how to buy an engagement ring

Christmas is coming again, and that means one thing for all the single but ‘spoken for’ men out there. Plenty of people – herself included! – will be wondering if this is the time you finally plan to ask the big question.

More people get engaged at Christmas than even at Valentine’s Day, and maybe, just maybe, this is the time you plan to propose. But getting engaged obviously means getting an engagement ring. Many couples go shopping for the ring together when they’re already engaged, but if you really want the moment to be special, consider shopping for the ring yourself.

Yes, it will be nerve-wracking. And no, you won’t have a clue, as you start out anyway. But with this guide for men on how to buy an engagement ring, we’ll give you all you need to know. So, let’s get started!

First things first

Probably the single most important thing to decide (other than the fact that you want to get married!) is your budget for buying an engagement ring.

You may have heard the old rule of thumb of spending a month’s wages on a ring. Forget it. It comes from nothing but an advertising campaign run by the De Beer’s diamond people back in the 1940s, when thousands of American soldiers were returning home from war and marrying their sweethearts. Instead, set a budget that’s right and affordable for you.

Of course you don’t want to come across as a cheapskate, but don’t go into massive debt for the sake of the ring either. She won’t thank you for it when it comes time to discuss the budget for the wedding!

Next – Suss out her style

Right. What sort of jewellery does your girlfriend like? If you’re like most men, you’ll probably answer ‘shiny stuff’. But you’re going to need to be a little more specific when buying her an engagement ring.

So, have a sift through her jewellery box sometime she’s not around. Does she seem to prefer white gold or yellow gold? (Remember that silver and similar material could be an indication of a liking for white gold). Is most of her jewellery elegant and understated, or is there so much bling that even a rap superstar would need sunglasses to look at it?

Even better – take her out somewhere nice. But be careful not to get her hopes up too much – you don’t want her thinking that this might be the big night, and then have her going home disappointed! Pay more attention than usual to the jewellery she wears that night. These are likely to be amongst her favourites. The engagement ring you buy should be in the same general style.

Size DOES matter

The actual size of the ring is the next thing to figure out. And there’s an easy way of doing this. Just swipe one that she already owns.

Ideally, it’ll be one that you’ve seen her wear on the third finger of her right hand. But even if she wears it on a different finger, just take note of what finger it is. Your jeweller will be able to make an educated guess from that info on what size will be needed for an engagement ring. And remember a ring can always be re-sized at a later stage anyway, if it turns out to be slightly too big or small.

Also remember to put the ring you borrowed back before she misses it!

Choose your jeweller wisely

Speaking of jewellers – choose yours wisely. It can make all the difference to your efforts in buying her the perfect engagement ring.

Don’t be tempted to shop online, or even overseas. You may find what appear to be absolute bargain prices online, but remember you always get what you pay for – and that’s especially true with diamonds. Many of the cheaper rings offered for sale online feature only a small diamond, set into a larger stone of cubic zirconia – and trust us, she WILL find out the difference. If nothing else, the truth will emerge when it’s time to get the ring valued for the home insurance!

Likewise, buying a ring on a trip to Antwerp or even Dubai may seem like a great idea, but then what do you do if things go wrong? Maybe it will need re-sizing…or maybe she’ll want to change it (yes, it does happen). Making another trip back to the same place might not exactly be a runner.

Instead, choose an expert and experienced local jeweller, who’ll be able to guide you through the whole process. They’ll have done exactly the same for lots of men before you, and they’ll make the whole thing an awful lot easier for you.

Here’s the secret…

It’s actually the jeweller who does all the work! They won’t just a plonk a tray filled with dozens of rings in front of you, and ask which one you like. Instead, a good jeweller will take all the information you give them (about budget, style, and everything else) and will guide you to a selection of maybe two or three rings for you to choose from.

Remember, the jeweller will have helped select countless engagement rings before – whether it’s men alone or couples together who were doing the buying – and they’ll generally have been pretty much bang on. They’ll help you make the perfect choice in buying her the perfect engagement ring too. And remember, that just in case she doesn’t actually fall in love with the ring the way she fell in love with you, your jeweller will also let you return together after the proposal, for her to choose something else instead.

So you’ve got the ring…

Now it’s time to propose. Good luck. We’re not offering any advice here!

Bonus No. 1

And here’s something to bear in mind if you’re considering all this. If you can pull off the perfect Christmas proposal by a) proposing in the first place, b) having a ring to give her, and c) having a ring that she loves, then you’ll earn mucho, mucho brownie points.

She’ll think you’re oh so much more wonderful than she already does, since you’ve gone to all this trouble just for her. And while she’s so happy with you, it will be far easier to get her to agree to that new TV you want, or to say you want to head off on a trip with the lads!

Bonus No. 2

Another bonus, that might actually sound mean, but is worth pointing out all the same.

Whisper it…if you buy her an engagement ring for Christmas, you won’t have to buy her an ‘ordinary’ present as well. There’ll be no more racking your brain trying to think of the perfect gift if you buy her a beautiful diamond engagement ring instead. And maybe you can put the money you would have spent on that ‘ordinary’ present to the price of the new TV instead!

And finally…

If you’re thinking of proposing at Christmas and thinking of buying a ring to do so, come see us at Lorimat at Kieran Street in Kilkenny.

We specialise in beautiful vintage-style engagement rings. We can have all rings altered as necessary if they’re not an exact match in terms of size or taste, and we also have a bespoke ring design service if you know exactly what you want.

Our opening hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday. You can call us at (056) 774 1455, or use our contact us form to get in touch.

About Lorimat Jewellers

Lorimat Jewellers are leading suppliers in the South East of Ireland of engagement rings, wedding rings, and eternity rings of vintage design and style. We offer modern interpretations of timeless classics, and for decades, we have helped couples to show their love in the greatest way possible by helping choose the perfect rings for them.