You’ve been together for a while. You’re sure this person is the one. You know that you’re ready to man up and make that commitment ... but the idea of even talking about rings or going ring shopping terrifies you. That’s OK. Here’s how to get over that fear.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Women have it lucky. They’re allowed to spend their entire lives dreaming of the engagement ring they want, the wedding they want, etc. Men, on the other hand -- we have to wait until we find the one and then try to cater our proposal to her. We do not sit around as kids dreaming up the ring we’ll use to propose. How could we? We aren’t sure whose hand will be wearing it! Knowing that all guys go through this when they propose might not be all that calming, but isn’t it at least a little bit comforting?

2. Educate Yourself

It’s a good idea to learn about diamonds and diamond rings before you start talking with your significant other about engagement rings.

Diamonds are judged by “the four c’s”: cut, color, clarity, carat

The Cut: You can judge the cut of a diamond by it’s “sparkle.” This isn’t some fluffy word with an ambiguous meaning. The “sparkle” of a diamond is the result of how much the light entering a diamond bounces off all of the many facets (surfaces) contained within the stone. Most diamonds have around 50 different facets for light to reflect off of and that reflection is the sparkling you see. The more sparkle, the better the cut.

The Color: Most diamonds have a touch of yellow in them somewhere and the amount of yellow they contain is what determines the stone’s color grading. There are a couple of scales used to judge the color. One uses numbers, one uses letters, starting with D. The closer your diamond’s color is to D or 0, the better your stone’s color quality.

The Clarity: the more imperfections contained within the stone, the lower the clarity will be. The imperfections are judged by how big they are, how many there are, their position within the stone, their nature, and their color.

The Carat: is the weight of the stone. A carat is 0.2 grams. The more carats the diamond, the bigger the stone. Sometimes point systems are also used, particularly among international diamond traders and sellers.

Once you have the stone, you have to decide on what kind of cut you want. There are a lot of different shapes to choose from: princess cut, pear cut, round, oval, cushion, marquis, etc. Typically engagement rings are pear, round, square or princess cut but that doesn’t mean you can only choose between those four cuts.

After you’ve picked a stone and a cut for that stone (or vice versa), you have to pick the setting. The type of setting you use is going to depend on whether you want the ring to just have the one diamond (or whatever stone you choose) or a variety of stones. Getting a good diamond settings education is important because you want to make sure that the setting you choose won’t over or underwhelm the stone(s) you’ve chosen.

3. How to Choose the Ring

Lots of people wear their engagement rings every single day so you want to make sure that you choose a ring that will make your beloved happy every time she looks at it. If you haven’t already been checking out her jewelry selection, now is the time to start. Don’t go through it or anything, just start paying attention to what she wears and the comments she makes when she is looking at other pieces (in windows or on people).

And remember, some women really do prefer to pick out their own rings, so if you’re still confused, why not just ask her what kind of ring she’s always wanted? It’s scary, but better than making a mistake! You want this diamond to be forever.

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