So I am abusing my mod power to create a thread for personal benefit, but it's also a reasonable discussion topic. That's how I'm rationalizing it, anyway. I am in the market for an engagement ring, for the first and (hopefully) only time. I am kind of befuddled. I am trying to solve this problem by setting constraints that will reduce the problem space down to something reasonable: It has to come from a particular jewelry design company. This company isn't super well-known, but they make nice stuff and, more importantly, they hired my father when he was recovering from cancer and well into middle age, when they could have hired anybody. He worked for them until the day he died of said cancer. In my opinion, this is an act of ultimate and unnecessary good, and getting a ring from anybody else wouldn't make any sense. My girlfriend neither wears nor owns any jewelry, with the exception of a neat little necklace my mom got her. She'll wear this from time to time, so I know she'll wear a little if it's meaningful. I have tried to wander by jewelry stores with her and bring this sort of thing up as subtly as possible, but there is zero interest. She won't even talk about it. So, a ring has to be as un-ostentatious-looking as possible. This doesn't mean it has to be cheap (although she wouldn't mind), but it has to look simple. One reason my girlfriend doesn't wear jewelry is that she has a job where she's working with her hands and doesn't want a ring getting caught on stuff all the time. So it has to be low-profile: no giant Tiffany settings that look like a smaller version of a ring pop. I went out early Saturday looking for the first time. There are only two jewelers who sell this particular designer's stuff within 50 miles of me. The first is "closed for vacation" for three weeks. Fuck. I head to #2. I get there and it's two women running a small shop which is totally empty except for me. I explain my constraints, thinking that this is a perfect opportunity for them. I'm an easy customer. They sell the line but don't carry much of it in the store. Fine. However, the line is huge. When my Dad worked for them, he actually carried a copy of the entire line from store to store - I used to help him organize it, and so I am spoiled by having been able to handle and see all 2000+ pieces personally. I explain my constraints to the saleslady, hoping she will pull out the catalog and go through it with me and tell me what kinds of things I'm looking for and help narrow it down to a few choices and talk about price ranges and the four Cs of diamond buying and all that stuff. She whips out one ring, which is a non-two-tone, all-white-gold version of this: And says "here you go." It's a very pretty ring, yes. It's not an engagement ring, specifically. The central diamond isn't a loose one set in there, it's about a third-carat, which seems pretty small to me. I want it to look non-ostentatious, but I'm not a total cheap-ass. I have a real job and real money to spend. I prompt her further: Me: This is really nice, but really I'm hesitant to buy the first thing I'm looking at. I know the line is huge - hundreds of rings. Could you order something from them if I found a different style I liked? I'm not in a big hurry. Her: I dunno. Possibly. Me: I'm looking for something maybe slightly more traditional as an engagement ring - is this really an engagement ring? (I had looked online and hadn't seen this among the 'engagement ring' section). Her: Oh sure. It could be. Me: Is there anything you have that's like this, but a little different, just for comparison? Her: No. My jaw dropped. What the fuck? How do these people stay in business? Sadly the nearest jeweler that 1) sells this line and 2) is not on vacation and 3) is hopefully not retarded like these ladies is nearly 100 miles away. Here are the ones I saw online that I like: Opinions appreciated, especially from the TiBettes. I am actually fond of the one on the upper-left. It's sort of weird and understated all in one. I am also under-educated about this whole process. Searching for "average price of an engagement ring" it looks like between $3000 and $7000, which is a big goddamn error bar. I know the "two months' salary" rule, but that's ridiculous to me. Also, is that before or after taxes? I also am trying to figure out how big a diamond should be. Some forums say that the average size of a diamond in an engagement ring is between 0.5ct and 1ct, which seems reasonable. Others say it's 1.5ct - 2ct. On BlueNile.com, which I gather from searching is like the Newegg of shiny shit, a loose 1.5ct diamond that's not a total piece of ass is about $15K for the stone. A 2ct diamond is $20,000. Just for the goddamn stone. Who can afford that? Even a 1ct stone is $5500, and I suppose a retail jeweler will charge me even more than that. FOCUS: Help me navigate the maze of getting engaged without breaking the bank and not having my girlfriend hate what I pick out. ALT FOCUS: Engagement ring stories: yours. Your friends'. Pics of your engagement bling.