The bravery/stupidity of picking your engagement ring without input from your intended bride.

I thought this was incredibly romantic and essentially the done thing! That picking your fiancées engagement ring and therefore keeping it as a surprise was something everyone did – apparently not. Apparently I was either incredibly stupid or incredibly brave and, well, I’m pretty sure I’m not the latter.

I think I could actually blame or credit all of this on my parents, it was through speaking to them one Saturday morning that we agreed that I could ask Alice to pick her ring, that Icould present her with a shortlist with the price tags removed, that I could ask her friends but wouldn’t it be so much nicer to choose myself. At that point I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, I thought it would be easy and despite historically having asked Alice what style of ring she might like, I was essentially going in blind.

And so, over the period of two months I set about visiting every jewellery store offering engagement rings in the greater Sheffield area. All too quickly my natural geekiness kicked in and after my first meeting where I knew absolutely nothing about diamonds, precious metals or ring types, I quickly became a mock professional.

For those that are yet to experience this joy, there are three important factors in choosing your diamond, the shape of your diamond, the colour and the clarity all concisely and consistently represented by a string of letters; though they start as being quite daunting, they are quickly something that you will reel off with ease.

My first foray was just into Sheffield City centre where I was sure to avoid H.Samuel and Argos, this was not an Elizabeth Duke occasion!

Initially I could be witnessed, timidly shuffling into shops and nervously skulking up to attendants falling at their feet begging for their help.

“Please, I want my girlfriend to say yes, what do I need to do?!”

Though after only a very short-while, once I understood the lingo, the ego inducing sum of money behind me helped with my ‘confidence’. Soon I was striding into shops chest puffed out, assuredly making my way directly to the nearest attendant and demanding to see their finest collection. At one point I actually had a small team waiting on my every need, fetching drinks, gathering rings and (hand) modelling the select rings I had already chosen.

Of course, this was all just in good fun though I did revel in the attention and I am confident that any other man, will, or has done, the same.

Regular, confidential trips naturally began to spark Alice’s suspicion as she questioned what I had been up to. Popular theories included dance lessons or perhaps that I might be visiting a secret girlfriend. Deep down I’m sure she knew what was going on though superstitiously, as she sometimes is, didn’t want to jinx it.

After my recce’s I believed I had my style nailed down which had led many of my previous enquiries. I had become so confident I was demanding to see specific examples of my chosen ring type and  if none were available they were deemed inappropriate.

However, as the short list became shorter and the prospect of now parting with my arrogance infecting funds, I became ever more anxious that my choice of style may be flawed.

Realistically only one or two rings had provoked a strong reaction and the service within those two stores Green+Benz on Ecclessall Road and Andino Jewellery just off Fargate was impeccable. They were two very different styles of rings one which had a unique intricate style that I expected Alice would like and had been of the original specification, the other a far simpler and elegantly, minimalistic option that would definitely be the safe bet.

I revisited the two stores several times to look at the rings trying to justify a logical reasoning towards why one ring may be more ‘desirable’, ‘appropriate’ or even ‘sensible’. You see, cost can’t even really be brought into the decision, once you decide on the ring you want they just bolt on as large, or small, a rock as you can afford, making every ring potentially able to fall within budget.

So eventually I figured it would come down to a flip of a coin, heads or tails, no fairer way to decide it I guess. Therefore removing all pressure and blame.

No, of course I didn’t actually decide by the toss of a coin, or so I will have you believe. The decision was one that needed to be carefully considered and no snap decision, it is something that would usher the beginning of our lives together and stay with us throughout.

I cannot really explain how I came to truly make my decision but the ring I chose was the first ring that caught my attention and I guess you could call it instinct or fate, the cosmos speaking to me or any other crap like that, but the decision was made and confirmed by parting with my savings. L

The problem was now that I had 30 days to wait until I could actually collect the ring and, would Alice actually like it? That is something that even to now I do worry about despite her regular reassurances.

I would like to thank all of those from within the many jewellery stores visited and that helped/tolerated me during this process with a special mention for Nicole Saxby and all the other staff at Green+Benz on Division Street from where the ring was finally purchased. They were incredibly patient and helped me to make my decision with no pressure and an unrivalled personal service. I most certainly recommend them to friends and colleagues.