Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks! 6 Ways to Nail It

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March 5

Buying an engagement ring sucks. There. I said it. What's the problem? It's not like it's a secret. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that buying an engagement ring can be a frustrating process.

Believe me, I know because I've been down in the trenches with you guys for a long, long time. More than 35 years which is longer than Blue Nile has been around.

That's how long I've been in the diamond business! Sitting down with guy after guy, listening to the stress and woes that go along with buying an engagement ring.

Buying an Engagement Ring from Blue Nile.

Popular Diamond Shapes from Blue Nile.

One of my friends likes to introduce me as "Todd the Slave Trader" at parties. Apparently, that's because I "sell men into slavery by selling them engagement rings." As a matter of fact, you'll read more about that story below.

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Clearly, Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks!

Why and How women test guys commitment, buying an engagement ring

How Women Test Guys' Commitment.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. Try to remember that this is one of the most exciting times in your life! And yet, at the same time, it is also one of the most stressful.

You wouldn't believe how many relationships I've seen crash and burn right at this pinnacle moment. The funny thing is that it's not usually because anything is actually wrong between the two of you.

It's simply because you're acting all weird and secretive, and it activates her spidey sense. There's nothing you can do about that. Women are extremely intuitive. They're kind of like Santa Claus: 

In that case, she sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake. She knows if you've been bad or good, so be good, for goodness sake.

I guarantee that she and her friends are making a list and checking it twice! The moment that you start acting all weird, they all get together to talk about it. Meanwhile, you're flipping between tabs trying to read our latest James Allen Review and look like you're not doing anything.

He's Acting Weird/You're Acting Weird:

810 Custom Ring Builder by Brian Gavin.

Try the 810 Custom Ring Builder by Brian Gavin.

You can also bet that "maybe he's buying an engagement ring" isn't going to make the Top 10 of What's Gone Wrong.

Nope. You're theoretically screwed. And all you were trying to do is tell her that you love her! That she's the one! But now she's starting to act all weird (imagine that) and being all moody!

So let's talk about that. You know it's a test, right? By the way, she's probably not consciously aware that she's testing you; she's simply trying to figure out whether you're still in love with her. 

Perhaps it's because you seem a little edgier than usual. It might be because she sees the windows on your screen flash down every time she walks by.

You might be surprised to discover how many women mistake diamond shopping online for surfing porn. Obviously, have no clue where they would get an idea like that.

Bonus ~ Buying an Engagement Ring Rule #1

"Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Engagement Rings!”

Yeah, you read that right. Friends don't let friends buy engagement rings!

Buying an Engagement Ring James Allen Radiant Cut Diamond.

Radiant Cut Diamond Ring by James Allen.

Why? Because we all know that it’s the end of our social life as we know it.

Go ahead and make all the promises about how we’re still going to go out and hang out this weekend. We all know that ain’t gonna happen! Take it from me. I’m in the diamond business.

I’ve sold a million engagement rings to a million guys who thought their social life wasn’t over. It’s one thing to have a girlfriend, it’s another thing to get married and start a family.

See this couple curling up in front of the fireplace watching that Radiant cut diamond sparkle? Do you really think they're going to disrupt that beautiful moment to go hang out with friends?

You Think I'm Kidding.

This is how a friend of mine recently introduced me at a social function:

"This is Todd. He’s a Slave Trader. He sells guys into slavery.”

Imagine the look of total confusion on the other guy’s face.

I just stand there. I don’t deny it.

The look on the other guy’s face is growing more and more confused by the minute.

My friends seem to be enjoying this moment a little too much.

Then one of them breaks the silence and reveals the secret.

"Todd is our resident diamond broker. You need an engagement ring, right?”

The funny thing is that the guy actually looks kind of relieved.

But then one of my other friends laughs and exclaims "Yea. But you’re not going to sell it to him, right?!?!”

And there’s that look of total confusion again…

All right, here's the deal…

Round Diamond Cushion Halo Setting by Ritani.

Cushion Halo for Round Diamond by Ritani.

Within my social circle, I'm the resident Dr. Evil of the group. The guy they come to for relationship tips and engagement rings, not necessarily in that order.

The reason why they're all standing around laughing right now is that they're referring to the time I refused to sell one of them an engagement ring.

As you might imagine, the story gets better and more elaborate every time they tell it. However, it's undeniable, and I did emphatically refuse to sell one of my best friends an engagement ring.

Believe me; I had my reasons. Not the least of which was that I thought that the woman he wanted to marry was a real bitch. Perhaps that wasn't one of my finest moments.

Being the good friend that I am, when my friend marched into my store and announced his intentions, I told him:

"There's no way that I'm selling you an engagement ring. Look, bud, I'd just as soon throw a rope around your neck, toss it over that chandelier (pointing to the crystal chandelier in the showroom) and kick the chair out from under you, then sell you an engagement ring so that you can marry that woman!"

This is not the type of statement that I make lightly.
Emerald and Oval Cut Diamond Engagement Rings by Brilliant Earth.

Pick Your Favorite Brilliant Earth Diamond.

My wife committed suicide in 2005, after the loss of our daughter in 2004, to Fanconi A-Plastic anemia. This friend also happens to be one of the people who helped see me through that challenging time.

With that in mind, he knows full heartily that I don't make that kind of statement lightly. My friend responds by exclaiming, "Are you (let's use freaking) kidding me?" and storms out of the jewelry store.

He returns a half-hour later with another member of the crew and demands that I explain myself. "All right, your girlfriend is a bitch, and there is no way one of my rings is going on her finger!"

Buying an Engagement Ring Blue Nile Sapphire Halo Settings.

Sapphire Halo Settings by Blue Nile.

"No, no, not that part…" my friend exclaims, "the other part about the chair!" And so I ran through that part all over again, and the two of them are practically rolling on the floor.

At this point in the story, my friends fall all over themselves and attest that all of this is true. This includes attesting that my assessment of the woman's endearing personality is 100% accurate.

My friend is once again thanking me for not selling him up the river but reminds me that no good deed goes unpunished. If that's true, then I'm probably going to hell. It's at this point when the new guy asks the inevitable question…

"So you won't sell me an engagement ring?"
Fancy Shaped Diamond Halo Engagement Rings James Allen

What's Your Favorite Style from James Allen?

To which I coldly respond by saying, "Nah dude, what do I care? You're not one of my friends! What do you want?"

At which point, the guy who likes to introduce me as a slave trader blows his last sip of beer right out of his nose! Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious.

Unfortunately, there is a ring of truth to the whole slave-trading business.
The reality is that many guys give up their sense of freedom when they enter a relationship.

Of course, the argument could be made equally well from the other side of the fence. The thing is that it doesn't have to be that way; there is room in a healthy relationship for both parties to thrive.

It's all about finding the right person. And when you've found the right person, nothing in this world will keep you from marrying her! Certainly not some guy in a jewelry store telling you that your girlfriend is a bitch.

That's why we all knew that our friend wasn't ready to get married because he should have punched me in the face for saying that. But the truth is that he wasn't really in love with her, as much as he was in love with the idea of marriage.

In Truth, He Wasn't Really Ready to Get Married:
Buying an engagement ring, Brian Gavin milgrain halo setting review

Milgrain Halo Setting by Brian Gavin.

And that's all right because I did my best to help him dodge that particular bullet. Be that as it may, he met "the one" a few years later, and we couldn't talk him off the ledge.

Truth be told, we knew that he was a goner the moment we met her. Do you know how it is when you meet two people who just seem to be perfect for each other?

I'm hoping that you do since you're reading this article and all. Thus, I dutifully sold him into slavery. His wife was on the other side of the yard, sporting the Brian Gavin Signature diamond I helped them select. 

Naturally, I lured the new guy over to take a look at it. Her diamond is a 1.50 carat, set in this halo setting by Brian Gavin. Obviously, it's a total knockout, so the guy asked how much a ring like that costs. The answer sent the kid sputtering into shock; thankfully, halo settings are available in various price ranges.

Reason #1: Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks!

"How Much Should I Spend Buying an Engagement Ring?"

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond 1.79 carats, E-color, VS-1 clarity.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamonds Performance+

This 1.791 carat, E-color, VS-1 clarity, Black by Brian Gavin diamond is comparable to the one I helped my friend pick out. The cash/wire transfer price is around $27,760.00, and the setting is another three grand.

So you can see why this poor kid went into shock when he asked me how much a ring like that would cost. It's not exactly a typical starter set engagement ring.

However, it does represent two months' salary for my friend. That is the recommended guideline for how much to spend on an engagement ring.

In case you were wondering, that is the answer to how much to spend on buying an engagement ring. The suggested social norm is two months' salary.

Some People Suggest Spending 2-3 Months Salary on an Engagement Ring:

Buying an Engagement Ring James Allen Sleek Accent Rose Gold

The Sleek Accent Rose Gold by James Allen.

However, I hardly think you should use that as a guide. The best way to determine how much to spend on an engagement ring is to consider what you can afford comfortably.

Personally, I think my friend could have gotten away with buying a nice one-carat diamond, and his girlfriend would have been equally happy. Most people in our social circle aren't running around flashing their cash, so a big diamond isn't vital.

The women that we allow into our lives tend to be pretty down-to-earth. They recognize the true significance of an engagement ring. Most of them would probably prefer to save that money towards a down payment on a house or put it in a college fund.

However, in this case, my friend already owns his house outright. Plus, he told me straight-up that he wanted a ring that screamed taken! To that end, we accomplished the mission!

Her Brian Gavin Signature diamond shows up from across the room! There is no mistaking its sparkling personality, and people compliment her on the diamond all the time.

Coming to Grips with the High Price of Diamonds:

Stunning oval diamond engagement ring from With Clarity.

Oval Pave Setting from With Clarity NYC.

All right, let's face it. You can intellectualize the fact that diamonds are a scarce "mineral" all you want. However, at the end of the day, you're still shelling out thousands of dollars for a freaking rock!

By the same token, I'm not all that convinced those rocks are all that rare either. While I've never been inside the mythical diamond vaults of De Beers, I'm pretty sure they've got quite the cache buried beneath the ground in London.

Just the same, I can't exactly dig up a few carats of gem-quality diamond in my backyard in Oregon. Nor have I run across any gem-quality diamonds while walking the dog down the beach here in Puerto Vallarta.

E-trade baby meme

Baby e-trade commercial.

However, it stands to reason that I might be able to dig up a carat or two if I'd been born in the Sierra Leone region of Africa. I'm just say'n. Err, actually, digging up diamonds in your backyard in Sierra Leone "is frowned upon in this establishment."

Obviously, I'm shamelessly ripping off my favorite eTrade commercial.

This doesn't change the fact that social norms dictate that you shell out thousands of dollars for a rock.

Buying an Engagement Ring Brian Gavin 810 Collection Rose Gold

18k Rose Gold 810 Collection by Brian Gavin.

We can spend eons discussing the millions of reasons why this is wrong, but frankly, it's a waste of time. We both know that you're going to look like a tool if you don't buy her a diamond engagement ring.

Perhaps there was a time when you could have used the blood diamonds excuse and pled to her sense of humanity. However, the Kimberley Diamond Act of 2003 dealt with that whole issue quite effectively. 

Therefore, you're kind of stuck buying an engagement ring unless you happen to have found the 1:1,000,000 woman who happens to not like diamonds.

Actually, I was engaged to that woman!

Agnes finds a unicorn, the Minions Movie

Agnes Finds a Unicorn in the Minions Movie.

True story. Past tense.

When we first started dating, she told me that she didn't like diamonds.

I readily admit that I was shocked and confused. Those words shattered my illusions like a flash bomb exploding in my mind.

I'd never met a woman before who didn't like diamonds.

I felt like Agnes in the Minions Movie when she found a unicorn.

"Danger Will Robinson!" things are not always as they seem to be.

"If we ever get engaged, you can buy me a sapphire engagement ring."

Blue Sapphire engagement ring, Brian Gavin split shank halo

Sapphire Engagement Ring by Brian Gavin.

Warning signs. Warning signs. Plenty of warning signs. But frankly, my head was still reeling from the loss of my wife in 2005; thus, I paid them no heed. At this point in the recovery process, the only thing I wanted was to recreate some sense of normalcy in my life.

With that in mind, I inquired as to what quality of blue sapphire she liked best. It should come as no surprise that she happened to prefer the medium electric blue color of a high-quality sapphire.

That's like the Ceylon color of the blue sapphire set in this split shank halo by Brian Gavin. As you might expect, this is a higher quality sapphire, which is more expensive than sapphires which are darker in color.

Are Light or Dark Sapphires Better?
Sapphire engagement ring by Victor Canera.

Sapphire Engagement Ring by Victor Canera.

Medium blue color sapphires are much prettier since more light passes through them. A high-quality sapphire can cost as much, if not more than a diamond.

Needless to say, she eventually accepted a diamond engagement ring from me "because I was in the diamond business and therefore it was just good advertising."

That is her justification, by the way, not mine. I would have been thrilled to give her a sapphire engagement ring.

So, what does that say about the whole "Oh no, I don't like diamonds position?"

Feel Free to Form Your Own Opinion:
Round, Princess, Oval Shaped Diamond Engagement Rings With Clarity.

What's Your Favorite Diamond Shape With Clarity?

But know that this engagement went the way of the dinosaur when my life continued to spin out of control following my wife's loss. Some women will stick by you through thick and thin.

Others of the fair-weather variety will come and go like the wind. The good ones tend to be just as happy with a quarter carat diamond as they would be with a one-carat diamond engagement ring.

On the same note, I had no right proposing marriage to somebody at that stage of my life! But as it turns out, my friends had all kinds of safety nets in place if I might slip.

Apparently, there was a kidnap and de-program clause in place if we ever set a date or flew to Vegas. I love these guys! They think of everything.

Reason #2: She Might Actually Say "NO"

Buying an engagement ring. What if she says no? Brian Gavin return policy.

What If She Rejects Your Marriage Proposal?

If you're at the point in your relationship where you're buying an engagement ring, then you probably have a good idea of how you feel about each other.

The odds are that you're pretty confident that you love each other, and your love slave wants to spend eternity with you.

Just the same, there is always the possibility that you're completely out of touch with reality. She may have no interest in marrying you.

No, seriously, I'm not kidding.

Buying an Engagement Ring Oval-shaped from Brilliant Earth

Oval-shaped Diamond Rings from Brilliant Earth.

Just last week, right in the middle of another epic quest to find the perfect diamond, I received this message from a guy:

"Crazy thing. I actually broke up with my girlfriend tonight. She said she is not ready to get married. There have been other issues, obviously. If I ever get to this place again, I will keep you in mind."

This sort of thing is more common than you might imagine. Throughout the 30+ years that I've been in the diamond business, I've seen more than a few guys limp back into the store looking like beat-down dogs.

They drag themselves up to the counter and woefully announce that their girlfriend rejected the proposal. Then, they hesitantly ask what they're going to do with the ring.

Reasons Why Women Might Say No to Marriage Proposals:

Thankfully, for the sake of my diamond buying ego, it's never been because of the ring. Nice Ice has always been about helping you find diamonds that really are Nice Ice, after all.

However, the possibility remains that the two of you might not be orbiting within the same perception of reality. She might enjoy being your girlfriend and hanging out with you but might not see you as marriage material.

Or perhaps, she's not ready for that type of commitment. The reality is that the possibilities within this scenario are endless. She might be holding out for a better offer, what is commonly referred to as "the bigger better deal" in guy speak.

And if that's the case, trust me when I tell you that you're better off finding that out now. Or perhaps it's as simple as you overlooking the importance of asking Daddy for her hand in marriage first.

Which might signal her unconscious that you're not as traditional as she'd once hoped. Or perhaps you failed "dog training" yet again?

Or my personal favorite to date: She's the waitress at the coffee shop where you and your friends always dine for lunch. For whatever reason, one of you decides that proposing marriage is a good way of asking her out on a first date?

Seriously? WTF?!?! And just for the record, I'm not making this up. I've sold several engagement rings under this same pretense. Perhaps I should create a 12 step pre-engagement program of some sort?

After all, buying a ring doesn't mean she'll say yes.

All of the situations above are explanations given by clients for why they need to return their engagement ring. It goes without saying that having your heart broken sucks, regardless of the reason.

We cannot do much about that except to shake it off and move forward. However, since buying an engagement ring is a dynamic part of every good relationship, there is something you can do to mitigate the risk.

Be sure to work with a reputable dealer who offers a reasonable inspection and return policy. As of this date, the return periods for diamonds for the most popular online vendors is as follows:

Some vendors have reasonable buyback policies that extend beyond the terms of their return policy. None of them will give back 100% of your money, but 75 – 80% is better than nothing. That's nice relationship insurance to have in your back pocket in case things ever go sideways.

Reason #3 Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks:

You have No Clue what she wants!

Petite Pave Pear-shaped Diamond Engagement Ring James Allen.

James Allen Offers 30-Day Hassle Free Returns.

Let's face it, buying an engagement ring isn't like buying her an angora sweater for the holidays. It's bad enough to wonder whether she's going to love the sweater or that costly bottle of perfume.

Apparently, she's always going to wonder if your favorite is because it reminds you of the salesgirl? Where do women get this shit?

Alas, I digress… The point is that not knowing what style of engagement ring she prefers really sucks. Forget about that pit in the stomach, guts-wrenching, palms sweating feeling that comes with buying a regular gift. 

What If You Get It Wrong?

Buying an Engagement Ring With Clarity Round, Princess, Oval Shape

Round, Princess, Oval Shaped Diamonds With Clarity

Nothing compares with the anxiety that a lot of guys experience when thinking about buying an engagement ring. I believe that most women have no concept of how truly stressful buying an engagement ring can be.

And it has very little to do with the infamous fear of commitment, which we're so often accused of hiding behind. Rather, it is usually a simple matter of just wanting to get it right because we just want them to be happy.

Am I right? Can I get an Amen, brother? And don't you dare show her this article as an attestation of how difficult all of this has been on you. I don't need the infamy or the hate mail.

I was already clearly in the dog pound for saying that another woman was a bitch until my girlfriend actually met her. LOL. LMAO. True Story.

Playing It Safe with a Classic Solitaire:

Diamond Solitaire Engagement Rings from Blue Nile

Diamond Solitaire Rings from Blue Nile

You know that strange feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you're out shopping for any gift for her birthday or the holidays, and you're not sure if she's going to like the angora sweater, bottle of perfume, purse, etc., that you're looking at?

And the cost of the gift is somewhere between $50.00 and a couple of hundred bucks… well, that feeling of impending doom can be dramatically magnified when you're looking at engagement rings.

You'll be trying to decide between the thousands of options that are currently available. You might luck out if the love of your life is leaving clues all over the house.

Buying an engagement ring, Brian Gavin classic solitaire

Classic 6-Prong Solitaire by Brian Gavin.

Otherwise, the odds are that you're struggling with which ring style to buy. This classic solitaire by Brian Gavin has always been my personal favorite.

It is a timeless classic that every woman in the world recognizes as the traditional engagement ring. In other words, you can't go wrong picking this ring style.

You're going to set the stage for a romantic proposal. Drop down on one knee. Open the box. Calmly and Elegantly say 4 simple words: Will You Marry Me? Her eyes will focus right in on the diamond.

That is why this beauty is such a timeless classic! The simplicity of the design highlights the importance of the center stone and maximizes its beauty. This ring style is like the little black dress that she knows is perfect for every occasion.

What Diamond Shape Is The Best Choice?

Black by Brian Gavin Hearts and Arrows Super Ideal Cut Diamonds.

Black by Brian Gavin Ultra Super Ideal Cut.

Here again, if you want to play it perfectly safe, choose a rounds hearts and arrows super ideal cut diamond. The modern round brilliant cut diamond remains the most popular of all the diamond shapes.

Brian Gavin is my favorite producer of round brilliant super ideal cut diamonds. In fact, they used to produce diamonds for our private label collection!

The higher degree of optical precision that produces the hearts and arrows pattern creates a higher number of virtual facets within the diamond. As a result, the diamond will exhibit more sparkle, and that sparkle will be more vivid and intense.

That is the primary benefit of buying hearts and arrows round diamonds over a standard GIA Excellent, or AGS Ideal cut diamond.

True Hearts & Arrows quality diamonds cost more than standard ideals because it takes four times longer to create a higher level of excellence.

However, the extra cost is worth every penny since it produces a more impressive sparkle. These diamonds are widely recognized as the best of the best. They represent the Top 0.001% of the annual production for round diamonds.

Not Everybody Wants the Best:

That is why you might prefer to step down into the realm of standard ideal cut diamonds, like the GIA Excellent cuts available from:

Depending on the proportions and cut quality, some standard ideals fall into the Top 1% category for round diamonds. However, it is important to understand that each cut grade represents a range or spectrum of possibilities.

Just because a diamond is an Excellent or Ideal Cut doesn't mean that it will exhibit the best light return. You need to look at the ASET, Ideal Scope, and H&A Scope images and verify the light performance.

What If She Prefers a Fancy Shape Diamond?

Buying an engagement ring, what if she wants a fancy shape diamond?

What If She Wants a Fancy Shape Diamond?

Well gosh, golly gee Wally, that's swell, then I think you should buy her a fancy shape diamond! Imagine for a moment that all women are not the same. It's an earth-shattering concept, I know.

But just for the sake of argument, let's assume that this is a valid theory. Thus if your girlfriend expresses a preference for a fancy-shaped diamond, I think we should focus on that shape.

It doesn't matter whether rounds offer better light return than a cushion, emerald, oval, pear, or princess cut. It only matters that what she really wants is a cushion-cut diamond (assuming that to be the case).

With that in mind, we're going to focus on finding the best cut fancy shape diamond available within your price range. Lucky for you, I've got those search parameters at my fingertips. You can also refer to these diamond buying guides for every shape.

Where to Buy the Best Fancy Shape Diamonds:

Obviously, every diamond vendor online offers fancy shape diamonds in a variety of qualities and prices. The trick is knowing what to look for and what proportions will yield the best light performance.

Trust me when I tell you that it's no easy feat to determine which fancy-shaped diamond will look best. Part of the challenge is that every fancy shape diamond offers a slightly different shape and length to width ratio.

There is absolutely no consistency to be found within the standard production of fancy shape diamonds. One exception I've found to be the case is the hybrid versions found within the Brian Gavin Signature line:

These traditional fancy shape diamonds have been redesigned to maximize the sparkle factor!

It's practically unheard of to find a fancy shape diamond with ideal light performance. The best you could hope for up until now was to find one with GIA Excellent polish and symmetry.

However, the GIA does not grade the cut quality of fancy-shaped diamonds, so crown and pavilion measurements aren't even provided on their diamond grading reports!

It goes without saying that you'll find fancy shape diamonds in all the other usual places:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
Brian Gavin Custom pear shape diamond engagement ring, Justin H

Custom pear-shaped  ring by Brian Gavin.

Pay close attention to the overall shape of the diamond. You're looking for a fancy shape diamond with a nice outline to it and appeals to your personal sense of balance and taste.

You'll also want to look for a diamond that exhibits a minimal bowtie effect and good contrast brilliance. As always, I'm happy to help you search for the best diamond.

As a registered member of the trade, I have access to the multiple listing service we use to trade diamonds globally. You can bet that I have special search parameters for fancy shape diamonds.

Check out this custom ring with a pear shape diamond from Brian Gavin that I recently helped my client Justin pick out.

Reason #4: Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks!

You don't know which alloy or metal type she prefers.

Round and Oval Solitaire and Cushion Pave Setting from Brilliant Earth.

Brilliant Earth Diamonds In Popular Shapes.

Let's face it, engagement rings aren't cheap, and you can't exactly switch colors on the fly if you get this part wrong. The majority of engagement rings are custom-made to order, and you can't swap them out like a sweater.

When you combine the stress from reason #3 (above) with not knowing which alloy she prefers, you've got the perfect recipe for analysis paralysis. But it doesn't have to be this way; buying an engagement ring doesn't have to be stressful.

Just take a look at the jewelry that she wears regularly, and the odds are that you'll discover whether she prefers white gold, yellow gold, or platinum. You might discover that she is in love with pink rose gold, which is currently all the rage.

What Type of Jewelry Does She Wear Now?

Buying an engagement ring, rose gold halo by Brian Gavin

Rose Gold Halo Setting by Brian Gavin.

This 18k rose gold milgrain halo setting by Brian Gavin has been very popular lately. Once again, you should consider playing it safe and choose a classic tiffany style solitaire setting.

They're relatively inexpensive, and it won't feel quite as painful if she wants to swap things out. Practically every vendor offers a lightweight solitaire of some sort. But keep in mind that these are presentation solitaires, which aren't really suitable for long-term wear.

My usual advice is to focus your efforts on finding just the right center stone. Spend the majority of your budget on the diamond when buying an engagement ring. It's relatively easy to swap out a solitaire for a more elaborate setting in the future.

Reason #5: Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks!

You don't know her Ring Size?!?!

How to Determine Her Ring Size James Allen Engagement Rings

James Allen Offers Free Ring Sizing.

Trust me. The only guys who know their girlfriend's ring size are the ones who have been told their girlfriend's ring size. There are no other tried and trusted ways of figuring out what ring size your girlfriend wears.

But I can tell you that the national average in the United States is a 6.5 ring size, which is why most rings are mass-produced in that size.

Here's a helpful hint that you'll want to take to heart. Her ring size is probably not going to be the same as her shoe size. You'll be digging yourself a great big hole if you make the mistake of assuming that it is.

Because nothing says "I Love You" like buying a woman who wears a size 6.5 engagement ring, an 8.5 based upon her shoe size. She'll interpret that as you think that she's got fat, little, stubby fingers.

Pave Solitaire Style Engagement ring from Blue Nile

Blue Nile Makes Buying an Engagement Ring Easy.

Where does this bright idea come from? Well, believe it or not, there is often a correlation between a man's shoe size and his ring size. I thought this was utter ballocks when an old-timer in the jewelry business told me about this back in the day.

I treated it like some urban legend intended to put one over on the new guys. But the old-timer told me just to pay attention and ask guys their ring size as I sized their finger.

Just try it and see whether there is a correlation. Lo and behold, it does seem like there is a correlation between a man's shoe size and his ring size. But the same principle does not hold for women.

How to determine her ring size:

If you're shopping for an engagement ring together, you can simply ask your girlfriend what her ring size is. If she doesn't know, these companies will send you a free ring sizer:

How to Buy a Stunning Engagement Ring

Brian Gavin Engagement Rings.

If you're trying to surprise her with an engagement ring, then guessing her ring size can be a bit more tricky. If she has a favorite ring that she wears on her left ring finger, you can take it to a local jeweler to determine the ring size.

You can also order the ring in the standard production size of 6.0 – 6.5 and tell her that you didn't know her ring size. This provides you with the built-in excuse:

"I didn't know what ring size you wear, but this is the size that all of the rings from Brian Gavin are made in."

Most rings can easily be resized after the fact. Of course, it goes without saying that she's not going to want to give her engagement ring up once you give it to her. That's all right, and she'll be all that much more excited to see it once it has been resized.

Reason #6: Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks!

She's got Champagne Taste on Your Beer Budget!

Perception of Diamond Carat Weight 0.50 to 3.00 carats.

Examples of Diamond Carat Weight Brian Gavin.

If you're like most guys, then you set out on the adventure of buying an engagement ring without really knowing what you were in for. Perhaps you based your expectations upon lost leader advertising which promises a stunning 1-carat diamond for only $1,995.00

God help you if you promised your girlfriend a five-carat based upon that premise. Because when you discover that those evil charlatans are preying upon your naive innocence, you're going to be in for one heck of a rocky road.

Every time I've seen one of those $1,995.00 one-carat diamonds, they've looked like a hunk of green frozen spit. They look kind of like the fur-ball that you'd expect Slimer from Ghostbusters to cough up.

Case In Point ~ The $2K 1-Carat Diamond:

B2C Jewels,

$2K 1-carat round brilliant cut diamond.

Case in point. This 1.00 carat, M-color, SI-2 clarity, round brilliant cut diamond actually looks better than what I see offered for $2K in most jewelry stores. A lot of those diamonds are so included that they look like frozen spit.

Actually, that is a term used in the industry to describe promotional quality diamonds. Frozen spit is actually one grade higher than the official designation of dead.

Just let that sink in for a minute, then notice the slight lime green color evident within this diamond. You probably thought that I was kidding about the slime green fur ball, didn't you?

Given these points, it goes without saying that you have about as much chance of finding a stunning 1-carat diamond for $1,995.00 as Little Agnes has of finding that elusive, mythical unicorn. Sorry to burst your bubble.

How Much Does a Good Engagement Ring Cost?

The easy answer is that you should spend as much as you can comfortably afford on an engagement ring. Forget about trying to find the mythical unicorn which every little girl dreams will fall into her lap.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to buy the very best diamond for the love of your life. But at the same time, it pays to have realistic expectations about what you can afford. That might be the #1 reason why it's the guy's responsibility to buy the engagement ring.

Why yes, I do know that I'm going to pay for that comment (and many, many more herein) when my little muse trips across this post… Thanks for pointing that out. I hope you appreciate the fact that I'm taking one here for the team.

To be perfectly frank, it really doesn't matter whether you have $5K or $100K to plunk down buying an engagement ring. You're always going to set your sights on a diamond that is well beyond what your budget is going to afford.

Throughout the years, I've worked with struggling college students and multi-millionaires; everybody has unrealistic expectations. It's not your fault that you're a salt of the earth kind of guy.

It makes sense that you want to buy her the diamond engagement ring of her dreams. The trick is to do that without depleting your cash reserves and having to donate a kidney or two.

So, what's a guy to do when buying an engagement ring?
Blue Nile Zodiac Ring Chart for Princess Cut Diamonds and Other Shapes.

Which Blue Nile Ring Style Is Right for You?

Well, you can march right back into that (Maul) Mall Jewelry Store and hunker down in utter resignation in front of that pompous ass of a counter clerk who tried to mislead you in the first place.

If for no other reason that they offer an in-store credit, or you can focus on finding the most spectacular looking diamond available for the cash you have on hand.

Keep in mind the true significance of an engagement ring. Don't get caught up and lose a sense of reality when buying an engagement ring. That is my preference since I don't like to see people start their lives out together in debt.

Simultaneously, sometimes we need to spread things out and use financing to get what we want. That is why you can buy an engagement ring on credit from the following dealers:

Final Thoughts on Buying an Engagement Ring:

So there you have it: 6 Reasons Why Buying an Engagement Ring Sucks. Hopefully, you've gained some insight and can avoid the pitfalls that many guys fall into when buying an engagement ring.

Hopefully, you also realize now that buying an engagement ring doesn't have to suck. The opportunity represents an exhilarating time in your life! The secret is to enjoy the process and be realistic about your budget and expectations.

At the same time, you're going to need to determine just how much diamond your budget will allow. That is why you might want to take a moment to poke around the websites featured within this article.

Start with your desired budget and adjust the sliders to see what is available within your price range. Be sure to download the Nice Ice® Diamond Buying Blueprint™ and adhere strictly to that selection criteria. 

That will go a long way towards guaranteeing your success buying an engagement ring, online or offline. Of course, I'm always more than happy to help you find just the right diamond.

Drop me a note via the Diamond Concierge Service form and take advantage of 30+ years of diamond buying experience for free! And by all means, please leave a comment or question below.

About the Author

Dive deep into the glittering world of diamonds with Todd Gray, the CEO of Gray Matter Development, LLC. Todd has 35+ years of experience as a diamond buyer and trade consultant. He ghostwrites content for several online vendors and is an avid Freediver, currently exploring the Cenotes of Yucatan, Mexico. Dive into brilliance with Todd Gray!