You’ve decided to pop the question - and the search for the perfect engagement ring begins. But where do you start? Buying the ring can be an overwhelming task, your future fiancee will be showing it off to everyone after all!
This may be your first time dabbling in the world of jewellery, and you may be inundated with terms and concepts that you’ve never heard before. Don’t panic though - together with London Victorian Ring Co we’ve put together some hints and advice to help you through this super important purchase!
First things first - establish your budget. You may have heard that spending two months’ salary on an engagement ring is the done thing, when in fact this first started out as a very clever marketing campaign by De Beers in the 1940’s to increase diamond sales! Of course, if you want to spend two months’ salary on buying an engagement ring that is perfectly fine, but don’t feel pressured - there is nothing romantic about getting in to debt. Buy the nicest ring with the amount that you feel comfortable spending.
Whilst choosing an engagement ring without your girlfriend being present might seem like a daunting task, with a bit of thought and research you can totally pull this off! Imagine the look of surprise she will have when you propose with the perfect ring and she had no idea - major brownie points!
This is not to say surprising your significant other is the only way to do it. You know your partner, and if she truly hates surprises or has hinted that she wants to choose the ring herself then perhaps that is the best route for you to take.
You should choose a ring that suits your future fiancees style and preferences. Take note of the type of jewellery that she currently wears; does she wear a lot of gold? Maybe she only wears white metals. There might be a particular stone that she favours, such as sapphire, emerald or even her birthstone, that she would prefer over a diamond.
Will her preference be for something big and glitzy, or would she prefer a simple, understated piece. Take note of any comments she may have made on engagement rings belonging to friends and family - anything she has loved or really disliked? Does she have a Pinterest board? All of the above pointers should give you an indication of the shape and style of ring. When choosing the stone and setting think about how it fits in with your girlfriends life, i.e. her job, family etc.
Does she like vintage inspired jewellery or more contemporary designs? Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from her friends or family - they may be able to help you narrow down the options!
The focal point of most engagement rings is a diamond. When selecting a diamond you’ll want to take in to account the 4 C’s: cut, colour, clarity and carat (weight). These four factors determine the quality and cost of the diamond. The team at London Victorian Ring Co have given their expert advise on the 4 C’s
This refers to the angles and proportions of the stone rather than the actual shape. This is the only one of the four C’s that is influenced by the cutter rather than nature. A well cut diamond reflects light from one facet to another and projects light through the diamond - this is what gives a diamond it’s sparkle. If you can, it is always best to select a diamond with an Excellent Cut Grade.
It may come as a surprise that diamonds come in a variety of colours, ranging from D (colourless) to Z (light yellow). Truly colourless diamonds are the rarest; and also the most expensive. White colour diamonds between D to G in colour tend to be the most popular.
Coloured diamonds are also becoming increasingly popular. Some coloured diamonds obtain their colour naturally, whilst others have been subjected to specialist treatments to enhance the depth of colour.
When a jeweller mentions the clarity of a diamond they are referring to the diamond’s “inclusions”. Inclusions are effectively small marks within the gemstones - these can be tiny marks within the diamond that look like clouds or other minerals.
Like colour, clarity is measured on a scale. The rarest diamonds are flawless, making them most valuable. Diamonds that have very, very slight inclusions are graded VVS1 to VS2 and even with 10x magnification, the inclusions can be difficult to see, and often only by a trained jeweller. SI1 and SI2 have slight inclusions that may or may not be visible to the naked eye. Any diamond that has obvious inclusions will be graded I1 to I3.
Carat refers to the weight of the diamond. When all other factors are equal - such as cut, colour and clarity - the diamond price will increase with the carat weight. When there is more than one diamond, like cluster ring for example, the stones are weighed together rather than individually.
The simplest way is to see if she has any other rings that she wears so that you can gauge the size. Most rings can be resized after purchase, and your jeweller will be able to give you further advice on this.
So there you have it - hopefully now you are feeling a lot more confident about making that engagement ring purchase! Just remember, there are always options when it comes to choosing a diamond or coloured gemstones. Visit a reputable jeweller, like the team at London Victorian Ring Co, who will be able to advise you on the properties of gemstones or diamonds, and the design process. Bigger is not always better, and your final choice could be influenced by your budget, or even just trusting your instinct if you are looking at them in person.
And once you have popped the question, if you need any help with planning the big day don’t forget to check out my wedding planning services.
Thank you to Deborah at London Victorian Ring Co for taking the time to contribute to this post. All images by London Victorian Ring Co.