The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect Engagement Ring

The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring can be an overwhelming process, particularly if it is your first time doing so (and this of course is something you will preferably only do once!).

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There are so many different options to consider, in terms of style, stone, carats, and of course, price.

With so much pressure in this situation, we are here to make things a little easier for you. Take a look at our ultimate guide to buying the perfect engagement ring.

Plan Your Budget

Before you even start looking for an engagement ring, you need to set your budget. Engagement rings can vary greatly in price so your budget will greatly narrow down your choices and help you to focus your search.

Be realistic in what you can afford – although you want to demonstrate your love, it is not worth getting into horrific debt in order to do so. Set out a practical budget for the ring you can afford without breaking the bank.

Do Your Research

Another important aspect of preparing to buy the ring is researching what your fiancée-to-be will like. Take close of the kind of jewelry she wears, and what she likes and comments on. Does she favor classic, traditional styles of jewelry or more modern pieces? Is she more likely to wear gold, silver or platinum jewelry? Here it can be useful to enlist the help of one or more of her close girlfriends, as they will have a good idea of her style and can give you advice.

While you are doing this research, don't forget to check her ring size. Rings can, of course, be easily re-sized, but having a ring which fits perfectly can really make the proposal that much more special. After all, you want to be able to slip the ring on to her finger when she says yes! The best way to check her ring size is to take one of her rings to a jeweler and have them check the size. This will take a bit of coordination to do so secretly, and you'll want to return it as quickly as possible before she notices. Also, make sure the ring you measure is one which fits the correct finger, rather than the middle or index finger.

Keep the Secret

There are really two ways you can handle this: you can go with your fiancée to choose the ring, or you can pick one yourself and use it to make a big surprise proposal. Although more people are going with the first option these days as this ensures she will like the ring, the traditional surprise approach is still favored by many.

If you decide to make the engagement ring a surprise, having the perfect ring can make the proposal even more spectacular. This does require a fair bit of work: you will need to make sure those who know about the ring and the proposal don't spoil the surprise. If you consult with your girlfriend's friends as part of your research, make sure you explain to them that you have a big surprise planned – if they are as excited as you are for the big surprise they will keep the secret!

Decide on the Ring Band

Once you have a general style, size, and budget in mind, it's time to think about specifics. There is a range of different variables and combinations when it comes to engagement rings, so you have almost limitless choices. However, don't panic, you can work through different elements to eventually choose the perfect ring. The first one to consider is the type of precious metal which makes up the ring's band.

For engagement rings, the metal used is most commonly:

  • Gold (which is further broken down into yellow gold, rose gold and white gold)
  • Platinum
  • Silver

Silver is the least common as it is the lowest quality and can tarnish easily, with yellow gold being the traditional metal used in engagement rings. These days, however, platinum and white gold are rapidly becoming the most popular. If your girlfriend is more into classic and traditional styles, yellow gold is probably the one to choose, whereas platinum or white gold are more suitable for the fashion-forward.

Decide on The Setting

The next major decision to make which will narrow your search is what stone you would like, and how it will be presented, or set, in the ring. When people think of an engagement ring they normally think of a diamond ring, however, this is not the only option (more on this below).

If you do decide to go for a classic diamond ring, however, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cut – how the diamond is angled and proportioned, which contributes to how it looks and how much it sparkles
  • Colour – diamonds actually vary from completely colorless to light yellow. In the diamond industry, this is graded on a scale, with "D" referring to completely colorless, and "Z" being light yellow. D diamonds are considered the best and are the most expensive, but this is a matter of taste, so include this in your research of what your girlfriend will like.
  • Clarity – this refers to the number of imperfections in the stone. The higher the number of imperfections, the lower the clarity. Lower clarity diamonds are referred to as having "inclusions", that is fractures or other minerals in the stone.
  • Carat – this is the size, or most specifically the weight of the diamond. People often get caught up in the carat weight of a diamond, however, cut and clarity can have just as much effect on the overall appearance.

Dare to Be Different

When looking at engagement rings, don't feel constrained to choose the kind of ring which everyone else buys. An engagement ring should be a show of love to that special someone in your life, so make sure that whatever you choose is best suited to her. If she is someone who likes the classic, traditional style of jewelry, then a simple diamond solitaire is a good choice.

However, if she has a more distinct sense of style, it is better to choose a ring which is unique, just like her! Buying a ring which really suits her own personal taste will show how well you know her and how much you care. If you are looking for something a little different, Irish wedding rings make great engagement rings. You may also choose a ring with a different type of gemstone, such as a sapphire or ruby, rather than a diamond. If she loves vintage style, you could find the perfect antique ring.

Buying the perfect engagement ring doesn't have to be an impossible task. Follow these easy steps and tips and you can rest assured that you have the ring that will demonstrate all you want to show as you take one of the biggest steps of your life.

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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What you should know about Buying Off Plan Properties in Dubai

What are the key questions you should ask yourself before investing in Dubai's lucrative off plan property market?

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Dubai is a lucrative market when it comes to buying and selling properties – especially off-plan properties in Dubai. Many investors have identified Dubai as their go-to location to invest in high return off plan projects that are secure and backed by decades of success. However, investing in off-plan projects is a high stakes game and not everyone's cup of tea. For new investors here are some of the critical factors that need to be looked at when making a decision.

First and foremost it's important to be absolutely clear as to whether you wish to buy properties for investment purposes or to live in it yourself. For instance, you would want to choose a smaller unit that is easy to rent out and therefore offers a secure and consistent return.

Secondly, location is key when it comes to choosing your property regardless of whether it's for investment purposes or to live in. Some of the important questions to ask yourself when evaluating an off-plan project are:

1. Does the property currently have easy access to major highways or will there be access to major highways by the time the project is handed over to you?

2. How close is it to schools, malls, and hospitals? A property that is easily accessible will be far easier to rent out than one that is further away.

3. Similarly how far is it from pharmacies, supermarkets, dry cleaners etc.?

4. You also want to be asking yourself how easy it will be to resell the property once it's completed in a few years – this is something that is missed by seasoned property investors and consultants as well. For instance, you can get a great villa for 1 – 1.5 million AED but if you have to drive 15-20 KM to the nearest supermarket, you will have a very tough time re-selling it.

5. Do not make the mistake of buying a property that looks great on paper but is built with poor quality materials or has imperfectly shaped rooms. Again, it will be tough to sell this kind of property in the future. It's easy to get lured in by attractive payment plans but its worth the time and effort spent on digging deeper and investigating the build and the developers' reputation etc.

6. For instance, if you had the option to buy similar properties in Dubai Hills and Emirates Living (both are close to Sheikh Zayed Road and both are excellent communities from a "quality of development" perspective), choose the one which is newer in terms of its construction. A newer townhouse will require less maintenance and therefore will eventually save you money in the long run. That's one of the main reasons why off-plan properties are a far better option compared to ready properties if you are looking to move in 2-3 years down the road.

With a City like Dubai, that's continuously expanding there are always opportunities to capitalize on off-plan projects and reap the rewards of a long term investment.

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