Choose the perfect ring
It's almost Valentine's Day again, and since it is the most romantic time of the year wedding proposals peak.
This is the perfect time to buy her a ring. Buying an engagement ring is one of the most expensive, confusing and emotionally wrought buys a man will ever have to make.
Keep personal taste, lifestyle, price and tradition in mind before choosing the perfect ring.
How much should you spend?
Amanda Cox, an etiquette expert, says two months' salary is a reasonable amount to spend on an engagement ring. She adds that if you can afford to, spend more.
So how do you work out a balance between choosing a ring that she will love and not spend too much?
Cox advises men to prepare themselves to face sales pressure by deciding on their budget before they start looking.
She adds that sales representatives often make a man think that his love is measured in how much he is prepared to spend on a ring.
Should you pick it or should she choose?
Cox says it is best to let her choose. But you still want it to be a surprise, don't you?
Studies show that more than half of all men surprise their women with an engagement ring, but choosing one together allows you to discuss her feelings about gemstones, size, cut, cost, etc. Before you look at rings, consider the following:
Paying attention to her jewellery likes and dislikes is the first big step towards finding her the perfect ring.
Has she hinted at her likes and dislikes?
Has she ever mentioned her favourite jewellery styles or pointed out engagement rings? If you want to be subtle, take her shopping and say you're looking for a new watch, but be sure to stop at the ring counters.
What looks best on her hands?
An elongated diamond, such as a marquise or oval, can make short fingers look more sleek, but be careful not to overdo the look or it could have the opposite effect.
Wide bands usually make fingers appear shorter, so think proportional. Women with long fingers can easily wear bold ring styles while a setting that's extremely delicate could get lost on large hands, over-emphasising size and making the ring look smaller.
Choose the right shape and setting
Round diamonds are the number one shape chosen by brides, but maybe not your bride. She might prefer an elongated marquise, oval or pear-shaped stone or a square or emerald-cut stone. Heart shapes are another option. Would she like a solitaire diamond or would she prefer a cluster of stones? Her current jewellery can give you clues about her preferences.
Consider her lifestyle
How will the ring fit in with her lifestyle? Does she work in a profession where fussy jewellery would look out of place?
What's her ring size?
Maybe a friend or relative could discreetly get hold of one of her rings for you to have it sized.