You’re finally ready to pop the question to your partner but, before you can, you need to find the perfect engagement ring. Your proposal is guaranteed to be memorable for both of you, so it’s important that you get all the little details of it right. When choosing an engagement ring, there are plenty of factors to consider: How much should you spend? How many carats should it be? What cut, clarity, and ring setting should you pick? We know that this can all seem a little overwhelming, and that’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to help you find an engagement ring that will impress. We will cover:
If you’re planning on getting down on one knee in the near future, you’ll need to find the perfect ring for your partner to say “yes” to! But, in order to do this, there are plenty of factors you’ll need to consider from their lifestyle to your budget.
Your partner's lifestyle
Your partner will wear their engagement ring every day for the rest of their life, so it’s important that you take their lifestyle into account when choosing one. If your fiancé-to-be is very active and loves sports, picking a huge diamond engagement ring is likely to interfere with their hobby, especially if they play competitively. Instead, simpler and subtler designs will be more suitable.
Similarly, thinking about how often their hands are around cleaning products and chemicals will be important in determining what type of metal their ring should be made up of. Certain solutions can react with the metal and give it a tarnished appearance, so planning ahead to avoid this will be necessary. We will discuss this further in our ‘what metal?’ section.
Your partner's sense of style
Most important to your engagement ring search, you will need to know what style of engagement ring your partner will love. You can usually determine this by looking at their existing jewellery collection and assessing whether this is made up of classic, understated pieces or quirky, statement ones. If it’s the former, you may want to begin looking at simple engagement ring styles such as solitaire diamond designs, or if you think your partner will want something bolder you could opt for a more unique setting and diamond cut. We will be discussing diamond cut and shape in more detail, later on in this guide.
How much to spend on an engagement ring
Buying an engagement ring is a once in a lifetime experience, so it’s not uncommon for people to struggle with setting a budget for this purchase. But, as this is supposed to be an exciting time rather than a stressful one, it’s important to ensure you set a realistic budget for your future fiancé’s ring. Despite certain expectations and myths, including spending the equivalent of 3 months’ wages on the ring, it’s much more important that you focus on buying a ring you can afford.
However, there are certain considerations you can make to figure out how much you should spend on an engagement ring for your loved one, and we’re going to look at those here.
Once you’ve worked out how much you’ll be able to spend on an engagement ring, it’s time to choose one that will fit your partner’s preferences. To ensure you find the perfect one, there are a couple of factors you should be considering.
A big challenge in finding the perfect engagement ring, is knowing what size ring to get so that your partner can wear their ring from the moment they agree to marry you. There are a couple of tried and tested methods for getting your partner’s ring size perfect the first-time round. These include:
There are plenty of different metal types to pick from, so whether your partner prefers silver, or you think they’d like a unique engagement ring in a polished rose gold, there will be something out there for them. Gold, silver, and platinum don’t just differ in how they look, but also in their characteristics, so considering your partner’s lifestyle may help you to pick which one will be the most wearable. You should beware of any metal allergies your partner may have, too.
Platinum engagement rings
Platinum is a great option if your partner has a very active lifestyle, as this metal is harder and more resistant to scratches, fading, corrosion and other cosmetic damage than gold and silver.
Platinum is considered to be the most precious jewellery metal and is five times rarer and purer than gold alternatives. It is also much denser than other metals, so platinum engagement rings will provide a safe and stable setting for gems and diamonds.
Silver engagement rings
Pure silver is incredibly soft, so the metal is often combined with a small percentage of an alloy (usually copper) to increase its strength, which creates sterling silver. Sterling silver is incredibly durable and can be polished or coated in rhodium to lend it hardness and this also gives it a luxurious, glossy finish.
Although it may look like platinum, sterling silver can be discoloured by bleach, ammonia, and chlorine, which means it isn’t particularly heavy duty. So, if your partner spends a lot of time cleaning around the house, or swims as a hobby, a silver engagement ring might not be the most convenient choice.
Gold engagement rings
Gold is an extremely common choice and was historically associated with luxury and royalty. Similar to silver, pure gold is too soft to be used for jewellery, so it’s typically mixed with other metal alloys to make it stronger and more durable. Gold is measured in karats, which is split into 24 parts where 24 karats means the item is pure gold.
Typically, you’ll see gold engagement rings that are 18K, 14K, or 10K, where they’re made up of 75%, 58%, and 42% gold respectively. The rest of the ring’s composition is made up of other metals including silver, nickel, and copper, and these can directly influence the shade and colour of the metal. Gold engagement rings are typically available in the following colours:
What diamond cut?
If you’re in search of a dazzling diamond engagement ring, I recommend paying attention to the cut of the stone. The cut will affect the brilliance of the diamond and, if poor, can make it look dull.
Cut grades range from:
When selecting the right diamond cut, it’s important to understand that this is different to shape, which describes the physical form of the diamond, rather than the amount of light it returns. A fair cut will cost you the least but may not sparkle as much as your fiancé wishes, while a super ideal cut may be out of your price range, so perhaps opting for a middle ground will ensure you can get a beautiful ring that adheres to the budget you initially set.
What diamond shape?
Picking the shape of the diamond can be confusing, especially if your fiancé doesn’t have any diamond, crystal, or diamante jewellery that you can base your decision on. The perfect diamond shape for your partner can be determined not just by their preference, but also their hand shape and size:
No matter what diamond shape you pick, you’re sure to impress your partner with any of these great diamonds. For partners with classic tastes, think round, pear or emeralds, or get adventurous with a unique trillion diamond ring for a real statement.
The clarity of a diamond is an assessment of any imperfections on the surface of a gemstone, as well as the internal condition. These so-called blemishes usually don’t take away from the diamond’s beauty in any way and are often so minor that they have to be analysed under microscopes to be discovered.
To ensure you know both the internal and external condition of your diamond, they’re graded according to a diamond grading system and clarity scale, as established by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA). These gradings range from ‘Flawless’, where there are no blemishes or inclusions visible even under magnification, to ‘Included’, where these inclusions can affect the transparency and brilliance of the diamond.
When deciding on what clarity your engagement ring’s diamond should have, there are a number of considerations to take into account.
Consider how visible the inclusions are in lower graded diamonds
We would all love to be able to get our partners a flawless diamond to show our appreciation, but sometimes it’s simply not possible. Instead of opting for the very best initially, try looking at the lower grades such as VS and SI gradings which are still beautiful but do have some inclusions and benefit from a lower price tag. If the inclusions in the diamond are minimal and don’t particularly affect the fire and brilliance, it may be worth choosing these over pricier flawless diamonds. Chances are, nobody will notice the difference!
It’s also worth examining each stone separately regardless of how they’re graded, as they’re all different, and some may have more visible inclusions than others of the same grade.
Take the setting of the engagement ring into account
The setting of an engagement ring can make all the difference to how it impresses your partner. When considering the type of setting will be most loved by your fiancé-to-be it might be helpful to approach an experienced jeweller who will be able to advise you on whether any inclusions will be visible with your preferred setting. A bezel or prong that holds the stone in place can hide flaws, making the diamond still looking clean to the naked eye. By factoring the setting into your decisions for diamond clarity, you can easily save yourself some money and still have a dazzling ring.
What diamond carat?
There are no set rules for how many carats an engagement ring should be, with different budgets and preferences determining the choice. The carat itself is a measurement of the weight of the diamond, with one carat equal to 200 milligrams. The larger and heavier the diamond, the more expensive it’s going to be.
The price of diamonds will increase significantly when you look at options that are around the 1.0 or 1.5 carat mark so, if you’re aiming to stick to a set budget, it might be best to go for one that falls around the 0.9–1.4 carat mark to ensure you get the most for your money.
Generally, people believe that the bigger the carat you choose for engagement rings, the more love and affection it shows. However, do be aware that many of the differences between carats aren’t noticeable to the naked eye, so you can get ones lower than 1.0 that still appear quite big.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that a whole host of factors can affect how big a diamond looks. For example, a cut with many edges can reflect lots of light, making the ring sparkle more, which gives the illusion of a larger surface area. If you want any more information about choosing the perfect stone, you can also check out our guide to buying a diamond, which covers carats, cut, colour and clarity.
Engagement ring styles
Deciding on an engagement ring style is possibly the biggest decision of them all, but considering your partner’s preferences will help you. For example, think about their existing jewellery collection: Is it made up of traditional, classic pieces, or quirky and unique treasures? No matter what their preference, there are plenty of engagement ring settings and styles out there. Some of these include:
Whether you’re after a classic design or you think a statement style will impress your fiancé-to-be, we have plenty of engagement rings to choose from here at Ramsdens Jewellery. Check out our ranges of solitaire, cluster, trilogy, and fancy engagement rings to be spoilt for choice.
There are sites and shops offering engagement ring styles for all budgets and preferences, so you’re guaranteed to find just what you’re after. In order to narrow down your options and make sure you choose a trusted jeweller, here’s what you’ll need to think about.
Do you trust them?
Before you commit to a jeweller, you’ll want to be sure they’re worth your time and money. Looking at customer reviews online is an easy way of gaining an insight into how previous customers have been treated and if they were happy with their purchases. Many of these will also include images of the products they’ve bought, so you know what to expect. Additionally, you should take a look at a company’s policies to see what extras they include with your purchase. This can be anything from a lifetime warranty to an easy return service, so make sure you do your research.
What is the collection like?
Whether you’re going into your engagement ring search blind or you have a vague idea of what you’re after, going to a jeweller that has plenty of options for you to pick from will be important in ensuring you find the perfect one. For example, having a good mix of contemporary and traditional ring styles will mean you can explore both avenues. You can guarantee that any good jewellers with a large selection of engagement rings will have something to fit your budget.
What are the price ranges like?
The way a jeweller is pricing their engagement ring ranges will be important for your search. Prices that are much higher than their competitors will need to be avoided, while you also need to be wary that prices that look too good to be true, probably are. Low prices can indicate low quality and cheap metals and stones. Alternatively, if the prices are too high, don’t get fooled into thinking that this always means these are the best quality.
What are your first impressions of the jeweller?
Trusting your gut will be an important skill to master during your engagement ring search. There will be many jewellers wanting to make a sale, but only the genuine ones will offer you their full attention and listen to exactly what you’re after. Pay attention to the way they answer your questions and whether they ask you any questions in return to find out what you really want.
Do they provide the necessary documentation?
Before committing to any purchase, you need to ensure your jeweller is able to provide certification for your engagement ring which will prove that the diamonds have undergone a professionally and unbiased examination. This is testament to the quality and authenticity of the diamonds in your partner’s engagement ring, and can be helpful when ensuring the engagement ring, so it’s important that you have these to take away with you.
Being in the early stages of choosing an engagement ring for your partner can be daunting, but you’ll hopefully have a better idea of where to start now you’ve read our guide. From selecting the jeweller you’ll go with, to settling on the perfect ring style, you will need to give the whole process some careful thought to ensure you choose the ideal piece of jewellery for your partner. Here at Ramsdens Jewellery, we stock engagement rings for all tastes and preferences. This includes styles and designs such as cluster, fancy, solitaire, and trilogy rings, as well as those with coloured stones. And, with a variety of metals available, including white gold, yellow gold and platinum, we’re sure you will find just what you’re looking for.
We offer a price match promise on all of our products, meaning we will be more than happy to match the price if you find a site selling the same product for a lower price. We also have free UK delivery on most orders — see our delivery and returns page for exceptions. And, if you’d prefer to browse the engagement rings we stock in our stores, don’t hesitate to come and visit us at your nearest local branch.