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.

Who else gets involved in jewelry for weddings? Influence from friends, family?

It's not uncommon for men to come in to choose a ring with the help of his partner's best friend. Sometimes, it's really helpful but, in my experience, the friend is usually projecting her own tastes in the process.

We always recommend trying to avoid that, if possible, and to only use the "best friend card" for finding out little things like finger sizes and potential stone shapes. You would be surprised by how many grooms have their future mother-in-law's OK a design before we begin our work!

We have truly seen it all, but one particular client did something I'll never forget: After probably a dozen visits to my store and looking at an enormous number of diamonds and ring designs, he was at the last stage of making his final decision. He asked to use our phone to call someone to come up at take a look to make sure he was on track. A few moments later, a gentleman stopped up and looked at the ring and diamond in great detail and gave a rave review. After he left, I mentioned to my client that his friend had a good eye for all the details in the ring we were about to make. I then learned it wasn't his friend, but his future fiancée's ex-boyfriend! Just when you think you've seen it all.

What happens if she doesn't like diamonds?

MJ: It's true; they're not every girl's best friend. Some women prefer other gemstones to diamonds. Some aren't sure what stones they'd prefer. With those clients, I like to explore what color combinations work best with her, her skin tone and her lifestyle. In terms of gemstone durability, the closest to a diamond's hardness is the sapphire. 

In fact, our biggest volume of sapphire engagement rings occurred in 2011. Any idea why? Prince William and Kate Middleton inspired a lot of brides!

I have done engagement rings in every precious gemstone you can imagine, but I'm partial to sapphires because they are very durable. What most people forget is that sapphires come in many different colors! Red, green, blue, pink, you name it!

When do the rings need to be insured?

I encourage my clients to insure their rings before they even pick them up from my store. I'll usually have an insurance appraisal issued for the jewelry and speak directly with their agent to have it added to their renter's or homeowner's policy. It's just one thing less for the couple to worry about and it's a good feeling to know they're covered if the unthinkable happens.

I also like to keep a copy of the appraisal on file so I can periodically have it reviewed and upgraded, in case there's a fluctuation in diamond or precious metal prices.

I remember one client in particular who had a magnificent 6-carat engagement ring that had gotten lost while she was on a cruise. I was helping her locate a replacement stone when she learned that the last appraisal done on the ring was in 1981! Needless to say, prices have increased drastically, and you can just imagine how under-insured she was. Keep reading...