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Groom 101

Ask the Expert: Whiteflash on Common Engagement Ring Questions

Chris Easter

Whiteflash.com is an e-boutique specializing in diamond jewelry. Founded in 1999, they provide online diamond shoppers with tips, guides, and of course their “super ideal” cut diamonds. They are one of the web’s foremost expert on diamond engagement rings, wedding bands, and anniversary gifts.

How do I know if my diamond is conflict free?

So what can you do to make sure you have a guilt-free diamond to say “I do”?

Even before the release of Blood Diamond socially conscious couples have been actively searching for conflict free diamonds for their engagement and wedding rings.

So-called blood diamonds are typically mined in African war zones and sold to fund devastating civil wars.

For the past 15 years, an estimated 500,000 Angolans, 50,000 people in Sierra Leone, and nearly 4 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have died from civil wars funded through the sale of conflict diamonds otherwise known as blood diamonds.

Many couples believe they are avoiding all the brutality associated with blood diamonds when they buy engagement rings tagged as “conflict free,” but that is not necessarily the case. That conflict free diamond may not be as conflict free as you may have assumed.


What are some questions I can ask jewelers about conflict free diamonds? What is the Kimberly Process?

Jewelers can now provide Kimberley certificates as proof of a “clean” diamond which they can declare as conflict free.

The Kimberly Process – created in 2003– is a voluntary, self-regulated system that established standards for certifying diamonds. A diamond with a Kimberly certificate guarantees that sales of that diamond did not go to finance a civil war.

You can also feel good in knowing that 100% of Whiteflash’s Dreams of Africa collection profits go to communities impacted by the jewelry trade (WCCCI).

Some initial questions to ask a jeweler regarding conflict diamonds are:

  • What are your companies conflict diamond policies?
  • What is your companies definition of conflict free jewelry?
  • Can you provide official certification from an established grading lab?
  • Where do you source your diamonds from?

Diamond Insurance? Is this necessary?

Congrats — now that you’ve finally found the diamond engagement ring that perfectly shows how much you love your bride-to-be (or as much as three-month’s salary will tell her), don’t forget that final, but very important, step in the ring-buying process: jewelry insurance. There are several ways to handle this. There are a variety of different companies that specifically sell insurance for jewelry. To find one, try a simple search online, in the phone book or simply ask the store where you purchased the ring. A lot of times wherever you buy the ring (especially if it’s a retail store) will have deals, or if nothing else, a recommendation of a reputable insurer. Ring insurance should run between $50 to $150 per year, depending on the value of the ring.

It’s very important to have some sort of insurance for the ring up front, but once the wedding day is over, consider looking at other options such as adding it to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. You may find that going that route can be a better deal. Just remember to keep the appraisal in a safe place so you don’t have to get the ring it appraised again if you switch insurance companies. You’ve spent a lot of time finding her the perfect ring, take 10 minutes and make sure you have a good insurance policy for it in case something happens.

This is an incredibly busy time in your life. Do yourself a favor and go with an insurance company that the jewelry vendor recommends. The store may even be able to set it all up right then and there. This way, it’s done and taken care of and you won’t need to worry about it again for at least a year.


How do I measure her ring size without her knowledge?

You’ve come to the monumental decision that your girl is a keeper, and you can’t wait to ask her to marry you. The problem? You have no idea what size diamond engagement ring to buy her. It’s a common dilemma, but below are some sneaky ways to dig up this crucial bit of information.

If You Want to Go It Alone…

  • If she wears a ring on the all-important finger, you’re golden. As long as she occasionally takes it off, that is. The next time it’s in her jewelry box rather than on her finger, covertly steal it for an hour, take it to a jeweler, and have it measured. If she wears a ring on that finger all the time, however, it’s a trickier process. When she takes it off to shower or do the dishes, sneak in there and make an impression of the ring in a small hunk of soap or bit of clay. If she absolutely never takes it off, you’ll have to be even stealthier. Get her talking about where she got the ring, what kind of metal or stone it’s made of, etc. Ask to get a better look at it (which means she’ll probably take it off) and then make up an excuse to get her out of the room. When she leaves for a few seconds, use that clay or soap to get an impression.
  • Use your finger as a yardstick. Using a ring she wears on her left ring finger, push it down gently on one of your fingers (not your thumb). Make sure that you don’t force the ring. Mark the spot on your finger where the ring comes to rest and then get to a jeweler ASAP to have it measured.
  • If your bride-to-be is a heavy sleeper, measure her finger with a piece of string or a twist-tie while she dozes.

Helpful Hint: If she wears a ring on the ring finger of her right hand, don’t assume that it will be the same size as she wears on her left hand. Many people’s fingers measure slightly larger on their dominant hand. You still have to go digging!

If You Want a Little Help From Your Friends…

  • If a good friend or family member has recently gotten engaged, ask that person to help you out. Next time the two of them are together, the recently engaged woman can ask your girlfriend if she wants to try on her ring. If it’s a perfect fit, great. If it’s a little too big or too small, you’ll at least have a ballpark.
  • If a friend of hers is close to getting engaged, have her ask your girlfriend to tag along the next time she goes to the jewelry store (to give her own guy hints about what kind of ring she want). The friend can ask the jeweler to size her finger and then suggest that your girlfriend do the same.
  • Ask a close friend to talk about her own engagement ring the next time she sees your girlfriend. The friend can ask your girlfriend to try it on so she can see how it looks to other people. It may sound silly to a guy, but it makes perfect sense to a woman!

Helpful Hint: Having her best friend, sister, or mom on your side is ideal, but think hard before you ask someone. Make sure that whoever it is happens to be a phenomenal liar—as in, CIA material. If her best friend blushes every time she tells a fib, she’s not a good resource. And if your girlfriend has always dreamed about calling up her mom and screaming news of her engagement, she might be a little disappointed that her mom already knows.


I read recently about male engagement rings. Is this for real?

The rules of engagement rings have changed drastically since they were initially established. Traditionally men have always offered their bride-to-be with a diamond engagement ring when proposing. This exchange of rings is a symbol that your significant other is “off-the market”. Normally, the women are the ones who receive the engagement ring, but it is becoming more and more widespread for the woman to offer an engagement ring to her fiancée as well.

The male engagement ring for some has also taken the place of the traditional engagement gift that is popular in so many different countries, where presenting a small gift such as a wristwatch, cufflinks or wallet was considered the thing to do.

Obviously, men’s engagement rings do not look like women’s ring but are usually modest are more practical for work, sports, and leisure activities. Many men’s engagement rings are simple bands, with engravings or other minimal embellishments. While men’s engagement rings have distinctively varying styles from the typical ring, they serve the same symbolism: to declare privately and publicly the love a couple shares and their intent to spend the rest of their lives together.


Is it acceptable for me to wear a wedding band from a previous marriage when I get re-married?

Many people commonly believe that wearing an ex’s jewelry is considered “tacky”.

Wearing (and keeping) anything from an ex depends on so many things, including your current relationship and the value (both emotional and financial) of the pieces.

If you wouldn’t throw away some other item like house wares, etc., why would you throw away your wedding band? Everyone has a past. Most of us don’t end up with the first person we ever date, so it would be unreasonable for anyone to expect that his/her current significant other has totally purged every item ever received from someone they used to be with. You can move on emotionally, physically, etc. in every way, but decide you like the jewelry from someone you’re no longer involved with. I don’t think there’s anything shameful or tacky about that.


My fiancé has an obsession with rose gold. How can I subtly incorporate that into her engagement or wedding ring without going overboard?

There are many ways to use rose gold to accent and add a splash of color to your engagement or wedding ring, depending on the style ring you choose.  A rose gold halo engagement ring is a nice way to incorporate some color to your design.  Pink sapphires may further enhance the pink color of the gold, while staying cost effective.  Some rose gold scroll work in the gallery of the engagement ring also adds a nice touch. With these tips on rose gold accents you are sure to be safe!


How safe is it shopping for jewelry online? I'm in the military and therefore won't be able to go ring shopping for awhile. I'm considering shopping over the Internet but want to be careful.

Military Benefits

As a tribute to the men and women serving oversees many e-commerce sites, such as Whiteflash, have free domestic shipping and 1% military discounts for those serving our country.  Using the Internet connections oversees, many military personnel already shop Whiteflash.com to send jewelry to their significant others.  The company says members of the military send gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and Mother’s Day—or just to say ‘I love you’ or that they’re missed.

Be an educated customer

Consider getting a guide book or searching online forums before you shop and brush up on your Diamond Education. The more you know about the four C’s, the grading scale and certification process, the better equipped you will be to get the best bling for your buck. Make sure that the store you choose to purchase from has a subject matter expert to answer your questions by email or phone.

Comparison Shop

Search various online retailers in order to get an idea of what a competitive price for your gem or precious stone should be. Helpful comparison tools include the “ring builder” features that most online stores offer. They will give you free quotes without any obligation to buy. Many sites allow you to save your comparison rings so that you can consider several options at once.

Reputation Matters

Shop with an online jeweler who has an established reputation for good business practice (one way to check on this is to make sure that they have a satisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau). Whiteflash.com, which is the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and is consistently rated highly by customers and media publications because of their high quality products and highly educated customer relationship managers. Make sure that whatever company you choose offers at least a money back guarantee. They also must provide you with a certificate or equivalent for your diamond.

Ask for an Appraisal and Certificate

Your diamond should be issued an appraisal of its value. You should also ask your jeweler if the diamond has been treated with any fillers or other laboratory enhancements. If it hasn’t, he should issue you a certificate of authenticity. This paperwork is essential if you choose to have your ring insured.

Warranty

You also need to inquire about the warranty of your diamond. Some jewelers will continue to warranty the ring if you visit regularly for them to clean and check the setting of the ring. These basic maintenance tasks guarantee that your ring will remain as brilliant on your fiftieth anniversary as it was on your wedding day.

No matter which type of engagement ring you ultimately buy, by following certain tasks and approaching the purchase in an educated fashion, you will be pleased with an investment that will grow in value just as your love continues to grow throughout your marriage.


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