What to Do Before Saying ‘I Do’?

Tips on selecting the perfect engagement ring


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You and your significant other have been dating for a while, and you want to pop the question. Many factors figure in to a successful proposal, but one shines above all the rest: the ring.

“An engagement ring is the public profession of a couple’s love,” says Linda Corliss, second-generation owner of De’S Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, which celebrates its 70th year in business this month.

When couples visit De’S for a ring, the bride-to-be usually focuses on the setting, while the potential groom concentrates on the diamond, in Corliss’ experience.

De’S educates couples on the Gemological Institute of America’s “Four C’s” of diamond selection: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. All affect the look of the stone, and ultimately its price. 

Don’t think that the cost of a diamond lies only in its carat weight. Corliss says a well-cut smaller diamond can be worth more than a larger diamond that isn’t as finely cut. She encourages couples to choose quality first. “My favorite saying — which came from my father — is, ‘The quality remains long after the price is forgotten,’” Corliss says.

But what if you want to surprise your fiancée?

“Usually, they’ve shopped together, or she’s shown him pictures of rings she likes,” Corliss says. But if the groom-to-be really wants to surprise his girl, he can purchase the diamond and have it set in a simple solitaire setting to present it. Then, after she’s said yes, De’S can re-set the stone in a setting of the bride’s choosing. 

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