What should I consider before buying an engagement ring?
Determine her style. If you have no idea where to start, you could ask her friends or family. Is she a Pinterest user? If so, take a look at her Pinterest boards for clues. In some cases, her lifestyle may be a factor in what styles may work best for her (for example, if she likes to rock climb and never takes off her jewelry, a delicate ring may not be the best choice). If you are willing to lose a bit of the element of surprise, you could ask her about her preferences. If you would rather keep it hush-hush and you just don’t feel comfortable picking the ring out yourself, then consider choosing the diamond, having it set in a simple temporary mounting, then picking out a permanent ring together after you propose.
Determine your budget. The age old 3-months-salary rule has fallen by the wayside. Pick an amount you are comfortable with. If you’re not sure what your money will buy, sit down with your jeweler and discuss your options. A good jeweler will help you make the most of your budget – whatever it may be, and many jewelers offer financing or layaway options.
Find out her finger size. Most people’s finger sizes vary from hand to hand, so if you plan to borrow one of her rings to have it measured, make sure you know which hand and which finger she wears it on. Even if it’s a ring she wears on her right hand, you can use that to estimate her finger size and get pretty close. If the ring needs to be resized later on, you won’t have to size it much. Much like question number one, it never hurts to consult with a friend or family member. She may have tried on their rings!
What is the difference between white gold and platinum? What is the difference between 10k, 14k, and 18k gold? What is the best metal for my jewelry?
A karat is a measurement of the purity of gold. 24k is pure gold, but because gold on its own is extremely soft, it is mixed with other metals, making it more durable for daily wear. The metals it is mixed with determine the color, which is why we have rose gold, white gold and yellow gold. 18k is 75% pure gold, 14k is 58% pure gold, and 10k is 41% pure gold. So which is the best choice? That really depends.
14k white gold is the current most popular metal for most fine and bridal jewelry. 14k maximizes durability, is more resistant to scratches than platinum, and white gold is a popular choice due to the fact that it matches just about anything. White gold can also emphasize the whiteness of the beautiful diamonds in diamond jewelry. 18k white gold is commonly used as well, although there is no visible difference between 18k and 14k white gold. In yellow gold jewelry, 18k can have a richer, more yellow appearance, so different purities can change the look of a piece of jewelry.
What is rhodium? Most white gold jewelry is plated with a white, hard metal called rhodium to make it appear as white as possible. Over time, this rhodium plating can wear off of the portions of a ring that receive the most wear and tear, showing a faint yellowish tinge. Rhodium wears off faster when it is subject to chemicals such as hand sanitizer or chlorine, which is why we always recommend taking off jewelry before swimming, cleaning or applying hand sanitizer. In most cases, jewelry can be re-plated for a small cost.
Platinum is another popular choice for fine and bridal jewelry. The first thing most people will notice when comparing platinum and white gold jewelry is that platinum is significantly heavier. Unlike white gold, platinum will retain its white color, and will never require any plating, however it is a soft metal, so with daily wear, it will ding and scratch more easily. One benefit to platinum is that it is hypoallergenic, so it is a great choice for people who react to metals.