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GUY’S GUIDE: Tips for Picking the Perfect Engagement Ring:

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It could be one of the most memorable moments in your life. You pull an engagement ring out of your pocket and ask the love of your life to be your wife. You desperately want her to say yes and fall in love with her ring too, right? But how do you make sure that happens? Guys who successfully navigated this step in their relationship share some tips.

Use a Fake Ring

Mike Vietti of Washington, D.C. wanted his fiancée’s engagement ring to be a complete surprise but had no idea what she would like. So he decided to use a fake one for his proposal and take her shopping later.

“I thought it was brilliant,” said Emily Vietti. “I love surprises, but I couldn’t imagine wearing something for the rest of my life that I did not love. It was the perfect solution.”

Consider Her Taste and Style

Make sure the ring fits her existing jewelry collection, said Kevin Saghy of Chicago. “I realized all of my fiancée’s jewelry is very clean and simple, like one large pearl on a string or a clean trail of diamonds on a necklace, so I chose a three-stone engagement ring that looks simple but impressive. It has gone over really well.”

Get a Little Help from Her Friends

“My wife found a drawing of the kind of ring she would like and gave it to a friend to hold–under the condition that the friend would not tell her when she gave it to me,” said Andrew Brown, of Detroit. “She was totally surprised the day the exact ring she wanted was given to her.”

Shop Together

Randy Holmes of Atlanta was overwhelmed by the number of options he faced when he started to shop for his fiancée’s ring, so he asked her to join him. “It was great to have Lauren involved,” he said. “It was romantic and took a lot of pressure off.”

Do Your Homework

Erik Mason of Boston did a “ton of research” on diamonds before he even set foot in a jewelry store. “I think most guys believe as long as they’re familiar with the four Cs, they’re all set,” he said. “I was surprised to find that was only half the story you should be thinking about.”

Mason spent almost five months learning about the four Cs–color, cut, clarity and carat weight–and how that translated to his budget and girlfriend’s taste. He used online resources, visited retailers and flipped through fashion magazines to get a sense of what she liked. “I got a great learning experience and another connection to our marriage through a spectacular piece of symbolism I truly understand inside and out,” he said.

The Gemological Institute of America, the world’s foremost authority on gems and jewelry and the creator of the four Cs, provides independent assessment of diamond quality in its grading reports. It is also a helpful resource to learn more about diamonds. Visit www.gia.edu or call 800.421.7250.

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