First comes love, then comes engagement ring shopping—a task Molly Clarke, founder of The Ring Liaison, aims to alleviate the stress of.
A graduate gemologist, Clarke founded her own consultation business a little over three years ago after working in the diamond district as a buyer for half a decade.
So far she has helped around 30 men find the right engagement ring for their fiancées for a flat fee of $500.
“Men are also usually nervous about the engagement ring purchase,” Clarke says. “I wanted to make the process easier for them.”
Clarke’s other goal is to retain the surprise aspect of the proposal while also helping the soon-to-be groom cater to his girlfriend’s style. “Girls like to drop hints, but most still like to be surprised,” she says.
Working with clients through in-person meetings or email, Clarke acts as a personal shopper, helping men determine their girlfriends’ flair and ring size, as well as coaching them on budgeting and finding the right ring for their price range. She coaches men to shop on their own, but also gives them the option of meeting up with her to go to local jewelry stores.
Clarke notes that celebrity trends, such as Kate Middleton’s sapphire bauble, has led individuals to think outside of the box in terms of style.
“Today’s couples want engagement rings that set them apart from the rest,” Clarke says. “I’ve helped men use their creativity to pick colored gemstones and elaborate settings.”
So do the men come to Clarke completely clueless? “Most men usually have at least a little bit of a clue as to what their girlfriend wants,” she says.
And for those “clueless” men who don’t know their sweetheart’s ring size? “Take her bowling,” she says with a chuckle, proving that she is essentially the “Hitch” of engagement rings.
Although a few of the rings have been sent back for resizing, none have been returned because the woman wasn’t happy with the style. “If for some reason she doesn’t like the ring, I’m here to accommodate,” says Clarke.
Clarke’s work may be done after the ring is purchased, but within the past three years she has heared about many happily-ever-after proposals. “I can’t pick a favorite proposal story,” she says. “They are all special.”