Engagement Rings Buying Guide
Purchasing an engagement ring can be daunting with literally thousands of pages online, most of which mention something different to look for, making your decision tougher.
We believe that the time spent visiting one of our showrooms or getting in touch with one of our sales consultants is a sure fire way of quickly getting to know what to look for and have any questions you may have answered quickly and professionally. After all, we’re passionate about jewellery and the sentiment it brings, especially when it’s something you could be wearing for the rest of your life.
However, we realise it’s not always easy to find the time in the busy world we live in so we have put together a comprehensive guide which shows you the main decisions you have to make from start to finish. Our guide will go through the various options when it comes to design, metal and diamond quality, making it easier to make that all important decision.
With todays advanced technology, there are hundreds of styles available with some more suitable to every day wear than others.
Selecting the design is a great place to start. There are a few to choose from that look great and are suitable for everyday wear.
The classic engagement ring and a style that stand the test of time. These are usually set with 4/6 claws or a band of gold around the diamond called a rub over setting. There are other ways to set a solitaire which look great but aren’t so reliable when worn on a regular basis. Solitaires are increasingly designed with diamond set shoulders, these are small diamonds set into the band either side of the main diamond. We recommend not going too far down the band as it compromises the ability to size the ring in the future.
Becoming increasingly sought after as these are considered ultra modern designs with a halo style having a circle of diamonds surrounding the main centre diamond, creating the halo affect. There are many different designs of halo/Cluster engagement rings, some are just a small edition to the original design and some are large 3 tier clusters with 50,60 or even 80 diamonds. These can become large so deciding what size you want is a great way to make life that little bit easier when looking at Halo/Cluster engagement rings.
With the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2017, the three stone design has become extremely popular. These usually start with a larger diamond in the centre and have a good sized diamond either side, creating a graduated, classy look.
Second on the list is choosing which metal you prefer, remember, its best to purchase the wedding ring in the same metal as your engagement ring which will have a bearing on cost when you get to that stage.
Still the best selling metal by some distance. Gold looks great, wears well, can be easily sized and cleaned.
18ct is brighter in colour when in yellow and rose gold. White gold isn’t as affected as its rhodium plated when finished. Whereas yellow and rose gold can be polished, white gold will need to be rhodium plated every so often to keep it looking its best.
With the option of 9ct, gold is also a very affordable option, especially compared to the likes of Platinum.
Platinum has always been regarded as one of the most hard wearing metals you can buy due to its dense structure, making it the most reliable at protecting those all-important diamonds and doesn’t wear as fast as other metals. Unlike white gold, Platinum is a natural metal and therefore, you don’t need to have it rhodium plated as it keeps its colour.
With different metals such as palladium entering the market, there will be a bigger choice than ever. We have kept our guide to gold and platinum as these are the most accessible currently and gives you a huge range of rings to choose from.
You may be wondering why we have chosen to put choosing the diamond at No.3 on our list. We have kept this until now for the simple reason that we believe deciding which style and metal you want is the easiest way to start your engagement ring journey before looking into the details and differing qualities of diamonds.
There are many different shapes and sizes so we’ve put together a list of the most popular ones. The cut of a diamond also refers to how well a diamond is cut, an often overlooked aspect of diamond quality. Like any industry, there are great diamond cutters who make the most out of every diamond, cutting the rough diamond to ensure it looks the very best it can, giving it as much fire and sparkle as possible.
Round, Brilliant cut
By Far the best selling diamond shape and cut, the brilliant cut has been painstakingly designed to achieve the most sparkle from a diamond, a beautiful shape that, when cut well, produces a stunning diamond.
A square shape diamond which has proved immensely popular due to the flashes of light and sparkle it produces.
One of our favourites, the oval cut works great on its own in a solitaire or in amongst a few diamonds to create a halo setting or three stone. A good quality, well cut oval diamond produces a great amount of fire and sparkle and offers something unique.
These are rectangle shape diamonds. We have found that Emerald cuts are becoming increasingly sought after, especially with the increase in 3 stone engagement rings as these make excellent centres in between 2 good quality round diamonds. Due to the way its cut, inclusions within an emerald/baguette cut diamond are easier to see so we recommend a slightly higher quality to minimise inclusions, especially for larger diamonds.
The cut is graded by the following
Excellent - A very well cut diamond, producing the most fire and sparkle available.
Very Good - A good quality cut that looks good
Good - A diamond that is well cut but perhaps doesn’t make the same use of the light nad therefore doesn’t produce as much sparkle as an excellent cut diamond.
Fair/Poor - If a diamond is poorly cut, it doesn’t make the most of the diamond and therefore, doesn’t show as much fire and sparkle, sometimes even making the diamond look smaller than an excellent cut diamond of the same carat weight.
The clarity of the diamond refers to the amount and size of natural inclusions within the diamond.
Inclusions are usually white or black specs caught in the diamond whilst it grew over millions of years beneath the earth’s surface.
Aside from the size or amount of inclusions, its important to clarify the position of the inclusion(s) as some can be hidden behind a claw whereas some are in the centre of the diamond and can be seen with the naked eye. As a rule, you rarely see inclusions with the naked eye within brilliant cut diamonds that are Si quality or better unless the diamond is of a larger size or the inclusion(s) are in the centre of the diamond. Inclusions in an I1 quality can sometimes be seen with the naked eye and I2/I3 quality tends to have a few inclusions that are visible but does depend on size, position and colour of these inclusions.
The colour of a diamond varies greatly starting with a colourless D colour going up to a Z colour where the diamond is a yellow/brown colour. Fancy colour diamonds are available with intense yellow diamonds providing a unique display of colour and sparkle.
We find G-J colour diamonds offer a great mix of quality and price, providing a lovely, white diamond for an affordable price.
The carat (Ct or Cts) of a diamond refers to the weight of a diamond, the carat weight is often referred to as points or fractions of a carat, for example;
0.50cts = 50 points or ½ a carat
0.40cts = 40 points
On halo or cluster settings, the carat weight usually refers to the total weight of all the diamonds put together and same applies for solitaires with diamond set shoulders.
We believe going through our guide and deciding on each part will make the whole process more fun and exciting but if you do have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us and we can talk you through any queries you may have.