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July 31, 2014

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Tips for National Proposal Day from Las Vegas’ American Gem Society

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Steve Marcus

Elvis impersonator Roddy Ragsdale entertains Lynn Hassell, 46, and Neil Cawkwell, 45, of Ascot, England, as they ride back to their hotel after being married at The Little White Wedding Chapel on The Strip on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Driver Oscar Oscar Villegas is at right.

Today marks National Proposal Day, ushering in the spring and a season of impending nuptials.

If you’re still struggling with the right way to pop the question — or with the right ring to choose — Las Vegas-based nonprofit the American Gem Society has got you covered with their Perfect Proposal Toolkit.

The website provides ideas, tips and other resources for planning just the right proposal to suit your (hopefully) future fiancee, as well as information about ring selection.

I spoke with AGS CEO Ruth Batson about the toolkit, finding the right retailer and the latest ring trends.

What is the American Gem Society?

We’re an 80-year-old professional society that happens to be headquartered here in Las Vegas, but we have members all over the United States and Canada. We are dedicated to consumer protection. How we do that is setting the highest standards for our members in education and ethics. So we certify that our members are knowledgeable and ethical, which gives consumers a jeweler they can trust.

Why put together an engagement toolkit? Do you offer similar services throughout the year?

There are a number of times during the year when we can be particularly helpful to consumers — Mother’s Day, Christmas. But the idea of doing something fun like this during a romantic time of the year and calling it “proposal season” and putting together information for guys looking to pop the question is a great way to get people excited about jewelry and get them to look for an AGS member in their area.

From you experience, what are some common mistakes people might make when choosing a ring or planning a proposal?

I think not paying attention to the personality of the person you’re going to propose to. Stay within their style — maybe they don’t want to be seen on the Jumbotron at the Thomas & Mack. You might be better off with something simple and quiet, and that’s the sort of advice we can work through with these guys on our website.

When people are shopping for rings, how does someone know they’re getting a good deal and that the retailer is going about it in the ethical way you mentioned?

There’s a couple of ways. We know that this is a very important and large purchase. There is a lot of anxiety over whether or not you’re really getting what you’re paying for. The AGS exists because of that fear. If you shop with a member, you know you’re dealing with someone who is knowledgeable about the product they’re showing you.

The other way, with a diamond, particularly with a larger, more significant diamond, you want to make sure it’s accompanied with a grading report from an independent diamond grading laboratory like the AGS Laboratory. We have a not-for-profit laboratory that provides a grading service, and it’s an important document you want to ask for when purchasing a diamond.

What are some current ring trends you’re seeing?

There’s a lot of fun stuff going on right now with rings. Aside from the round brilliant diamond, which is probably the most popular, we’re seeing a lot of trends right now with the cushion cut, which is a square-cut diamond with rounded edges. We’re also seeing a lot of halos, which are little diamonds surrounding the cushion-cut diamond. Olivia Wilde, for example, has a halo ring with emerald around it, which is her birthstone. Rose gold is also in style.

People are mixing metals — you might have a platinum engagement ring, but your wedding band might be something different. For men, alternative metals like titanium are popular. The Pantone color of the year is radiant orchid, which is a kind of pink, so pink sapphires are really popular right now, as well.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at Facebook.com/AndreaDomanick.

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