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What Do I Need to Know When Choosing My Girlfriend's Engagement Ring?

by Lucie Westminster, studioD

As you prepare to ask the woman of your dreams to become your wife, it is time to choose the engagement ring. After the proposal, she will wear this ring for the rest of your lives together, so pick one that suits her personality and style. If you take the time to carefully select the perfect ring, you'll be sure to get a "yes."

Your Budget

Decide on your budget before heading to the jewelry store. There isn't a magic amount one should spend on the ring. Have a maximum budget in mind and stick to it despite the sparkling diamonds surrounding you at the store. Be sure the cost includes any future sizing and cleaning. If not, budget for those expenses when you select a ring. To assist with this large purchase, consider a payment plan offered by your jewelry store. Your purchase shouldn't lead to financial struggle.

The Four C's

Understand the four C's --color, cut, carat and clarity. Color refers to the diamond, which can range from yellow to clear, according to the American Gem Society. Evaluators also examine both a diamond's cut and craftsmanship. The more finely detailed the cut, the more the diamond is worth. A diamond's carat refers to its size. The greater the number, the larger the stone. Finally, all diamonds have natural flaws. Fewer flaws mean a higher clarity, a higher value and price tag.


Know her ring size. A woman with small fingers might want a smaller three-stone style rather than a princess cut single stone. If you aren't sure of her size, ask a family member. Be as certain as possible so that she can place the ring on her finger after the proposal.

Her Personal Preference

Jewelry is part of a woman's wardrobe, so have a good sense of her style and personal preference before you purchase a ring. If your girlfriend is quiet and understated, a smaller engagement ring may suit her tastes more than a three-carat rock. Examine her other jewelry and note whether she prefers gold or silver. Consider using a non-traditional stone, such as a ruby or sapphire, if she prefers color.

Additional Considerations

As you select the ring for your future wife, keep other things in mind. Consider talking with her parents before making the purchase. They may offer suggestions as far as their daughter's preference or alert you to a family ring that should be used for the proposal. Make sure she doesn't have metal allergies. Finally, you are involved in an equal partnership, so consider proposing to your woman and then asking her to choose her own ring.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Lucie Westminster has been a writer and researcher since 1975. Her work has been published in journals such as "Psychological Reports" and "Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior." Westminster's interests include developmental psychology, children, pets and crafting. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Miami University.

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