I cannot recommend Ames Silversmithing highly enough. I did a custom ring and matching band for my wife and they couldn't have been easier to work with. It was a great experience. I had a great deal on a blue nile diamond, but ended up buying the diamond through them to take advantage of the 18 month zero financing. Probably saved me a bundle, but it should have as the diamond wasn't as good as the blue nile one. If you have the cash on hand, get the blue nile one.
Support your local (non-chain) jeweler. It might be a bit more expensive, although that's not always the case, but you'll have a much better experience. I got the engagement ring and my band through a local place in Waterloo and they were super helpful when I was picking stuff up and have bent over backwards with their service since then.
On the other hand, my wife found a wedding band for her ring that she liked at a local Riddle's jewelry branch while she was out shopping, even though I really wanted her to just go through the same jeweler I got the engagment ring at. Long story short, the craftmanship turned out to be pretty poor and dealing with their management and customer service was a nightmare when we tried to get things fixed. GO LOCAL.
I'm going to get the most precious metal. Tinfoil.
Reminds me of my roommate who was dumb enough to tell a girl on a second date that he would never buy someone a diamond ring because of how artificially inflated the price of diamonds are. What he said is 100% true, but we all had a good laugh at his expense over the way that went down with his date.
Bump for possibility of me getting engaged soon, I'm going to Chicago with her this summer and I think I'll take her out to a fancy restaurant and do it there, or maybe in a park or something. Don't really know yet, pretty excited about the whole deal. I Have a question though:
1.) How to figure out ring size?
I got my stepmother (really close with my SO) to ask my SO for her ring size with the ruse that my stepmother was getting rid some rings and wanted to know if my SO wanted any. You could do the same thing with her mom or yours.
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