How to Find the Perfect Wedding Ring

The rings you slide on each other’s fingers on your wedding day will be a lasting reminder of its promise and joy. Choose a ring you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.


Study styles. The traditional solitaire–a single diamond held aloft by prongs–is the most popular. Bezel settings (in which a slim border of platinum or gold surrounds a smallish diamond) can make the gem look bigger. The anniversary style is a row of diamonds or a diamond flanked by sapphires or emeralds.

Become fluent in the four Cs–the international language of diamonds: carat weight, color, clarity and cut.

Ask for an independent grading report–your diamond’s detailed genealogy. Don’t buy a costly stone without one, since it’s your guarantee that you’re getting what you’ve paid for.

Take a valuable diamond to an independent appraiser. If necessary, buy it first, but only with a written, unconditional money back guarantee allowing you a few days to have it appraised.

Precious metals

Look for marked jewelry. While gold need not by law carry the karat marks (not to be confused with carat, the weight measurement for diamonds) that define its level of purity, virtually all reputable stores sell only marked gold. If it is karat-marked, law dictates that it also be stamped with a hallmark, which shows that the manufacturer stands behind the karat mark’s accuracy. The country of origin is also often noted.

Buy gold in a range of colors and levels of purity. The higher the karat rating, the more pure the gold in a piece and the richer the color (and the softer the item). For instance, 24k, or 100 percent pure gold is so soft, it’s not often used in jewelry. As the purity decreases, to say 14k, or 58.3 percent gold, other metals like copper or silver are added. This also distorts the color, giving it a reddish hue. Anything less than 10k, or 41.6 percent pure, cannot legally be sold as “gold” in the United States.

Step up to platinum, the rarest, purest and heaviest precious metal. Almost double the weight of 14-karat gold, platinum is incredibly dense but also very soft.

Tips & Warnings

Shop at a jewelry store that makes you feel good. Trusting the jeweler, and subsequently the advice and jewelry he or she offers, is very important.

Ask your jeweler for a free copy of the industry’s helpful diamond-buying booklet or contact the Gemological Institute of America (

Buy only from a reputable retailer who will accept returns–preferably one affiliated with the Jewelers Association or another professional trade association.

Your jeweler can have a unique report number laserinscribed on your diamond’s outer edge. If you ever have it resized or professionally cleaned, you can make sure you’re getting your own diamond back. Grading reports and identification numbers also serve insurance purposes.

Establish a relationship with a reputable jeweler who will be able to resize, clean, remount and engrave your jewelry over the years.

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