There are all kinds of debilitating fears in this world. Some men are afraid of heights. Others are terrified of snakes. As a woman, I specialize in offering advice on one of the few universal fears for the male population, and that is the fear of dropping to one knee with a box from one of the trendier jewelry stores in one sweaty, trembling hand, and praying that your voice does not crack as you say four simple words, “will you marry me?”
Proposing marriage has changed over the years. The days of laying the groundwork by asking for the permission of the father are long over. Back then, the nerve wracking conversation was man to man. For modern sweaty palmed potential grooms, getting shot down involves a usually public proposal that, if it goes poorly, can seriously undermine your sense of self and masculinity. Why risk all of that by going in unprepared?
The key to a successful proposal is a successful engagement ring, and the most important part of the ring is the rock. There are many options when it comes to diamonds. The secret to an amazing proposal is to do a trial run with another diamond product, like diamond earrings, diamond bracelets or diamond necklaces. Too many people try to propose in the winter. Do not do that. First, it makes you look like a follower, as you are doing what EVERYBODY else is doing. Second, it makes you look cheap, since the assumption will be that the ring took the place of a holiday gift (double dipping, as it were). Instead, use the winter holidays to try out a diamond idea with a nice pair of diamond earrings. It will allow you to get feedback on her preferences about diamonds, and hey, diamond earrings are a NICE gift, so you will score points.
When it comes to the stone, you need to pay attention to the four Cs of diamonds, Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Pay the most attention to the Cut. The better the cut, the more her diamond will shine, and that gets you points for helping her to show it off. For Color, just go colorless. Colored diamonds tend to look cheaper. Clarity and Carat are simply ratings from one of the many organizations that grade and certify diamonds. Clarity measures the severity of internal flaws (called inclusions and blemishes), most of which can only be seen under magnification. Carat measures weight, which is not the most important feature.
You want to shop for engagement rings at a licensed dealer. There are a lot more options now than in the past. We have come a long way from the early years of wedding jewelry, such as Roman brides, back in 150 BCE, who received two bands, a gold one for display and an iron one for housework. Licensed dealers are usually trained in some way by the Diamond Council of America, which was founded in 1944 to educate those in the diamond market. Among other things, they can guide you away from white gold (a mistake made by 73 percent of men buying engagement rings). Go with a platinum setting. It is a stronger metal that will more securely hold what really matters, the diamond itself.