It’s probably the most significant piece of jewellery you’ll ever buy and the options can be overwhelming – we explain everything you need to know about choosing the perfect engagement ring.
Brush up on the basics…
To avoid being bamboozled by jargon when hunting for engagement rings, read up on the “four Cs” – the criteria used to grade diamonds. Carat represents weight; Clarity refers to the number of imperfections (ranging from Internally Flawless to Included); Colour is graded in alphabetical order from D – Z, D being completely colourless and considered the best, and Cut refers to the shape. “Try to buy a diamond that is in the D-G colour range, and in the flawless to VS2 clarity range,”
….But don’t get fixated
They’re a useful guide to a diamond’s quality, but don’t get hung up on the 4 Cs. It’s all about the individual stone. At any budget you might have to compromise on one or more of these areas, so consider what’s most important to your beloved.
Suss her style
Engagement rings don’t have to mean a diamond solitaire; strike the balance between timelessness and taste. “It should be timeless, elegant and still reflect a bit of her personality,”. Match the metal to her current jewellery: is she a platinum, yellow or rose-gold kind of girl? If she hankers after expensive handbags and Louboutins, chances are she’ll want a ring that carries designer cache. If she lusts after colour, don’t feel constrained to traditional diamonds: emeralds, rubies, sapphires or opals make beautiful engagement rings too.
Find out the fundamentals
Some women have an aversion to cushion-cuts; others wouldn’t say yes to anything other than a halo (a circle of small diamonds around the inner stone). Speak to her nearest and dearest, casually canvas her opinion on her friend’s engagement rings; it’s worth doing some sleuthing to unearth the essentials.
Consider the practicalities
“Think carefully about what she does for a living and in her spare time,”. “Get something that fits with her lifestyle; does she go to the gym or drive a lot? That will put a lot of strain on the ring,”. Consider how the ring will fit with her wedding band; very large stones may leave a gap between the two bands or require a curved wedding ring to be made to measure.
Commission your own
There’s nothing like creating something completely unique. “There are many talented, independent jewellers who welcome your input and help you make the right choice,” . What’s more, most independent designer-makers will be able to source diamonds at more reasonable prices than Bond Street’s big names. Be savvy though – do your research to make sure you’re getting what you’ve paid for and don’t be afraid to barter.
Keep it in the family
If your granny left you an engagement-worthy treasure, lucky you. Don’t despair if it’s not your beloved’s style, though.