Singaporebrides | The Groom Room

December 2010

The Manly Guide to Buying That One Ring

This is probably the only time you’d walk into a jewellery store alone. In fact, it may be the only time in your life you’ve seriously looked at a diamond—or any shiny stone—even though she has accidentally-on-purpose made you wait for her outside a jewellery store several times. Fear not. We’re here to help.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and did you know that a high number of marriage proposals happen between the months of November and February? Whether you’re planning to surprise the love of your life (good for you!) or planning a day to go engagement ring shopping together, you may be at a loss at the many styles available. These are a few things you should look out for when you visit the jewellers, but do feel free to ask the experts at hand for more help.

1. Get Your Priorities Right

Traditionally, the rule of thumb when putting aside your savings for the engagement ring is to spend between one to three months’ salary. As paradigms and the economy shift, there is no absolute need to follow that rule anymore, but use the old adage as a ballpark figure and you won’t be far off. Nowadays, a lot of young women wouldn’t want their fiancé to spend that much on the ring. They’d prefer a bigger wedding, a longer honeymoon, or even a better-furnished new home. Don’t think of the ring as “just a piece of jewellery”, but something that assures your fiancée that you think she’s worth it. Make your decision based on your budget and how important you think that ring is to your future wife. She’d understand.

Nowadays, there are several affordable alternatives to gold or platinum rings. Couples are settling for silver, or stainless steel, which is not as expensive. And, it doesn’t tarnish and lasts a very long time without having to clean it constantly. Ask your jeweller for their alternatives.

2. Consider Her Lifestyle

There are three main setting styles when it comes to the engagement ring. The solitaire, which is the simplest, most classy, and most popular, is almost a brand in itself. The diamond sits in the centre of the ring and catches the most light, so it is very well-liked by women from all walks of life. Another setting that is gaining popularity amongst modern women is the side-stone setting. Additional diamonds or gemstones at the side gives extra sparkle and colour, and it adds a little character to the ring. Finally, a really romantic option is the three-stone setting. The three-stone ring has one diamond for the past, one for the present, and one for the future. Need we say more?

Some ring settings may look fantastic, but it may not be very practical for daily wear. Would you want her to wear it every day or would you prefer her to keep it in her drawer and only take it out occasionally? How about when she goes to the gym to keep fit for her wedding day? Go for a style that you think your fiancée will be comfortable with. Just look at the styles she usually wears and you can’t go wrong.

3. Get To Know The 4 Cs

The diamond is the most costly part of the engagement ring, and you’ll want to know what you’re paying for.

The 4 Cs were developed by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and refers to the carat, clarity, colour, and cut of the diamond. Carat denotes the weight of the diamond; clarity describes the very minute characteristics of each stone as seen under a magnifying glass; colour grades represent the shade of colour the diamond is; cut refers to the shape and number of facets on the diamond.

The importance of each C depends on individual preferences. If your bride-to-be likes her sparkle, focus on the cut instead of its size. If the size of the diamond is more important, then you may have to sacrifice on the cut, colour, or clarity depending on your budget. If you’re interested to know more, check out GIA’s website here.

4. Guesstimation is the key

Now that you know what you should look for, there’s one other thing you need to do: espionage. Unless she has dropped hints, or if you have gone jewellery shopping with your future wife before, her ring size will be a big mystery. There is no easy way to do this, and asking her outright will spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to do some spy work.

You could snoop around her jewellery drawer and find a ring you’ve seen her wear on her ring finger. If you’re unable to keep the ring for a few days, make sure you’ve brought along a piece of string or a ruler to measure the inner circumference or diameter of the ring. If you weren’t able to plan for this, simply slide the ring up your own ring finger and mark the spot nearest to your palm. Take the measurements to your jeweller and they’ll know what to do. If your fiancée doesn’t own a ring, try to catch her while she’s asleep and measure around her left finger with a piece of string. If you’ve failed at spying, do what James Bond would do: seek help from informants. Ask her mum or best friend to trick the measurements out of her without giving the game away. Women are very good at this and her mother and best friend will only be too happy to help.

5. Don’t rush into it

Like all things and people of significance, some men take a while to find the right one. Don’t count on finding the right ring in a single afternoon. Go to several stores and find what feels right. Don’t be shy to ask a lot of questions. This is a very important ring, and may be one of your biggest purchases to date, so do ask about upcoming sales promotions too. If you’re planning to propose tomorrow, don’t wait until tonight to purchase the ring. Most jewellers do not have their entire stock in their store, or may only have limited sizes when it comes to the rarer diamond cuts, so unless you’ve visited the store often enough to know for sure, always assume that the store will need a few days to prepare the ring for you.

The bottom line is that if you want to buy her the perfect engagement ring, you have to know your fiancée well. Observe her likes and dislikes, her dress sense, and any allusions she makes about accessories and fashion. It seems that more and more couples today make the decision to pick out the ring together. If this is the case for you, then you are off the hook. However, there’s always something romantic about getting down on one knee and surprising her with the perfect ring. Imagine the bragging rights!