Engagement season is upon us, and at this time of the year
Do: Try to get a sense of your girlfriend's taste in jewelry if you plan to surprise her with a ring. You might do a little pre-shopping with her, if the proposal will not be a total surprise, as is often the case. Or a man can enlist some advice from his girlfriend's best friend about style. Paying close attention to your girlfriend's everyday style is another way to get a sense of what should will like in bridal jewelry. While the classic diamond solitaire is beautiful, it is far from your only choice, so be sure to consider other options.
Don't: Exchange the ring. Ladies, it is a nervewracking experience for a man to walk into a jewelry store a pick out a ring with which to propose (not to mention how nervous the proposal itself makes most guys!). You had better believe that he put a lot of thought into buying your engagement ring, and to return it for a different style is highly insulting. He may well say that you can exchange it, but to actually do so would be heartless. No matter what the ring looks like, profess your love for it, because it was given with love.
Do: Spend as much as you can to get a very high quality engagement ring. Engagement rings are worn every single day, and experience a lot of wear and tear. Choose a ring made from a durable material such as platinum or die-struck gold, over a lightweight casting. Look for secure prongs and good finish work on the setting. And invest what you can into a high quality diamond from a reputable seller.
Don't: Overspend based on artificial guidelines created by the diamond industry. If you can afford to invest two months' salary into a diamond ring, wonderful. For that matter, you can spend more, if you have the cash. However, do not feel like you have to go into debt to achieve a certain standard, or that your gift will be inadequate if you spend less than the guidelines. Buy what you can afford. Many jewelry stores also offer services like no-interest layaway, if you do not need the engagement ring right away.
Do: Be practical as well as romantic in your choice of ring. Certain gemstones have the durability to last for generations, while others are too fragile for everyday wear. The best choices for gems are diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, which are the hardest stones. Be wary of softer gems such as emeralds or tanzanites, which are likely to chip, abrade, or fracture from daily use. Also keep in mind that low settings are easier to wear than ones which hold the diamond very high and that smooth settings, such as bezels, are ideal for women who wear gloves to work like doctors and nurses.
Don't: Forget about paperwork. Your engagement ring should come with an appraisal, which can then be used to get insurance for the jewelry (add a rider to your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy). Many diamonds will also come with a document called a certification. The 'cert' should be done by a respected independent gem laboratory like AGS or GIA, and it gives the details about the color, clarity, cut, and carat weight of the diamond. Always inspect the certification first, if you are considering purchasing a diamond online. Better yet, work with a local jeweler whom you know you can trust and who will be there to help you choose wedding bands, bridal jewelry, and maybe even a ring for your wife when your first baby is born.