When it comes time to choose an engagement ring, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the significance of the experience. Not only are you about to make a life-changing decision, but there’s also the added pressure of finding the one perfect ring. Also your soon-to-be spouse will gleefully show to family, friends, and social media. Let’s look at how to choose an engagement ring.
We believe when you choose an engagement ring should be an exciting occasion! Rather than feeling lost navigating the world of brilliant cuts and designs, we are here to inform and inspire you.
Whether you’re planning on surprising your partner with the ring of their dreams, or choosing the piece together – there’s a few things you should know about how to pick an engagement ring that’s timeless, unique, and everlasting.
5 Steps to buying a perfect engagement ring
- Choose your metal type
- Pick the perfect diamond
- Weigh your budget
- Consider a wedding ring/band
- Handmade vs Cast vs CAD jewellery
Step 1: Choose your metal type
Engagement rings come in so many colours, shapes and sizes. It can be a little intimidating at first to pick the ideal one. But, once you figure out a few basic components, it becomes simple and easy. The first component is the metal i.e. gold or platinum.
There are four basic metal types in an engagement ring to choose from:
- Yellow gold
- White gold
- Rose gold
The colour you select should match your skin tone and style.
The difference between White Gold & Platinum
Often, the confusion arises when it is white gold vs platinum. Here are the few basic differences between the two.
White Gold: In a hand made ring, white gold is an easy-to-wear ring metal, slightly lighter in weight compared to platinum. Although identical in colour to platinum, white gold requires rhodium plating every 12 months on an average to make it nice and shiny. It is malleable making it easier to get intricate designs on a jewellery piece. 18 carat white gold is hard wearing and strong.
Platinum: Platinum’s high purity means it’s ideal for anyone with metal sensitivities. Platinum is durable and works a little bit like plasticine where it continually dents into itself and moves around making it last longer. Slightly more expensive than white gold, Platinum also requires a 12 month service similar to rhodium plating where scratches are removed and the metal polished to create a nice and shiny look.
The two metals are very similar in colour and it comes down to personal preferences and lifestyle choices when picking what’s best for you! You can consult a jewellery or design specialist to make that choice as well.
Step 2: Picking the perfect diamond
Everyone has their own opinions and preferences when it comes to your centre diamond. Perhaps your partner wants to make a statement? Or do they prefer a classic look? It’s a good idea to get a feel for the general level of bling as well in the early stages of how to choose an engagement ring.
How to know your partner’s preference? Here’s are few hints:
- Consider what type of style your partner wears in jewellery or in general fashion. Is it the latest, trendy or classic and quality driven? Is it fun, casual or dressy?
- What colours do they tend to wear? Bright and bold or understated?
- Notice the accessories your partner wears. Is it bold in statement or minimal, what colours are they?
This will give you a general idea on what to pick while selecting the diamond or gemstone for your engagement ring. Let’s get back to picking the diamonds and gemstones part.
What shape diamond looks best?
You can begin by selecting a shape out of a dozen that are available out there. If your partner has long slim fingers, you can consider longer cuts like the oval, emerald or marquise cut. Or if you have athletic hands, a wider symmetrical look with a round, princess or asscher cut. Or tapered fingers suit the oval and pear cuts. And, of course, the all-rounder: the round brilliant cut suits everybody.
For women with shorter fingers, elongated styles such as oval, pear or marquise diamonds will lengthen the look of their finger.
For women with long fingers, shapes such as square or rectangular will create the illusion of shorter fingers.
Women with larger hands are suited to a wider stone shape like a round or heart shaped diamond.
Often what you think you want and what suits your hand will be two different things so make sure you try some different styles on.
To get started, know the 4C’s of diamonds before making a selection, and if the information seems overwhelming, reach out to our jewellery consultants for a consultation.
When picking a diamond, never rely on a certificate or grading alone. Always use your own judgement and make sure you examine the diamond through a loupe to select the perfect one.
Also consider which style you want to go for. Is a solitaire diamond ring the one for you, which is a single stone engagement ring, or would you prefer a three stone diamond ring or cluster diamond ring?
You may have a gemstone from your parents or grandparents that you want to include while getting the ring made. Does your partner fancy sapphires, rubies or any other coloured gemstones or diamonds? Do you want shoulder diamonds or not?
The design possibilities can be endless. If you are looking for some design inspiration, click the button below to view all our different engagement ring styles:
Here are two pro tips of selecting a diamond for your engagement ring:
#Pro tip 1: The top tip with diamond colour is to compare the stones from the side. This is where the most colour will show and you can clearly see which one stands out to you.
#Pro tip 2: When looking at inclusions/birthmarks in the stones remember they will all be individual. Some will be darker and some lighter. Some may have a line or others splayed tiny specks. Ensure your jeweller helps you spot these through a loupe so you know which stone is right for you.
If you would like to see various types of loose diamonds, you can come by Bell & Brunt jewellery store in Adelaide where we stock every diamond shape. You can see all the diamond carat weights and cuts, check various coloured gemstones and see diamond ring styles with our design experts.
After that, if you feel really stuck on the style and would like your partner to make the call, you can always propose with a loose diamond! Purchase a high quality, single diamond from us and pop the question – then come into the studio with your partner and you can create the ring of their dreams together. Check out a selection of diamonds here.
Step 3: Weigh your budget
Let’s address the elephant in the room! Here are the 3 most common questions about price as you learn about how to choose an engagement ring.
How much should an engagement ring cost?
It can range from $3000 to $20,000 or even more. It depends upon what you want and how you like it to be made. Most people assume that when purchasing an engagement ring, they’ll have to spend a fortune. We’re pleased to tell you – this isn’t true!
We all get engaged at different points in our lives, whether as young adults or late in life lovers. Try not to compare your ring to those of others – every journey is different, as is every couple, as is every ring.
With all important purchases, always choose quality over price. The rule of “you get what you pay for” does apply with jewellery. The crucial factor is you have something that will last and is of value.
Finer quality diamonds will not only look better, but they will also wear and retain value over time. Over the last 20 years gold has appreciated by 472 percent, while the value of some precious stones has increased by 900 percent or more.
The jeweller industry is forecasting gold and diamond prices to continue to increase over the next few years. A Bell & Brunt ring lasts a minimum of 30-50 years meaning your investment will continue to increase.
How much does a couple spend on an engagement ring?
Q Report survey found that the average is just over $6,000 and the majority spend somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000.
There are no rules as to how much or how little you can spend on your engagement ring. The investment will depend on quality. It’s entirely up to you and your partner what you feel comfortable investing.
Can I find cheap diamonds online?
Yes, you can but you shouldn’t. Some people purchase diamonds online or overseas because they are advertised as cheaper than in store. We do not recommend this as you don’t get to verify the quality of the stone. Diamonds are globally priced on the US Dollar – meaning they will be the same price no matter where you buy them.
Also, you should be aware about natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds before making a purchase. Their price differs drastically and you may not be able to differentiate them without having an expert’s help in the area.
At Bell and Brunt, we think there’s something romantic and lasting about choosing a diamond that’s been 3 billion years in the making. You want something timeless, enduring, and unique, like your relationship – so opt for natural diamonds.
Step 4: Consider a wedding ring or band
Finding the perfect engagement ring is all well and good, but on your wedding day you’ll exchange wedding rings that sit alongside the engagement ring. How to choose an engagement ring is important, but how to pair the engagement ring with the wedding band?
While you’re in store selecting an engagement ring, it’s worth asking your jeweller about wedding bands and rings to ensure the two complement each other – and most importantly, whether a straight wedding band will sit nicely alongside your engagement ring.
Do I need a fitted or straight wedding ring?
Some engagement rings are designed with matching wedding bands in mind, or can have a piece made up to suit the set. It’s important to know not all engagement rings are designed to sit with a straight wedding band.
If you are selecting a ring for your partner, make sure to ask questions about the side setting in case you have selected a style that will need a custom shaped band to sit alongside it.
It is always a good idea to get something custom made to suit your engagement ring to finish the set perfectly.
Want to know more about custom made rings? Read about our custom process.
Know the difference between matching and complementing rings
Some couples choose an engagement ring and wedding band that match to form a set – while others like them to complement one another but also stand alone as beautiful and unique pieces.
At the end of the day it’s completely up to the individual – but it’s always nice to look around and draw inspiration from others’ sets. You don’t always have to design a matching wedding band. Sometimes something totally different looks amazing and unique.
Check out some designs in wedding rings and wedding bands before zeroing in on yours.
Step 5: Handmade vs cast vs CAD jewellery
When purchasing an engagement ring, many people deliberate between buying a ring off the shelf versus having a manufacturing jeweller create a handmade custom engagement ring.
Hand made rings are not only custom designed and made just for you, they are created to be passed on through generations. Think of it like a commissioned piece of wearable art.
Cast jewellery isn’t made to wear every day and last forever. It may be less expensive initially, however the cost of repairs, replacements or even lost diamonds can be great over time.
Do handmade rings last longer and have better quality?
Yes. When an engagement ring is handmade by a jeweller, it receives the full attention of the craftsman and nothing is compromised in quality. As the gold bar is rolled, forged, hammered and compressed for structural integrity in handmade rings, you get a dense product with finer designs and high durability.
What is the difference between handmade vs cast vs CAD jewellery?
Cast rings are made in bulk batches and your ring will be 1 of a 100,000 or more of the same.
Handmade rings are custom designed with you so you can have everything you want, including selecting your own diamond. Your design will then be custom made by hand just for you.
When rings are made in larger quantities, they’re often made using scrap metal that’s been melted down and poured into a cast wax mould. You’ll find that rings created using casts tend to need major repairs or can fall apart in around five years as they aren’t built to sustain everyday wear & tear.
CAD stands for computer aided design and is used to design rings on a computer program to then be cast. This gives you the visual of what your design is going to look like when made up however, it the making process is exactly the same as with cast.
What makes our process different?
At Bell and Brunt, we use a pure, new solid gold bar with every ring – and never melt down scrap metal to create your piece. We create the bands by rolling, hammering, filing and shaping the single piece of metal, which normally has a lifetime of at least 50 years.
We use artistry, skill and uncompromised integrity in custom making a one in-a-million ring just as unique
It is important to discover and discuss what is important to you and to share some background on your partner and your relationship with a jeweller. It helps you to be confident in designing the perfecting ring for your partner. Make sure to include some information on your lifestyle to ensure the design will work best for you.
Your jeweller will be able to show you different metals, cuts, designs, and stones to help you navigate the world of engagement rings. You can discuss design options, qualities, jewellery making process, and ask questions to your heart’s content. We recommend seeing the diamonds in particular in person – no two are the same so it’s important to see for yourself and pick the one that’s right for you.
Work with our design consultant, gemologist and sketch artist to make the engagement ring of your dreams a reality. We’ll be there to advise on durability, price, practicality, and show you the materials and diamonds in person.