by Sunaina Joseph
The element of surprise is one that you must never compromise on. So don’t make the mistake of asking your partner what she wants, no matter how unsure you are. The average time taken to pick a ring is between one and two months.
The Ring. The Circle. The symbol of unity, perfection and eternity. Like the Sun and the full Moon. It has no beginning and no end. Ever wondered where the tradition of the ring started from? I’ve heard many stories and this is the one that is probably the closest to the truth. It is said that thousands of years ago, the caveman used a woven cord of rushes, grass, reeds and leather to tie the hands and feet of his potential mate so that she could not escape. After a while, he tied it only around her hands. Finally, when he was certain that she would stay with him, he would tie the cord only around her finger. Now, we do it like our forefathers, and their forefathers, hence carrying on thousands of years of tradition. The only difference is that we have a little more trouble choosing our rushes and reeds.
I have a few tips for those on the brink of asking the ‘big question’, but before we get down to the facts and figures, lets make one thing absolutely clear- This ring is bought only once in your entire lifetime, so it must be as unique as the woman you have chosen.
BASICS BEFORE FACTS
The element of surprise is one that you must never compromise on. So don’t make the mistake of asking your partner what she wants, no matter how unsure you are. The average time taken to pick a ring is between one and two months. Don’t rush it. It never turns out right if u do. Conventionally, the two-month salary is the yardstick, but in the end it is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that you will end up spending a little more than you originally intended. The Classic Engagement Ring is made up of three parts- The Band, the Stone and the Setting. If you make a decision on the type of metal you want, you are definitely onto a good start.
‘The true measure of value is rarity’. Platinum is rare, it is eternal and it should be at the top of your list (if it is within your budget). Any design that you see in a store can be duplicated in platinum. The hallmark of the ring will reveal the metal that makes up the ring. Indications of platinum are: Platinum, Plat, Pt, Pt950, 950Pt, 950Plat, Plat950, 900Pt, Pt900 and 900Plat. Yellow gold is the next best option. It has been popular in jewelry-making since the beginning of time as it bends easily. White gold is not a very good choice as it turns yellow after a while, and has to be replated. Tip: Observe the kind of metal your partner usually wears. Stick to what you think she is most comfortable with.
The stone will account for the major cost of the ring (approximately 75-90%) Here again, beauty, rarity and value are the criteria, hence the diamond has become the choice of the masses over the years. When choosing your diamond, keep in mind the four C’s- Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight. The Solitaire (single diamond) of 1.0 carat is most widely favored among the women, but there is a wide variety of styles that makes the ring more individualized.
You may choose pear shaped or oval stones (though round diamonds are usually preferred by the bride-to-be) For a more decorated ring, side stones and baguettes can be added. This will add to the overall appeal and cost of the ring. The in-thing is diamond laser inscription. You can inscribe a romantic message, poem, symbol or just anything to personalize the diamond. If this is not what you are looking for, remember that diamonds are not your only choice. If you have a tight budget, or your partner is not a fan of diamonds, there are other options. Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana received sapphire engagement rings. So follow your heart, and some of my advice.
A Ruby, Red Garnet and Red Tourmaline are symbols of the heart. Red is a sign of passion and zest for life. Green symbolizes faithfulness, loyalty and continuity. Hence the Emerald, the Green Tourmaline and the Green Garnet are favored stones. Similarly, the Sapphire, Spinel, Iolite, and Blue Tourmaline are symbols of spirituality and purity. The gem that has been associated with love and marriage the longest is the natural Pearl, which is a great choice if the style of the ring is antique.
This is what holds the stone in the band, and it is important that you choose the appropriate setting (for aesthetics and practicality)).The most commonly used settings that hold the stone securely are the 4 or 6 prongs(6 prongs are recommended for the security of the stone) and the channel setting . Some stones are held in place with pressure. Style is the next issue to tackle. There are various styles such as contemporary, retro, antique reproductions and classics, to name a few. This, too, can be chosen in accordance with the style of your partner. Find something that will complement the kind of clothes she wears, or take a look at her home dicor. Is it minimalist and sleek? Then go with something simple, yet modern. If she has funky, chic furnishing (the flea market look), then you should opt for something more Art Dicor. If her house is draped with sheer fabrics, dripping with rose petals and smelling of scented candles, then Art Nouveau is the ideal choice. BONUS TIPS Tip1: There are different finger types, and the ring must be chosen to suit the hand of your partner. Think proportional! Do not choose wide bands for short fingers, as they make fingers appear shorter than they are.
Women with long fingers can carry off even a bold style, whereas an extremely delicate ring can be lost on large hands. Tip2: Her lifestyle can determine the kind of jewelry she wears. If her workplace can’t handle fussy jewelry, then make sure you choose something subtle. Tip3: If you can’t get a hold of her ring size, don’t panic. Jewelers can easily resize the ring later. …….. And after all this, if you still cant figure out the ideal combination of metal and stone…. and whatever you do, the stone seems too big or too small for the band… and the band ends up being the wrong color and the wrong size. If you are still as lost as when you started your quest, and are at your wits end, buy a loose stone, ask her the big question, and the both of you can shop together for the perfect ring!