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A Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Buying an engagement ring is an exciting process. However sometimes it can be stressful, especially as for most people it is the first piece of fine and expensive jewellery they buy.   There are quite a few decisions that need to be made about cut, size, style and more to find the perfect ring for your partner. I discuss some of the key factors to consider when buying an engagement ring.

Your budget

Though this is often the last thing one thinks about, it should be one of the first things you consider when it comes to buying an engagement ring. Getting your mind set on a particular ring that may be out of your price range can only lead to disappointment. You should also remember that getting the best ring for your partner is about more than just the money you spend – getting something personal and to their taste will make the deepest impression.

Favourite styles of your partner

Before you start looking for an engagement ring, take notice of what kind of jewellery your partner usually wears. Is it more traditional, delicate, chunky, textured, or bold? This can be a good starting point to start considering the design of the ring.  In my experience, many times your partner may drop small hints. Look out for these! 

Different stones to consider

The stone is the centrepiece of the engagement ring, and often the first thing that people discuss when describing their ring. Though a diamond is generally the most popular stone for engagement rings, other precious stones such as sapphires, emeralds and rubies also look lovely.

Different metals to consider

The metal you use for the engagement ring is just as important as the stone and the design.  Choosing between white, yellow or rose gold will be based on the colour preferences of your partner. Some people like to make sure the metal for their engagement ring matches the jewellery they normally wear. You can also choose silver or platinum and making a ring with different metals is also an option for something a bit different.  

The five Cs of diamonds

If you’re considering having diamonds in your engagement ring, it’s worth considering the ‘five Cs of diamonds’, which are criteria that can help to determine the value of a diamond. The five Cs are: cut, colour, clarity, carat, and certification. You can read more about this in my previous blog on the five Cs of diamonds.

Different cuts/settings

Once you have decided on the stone, the metal, and the kind of design your partner may like, you will want to consider the cut of the gemstone that would work for the ring. Some of the popular stone cuts are: 

  • Round Brilliant - the most popular cut you are used to seeing!
  • Marquise - a rugby ball shaped brilliant cut
  • Princess - a square shape
  • Cushion - a softer square or rectangle shape (like a cushion or pillow)
  • Oval - as the name suggests!
  • Pear - a teardrop shape
  • Emerald - rectangular, with a large, open centre
  • Asscher - an unusual square variation of the emerald cut
  • Radiant - a cross between an emerald and brilliant cut
  • Heart - a heart-shaped diamond for a true sign of love!

The best cut for your engagement ring will depend on personal preference, how you want the gem set, and whether you want any additional stones on the band or surrounding the main gemstone.

Ring size

This is always the difficult one. The best way to determine your partner’s ring size is to look at the rings they already have and measure the diameter of those for an idea of size or, if possible, bringing one of those rings to the jeweller.

Whilst people often don’t wear rings other than engagement rings on their ring finger in the UK, a jeweller should be able to closely approximate the size of your partner’s ring finger by looking at one of their existing rings.

To get started, you can take a look at our ring size guide.

Consider more sustainable options

More and more people are trying to make purchase choices that are better for the environment, and this includes engagement rings too. It is possible to find rings from UK jewellers that are made from responsibly sourced materials, use conflict-free diamonds, and recycled precious metals. Another sustainable option is to have an old piece of jewellery repurposed. We often find that a client has an old ring that we can use the stones or metal from, and I can also derive inspiration from it for the design of the ring. 

Choose a bespoke ring for something unique

Whilst you can find a ring you like “off the shelf” from a jeweller, choosing to have your ring custom made would mean that you have a piece that is truly unique. This could even include remodelling an existing piece of jewellery or even an old wedding ring to create something personal to your partner whilst also keeping the aspects of the heirloom that you like. You can also have the ring designed to reflect something of your relationship with your partner and be able to tell your story. It is truly special to do so.

I hope this guide to buying an engagement ring has been helpful to you and will make the process a little easier. If you are interested, you can find out more about our bespoke jewellery service.