After reading about 2 Million's engagement, I was taken back to my own engagement a year ago. From a money point of view that typically means finding the right ring. For the average man this is an extremely difficult chore. Not only do we know little about such things, but there's a ton of pressure to get this right.
For many people, step one would be to go to a few of the higher end jewelers and do some investigating of what you can get for your money. Depending on your income this could mean Tiffany's or, if you are in Boston as I am, a slightly less brand like Long's. I skipped a lot of this and went straight to the Jewelry Exchange. This is a national chain, but, at least in Boston, it's where everyone says to go because they "guarentee your diamond will appraise for double." That sounds good, but it doesn't apply to rings over $2,000 or some low number. Still the marketing works.
The key part of this step though is to get a lot of hands on experience. You want to get an idea of what a carat looks like, the difference between a shade or two of color, the irregularities present in the various clarities. You may want to look at a couple of different stores until you feel comfortable with the range you are looking for. I found that I was willing to go as far as I color, and S1 clarity to get something with significant carat weight to it. My girlfriend confirmed that I did well on this as she couldn't tell the difference in color or clarity unless she had a second diamond to put it next to. And the fact that it was a half carat bigger than she dreamed it would be had her questioning if it was real.
So how did I get such a diamond and stay on budget? Well the Jewelry Exchange wanted almost 10K for one that was of lesser color and slightly smaller than the one I finally bought for just over 6K. To do what I did, get yourself to Price Scope. Price Scope has three unique features that will help you. 1) It's got a great message board. Register and ask questions. 2) It's got a great cut search. Learn your diamond cuts. Most everyone agrees that cut is up there with size in importance. It will give the diamond it's glow. 3) It's got a search engine of lots of discount Internet retailers. Most of them are very reputable, but it's worth using the message boards just to make sure.
I ended up going with Abazias for mine and when I had it appraised (a must) the appraiser guessed all the grades dead on and showed me how great the cut is. He then predicted that I paid at least 7.5K on the Internet. I showed him that I didn't and he went straight to his feed of wholesale diamonds on the NY diamond exchange. He said that no one was selling a diamond near what I paid.
The last step was to get the setting and get it set. For that, I went back to the Jewelry Exchange. It was worth it to me to pay a little extra on the setting to get it set, have it cleaned, and build the relationship with the local jeweler.
Good luck and I hope this helps.
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