On September 24, 2011, I asked my girlfriend of ~2 years, Jana Braun, to marry me. Fortunately, she said "yes," and as of June 16, 2012, I'm a "husband" rather than a "boyfriend."

Although getting married is undoubtedly serious business, picking out expensive jewelry on a graduate student's income can provide for hours of amusement. Given the potential price of screwing anything up, I felt I needed to understand precisely what it was that I was buying.

Link to article

A detailed description of the engagement ring I bought for Jana is available here, or here.

Added Dec. 26, 2011: A poorly-formatted HTML conversion is available here. Note that this copy may be out of date. Please use the PDF version above when possible.

Abstract

As of 2010, I did not know anything about engagement rings, and I still don't. Nevertheless, I now know something about Jana's particular engagement ring. Because it's a bit different, because I'm just a bit too enthusiastic about it, and because I evidently have too much time on my hands, I felt compelled to write down what I'd learned.

This article presents detailed information about Jana's ring and the research process I applied toward picking it out. This research proved successful, and provided several key results. The secondary result of this project was the purchase of a synthetic, 0.74ct fancy intense blue, VVS-1, round diamond set in a standard four-prong ring composed of a palladium-ruthenium alloy. The primary result was Jana saying "yes."

The diamond in Jana's ring.  Photo courtesy of D.NEA.