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Taking my professional and now personal experience into account, here are 10 tips you have to know before proposing.

After spending five years in the jewelry business, I have a pretty good understanding of the engagement ring buying process. Not only have I seen my dad explain the entire process to our customers countless times, but I have also been fortunate enough to help some of my closest friends pick that perfect ring for their fiancees. Last month it was finally my turn, and I was so excited. I proposed to my girlfriend on February 7th and she said yes!

1. Do Your Research

When I say research, I really mean two things: Gain a very, very basic understanding of what goes into an engagement ring (more education later) and try to subtly get some information from your future fiance as to what they like. There is no need to become an expert on diamonds, but having a general understanding of what goes into the value of a diamond (the 4 C’s) puts you on the right track.

Additionally, knowing the ring style or diamond shape your future fiance dreams about will be a major help when selecting the perfect ring. You don’t want to ruin any surprise, but chances are they’ve already shown you a picture of their dream ring! Now would be a good time to try and figure out your future fiance’s finger size.

2. Plan (Way) Ahead

There is way more that goes into the engagement ring buying process that you may think. It is important to plan your presentation well in advance. It is true that you can walk out of a jewelry store with a completed engagement ring in one day, but this is not recommended. Between two and six weeks is the typical turnaround time when building an engagement ring, depending on how customized the ring is.

3. Set a Realistic Budget

For most people, buying an engagement ring marks their largest purchase to date. I would not recommend setting a budget to the exact maximum dollar you are willing to spend, but rather set a budget range on where you’re comfortable spending.

And don’t pay attention to “old school” theories (i.e. 3 months salary) as for how much you should spend. Whether you spend $2,000.00 or $30,000.00, you can find a beautiful ring, so dont get sick over not being able to spend as much as you would like. The average engagement sold at our store is between $8,000.00-$12,000.00.

4. Choose the Right Jewelry Store

Go into a jewelry store and see what the store has to offer in terms of selection. Make sure their selection not only meets your needs on design and style, but also your budget (click here if you would like to browse our engagement ring designers).

Before you commit to a store, meet the staff and see if your comfortable working with them. You should be looking for a jeweler that has knowledge, experience, and is looking out for your best interest, not theirs.

5. See “Loose” Diamonds

It’s time to see some diamonds!

Once you have found a jeweler that you feel comfortable with, the most important part of your engagement ring purchasing process starts. As I stated above, you can feasibly buy an engagement ring directly out of a showcase and leave that day with a completed product, but it isn’t recommended.

Seeing a diamond in a ring setting is much different than seeing it loose. When loose, you have the ability to manipulate the stone, seeing it from multiple angles in different lights. It is also way easier to compare loose stones side by side instead of trying to compare to diamonds in settings.

6. Diamond Certification?

A diamond certificate is the evaluation by a third-party who is independent of the diamond buyer or seller. If the diamond is not certified, there is a good chance you may be buying a stone that is one or more grades below its stated values in terms of carat weight, color, clarity, or cut.

Without a certificate issued by a reputable agency such as GIA, AGS, or EGL, a buyer relies solely on a jeweler’s integrity that the diamond’s parameters are accurate and not overstated.At A.H. Fisher Diamonds, over 95% of our diamonds have accompanying diamond certificates.

It is also important to be aware that different agencies grade diamonds differently in terms of how liberal they are. When looking at stones from multiple agencies, you want to be able to distinguish each agencies specific parameters to compare apples to apples. GIA and AGS are the most strict.

7. Pick a Setting

Hopefully that research paid off and you have some indication of what your future fiance is looking for in terms of engagement rings settings. If not, choose a ring that matches your future fiance’s style.

If they are a simple person, choose classic solitaire setting. If they like antiques, choose a vintage style setting. If still unsure, trust your jeweler to steer you in the right direction.

8. Picking the Perfect Metal

After you selected your diamond and your setting, decide what metal you want you have the setting made in. Almost all rings are made in either gold or platinum. To find out more about engagement ring metal options, check out my blog post here.

9. Appraisal

Once the diamond is set into the exact setting you choose and your engagement ring is completed, its now time to have the engagement ring appraised.

An appraisal should be done by the jeweler who made your ring (or an independent appraisal service). The appraisal should contain a detailed description of the ring as well as an appraisal replacement value of the ring.

Appraisals are a necessary action to have the item insured as well as give the buyer a complete review of their purchase.

10. Insurance

Insure the ring! Make sure you have the ring inspected a few times a year and have the appraisal value checked every couple of years to make sure the value is current.

Most people think that insuring your jewelry is a major expense, but it actually isn’t. Spending a couple hundred dollars a year to have the ring insured is totally worth it. We usually fill out a jewelry insurance application before leaving with your engagement ring so you can leave our store with the ring fully insured.

I hope these 10 tips have helped you prepare for your proposal! If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at, or visit our store at 46 Broad Street in Red Bank.

Matthew Fisher