to your policy. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief knowing that in the unfortunate case it is lost or stolen, you are covered.

Visualize the Voom and Vibe That Valentine’s Day Brings to You and Me

Visualize a time when the vibe of loving wishes and unity can be felt everyday. The sound of a loud boom- instantly calling love to you would be so much fun if you could celebrate a great heartfelt holiday at any time of the year! Valentines’ Day wishes to you and to all of your loved ones. Why you question would anyone think to speak about Valentine’s Day in September? Remember what the day is said to symbolize: Love and Compassion. Valentine’s Day wishes in September is sure to render questions and most importantly: The message will be received by all loud and clear- someone is thinking of touching your heart today and can’t wait another five months to show heartfelt expression of love and appreciation for the value that you bring to me and you and to everyone that is blessed to be a part of your life story. Show someone hurting out there how much you would love to help, support or exhort them in love, peace, and harmony. Heartfelt well wishes to all of you beautiful, exuberant, vivacious souls out there!

A day of love is when we all publicly allow our heart-loving expression to be made manifest; displayed into the world: love to be expressed into gifting rituals and acts of kindness: a day of love, gifting of chocolate and flowers; love openly expressed and wished to others; love of self- don’t forget to appreciate the giver of love as much as the recipient receives; albeit in a balanced, constructive and private tone.

LOVING ACTS OF KINDNESS-sent out into the universe for all of our lovers and loved-ones; neither love is greater; both types of love are beautiful, nurturing, and yet distinctly different. We can also add the love of humanity- we are all more happy and content giving and receiving love than any other emotion. Let’s make the planet vibration higher by showing one another more love, peace and compassion by helping our fellow man, who is hurting, suffering or experiencing the looming of growing pains of changes on the planet. Economic concerns, weather related worries, civil unrest or whatever the issue, we need to give and receive love and understanding now more than ever before. There truly is a global need for love, love of sister, brother, friend or father, the unexpressed love for humanity must come across in your actions too!

It’s called the universal energy of love;society in synchronicity; for all living beings to fill their heart-warming sense of love; filling their vacuum of love to be replenished or demonstrated openly…

Heartfelt well wishes are when we take a day for genuine, unprovoked expression* openly demonstrated; yet exclusive to loved ones, and all-inclusive to your fellow man;

A sharing of thoughtful heartfelt giving of love from one beating heart to another. The love shared from oneself to another, or other beautiful recipients.

Who’s your valentine this year? I’ll bet you have many. Maybe your mom, whose loving heart brings you joy and peace; maybe your father, whether he’s here, or gone away to help God and the angels take care of you and me…

The festivities, or reason for showing heartfelt expression, has been recognized and appreciated for many years and shall be celebrated for many more to come.

Did you think about my question?

Whom is your Valentine?

Your brother, or sister, maybe you only have one; and his heart warms you soul, not just on Valentine’s Day, but his heart warms your soul year-round, and you desire to recognize him on this emotive, heart-appreciating day..

Maybe your Valentine is Mr. Smith, the grocery store manager, or Billy the store carry-out clerk that drives the extra mile for you and takes your groceries straight to the car; as he patiently waits for you when you SPONTANEOUSLY PAUSE, to tie your shoe, or your impromptu act of sorting through your purchases and organizing your fruit selection.

Valentine’s Day is:

Just to recognize and let the world know,

Everyone is a valentine’s day candidate;

All you have to do is be bold enough or honest enough with yourself and your loved one(s),

And openly express your red, ripe, loving giving, lovingly, openly-expressed wish.

Before you get on with the daily business that may overtake your time and ability to get those giving words of love to your valentine.

Remember to express your heartfelt gratitude and tenderness to those who touch your heart the most- whether in subtle ways or acts of kindness,unspoken gratitude or unbridled compassion for humanity, it’s all the same. The heart beats stronger when you and me show our love, compassion, appreciation and understanding for our fellow man whom is fighting a battle and deserves a valentine day hug, smile or even a piece of heart-shaped candy. Warming the heart of another may just warm your own heart in the process.

Make the time to state your appreciation: make it known, before the today is gone and over for 2016.”

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

* “MY husband, who stands by me, my father, whom is up in Heaven, I love you gentlemen always. Everyday for me is Valentine’s Day when I think of each of you.”

Enjoy Valentine’s Day, or at least what it symbolizes, remember to express your heart openly before the year ends. To everyone that has a beating heart: let your words recognize and epitomize the importance of love in your life and i shall do the same in mine.

The History of Engagements – Reasons for a Ring

The customary practice of giving engagement rings started way back in the prehistoric times when cavemen tied cords around their mate’s waists, ankles, and wrists to take control of her spirit. Some remains of ancient Egyptians were also found wearing a silver or gold ring on the middle finger of their left hands. It was believed that the third finger is directly connected to the heart.

In the first century B.C., the sultans and sheiks in Asia used puzzle rings to tag every wife they have. The use of rush-ring in weddings began when a bishop of Salisbury ended the practice of using it to seduce women to a mock marriage. He declared that rush-rings shall be used to legally bind marriages.

The first use of diamond engagement rings was dated back in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a ring with M-shaped pieces of diamonds to Mary of Burgundy during a wedding proposal. Since then, wealthy people turned it into a practice.

In the 1700s, Europe made it popular to give “poesy rings” made of silver and engraved with verbose sayings. While the Puritans across the Atlantic Ocean used thimbles instead of rings to propose. Later on, many of the Puritans sliced the top off the thimbles and turned them into rings.

The beginning of the huge supply of diamonds started on the discovery of Cape Colony in South Africa. In 1880, Cecil Rhodes, together with other mining investors, opened the DeBeers Mining Company, which controlled ninety percent of the world’s diamond production ten years later.

The design of today’s engagement rings was inspired from “Tiffany setting”. In 1886, Tiffany & Co, introduced “Tiffany setting” as a six-prong ring with a diamond raised up from the band to maximize the gem’s brilliance. In the 1890s, Sears & Roebuck and other mail-order catalogs first presented the affordable wedding rings and diamond engagement rings.

In the Roman times, rituals called only for the blessing of the bride’s ring. Until a Catholic priest inquired The American Ecclesiastical Review in 1944 as to whether he can wed a couple in a “double ring”. The inquiry received a positive response, thus the beginning of grooms’ rings.

In the course of time, together with its popularity, the diamond industry was associated with a growing human rights violations. The World Diamond Council developed a system in 2000 to stop the use of diamonds in human exploitation.

Today, diamond engagement rings continue its vogue. According to a study in 2002, more than one-third of couples who buy diamond engagement rings spend at least two months of their salary.