How do you know which engagement ring your partner wants? You’re going to propose soon, and it should be the most romantic day of their life. The pressure is on to get the perfect ring. That’s why we’ve created this guide for you.
1. Ring size, ring size, ring size
Ring size is the most important thing when you’re shopping for an engagement ring. A ring that doesn’t fit will ruin the big moment. So, how do you get someone’s ring size? Whatever you do, don’t try DIY methods, as home measurements almost always end in disaster. Try one of these instead:
♦ Measure their existing ring with a ring sizer app
♦ Get a free ring sizer tool in the post
♦ Visit a jeweller and get their finger measured there
♦ Ask your partner’s friends to find out their ring size in secret
2. Find out their style
Now that you have the ring size, the design is the next most important thing. Your partner is going to be wearing that ring for the rest of their life, so they need to love it. If you understand fashion, look at the jewellery they already wear. Do they wear big and sparkly items, or simple and understated? Go with whatever kind of jewellery your loved one already likes. If you’re not sure, though, don’t take any risks. Ask their sister or best friend for advice (rather than parents) as peers are the people most in touch with their likes and dislikes.
3. Set the budget
How much should an engagement ring cost? Luckily the reality is that there are no rules. Just bear in mind your other half will wear the ring their entire lifetime, so it needs to withstand continuous daily wear. Therefore, simply aim to buy the best quality you can afford. Some jewellers also offer 0% financing if you pay a deposit upfront.
4. Choose the diamond cut
The diamond cut (shape) you choose will determine how sparkly it will look. These are the most common diamond shapes in order of “sparkliness”:
♦ Round – Round, the top sparkliest diamond cut
♦ Princess – Square, almost as sparkly as round
♦ Pear – Looks like a teardrop, medium sparkle
♦ Marquise – Rounded sides tapering to points, medium sparkle
♦ Emerald Cut – Rectangular, giving off long flashes rather than sparkle
5. Choose diamond quality
Next, you’ll want to pick the diamond quality. Want to learn more about it? Here’s some straightforward information for you. But as a quick rule of thumb, if you’re buying a solitaire diamond of up to 1 carat, ask your jeweller for quality H/Si or above. If you stick to H/Si quality as your minimum, you can’t go wrong. With this quality or better, you won’t be able to see any obvious flaws in the diamond with your naked eye. Incidentally, H/Si is the most popular diamond quality because of how good it looks and how affordable it is.
6. Choose diamond size
“Carat” refers to a diamond’s size. Bear in mind that large diamonds are much rarer than small diamonds, so they’re much more expensive per-carat than small diamonds. If you’re struggling to stretch your budget to one large diamond, look for a ring made with a cluster of smaller diamonds. It will be more affordable, but still look big, sparkly and beautiful.
7. Alternatively, pick a gemstone
Gems are a beautiful choice that stand out from the crowd. They’re also more affordable than diamonds, so you can get more for your money. However, bear in mind that not all gems are as durable as diamonds so some are not suited to daily wear. Gem hardness is measured on a scale from 1-10. Diamonds are the hardest, rated 10. Sapphires and rubies are 9. Then topaz at 8, emerald and aquamarine at 7.5-8 and tanzanite at 6.5-7. Generally speaking, it’s not advisable to go lower than this. Find out more in our comprehensive Gem Guides.
8. Choose the precious metal
There are 4 choices of precious metal for engagement rings. Your decision will depend on her preference and your budget. Notice that silver is not included in this list. It is far too soft to withstand constant daily wear and therefore not a recommended for engagement rings.
1. Platinum: Beautiful and tough. The most durable of all precious metals, but also the most expensive. Platinum does not stain or scratch, although with age it develops microscopic surface denting called “the patina of age”. This is considered desirable in platinum jewellery, as it gives it a much loved and worn heirloom feel.
2. Yellow Gold: A traditional woman will prefer the classic look of yellow gold. Yellow gold may be sold as 18K gold or 9K gold. This is a measure of how much gold is used in the ring. Gold on its own is far too soft, so it has to be mixed with other, harder metals to keep its form. 18K gold has more gold content than 9K gold, but is also more expensive.
3. White Gold: White gold is simply yellow gold alloyed with white precious metals. It looks beautiful and most people cannot tell it apart from platinum. However, its white precious metal coating will eventually fade and the yellow gold will shine through. This is normal but means the ring needs to be re-coated every so often. Like yellow gold, white gold is sold in 18K or 9K purities.
4. Rose gold: A fashionable and beautiful alternative to yellow gold. It’s made by alloying yellow gold and copper. It won’t scratch or need maintenance, but with age, the copper will tarnish slightly making the metal slightly redder. As with platinum, many people like the antique look rose gold develops over time. Rose gold comes in 18K or 9K, just like yellow and white gold.
9. Finally, you’re ready to buy the engagement ring she wants
Now it’s time to shop. You know what you want and have fixed a budget, so you can explain your exact requirements to your jeweller. In the UK, it’s a good idea to stick to reputable jewellers who are members of The National Association of Jewellers. Good luck! Let us know if you need any advice, we’re always happy to help.