Buying the Ring
1. Fix your budget in advance. There is a tradition that holds that a man should spend two months of his salary on the engagement ring, but this is a foolish, baseless rule. You should by the best ring you can afford without going into debt, setting a budget early on and working from there. Some ways to save money without sacrificing quality include:
Stay just shy of common karat sizes, like 1 or 2 karats. A 1.9 karat stone is not noticeably different, but can save you as much as 20%.
Aim for a wider cut, which can make a smaller stone look bigger.
Check out antique stones and rings instead of buying a brand new piece -- it has flavor, uniqueness, and can be much cheaper.
2. Choose a good jeweler, considering online sources as well. Look for a store that makes you feel comfortable and where the staff is pleasant and helpful. If you can, check that the jeweler is registered with a society, association, or organization that regulates, certifies, etc., jewelers, such as the National Association of Goldsmiths in the UK. Furthermore, don't be afraid of online jewelers -- you can save as much as 100% compared to a chain like Kay's:
Ask around your married friends or your family for recommendations on a good, trusted jeweler.
An online jeweler such as James Allen, Harry George or Blue Nile can be a good option if you're willing to accept a little less "hand-holding" for a better price. Be sure to check that the jeweler has a strong online reputation before purchasing by searching "(Name of online jeweler) + Reviews" on Google.
3. Ask for a certificate of authenticity and a warranty to accompany the ring.Certificates are very useful to collect with a diamond to find out exactly where they originated from. They are usually only available with the purchase of diamonds larger or at 1 karat. For smaller diamonds, a certificate adds a considerable amount to the cost of the stone, as you may end up paying an extra several hundred dollars or pounds to obtain one.
For more expensive rings, a certificate is a near necessity to ensure your valuable new stone retains it's worth.
4. Get the ring insured. The ring is likely to be the most expensive piece of jewelry you have ever bought, and the most expensive piece of jewelry your fiancé has ever worn. To prevent her from losing it to appraisal and insurance when she's just getting used to wearing it, get it all done before you pop the question. Be sure to check that your insurance covers its loss, or ask for insurance from the jeweler's store if available.