The Dos And Don'ts Of Engagement Ring Shopping

Wedding Advice: Engagement Ring Shopping

Think you're ready to pop the question? Find the perfect sparkler with these tips.

Receiving a ring after you say "I do," is an important part of the marriage tradition, so a lot of thought and planning must happen before he slips that wedding ring or an engagement ring on your finger.

I spoke with Monika Jezarian of G.Jezarian Purveyor of Fine Jewelry in New York City's Diamond District to get a glimpse inside the world of wedding bling.

How does the future bride know she will get the right engagement ring? Should she be part of the ring buying process?

Monika Jezarian: The bride usually participates in the selection of all of the wedding jewelry except the engagement ring; however, sometimes she may even be a part of that purchase process too.

When working with an engagement ring client, this question always comes up in one way or another. There are three categories of engagement ring buyers: clients who have no idea what their partner wants, those who know what their partner wants, and then the ones who prefer to have her involved in the entire engagement ring buying process.

For the client who has no idea what to get, buying the ring can feel like a daunting proposition. They often second-guess whether they will get the right one or not.

I always think: If I sent my husband to buy me a pair of shoes, he'd never come home with something I'd like! But alas, there are techniques to use in which a groom and I can subtly do the reconnaissance to figure out the perfect ring, without spoiling the surprise.

For starters, I like to look at some photos of her. It doesn't have to be a picture of her finger, per se, just a natural shot. Is she super trendy? Conservative? Shy? Outgoing? You can surmise a lot about a person by looking at her photos. That helps me guide the client toward a complimentary ring style and diamond shape. If you are not sure about what to get, bring photos of her with you to the conversation you have with your jeweler. Oftentimes, this client may end up breaking down and inviting the future bride in to help choose the ring. There are advantages to both approaches. It is up to the future newlyweds to decide what is best for their needs.

What about jewelry for the groom? Oftentimes, he is overlooked, so to speak, with his ring and other jewelry he may wear on his wedding day. What should new brides know about his jewelry?

MJ: My husband has always lamented the fact that we sell all these amazing jewelry pieces that he can't wear! He always jokes about how lucky I am and says that a woman marrying a man who owns a fine jewelry store would be equivalent to a man marrying a woman who owned a Ferrari dealership. I will admit, when it comes time to get outfitted for a formal event, I do feel like a kid in a candy store!

But you are right. Men have been overlooked when planning for the big day. A gentleman usually wears his wedding band and a fine timepiece. I always cringe when I see grooms at the altar with faux onyx cuff links and studs that look like they came from a tuxedo rental place. Proper cuff links and studs are a necessity for men at their wedding. They don't only have to be functional; they must be expressive.

We often design cuff and stud sets for grooms in the same way we design engagement rings for brides. We want them to be memorable and meaningful, but not garish. For the foodies out there, think of how a creative garnish will flatter haute cuisine.

Face it: Men's jewelry is minimal, so why not make it memorable?

What about same-sex weddings? How does the ring buying process work for her and her or him and him?

MJ: I'm glad you asked about same sex weddings. I'm proud to say G.Jezarian have been pioneers in providing jewelry to the LGBT community since our doors opened 15 years ago. Since our firm's inception, we were one of the few fine jewelry stores in the country offering what we then called Commitment Rings. We are proud to have a strong and loyal following, and we have earned a spot in history as one of the premier private jewelers among LGBT people.

The difference between the ring buying process among straight or gay clients is unequivocal. There is no difference. The same feelings, nervousness, anticipation and joy is experienced by everyone shopping for an engagement ring.

As for the rings, I'd say 30 percent like to have their bands match identically and 70 percent prefer to each have different styles. Keep reading...

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