There are two schools of thought on engagement rings: being totally surprised by what your guy chooses or shopping and giving ideas or even picking out the exact ring with him. No matter which route you choose, here’s what you (he) should know when the time comes: Clarity: do not pick a bigger carat just to drop down the clarity (or color). The scale goes from “Included” which will be the least clear to “Flawless” which should go without saying that it will be the clearest. Aiming for the flawless to very good range is key when picking a diamond. Cut: don’t get confused, this isn’t about the shape of the diamond, but about its depth. Ideal cut diamonds are what you want to aim for, too deep or too shallow will allow light to mess with the coloring or “brilliance” of the stone. Color: unless you’re hunting for a canary diamond, make sure you understand the color aspect of diamonds when looking. Flawless coloring will be the most expensive, but you can actually drop down into the slight color range and still have a diamond that looks perfect to the untrained eye. Carat: here is where many people will put the focus but bigger isn’t always better. There are lots of options to consider with the weight of your diamond. Determining what looks best on your finger is important (this is where shape also comes into play). The center stone is usually the largest, but you can add weight to your ring with halos, diamonds on the band or baguettes (those diamonds on either side of the center stone). If you’re on a budget, the carat weight is where you can make a sacrifice to make sure that your cut, color and clarity are all quality choices.
A little coaching or hint dropping never hurt anyone. If you don’t want to be totally surprised, subtly share a few images with him when you feel the time is right (not make it his background photo on his computer!). My husband and I spent an afternoon in sparkly heaven as I showed him the styles I liked but I wouldn’t narrow it down to a specific ring because I did want SOME element of surprise. It’s also helpful to figure out your ring size in advance so you don’t have to spend any time without your sparkler once he’s placed it on your finger!