Getting engaged is an exciting time! Choosing a ring doesn’t have to be stressful, but it's worth giving thought to some of the basics.
Firstly, who is choosing the ring? Are you picking It together or is it a surprise? In that case, you need to have given thought to what they would like. If you’re not 100% sure they’re going to love the ring you’ve chosen, then consider a placeholder ring. This custom is becoming increasingly popular, whereby a temporary ring is chosen to propose with. Ideally, you would want to know their size, but it's not imperative. A benefit of this is being able to then choose a ring together that you know they will love, taking the stress out of it. A placeholder ring is generally made from affordable materials like silver and cubic zirconia. If they love the ring you’ve chosen as a placeholder you can then have that made in more durable materials to the exact design. Remember though, if you are commissioning a jeweller to make a bespoke ring for you be aware that it will be non-returnable, so you’d better be sure they’re going to say yes!
Metal - Do you know which metal they prefer to wear? White gold? Yellow gold? Platinum?
Style – Do they like classic or something different? You don’t want them to get years down the line and have grown tired of it. An engagement ring should be something they see themselves wearing now and in 50 years, it’s not the time to go rogue…unless that’s exactly who they are!
Gemstone – are you going traditional with a diamond or considering maybe a coloured stone? Assuming they plan on wearing the ring daily for the rest of their lives then there are certainly some stones that would be more appropriate than others. Sapphires are a great choice as they come in a huge range of colours. Equally popular are irregular grey and salt and pepper diamonds for those who want a more cost-effective way of wearing a diamond without going down the ‘lab-grown’ diamond route. Similarly, moissanite is an excellent choice. Whilst not a ‘cheap’ stone, it’s more affordable than a diamond, and it’s hugely refractive making it sparkle more than a diamond of the same clarity. Emeralds are a little less popular (certainly with jewellers) as they’re notoriously brittle. A knock in the wrong place and they can chip.
Which brings us to another consideration. How the stone is set. Consider the lifestyle of the wearer. An avid gardener or daily gym goer who intends on never taking the ring off might be better suited to a lower profile bezel setting as opposed to a large prong set ring. A bezel setting would be considered more contemporary than a prong/claw setting, and its metal collar around the entire stone protects it and gives added security.
Budget - With gold at an all-time high and prices of gemstones varying substantially, it is wise to have a rough budget in mind. When commissioning a piece, the amount of labour involved can alter the price considerably. It’s not always clear to the untrained eye what makes one style more expensive than another. Sometimes the simplest designs are the most labour intensive which is where the jeweller can direct you. If you know they would love a huge solitaire diamond, but your budget won’t stretch to that then there are lots of other gemstone options. Equally, a piece of sea glass found on a romantic beach walk can be set as a gemstone for a more sentimental touch. It can even be set with a diamond, like the one below.
Wedding ring – In the excitement of getting engaged, it can be easy to overlook that at some point down the line, you will want a wedding ring to match. Suddenly, the cost of a wedding can spiral and the idea of having to find the budget for another bespoke platinum band to match the engagement ring feels a bit out of reach. Bear this in mind when choosing an unusually shaped engagement ring that you may then struggle to find something to fit with. Remember also that if you plan on always wearing the rings together, then both rings should be the same metal to prevent uneven wear.