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Gentlemen's Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Compliments of Tacori

What Women Want

A symbol Of Love

The engagement process can sometimes feel complicated, but at its simplest, the engagement ring is a symbol of commitment and love from you to your intended. An engagement ring is a symbol of the love that you have for one another and your commitment to one another. That's why you purchase the engagement ring, that's why you go out and try and get that best piece of designer jewelry that you can. Find the perfect ring for her because she's going to be wearing it and saying this is the person that I'm going to be with and the commitment that I have made. The ancient Egyptians thought that the vein to the heart extended from the ring finger on the left hand, so that is the origin of why people wear rings on that hand as a symbol of love. An engagement ring is probably the most significant jewelry purchase that you're going to make, and it represents the bond that you and your fiancee share to everyone who sees it. That symbol is incredibly important, for her, for you, for every day that she is going to wear the ring; be sure to treat every detail of the ring with the significance that it deserves.

Her Ring, Her Style...

While you're selecting an engagement ring, you want to make sure that it represents your girlfriend's style. Consider what she's like: is she active? Is she fashion forward? Is she stylish? Does she have classic tastes? We believe that in the majority of cases, your girlfriend wants to have a say in the style of ring that she is going wear. Remember, she will be wearing this ring for the rest of her life, every day. You, and she, want to make sure that the style of the ring fits her personal style and is reflective of your tastes. To make sure you get the perfect ring, we recommend observing the "fifth C," which is communication. If you don't feel comfortable speaking with her personally about what she likes in a ring, consider speaking with her friends or her family. Perhaps she's been leaving hints about her likes or dislikes, or perhaps you can discreetly ask for her input regarding jewelry that you see in stores or on friends. Of course, you are a significant part of this decision, but you want to make sure that the ring you're selecting is representative of her lifestyle.

The Surprise vs. The Plan

So you're ready to take this step, you want to get engaged. The engagement process can sometimes feel complicated, but at its simplest, there are two traditional components. One part is choosing and purchasing the perfect engagement ring, and the second part is the proposal. However, the "surprise or not to surprise" question is still there. If surprising her is important, we suggest making the proposal the surprise. You can always surprise her with the time, place and method of proposal. As for the engagement ring, in almost all cases, we believe that your girlfriend wants to have a say in the style of ring that she is going wear, so we don't recommend making the engagement ring itself a surprise. Remember, she will be wearing this ring for the rest of her life, every day. You, and she, want to make sure that the style of the ring fits her personal style and is reflective of her taste as well, if not more, than yours. As another "surprise" option, because more and more couples are selecting and purchasing the engagement ring together, many men are choosing to surprise their girlfriend with a proposal first and then choosing the ring together as the second step. There are lots of ways to make sure that elements of surprise provide the "wow" factor, while still making everyone happy.

Designer vs. Generic

The fact is, designers are the experts in creating designs that are unique, of high quality and will have longevity and a promise of service. Ultimately, you both want to be proud of the ring that she's wearing, especially considering that she is going to be wearing this ring every day for the rest of her life. If you want something as unique and as original and as special as the love that you have for each other, you should look at a designer label first to see if there is a style that works for you both, that is perhaps more detailed and has more care and attention, and a higher level of craftsmanship. We encourage you to ask your jeweler about brand name quality, service and design originality, so that you feel comfortable with your decision.

The Rock

The 5 C's

The traditional 'Four Cs' are Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. Carat Weight refers to how big a gem is; Cut describes the shape of the stone and how many facets are cut or how much brilliance is going to be reflected in the diamond; Color signifies the lack of color in the stone (colorless is the most ideal in a diamond), or whether or not it's grey or yellow or another fancy color such as pink; and Clarity grades how clear the stone is, whether or not it has any inclusions or little flaws inside the diamond that can be seen. All these C's taken together are the factors formulated to define the cost of a diamond. But what Tacori calls "the fifth C" is also important, and that is Communication. Finding the perfect ring, and the entire engagement process itself is just the start of many things to come in your life together. A couple that chooses to communicate about the ring and how important the style is, the diamond shape, size and quality, the budget and all of the things that are going into the purchase, that's Communication. The fifth C is the best way to ensure a great proposal with the perfect ring for her.

Does Size Matter

Size is one component of the 'Four C's', which include Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight, which is the C that refers to how big a gem is. All these C's taken together are the factors formulated to define the cost of a diamond. Does size matter? YES. Size matters as much as any of the C's. But in our opinion, you should never sacrifice quality for size. You want to put a budget together and get the best quality and the best size you can get within that budget. A sweet spot that we recommend is G Color, VS Clarity, in the Cut and Carat Weight that works for your budget. With this formula, you're getting a great clear stone, good quality, good color, something that is going to refract the best light and still look really white for your budget. If you can spend more, then go bigger. So size does indeed matter, but not at the risk of sacrificing diamond quality or compromising on the design of the ring.

Enhancing the Center Stone

The seat that your diamond sits in is the engagement ring setting itself, and Tacori excels at crafting settings that make your diamond look as stunning as possible. For example, one way to perfectly compliment your diamond is to select a white metal which reflects the whitest possible light; another way to showcase a diamond is to have tiny little diamond enhancers built around the center stone that essentially bloom the center stone; larger side-stone spotlights on either side of the diamond are another way to highlight your diamond in a beautiful Tacori setting. Just as you and your intended are a great match for each other, you want to ensure that the engagement setting itself is a perfect complement to your diamond and also reflects your style.

Why A Diamond?

A diamond is elegant, timeless and classic. As one of the rarest materials on Earth, a diamond takes billions of years to transform from elements of carbon into a diamond, with characteristics of unparalleled strength, durability and beauty. With these characteristics that reflect the quality of your love, a diamond is often considered to be the perfect symbol of commitment.

The Details

The Gentlemen's Band

During the engagement process, you've put in a lot of effort to select the very best ring for your intended. But don't forget that this is also a very important time for you, and that your ring, the wedding band that you will wear every day for the rest of your life, is also an incredibly important symbol of love. Take a moment and think about the details that make her ring special and unique, and try to incorporate those details into your ring. That connection will make her ring even more special, knowing that your unique bond as a couple is represented on your left ring finger as well as hers.

The Platinum Advantage

You've picked the perfect engagement ring, the perfect design, and the perfect diamond. If you want the best quality setting, go with platinum. It's a naturally white metal; it's rare; it's the densest metal and platinum will secure your stone better than gold. A reason that we are primarily designers in platinum has to do with the purity and versatility of platinum, as well as its naturally white metallurgical properties. The reason that a white metal is important is because whatever metal you put underneath your near-colorless diamond is going to refract light. A white metal like platinum will reflect white light, and platinum will reveal the brilliance of your diamond in the best possible way. So, when you talk about platinum versus gold, there is a difference in price, but platinum is a rarer metal than gold, it is hypoallergenic, and it will retain its naturally white color forever, all of which are great benefits over the lifetime of the ring. For more information on platinum (www.preciousplatinum.com); for more information about gold (www.gold.org). The decision is ultimately yours to make.

The Band Style

After you've spent so much time considering the perfect diamond, the best engagement ring setting design, and the metal choice that you love, all within a budget that works for you, the next question should be: what type of wedding band works best with your fiance's engagement ring? Remember, the engagement ring and wedding band are two separate purchases. The engagement ring is the ring that you present during your proposal; the wedding band is the band that you exchange during your vows. There are two styles of wedding bands that you can traditionally consider. One is a contoured band, which is a shadow band that is shaped around the engagement band and sits flush next to it. The second type is a straight band that shares design details of the engagement ring, but is shaped like a traditional ring. While a straight band won't sit flush around the engagement ring like a contoured band will, a straight band has the versatility to be both worn with the engagement ring itself, as well as worn separately. These are choices that you need to make with one another and this is where we again recommend observing the fifth C, which is communication, in order to make the best decision regarding the band details.

Money Matters

How Much Should I Spend?

How much you should spend is an individual decision. Some people say the equivalent of two months salary, some say three months. We recommend putting a budget together of what you think you can afford. Start visiting stores, do some research online and find the best ring that you can get for your budget. You might find that you can spend less than you thought and still get something that you're happy with, or you can end up spending a lot more because you found something you really fell in love with. So, be comfortable with your budget because it's your money and you want to buy wise and invest well, but two to three months of salary is somewhere around the range of affordability for most engagement ring purchases.

Buying Wise

Now that you're ready to get engaged, it's important to ensure that you're going to get the most value for your money. Doing research, looking online, talking to friends to see how much they spent on rings or how much diamonds cost and talking to a jeweler you trust are all great starts towards becoming an informed buyer. When we're talking about buying wise, we also recommend considering all the components that go into a ring purchase. For example, as part of setting a budget, you might want to set separate budgets for the diamond, for the engagement ring setting, for your intended's wedding band, and potentially for your own future wedding band. Visit a reputable jewelry store, and have the associate guide you through each step. Have them explain the difference in the service, have them explain the difference between platinum and gold, have them talk you through every question that you have. Buying wise means working with a jeweler you trust, who is going to stand behind your purchase(s) for the lifetime of the piece so that you know you have the very best quality that your money can buy.

Platinum vs. Gold

When you're deciding on the metal base of your setting, it is important to know that platinum is a naturally white metal and gold is a naturally yellow metal. White gold is yellow gold turned white through chemical mixing, and white gold may require maintenance over the lifetime of the ring to retain its white look. A reason that we are primarily designers in platinum has to do with the purity and versatility of platinum, as well as its naturally white metallurgical properties. The reason that a white metal is important is because whatever metal you put underneath your near-colorless diamond is going to refract light. A white metal like platinum will reflect white light, and platinum will show the brilliance of your diamond in the best possible way. So, when you talk about platinum versus gold, there is a difference in price, but platinum is a rarer metal than gold, it is hypoallergenic, and it will retain its naturally white color forever, all of which are great benefits over the lifetime of the ring. For more information on platinum (www.preciousplatinum.com); for more information about gold (www.gold.org). The decision is ultimately yours to make.

Size vs. Quality

In our opinion, you should never sacrifice quality for size. You want to put a budget together and get the best quality and the best size you can get within that budget. Size is one component of the "Four C's", which include Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight, which is the C that refers to how big a gem is. All these C's taken together define the cost of a diamond. A sweet spot that we recommend is G Color, VS Clarity, in the Cut and Carat Weight that works for your budget. With this formula, you're getting a great clear stone, good quality, good color, something that is going to refract the best light and still look really white for your budget. If you can spend more, then go bigger. So size does indeed matter, but not at the risk of sacrificing diamond quality or compromising on the design of the ring.

Closing the Deal

How Long Is The Process?

The purchase process can take anywhere from a few hours to several months. Many men think that it's probably only going to take a few hours to close the deal and walk out with a ring in hand. However, in the majority of cases, it takes quite a bit longer to make sure every detail is perfect for this important purchase. For example, many men like to do a little more research. They want to talk to their fiancee-to-be (or her friends or family) about her ring style, they want to set their budget and save some money, do a bit of diamond research and really explore all options in order to select the most perfect engagement ring. So if you have a proposal date in mind like an anniversary, or birthday, or special holiday- be sure to allow yourself enough time to select, order and purchase the perfect ring. For example, a Tacori ring that is specially ordered to custom fit your fiancee's finger size, with a diamond that you choose, might take between four to six weeks to be delivered to your jewelry store from the time you place the ring order. So whenever it is that you want to propose, we strongly suggest that you allow enough time to plan your proposal and create a really special day with a realistic timeline in mind. That way, you can be ready to propose with the perfect ring in hand, which she will love forever.

The Jeweler Experience

Guys often have anxiety about going into jewelry stores. The best advice is, when you go into a jewelry store, don't be nervous! Feel comfortable, and ask anything you want. The fact is, jewelry stores help guys in your situation, every single day. We encourage you to ask your jeweler about how to select the perfect setting style for her, how to pick the best diamond for your money, payment options, delivery time frame and whatever else you may have on your mind. They do have the answers and it can be much more enlightening to speak with a jeweler while looking at gorgeous rings in person, as opposed to simply conducting online or phone research. Feel at ease knowing that they don't necessarily expect you to walk out that day and buy anything; they are there to guide you in this process, and they know that it can take some time to make such an important purchase! By allowing jewelers to earn your trust, they can earn your business. So let them help you select this most exquisite and important piece of jewelry.

Can I Trust The Jeweler?

Jewelers are the experts who can guide you in this process. By allowing jewelers to earn your trust, they can earn your business. Tacori has been designing jewelry for over forty years, and we've had the privilege to work with the best, most reputable jewelry stores in the country. We hand pick each and every store that we choose to call an authorized Tacori retailer. So you can feel comfortable walking into any of our authorized Tacori retailers knowing that you're going to be getting the best service, the best guidance, and the best continuity of care for this important selection.

The Proposal

Fulfilling Her Dream

Whether your girlfriend is classic or less traditional, whether it's a big dream or a small dream, she, like most women, has probably been thinking about this day, the proposal, popping the question, tying the knot, since she was a little girl. To fulfill this dream, and to celebrate all the time and effort you've taken to select the perfect ring, we suggest making your proposal as romantic, as personal, as unique and individual as you possibly can. Consider that the most romantic you have ever been is probably near the bottom of what she can imagine. You have to step it up a notch to fulfill her dream. Come up with something creative and distinctly you. Do something that's memorable and suitable, because this will become the "proposal story" that you, and she, will be telling for the rest of your lives as she shows off her spectacular engagement ring.

Involving Family

There are many ways that the family can be involved, depending on your personal preferences and relationships, and the decision will ultimately be yours regarding how private you want your proposal plans to be. In our experience, we've found that an engagement, and a wedding, is most often a family affair. Family and friends are so excited about this next step in your lives, and they often want to be a part of this special occasion. So while you may want your specific plans to be private, a great way to get started on the road to your wedding is by talking to her family and declaring your intentions and getting started on the right foot prior to the proposal. Family and friends can offer insights about their own experience in this situation, and this can often make the whole process go more smoothly as you start to look for the perfect engagement ring and plan your proposal, and ultimately, your life together.

The Surprise

So you're ready to take this step, you want to get engaged. The engagement process can sometimes feel complicated, but at its simplest, there are two traditional components. One part is choosing and purchasing the perfect engagement ring, and the second part is the proposal. However, the "surprise or not to surprise" question is still there. If surprising her is important, we suggest making the proposal the surprise. You can always surprise her with the time, place and method of proposal. As for the engagement ring, in almost all cases, we believe that your girlfriend wants to have a say in the style of ring that she is going wear, so we don't recommend making the engagement ring itself a surprise. Remember, she will be wearing this ring for the rest of her life, every day. You, and she, want to make sure that the style of the ring fits her personal style and is reflective of her taste as well, if not more, than yours.. As another "surprise" option, because more and more couples are selecting and purchasing the engagement ring together, many men are choosing to surprise their girlfriend with a proposal first and then choosing the ring together as the second step. There are lots of ways to make sure that elements of surprise provide the "wow" factor, while still making everyone happy.

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