Once you’re sure you want to spend the rest of your life with the person you love and you want to make this official, you’re embarking on the daunting but equally exciting challenge of preparing for your proposal.
For the majority of men and women, buying the engagement ring may seem to be a scary task, and there is a lot of pressure to get it right. You do not get a replay for a proposal. It also counts as a public symbol of your affection for your fiancée/fiancé, your unwavering intent to formalize your relationship, and yes, she or he will flaunt it to family and friends.
The purchase of the engagement ring is usually the first foray into the world of wedding jewellery, and though it may seem overwhelming, do not break any sweat as we have put together a detailed guide to selecting an engagement ring that your future fiancée/fiancé will surely love.
Settle on a budget.
The decision as to how much you will spend on getting an engagement ring depends on both your rationalism and emotions. Although the true worth of an engagement ring comes from the meaning and intention behind it, inevitably money does play a significant role in determining the ring you will propose with.
With this in mind, there are two main factors to consider:
- The expectations of your future fiancée/fiancé.
- Your financial position.
The expectations of your future fiancée/fiancé
The engagement ring shows your investment in the future together and serves as a token of love and commitment.
A majority of men and women have an idea as to how their perfect engagement ring ought to look in terms of the design, the type of gem and its shape, etc., and though it may be difficult to deliver exactly what they desire, the disappointment can be managed by finding something similar.
The engagement ring is probably the single most vital piece of jewellery worn by a woman and man on a daily basis so they naturally will prefer something that makes them light up every time they look at it and they can show off to their friends and family. For many, it symbolises the appreciation of the partner and what they’re willing to invest in the relationship.
However, price is not everything. Most partners will appreciate the fact that they took great care and effort to find the perfect ring and that they carefully considered their taste.
Your financial position
Obviously, this is the tricky bit. You want to purchase the best ring ever for your favourite person in the world, no doubt. At the same time, you need to be realistic about what you can spend on the engagement ring.
You need to consider the following when calculating how much you can afford to pay:
- Current income
- Expenses: food, car payments, student loans, debt, bills, etc.
- Savings: any amount in savings accounts, any investments such as properties, etc. and how much you can and want to save in the future.
- Potential income: growth opportunities at work and possible business opportunities to increase your income.
Taking these factors into account will give you estimates of how much you can reasonably spend.
Preferably, you should buy the ring outright. If possible, avoid financing, and if not find a loan that you can pay off without difficulty and low-interest rates. There are also 0 interest credit cards you might want to use.
While making your decision, keep in mind that most couples would prefer to start a life together debt-free.
A nugget of advice: Do not delay proposing while looking for a bigger stone – rings can be upgraded, time cannot be turned back!
Make it a surprise
Although these days couples are increasingly purchasing their engagement rings together, visiting their trusted jewellers to pick out their ring, nothing beats the surprise proposal.
The joy and excitement of your beloved when you unexpectedly propose plays a big part in the whole process as it will be a precious memory you’ll always share.
They will also be impressed for getting the perfect ring size and look without consulting them at all as this truly displays your passion and love for them.
The surprise effect is an important feature in your proposal, but every person and couple is different. As long as you’ve got the right ring, you’re king (or queen).
Find out their ring size
Finding out his or her ring size may seem difficult, but you can secretly pick a ring from their jewellery box or ask one of their friends to help you out. At Ovadia Jewellery we offer a free ring size measuring service so you could just bring your partner’s “stolen” ring to us so we know which ring size to work with for your engagement ring.
To pick out a ring that will astound the love of your life requires you to harness your inner spy. Take note of what they wear. Do they prefer gold, silver, or platinum? Which gemstones do they love? Do they love glitz and glamour or are they more of a fan of classic or subtle designs? Which celebrities do they like based on their style?
Another way is to take them to a jewellery store, such as the Ovadia Jewellery Hatton Garden Boutique, under one pretext or another and make a note of what they like and dislike. They will be able to see a selection of responsibly sourced engagement jewellery including diamond and gemstone engagement rings in either pre-set designs or customizable settings. With various engagement ring styles displayed from modern to antique diamond or rose gold engagement rings, they will get an idea of their ideal ring style.
If you feel this might be too obvious then ask their closest friends or relatives to have a peek and guess while looking at the rings, consolidate this information and you are good to go.
Picking the band
There are several metal options you can select for the band of the engagement ring. Platinum, silver, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold are the most common, and there are several different metal alloy options.
Each metal has its own unique properties. Gold has the best lustre and is the easiest to buff and polish. Unfortunately, gold is a soft metal, and it wears down quite fast.
Platinum is the most durable of the band materials. It hardly wears at all, but it tarnishes easily and is difficult to buff and polish back to its original shine.
Silver falls in between, softer than platinum but much harder than gold. It keeps its lustre and isn’t difficult to buff and polish; it is the ideal compromise.
For more inspiration check one of our blog articles: https://www.ovadiajewellery.com/unusual-wedding-ring-designs/
Selecting the gemstone
The stone is the focal point of the engagement ring.
Your partner might love sapphires or other gemstones and it is certainly worth comparing your options here as diamonds are a significant investment. You can opt to use other gemstones on your engagement ring. You can use your partner’s birthstone, emeralds, or rubies for example.
See our comparison of sapphires with diamonds to get a better idea:
Should you decide to go for a diamond, knowing what to look for when choosing the stone will allow you to get the best value for money.
Important parameters determining the value of a diamond are the 4 C’s; Cut, Colour, Clarity, Carat weight:
The cut of a diamond refers to the angles and proportions of the stone rather than its size. The cut is the most important of the C’s. It enhances the diamonds ability to reflect and refract light, harnessing the diamond’s inner brilliance, and showing it in its best light. If a diamond is cut poorly, too deep or too shallow, light leaks out the bottom of the stone giving it a jaded appearance.
Diamonds come in a variety of colours ranging from D – colourless to Z – yellow. The rarest and most expensive diamonds are truly colourless, with white being the most popular colour.
Clarity refers to the imperfections found within the diamond. The fewer the more expensive the stone.
When talking about clarity, you will hear jewellers talk about inclusions. Inclusions are other minerals and tiny fractures found inside a diamond. Again, the fewer the better.
Clarity is also measured using a scale. What to look out for are stones graded SI1 and SI2; these have slight inclusions, which cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Inclusions at the top or in the middle of the diamonds may affect the dispersion of light, making them less brilliant.
Carat is the weight of the diamond. 1 carat equals 0.2 grams.
The heavier the stone, the higher the cost. Proper shaping and mounting by a master jeweller can make a smaller stone look larger, so do not fret the carat weight too much.
The shape of the diamond is a matter of preference. Diamonds can be found in a number of possible shapes, including:
- Round: this is the classic diamond shape that the majority of diamond rings hold.
- Princess: This is a square-shaped diamond. It is currently quite popular for engagement rings.
- Heart: This diamond looks similar to the pear-shaped diamond, but it has a cleft on the crown, and a finer proportioned girdle. Needless to say that this is perfect for wedding and engagement rings.
- Pear: You will have seen this diamond shape mostly on earrings and pendants, due to its teardrop shape.
- Marquise: This diamond has two long pointed ends and a slightly wider middle. It can be used for earrings, pendants, rings and bracelets.
- Emerald: This diamond has broad and flat surfaces and cut corners in the shape of a square. Grand engagement and diamond rings will hold this stone as it’s cut to perfection.
See some of these shapes on our engagement ring selection: https://www.ovadiajewellery.com/diamond-categories/diamond-rings/
The way a diamond is placed on the ring is referred to as its ‘setting’. Settings are also chosen according to preference, and you can even choose combinations of different settings.
Some common settings are:
- Tiffany setting: this is a classic, timeless setting named after a jewellery company that carries the same name.
- Bezel setting: This is a good choice for active people. A metal ring that extends slightly above the rim of the stone encircles it. This holds the diamond securely while giving it a low protective profile.
- Eternity band: rather than a single diamond, an eternity band has diamonds that are set all-round the ring.
- Channel setting: In this setting, the diamond or diamonds are set within a metal channel. This setting could be used to accent a larger diamond set on a prong.
A huge emotional and financial investment goes into buying an engagement ring. It is advisable to insure the engagement ring just in case it is damaged, stolen, or lost. Even in the case of replacement, this allows you to recoup some of your investment.
It is important to note that all diamonds whose weight is 1 carat, or more should come with a diamond grading report from an independent gemological association, for example, the American Gem Society or the GIA.
This also includes a ‘fingerprint’ of the ring on the bill of sale, which is to document the 4C’s and any cosmetic enhancements on it. Anything that adds value such as history, previous owner, and designer is also noted here
When it comes to insurance, there are several policies available for underwriting engagement rings:
The majority of homeowner’s/renter’s insurance policies permit you to add expensive items such as jewellery to the coverage. However, this coverage may be limited to loss because of specific events such as fires or tornadoes. This means if the ring falls into the sink that you are out of luck.
Actual value policy
This is the most affordable insurance policy on the market today.
In the event of loss, an actual value insurance policy will reimburse the value of the ring minus depreciation. This means that if the initial value of the ring was $10,000, and it gets lost after 3years, the insurer will give you ($10,000 – depreciation).
Replacement insurance policy
In case of losing your precious engagement ring, the insurer will reimburse you the current market value of the ring. This may mean that you could be paid more than the initial cost if the value of the ring increases over time. It could of course also be less.
Explore Bespoke Jewellery
Bespoke or custom engagement rings are a unique option, which will make your ring stand out as there’s no other model like it out there. Though a more expensive option compared to purchasing a pre-made ring from a jeweller, this option allows you to create a one of a kind engagement piece that will surely make your loved one feel extraordinary.
Consider Buying an Antique
This is an option if your fiancée/fiancé loves traditional or classic jewellery. Additionally, if you go to estate sales and auctions there is the added bonus that you will often purchase a quality engagement ring at a price much lower than its market value. Another plus is that you are recycling a ring, which is good for the environment as a sustainable option. However, it might be harder to determine that the metal and stones used in the jewellery have been ethically sourced. At our Hatton Garden Jewellery Boutique we can guarantee this for all our jewellery pieces.
Prepare or be square
The engagement ring is one of the most important pieces of jewellery that you and your partner will ever wear. It’s therefore crucial to put the necessary thought and planning into the search for the best option and disappointment should be avoided by:
- saving money: DON’T buy a ring between the holiday season in December and Valentine’s Day. Ring prices are high during this time, as most proposals happen during this period.
- Gaining basic knowledge on how to choose diamonds: Study the 4C’s so you are in a better position to negotiate with jewellers and choose the best piece for the price you can afford.
- Choosing an appropriate setting: it can make the diamond look much larger than its actual size.
- Choosing a different shape or gem: Try sapphire, emerald or moissanite These stones offer beauty at a fraction of the price and make the engagement ring more unique.
- Remembering to order early: Jewellers need time to set diamonds or other gems, get the ring size right, and just for contingencies. Though the engagement ring is important, you both should feel happy about the choice and shouldn’t rush this process under time pressure.