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After years of hit-or-miss dating, you have found her. The One. If you thought getting here was hard … what comes next will often make you consider voluntarily committing yourself to the nearest psychiatric ward. I can help you ward off homicidal impulses, binge drinking and the urge to run far and fast. The first step is to listen because this will be one of the few times in your life when the term “pulling the trigger” will have myriad implications. It’s called planning a “wedding”. Mmm Hmm. Sounds festive- right? WRONG.

Behold the circle, a symbol of endless, continual renewal, represented for thousands of years in the presentation from one to another of a ring, a durable reminder of promises made, a token of spiritual and in some cases quite considerable monetary value, and further, a perfect, lifelong statement of devotion and fidelity. No pressure there, eh?

Men who choose to go this alone and focus on the particulars they believe matter to and will impress their betrothed invariably select the wrong ring. When it comes to the final selection, it would behoove you to ask your intended’s mother, sister or best friend for input.Not only does this ingratiate you with them, it can save you from the inevitable upgrade to the ring she really wanted, five to ten years down the road. Frankly, most women have spent as much time thinking about the “perfect” ring as they have the “perfect” man. If they have- their best friend knows.

Take note of the jewelry she already wears. If a majority of the pieces are, for example, yellow gold, you should consider options crafted from the same metal lest you commit yourself to a complete overhaul of her “collection,” many pieces of which may have been purchased for her by men that came before you. On second thought …

White gold and platinum look the same- though platinum is stronger and costs a great deal more. Some women do have a preference and if she doesn’t, you dodged a bullet- go with the white gold. If she talks to a woman about a ring in front of you and asks the women whether the setting is platinum or white gold- it means she likes platinum. Women who don’t prefer it, don’t care.

Ah, size. We’ve been lying to you all along. Yes, it matters- in this case, at least.

Diamonds are judged based largely on the Four Cs. Carat, Cut, Color and Clarity. To most women this is likely the most critical- carat is the measurement of weight of a stone. The larger a stone is, the more it weighs, the more carats it is. There is always a “center” stone and that is what every one wants to know the carat of- total carat weight matters not.

By doing your research, you can provide yourself more options, one of which is to select a larger stone that is slightly flawed. Many women prefer this, so long as the defect is not visible to the naked eye. This has to do with the clarity of the diamond. When are diamond is forming- minerals can get trapped inside and create what are called inclusions. These range from very, very slight (higher value) to totally visible (might as well buy glass for the same price).

Equally important is Color- or lack of color to be more specific. Unless your future wife has expressed an interest in colored stones, do not attempt to go larger if the trade-off is anything but bright, crystal clarity. You’d be surprised how much color can be present and not visible- not every woman requires D-colorless.

Cut and shape should also be considered and are not the same. Shape refers to the over-all shape of the stone. Popular shapes are square (princess), emerald, round, marquis, and pear. The cut is different and refers to the etching of the bottom of the diamond and involves how the light will radiate from the ring. A radiant cut throws the most fire- or is the most brilliant to look at, but some women prefer a more sedate emerald cut- visible bars cut into the bottom.

If you are going to forgo the acquisition of a new ring, be certain she will appreciate and love Granny Eunice’s ring before you offer it up. Many women would love this gesture, but most would rather have their own choice. Do this discretely to avoid hurt feelings in your family when the heirloom “disappears” and is promptly replaced with a two-carat cushion cut in platinum by Naomi.

Since diamonds are forever, this will be one of the standards by which you shall always be judged so hit the cover off the ball. Clever Guys do their research. Go online and visit sites such as diamonds.com. Meet with a trusted jeweler. Lastly, do not rule out buying a diamond wholesale and having a setting made. Listen carefully, because even though jeweler’s terms mean nothing to you, she and all of her friends will know.

You would be doing yourself an immense favor to let the excitement die down and then talk to her rationally about the ring. Let her know how much you want her to love it and that your feelings will NOT be hurt if she wants a different ring. Be honest with her about budget, and if it is critical to her to upgrade, a Clever Girl would offer to contribute. Honestly, if you cannot communicate openly and honestly about money now- you probably should reconsider getting married until you can. Imagine if she bought you the car you were supposed to drive for the rest of your life- obviously you’d want some input?

While Clever Girls know a ring is just part of the tradition of the marital process

 

(and not a commentary on his love), if you have elected to follow such traditions, she

 

should have a ring she loves. If, after a conversation about financial limitations, she neither offers to

 

contribute nor seems to be happy- drop kick her ass out- NOT CLEVER. OPPORTUNIST.