“I Do” to Him, “I Don’t” to the Ring

November 1, 2007 by  
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Tips for Houston men ready to take the plunge

OK, he finally did it. He popped the question and just as much as you were overjoyed that he asked, you were disappointed in the ring he presented to you. This is supposed to be the symbol of your love; the representation of the effort that went into building your relationship to this point, symbolizing that you want to be together forever.

Even more than that, when you tell the girls that you are now officially engaged, you know they are going to ask,”Let’s see the ring.”

Of course, you can tell them you wanted to put the money into a house or a bigger, better wedding instead of a ring. They’re not buying it and neither are you.

Guys, you want to buy her the biggest ring in the store because the ring is synonymous with you, but big diamonds are out of most people’s budgets. So what do you do? There are tricks of the trade that can help you get a lot of bling for your buck.

Ring Around the Diamond
When you frame anything, it looks bigger, right? So why not do that to your center diamond? Let’s say you have a one-carat diamond. For just a few dollars more, your jeweler can frame the solitaire in smaller diamonds. Depending on the size of the smaller ones, the jeweler can make that one-carat look more like two or even three if you add another row.

Invisible Setting, Not Invisible Stone
The invisible setting is exactly what it implies. Smaller diamonds are set closer together so that you can not see the “seam” between them, so it looks like one big diamond. If you wanted a two-carat princess cut. Your jeweler can set four half-carats in an invisible setting and no one knows unless they are waaay too close to you. Although there are more diamonds involved, smaller diamonds are cheaper. You can get a big look for less money.

Watch Your Weight
We often talk in terms of one, two, three carats or more. But if you buy just under the carat weight, you can save a lot of money. For example, a .8, 1.8, 2.8, etc. can look just as big as a larger stone, but you don’t pay the full-carat price. Also, certain cuts look bigger, because the weight may be more prominent at the top of the stone.

Or, use two, one-carat trillions (triangle shape) to create a two-carat princess look.

Flaw-velous Diamonds
A perfect diamond is fabulous, but adds significantly to the price. If flaws can’t be seen with the naked eye, is it really a problem? If there is an imperfection that you can see with the naked eye, perhaps you can set it under a prong. Round and princess-cut diamonds reflect light nicely so it’s harder to see flaws. On the other hand, emerald-cuts are much more open and it would be easy to see flaws. To save money on emerald-cuts, you might consider suffering a little on color instead.

A perfect white diamond has a lot of fire and is beautiful, which really adds to the price. As you go down the color chart, a diamond starts to have a yellow cast to it. Your jeweler should work with you under good lighting so you can see the difference.

Family Gathering
Several factors figure into the price of your ring. If you already have some of the goods, why not use them? I had a friend who went to family members and asked if they had old, unwanted jewelry they did not want. From each side of the family, they came up with enough gold and stones to make their rings. The jeweler was able to incorporate some of the stones into their wedding rings. It had great meaning because it was truly the union of two families.

Remember that some jewelers will not work with “scrap” gold for a number of reasons – quality, matching carat weight, etc. Explain to them the significance of using as much of the original material as possible. At the very least, they could pay you what it is worth on the market and apply that to the cost of your rings.

Don’t ask, Don’t tell

If you want a big, fat “looking” ring and none of these tricks will help you get there, then you might consider using a synthetic stone with the promise that on your first, fifth or 10th anniversary it is replaced with a real stone. This is especially wise if you have even the slightest idea this might not work out. I hate to be a pessimist, but I know plenty of couples who got divorced and still had to pay on the rings for years at 20 percent interest!

A real white-gold, yellow-gold or platinum setting can be affordable even with small diamonds enhancing the sides. Using synthetics, your center stone can be as big as you want it and instead of thousands, you’ll pay hundreds or less depending on the size. Keep in mind some shapes sparkle better than others. Just like real diamonds, round and princess cuts reflect light very well. Because they have no flaws, tell the girls it’s a perfect diamond.

Before you try this, make sure she’s OK with it. I can’t tell you how many ladies waltz into the jewelry store to get an insurance appraisal only to learn the stone is fake.

A Girl’s Next Best Friend
They say, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” But what about the other gems? They’re nice too, and they almost always cost less. Princess Diana had a sapphire as her main stone. If it was good enough for a princess … well? A friend of mine is Irish and very proud of her heritage. Her husband gave her an emerald with a diamond on each side.

Not everyone likes colored stones for a wedding ring, so feel her out on this one. If she hates it, your jeweler can always remove the stone and replace it with a diamond or something else, usually while you wait.

Ladies, if you are dating and think he might be getting close to asking, make sure he has a copy of this page tucked in his wallet. Tell him you want to make things easier for him because you love him.

And when the girls ask, “Can we see your ring?” you want to make sure they think well of him. It’s all about him.

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