5 Secrets to Know Before You Choose a Diamond Engagement Ring


Ever wonder why engagement rings cost so much?

A lot goes into that bit of bling besides just the 4 C’s (cut, carat, clarity, color). The setting and origin of your diamond, for example, play a role in the overall cost—as well as where you buy it, the warranty, and so much more!

So we sat down with an Accredited Jewelry Professional (and bona-fide expert on gemology) to get the inside scoop. Here are five secrets about the diamond industry you should know before you say “I do” to that sparkly engagement ring.

Quality matters more than quantity.

A lot of shoppers are impressed by carat, but it’s not just the size that counts. For a truly gorgeous ring, focus on quality. Consider the clarity and scintillation of your stone. What is the color grade? Are there inclusions? How was it cut? A brilliant cut gem such as a round or princess diamond will hide imperfections better than a step-cut gem such as an emerald-cut or baguette-cut diamond.


Conflict-free is harder to find than you’d think.

 Many of the big jewelry chains cannot guarantee a conflict-free stone. Be aware of where your diamond comes from and get your stone from a certified, ethical source. Thanks to online resources, it’s much easier to find out of the store’s claims are legit. Also, you should be able to ask questions and get a detailed, intelligent response. Your ring is an investment. If the salesperson doesn’t seem to know what they are talking about, go elsewhere.

What the ring represents matters.

An engagement ring is more than just how much sparkle you can get for your buck. Your ring purchase symbolizes the promise of a life together, so consider your situation when picking a design. For example, avoid spending a ton if you are saving for a house or paying off debt. Choose a ring that best fits you right now, as a couple. While you shouldn’t settle for poor quality or a style you don’t like, remember that you can always add bands or upgrade in a few years for an anniversary or big life event.


Rings require regular maintenance.

Think you can throw a ring on your finger, and it’ll be good for 30 years? Um, not so much. Proper maintenance is important because the metal band gets worn down from everyday use and chemical exposure. Avoid applying lotions when you are wearing your ring, and skip generic jewelry cleaners. Stores will clean your ring with steam or an ultrasonic treatment, so take it in every six months (or at least every year) for a proper cleaning. Diamonds can scratch the metal or fall out if the settings are loose. If you suspect a damaged setting, immediately snap a photo and take your ring in for repair.

Protect your ring with insurance and safe keeping.

Your ring is made of precious metal and delicate stone, so treat it kindly. Get insurance so you won’t have to pay if it gets stolen or damaged. When you do take it off, keep it on a ring holder or put it in a trinket dish so it doesn’t get lost. Most gold blends and silver bands will tarnish over time because the metal slowly oxidizes when exposed to the air. When possible, store it in a bag or box. Even if it looks fine, take the ring back to the shop for routine cleanings and inspections.


Overall, you should choose a meaningful engagement ring that is right for your financial situation. As with a relationship, you can’t just forget about it and expect it to last. Take excellent care of your ring and you’ll be able to pass that bit of sparkly on to the next generation.

5 Things To Do Right After You Get Engaged


OMG you’re getting married! Congratulations! Do these 5 things NOW, before a thousand phone calls and social media posts keep you busy for the next several weeks.

Scream, Hug, Kiss, Jump Up and Down

Celebrate! You’ve just made one of the biggest, most thrilling decisions of your life. Take a moment together—or several days. Then tell your closest family and friends before posting anything online.

Take Pics (Lots!)

This includes a photo of the two of you, breathlessly excited and grinning, blissfully unaware of how challenging wedding planning will be. Also be sure to snap a selfie with the ring, and then a closer pic for your mom/best friend/sister to see before they check out the rock in person.

Talk Alone

You’ll spend hours repeating the story to friends and family, politely rebuffing questions about setting the wedding date. Take some time to talk seriously with your significant other about the future, and discuss what expectations you have going forward. As in kids, religion, debts, pets… you get the idea.

Pick a Timeframe

It’s important to know how long you’ll be engaged before you say, “I do.” Engagements can last anywhere from a month (if you’re eloping) to several years. Choose a timeline that makes sense for where your relationship is at, what career plans you have, and your financial situation.

Take Care of Your Ring(s)

It’s sadly common to lose your new sparkler. Don’t let it happen to you! Get a ring holder (or two), and ALWAYS put your ring there when it’s not on your finger. Size your ring and consider insurance. Find out if your partner wants an engagement ring, and start shopping for wedding bands. Have fun!


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5 Reasons to Have a Winter Wedding


Just engaged? Trying to set the date? Every season offers a unique spin on weddings—from stylistic decisions such as colors to lovely little details like footwear.

Summer might be the most popular time to get married, but we’ve got five amazing reasons to tie the knot during a winter month!


Stylish Outerwear

Capes, shawls, shrugs, faux fur, sweaters, scarves—the options for staying warm and looking fabulous are endless. Make sure you and your bridesmaids show up in unforgettable style! Winter accessories make nice gifts for your wedding party.


Gorgeous Sparkle

Winter is the perfect time to wear something glamorous. Twinkling earrings, a gorgeous necklace, and an oh-so-pretty headpiece will light up your bridal ensemble with elegant shimmer. You can also get away with a sparkly rhinestone veil or glittery shoes.


Romantic Glow

Strung lights, votive candles, and flickering firelight create a beautiful ambiance unique to winter weddings. You can also tie in seasonal colors and metallic tones to make your reception truly shine. Be sure to get some of your portraits with romantic lighting.


Snowy Photos

There’s nothing like seasonal snapshots to make your wedding memorable. Breathtaking mountains, softly falling snow, and frosted trees provide a dramatic backdrop. Add umbrellas or have a snowball fight for an extra dose of fun!


Cold Weather

This means hot drinks and comfort foods—not to mention seasonal favorites! There’s also something about the crisp, cold winter days that makes people want to snuggle up and get cozy. Sounds like the perfect recipe for romance!


Are you a cold weather bride? Tell us, why did you choose to have a winter wedding?   

Top Signs He Might Propose


(via Shutterstock)

Are you ready to tie the knot? You might be wondering, is he?

It’s a good idea to enjoy your relationship as it is and discuss any unmet needs together. However, if you know he’s the One and are wondering if you should be dressing up a bit more on date night, consider the following signs that he’s about to drop down on one knee!

You’ve been together between two and three years
Not that this means anything in specific relationships; some people are together for a long time without being married! You could have good reasons for getting engaged earlier or later (for example, career plans, desire for financial stability, or personal beliefs). Statistically, however, many couples get engaged after they’ve been dating for a couple years.

He’s cleaned up his place or has recently moved
If he’s no longer using his Xbox screen as a night light, chances are he feels that you are more important than his bachelor habits. Efforts to make you feel comfortable and at home are a sign of caring and commitment.

You’ve met each other’s parents
Increasing numbers of women want to know about their engagement before anyone else, but it is historically traditional for men to ask parents for their permission or blessing. Similarly, he’ll want to be sure that you know his family and where he’s coming from.

Your ring size and preferred metals are suddenly relevant
Guys don’t really care about the jewelry you’re wearing—most compliments range from, “You look beautiful today” to “You look so pretty in that color.” If he’s suddenly very interested in your favorite metals or shapes of rocks, it’s a sure sign that he’s starting to shop.

He’s acting weird
Many guys are still into the surprise proposal. With a plethora of videos and online photos posting evidence of creative and outright over-the-top gestures, there’s a lot of pressure on him to make it memorable, romantic, personal, and fun. Also, he’s supposed to covertly make sure you look nice for the professional photographer he’s paid to hide in the bushes. Plus he’s expected to arrange for your best friends and/or family to congratulate you at a surprise party afterwards. Oh, and there’s the small caveat that, no matter how sure he is of your relationship, he’s still asking a question—and is waiting to see if you’ll say yes.

Wouldn’t you be acting a little nervous and weird, too?


Are you ready to say, “Yes”? What is your ideal proposal? Would you be disappointed if he picked a ring without your approval? Let us know!

Sparkle Style: What Your Ring Says About You

(Bel Aire Bridal – Style V7266)

Are you dreaming of a sparkly Christmas?
According to a recent poll by Brides magazine, about 51 percent of brides are involved in choosing their engagement rings. Whether the rock is a complete surprise or you show him exactly what you want on that special finger, we hope that you receive a design you absolutely love. After all, you’ll be wearing it for the rest of your life!
When it comes to diamonds (still the most popular stone for engagement rings), the four C’s reign supreme. Clarity, color, carat, and cut play into how expensive your bling will be. We’re going to focus on the cut of your gorgeous stone—which comes in a dazzling array of choices—and what each shape says about your personality!

Cushion Cut – Modern, Trendy, Fabulous
Also known as a “pillow cut” or “candlelight diamond,” a cushion cut stone looks like a square with rounded corners. Sparkling like crushed ice, this cut has enjoyed recent popularity with brides who want something slightly more modern than a round diamond—though this style has been around for over 200 years! Usually set as a solitaire or halo, the cushion cut embraces any band with dazzling radiance. Cushion brides lean towards runway trends such as plunging necklines, embellished backs, snazzy silhouettes, and celebrity styles. You are modern and not afraid to shine!

Heart Shape – Sentimental, Romantic, Feminine
If you’re a fairy-tale bride, a heart-shaped ring may be in your stars! This sweet shape evokes a theme of true love; you are marrying your soul mate. Pairing this enchanting stone with an engraved band will personalize your engagement ring. Only the true romantic chooses a heart and keeps it with her always. Heart brides lean towards lavish lace, extravagant floral arrangements, feminine colors like blush or champagne, and intimate wedding details. You are in love with love!

Emerald – Confident, Powerful, Sleek
Utterly chic, an emerald cut evokes minimalist beauty. The confident, no-fuss bride with a penchant for shine prefers this clean look. Free from distractions and crafted with narrow, long facets, the emerald cut is best if you prefer pure elegance. Due to its shape, jewelers often need higher grade clarity diamonds to create this cut (making it more expensive). Emerald brides are attracted to sheath gowns and simple, elegant details. You already know you’re fabulous.

Round – Classic, Traditional, Sparkly
If you love sparkle, choose a round brilliant stone! With 58 facets and the most brilliance of any cut, a round stone will make everyone stare at your hand. This cut looks amazing accented with a pavé band, halo setting, or raised solitaire. Classic yet popular, a round stone is the best choice if you’re unsure of what you like or want something that will stay in style. Round cut brides are modern yet classy, leaning towards popular wedding trends and flattering styles.

Marquise – Alternative, Free-Spirited, Artistic
If you like to stand out from the crowd, a marquise diamond is right up your alley. Unique as the bride who wears it, this stone is shaped like a tiny boat and has a slimming effect. This brilliant, elongated cut marries a look of courtly elegance with creative appeal.Marquise brides go for non-traditional gowns and quirky accents.

Princess – Trendy, Modern, Romantic
Combining classic sparkle with an edgy shape, the princess cut looks square (sometimes slightly rectangle) with the most brilliance and fire of any non-round cut. One of the most popular choices for engagement rings, princess diamonds add artistic beauty to any setting. Princess brides stray only slightly from the beaten path, enjoying classy but modern gowns, trendy accessories, and just a few romantic touches. You’re willing to bend tradition and personalize your wedding!

What shape of diamond would you choose? Would you prefer a colored gem?

Do you want to pick it yourself?

Tell us ALL about your dream engagement ring!

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