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Engagement Ring Guide: Expert Advice on How to Buy a Ring

engagement ring in box

Choosing an engagement ring is a monumental occasion. You are making a life-changing decision and also have the pressure to find the perfect design. With a world of gemstone options and ring styles to wade through, it can be overwhelming. Let’s bring it back to basics and break it down into simple steps.

The metal you choose to make your engagement ring must be durable, comfortable and complement your design. 18ct gold and platinum are the top contenders for these essential factors. Both have high purity and longevity. With 95% platinum content, a platinum ring is perfect for people allergic to other jewellery alloys like nickel. 18ct gold has a rich 75% pure gold content, with other alloys like platinum, palladium, and copper added to strengthen the ring. Gold also allows you to choose a colour to suit your style, with white gold, yellow gold and rose gold options available.

Choosing between the two depends on your lifestyle, budget and design preferences. Want to know more? Check out our white gold vs. platinum article for a more in-depth guide to help you decide which to pick.

platinum & gold

2. Pick your perfect diamond or gemstone

We have all heard of the 4c’s when it comes to diamonds – the colour, the clarity, the carat, and the cut. Jeweller’s rule is to get the best quality grade for the colour and clarity as your budget allows. 

There is no point in buying a large 1-carat diamond if it looks dark, dull and has inclusions. 

Expert’s note: The most underrated of the 4Cs is the cut. The cut is not necessarily the shape of the diamond but rather the way the facets (or faces) align and refract the light. This refraction is how you see the brilliant sparkle. A poorly cut diamond will be misaligned, causing light to pass through the diamond and not refract. And a diamond with no sparkle is not doing your engagement ring justice.

There are no strict rules about how much or how little you can spend on your engagement ring. It’s entirely up to you and your partner what you feel comfortable with. The investment will depend on quality; the better the quality, the more of an investment. Remember, an engagement ring is usually a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so ensure you don’t compromise on what is important to you now and regret it years later.

Read our blog: how much do Australians spend on an engagement ring on average

In all the excitement of finding the perfect engagement ring, always consider how the wedding band will eventually sit next to it. Low settings or comprehensive designs will limit how a wedding ring can snugly fit alongside. Just like you and your partner, the engagement and wedding rings need to be the perfect pairing.

Read our blog: 5 steps to buying a perfect engagement ring for detailed information on the above mentioned points. 

engagement ring and wedding ring set
The De Beers Diamond Group created the 3-month salary rule in the 1930s, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule. Recently Q-Report jewellery insurance correlated the average price of a round brilliant cut solitaire engagement ring ranging from mass retail stores to custom made engagement rings across the whole of Australia. Here are some of the findings:
  • Engagement ring cost Sydney: Surprisingly NSW has the starting point of $12,622
  • Engagement ring cost Adelaide: SA is at the top of the list with an average of $13,898. 

As you can imagine, the quality and size of your diamond, the rarity of your natural gemstone and other design choices will impact the price.

For more information on the cost differences between diamonds and gemstones and custom-made vs retail engagement rings, and all the factors that create the final price, read our blog: How much should an engagement ring cost? 

  1. Buying an engagement ring online! This is the first mistake to avoid. An engagement ring is not only one of the most expensive investments you make but also a very personal one. You wouldn’t buy a car online without test-driving it first, so why would you pick an engagement ring from a picture? 
  2. Secondly, not considering your partner’s finger shape when picking a ring style. A lot of detail goes into choosing the perfect ring for your partner, like their lifestyle, design style, interests, what style suits their hand shape, and so much more. The best thing to do is talk to a jewellery expert and see your ring options in person.

We have covered this and much more in our blog: 5 mistakes to avoid when engagement ring shopping. 

Popular diamonds and gemstones used in engagement ring

Diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings. That said, natural-coloured gemstones are fast becoming the bespoke choice for a personal touch. 

1. Round brilliant cut diamonds

round brilliant cut diamond engagement ring

Out of the forever-loved diamond options, the round brilliant-cut diamond is still the clear favourite as it has superior sparkle and symmetry. 

2. Oval cut diamonds

Like fashion, different fancy cuts cycle in and out of favour over different seasons. The latest favourite fancy cut for an engagement ring is the Oval cut. You can opt for a solitaire design, a cluster or a three-stone engagement ring with oval diamond and it will remain a classic forever. 

3. Cushion cut diamonds

They have made a comeback and many to-be engaged couples have started enquiring about various cushion cut diamond styles. Old cut diamonds in cushion cuts are also gathering attention due to their rarity. 

4. Ceylon sapphires

The Ceylon Sapphire is always the preferred option for those who love traditional style.

With royal blue tones and stone hardness second only to diamonds, this regal sapphire is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. 

5. Aquamarines

aquamarine engagement ring

One of the most requested coloured gemstones for engagement rings in South Australia is Aquamarine. Interestingly the ocean-coloured aquamarine is from the same crystal family as the pink-blushing morganite. So you can choose any colour that suits your style.

Choosing the perfect diamond is a personal decision. Firstly, consider what shape you love. Is it classic like the round brilliant cut or contemporary as the princess cut? There are so many unique options available. 

Fancy-cut diamonds are all diamond shapes other than the traditional round brilliant-cut diamond. These are fantastic choices to showcase different designs and hand shapes. the emerald-cut diamond looks incredible on long fingers. The pear cut has a vintage look. The Oval cut looks balanced and impressive on any hand. And the lesser-seen fancy cuts like radiant cut diamonds are unique.

Expert’s note: Fancy-cut diamonds are also less expensive than the brilliant round cut per carat, so you can get a larger diamond and an exclusive look.

fancy shape diamond solitaire engagement rings

Next, understand what is important to you for the quality of your diamond. And always view your diamond in person to see if it sparkles with no visible inclusions.

If you choose a larger carat size, ensure it is certified. Certification is an independent grading of your diamond. A certified diamond gives you peace of mind that the quality of your diamond is verified.

Read our blog about tips on selecting diamond for your engagement ring

A crucial thing to ponder is your diamond’s value. Choosing a natural diamond is a better investment as natural diamonds will always increase in value over time. Lab-grown diamonds lose their value the moment you buy them, and they continue to drop. Considering that your engagement ring will cost you thousands of dollars, buying something that will stand the test of time would make sense. 

Here’s detailed information on natural vs lab grown diamonds

Using heirlooms to create your engagement ring

If sentiment and tradition are important to you, why not add a gemstone from a family heirloom to your engagement ring? Using an heirloom piece lovingly passed down the family line encapsulates love through many generations. And considering old-cut diamonds are gaining new popularity, using great grandma’s beloved engagement ring will be a beautiful way to honour another happy love story.

Do you have family jewellery gifted to you? Why not ask our experts about redesigning your treasured heirloom pieces?

Add side diamonds, settings, milgrain or engravings to your band. Pick your birthstone & your partner’s for your ring. Get a hidden element studded or choose a family heirloom. There is no limit to your creativity when it comes to customising your engagement ring. 

Check out 7 unique ways to customise your engagement ring

Are you a romantic at heart? Or a bold personality? An engagement ring is a symbol of your love as well as your style. Check out what metal is best for engagement rings, what to do before you start shopping, and what are popular engagement ring styles in our blog – Types of engagement ring styles and what they mean.

Create your engagement ring with a master jewellery designer

Now you have new ideas and a mountain of information, what do you do with it all? It’s overwhelming, and we get it. The best thing to do is chat with a master jewellery designer, and they can simplify and streamline your design process. Jewellery designers can guide you in what designs will work for you and your preferences. Our master designers are tertiary qualified and have decades of experience helping people create their dream engagement rings.

master designer and customer with engagement ring

Why choose Bell & Brunt for your engagement ring?

Our qualified team of master designers, master jewellers and gemmologists are here to help you every step of the way. We hand-select the best diamonds and gemstones from across the globe, and our master jewellers hand-make your engagement ring right here in our Adelaide studio. Our expert jewellers work alongside our design team to ensure your ring is the perfect blend of form and function. 

We hand-make every detail of your engagement ring to create a bespoke piece that will last a lifetime. Our team is passionate about ensuring your engagement ring is as unique as your love. Become part of the Bell & Brunt family and drop in anytime for a complimentary professional polish and maintenance assessment for the life of your ring. We love to see you!

1 thought on “Engagement Ring Guide: Expert Advice on How to Buy a Ring”

  1. This engagement ring guide is a great resource. It’s got all the expert advice needed for buying a ring. Thanks for the helpful tips!

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