Christmas is one of the most popular times for guys to pop the question. Of course, I think it should be on a random day to make it more of a surprise, but that's just the way I would want it. Since it's that time of year when it happens the most here are some tips for buying an engagement ring.

You may wonder why I am giving you these tips, well I actually am an expert. I have worked in jewelry sales for over 3 years. So, I do know what I'm talking about. Where as your friends who "think" they are diamond experts are not!

These are the things that you NEED to know when buying a ring.

  • The 4 C's- Clarity, Cut, Color, Carat Weight. Clarity-anything I2 or better is what you want. The higher the grading the more rare and the more expensive it gets. I would suggest an SI1 or SI2. Cut-This is the most confusing for people to understand. It does not mean shape (like Princess cut or Round) it is the way the diamond is cut that will determine the brilliance. Not all diamonds have this information, depending on if they are graded or not. If it does, you want a Very Good or Ideal (excellent). These will also lean towards the more expensive side because you are getting a better cut, but makes a big difference on its sparkle. Color-This is simple! Near colorless to colorless is what you want. Colorless is rare and expensive and not necessary. Carat Weight is simply the size of the diamond. .95-1.05 is a 1 carat for example. Keep in mind a carat diamond will look different depending on the shape of the diamond. Like a marque shaped diamond will look bigger than a round.
  • When in doubt get a solitaire. A solitaire is just the diamond on a thin band. If she hasn't given you any hints or you don't want to screw up the style of what she may want, then this route is perfect. There are literally thousands of ways you can make the solitaire how she wants it. She can put a band or jacket around it or she can put it in a semi-mounting. This way she can pick the exact ring she wants! Your the hero for getting the diamond on her finger and letting her decide what she wants for a style.
  • If it's not a surprise have her go ahead and pick 3 favorites, give her a realistic budget and don't have her go to every store in town. Make it simple and not confusing. The more rings you look at the easier it will be to get confused and forget what they look like at all the different stores. Don't tell her to do this if it's going to be another 6 months till you purchase. THAT IS CRUEL!
  • What shape do you get? I suggest a round diamond because they are classic and never go out of style but if she wants a marque, emerald cut, square (princess cut), pear or heart shaped she has probably given you hints. If not, go with round.
  • There are 2 parts to the ring the engagement ring and the wedding band. Some come as a set, and others you will have to pick out something later. You don't have to get the band right away, usually she wants to pick the band out.
  • DO NOT have her best friend, sister or mom pick the ring! They will pick out what they want NOT her. The only way this is okay to do is if she went looking with them before and they have a card with HER favorites wrote down.
  • TRUST your Salesperson. They have been trained about what they are selling. Just because you had a friend who bought a diamond before doesn't make them an expert. These sales people work with diamonds day in day out.
  • If you plan on shopping around compare apples to apples, or diamonds to diamonds. EVERY diamond is different. EVERY diamond has inclusions. They are born with them, like birthmarks. A flawless diamond is EXPENSIVE and RARE. Make sure when you are looking at one from another store that ALL the info is comparable when making a decision.

Shopping for a ring doesn't have to be hard, with these tips you will be able to make an educated decision and if you like it put a ring on it!