Avoid the common pitfalls and confusion of shopping for an engagement ring.
Many emotions and feelings surround the purchase of an engagement ring. When a man buys an engagement ring, he wants to get his significant other a ring that is exactly what she wanted (maybe even more!). He's looking for a laugh, a smile, shock (hopefully positive), and even tears of joy upon the presentation of the ring. With a little finesse and some careful listening, the night of the proposal can be a night to remember.
When planning the proposal, the surprise factor always increases the response. Be sure to ask questions about what she is looking for early on (even one or more years in advance can be helpful). Discreetly note the information she gives you as time goes on. What is undesirable is to be near the time of the proposal and in the dark as to what women want in a ring. This usually leads to either rushing and buying something she'll hate for years, or asking penetrating, blatantly obvious questions which will clue her off that a ring purchase is imminent.
Don't be afraid to shop around! Surprising deals can sometimes be found in unlikely places, and local hometown jewelry stores have lower rent, which corresponds to prices that are generally not inflated. It's good to follow the criteria received from your soon-to-be fiance as closely, as possible. Even if you have trouble finding a particular design, you are likely to find it helpful to ask the jeweler about what you are looking for. Additionally, returning to the same store multiple times sends the message that you are interested, and the store may occasionally decide to cut a deal.
Engagement ring terms can come and go like the wind as new styles fade in and out, but there are some universal terms to remember when purchasing or shopping for a ring. Terms typically bandied around are ones like Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. These keywords are creative ways of expressing the goal of ring shopping: to net a ring with a diamond of adequate size, quality, and in the right style to please your lady. 1.25TW means that the total weight of the diamonds is one and a quarter carats.Attached here: http://www.diamondarticles.com/diamond-charts.php is a link to charts which help to demystify diamond terms. The simple answer is that the less color a diamond has, the less flaws, and the larger size that it is makes it more expensive. Also keep in mind that even if a ring has the same total weight as another, its price can be significantly lower if there is a greater number of smaller diamonds. You pay increasingly for size.
The metal a ring is made of also plays a factor in the ring's price. If you buy white gold, keep in mind that you are most likely purchasing 10 carat gold, which is gnerally a lower carat than that of the yellow gold in jewelry stores. Also, white gold is treated, which means that its color can return to yellow over time. This can be fixed (for a price).
If you make a mistake in ordering something that your significant other does not want, it isn't the end of the world. If you catch it quickly enough, such as within an hour or so, you can probably avoid additional fees. Even if you miss that, you can still have the ring re-done the way you want it later for a modest fee ($100 or $200). Most jewelers don't charge for resizing rings (if you bought the ring in their store), and it is extremely difficult to nail a woman's ring size with complete accuracy. Frequently, they aren't sure themselves, so don't feel foolish if you make a mistake.
Bring a magnifying glass (or even a microscope) and examine the stone carefully. With some care, a fake can be spotted quickly. For example, diamonds reflect white light, and do not create rainbows. If a stone creates rainbows, it is probably fake. Fog from breath is also supposed to disappear rapidly from diamonds, but more slowly from other stones. Just as important is that even real diamonds appear differently within jewelry store lighting effects. Check closely to see that the stone you are paying for is what you are getting: stones with large flaws are often difficult to spot under harsh lighting, and even tougher when they are already placed in the setting.
Naturally, everybody has a slightly different type of relationship. While it is not entirely uncommon for couples to examine and purchase a ring together, there is understandably more romance involved in the gesture of you putting out the effort alone to surprise her! Happy hunting!