How to choose the perfect engagement ring?
Before you even get to look with horror at the number of noughts at the end of the price tags, you need to make one big decision - whether to propose with a surprise ring or whether to propose first, then get the ring together afterwards. Like all things to do with women there is no clear cut answer here. On the one hand they love the romance of you down on your knees clutching a huge diamond solitaire, but on the other she's going to have to wear it for the rest of her life so its only fair to let her choose! I guess the point here is how well do you know what she would like? - she may have dropped a few pointers along the way such as saying 'if I were to get engaged, I'd like a round brilliant cut diamond set in platinum'.
There are so many things to consider before buying an engagement ring: design, metal, stone, setting, shape, cut, her finger size and the price.
One way to find out what she likes is to take a cue from the style of jewellery that she already owns. Does she prefer modern or traditional? Does she favour white gold, yellow gold, two-tone (white and yellow gold) or platinum (currently the most popular metal for engagement rings)? Also, how does she react to other women's engagement rings? Does she ever express an interest in a particular style when flicking through fashion magazines? The chances are, however, after a quick consultation with her girlfriends and female relatives - if you can trust them with your secret - that you will glean a fairly accurate picture of her likes and dislikes. She will probably prefer a classic diamond solitaire (basically one largish stone set in a simple gold or platinum ring)- which account for over 70% of all sales of engagement rings - but there are many ways to present a quality stone on a ring. Would she like a Tiffany-style solitaire in which prongs hold the diamond high? Or perhaps a basket setting, or some other low-head style? Without doubt, though, you should involve her in the decision. It may run counter to your romantic instincts, but she will thank you.
Once you’ve done some sleuthing to work out a few basic preferences, keep a cool head. Don’t let your ideas of what might be cool or smart get too much to the fore. An engagement ring needs to be timeless and it’s no surprise that some 75% of engagement rings are classic diamond solitaire ring. Simple is usually best. And be practical… if your fiancée to be spends half her day making models with kids or landscape gardening then chances are she’ll be getting her hands dirty. You should ensure that there aren’t any decorative holes in the ring or a large gap between the base of the diamond and the ring – otherwise the ring gets full of dirt really easily and is a real pain to clean. And finally, place a wedding ring next to the engagement rings to see how well they match up. Some of the more unusual stone settings may look rather cool, but they stick out too much to have a wedding ring sat comfortably next to them.
If your fiancée-to-be is a ‘gold girl’, the choice of metal for the ring band is pretty straight forward. For ’silver girls’ there’s more to consider. Platinum is the most straight forward option – it’s long wearing and very strong. But it’s not cheap. You can reduce the cost of the ring by hundreds of pounds by choosing the cheaper option: ‘white gold’. Other metals are blended in with the gold to make the ring look more silvery in colour. It’s a very common practice and lots of people go with this option. The downside to ‘white gold’ is that it does lose its whiteness (as it is made to look more white than it really is with a plating of a very white metal called Rhodium) – so you will see the ring become goldish in colour over time. You can have the ring re-plated for relatively low cost to return it to its more silvery hue. White gold is not as hard-wearing as platinum either – though you’d still need to bash the ring very hard to do it damage.