Proposing is a huge milestone - potentially the biggest moment of your life so far. The stress of creating that one perfect moment is huge. With all things to consider - the location, the timing, what to say - there remains one major concern: finding the perfect ring to pop the question with.
We’ve put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide for those who are delving into the world of engagement ring shopping, covering the most important elements to consider, from choosing the perfect diamond to selecting the appropriate ring style for your wife-to-be.
There are a number of clues you can look for when seeking out the perfect engagement ring for your partner. The first of which is probably the most simple - take note of your partner’s existing jewellery style. Do they tend to opt for showstopping, attention grabbing pieces or do they prefer a more subtle style? Is gold their metal of choice, or are they partial to silver or coloured jewellery? Are they fashion forward, and likely to fall for a modern rose gold engagement ring? These indications are all vital in giving you a clear idea of their style and the pieces they may favour.
It’s also important to consider what’s trending. Once upon a time, engagement rings were simply silver and diamond, but nowadays we can see alternative, bohemian and art deco styles becoming more and more popular. On top of this, colourful rings have also fought their way to the forefront of engagement fashion, with many couples eschewing the traditional diamond setting in favour of rich gemstones. With this in mind, it’s essential to determine whether your proposée would favour a classic or more alternative ring style.
The diamond is a classic, timeless centrepiece for any engagement ring. Each one is unique as a snowflake, and its quality and beauty are defined by the 4 C’s: cut, clarity, carat and colour. We understand that taking the plunge and opting for a diamond ring can present an overwhelming amount of choice, so we’ve put together a guide specifically to help with selecting the perfect diamond to suit your style and budget. READ MORE
However if you think your partner would like something a little more unusual for their ring, you may want to focus more on stone colours and the meaning behind them. Morganite is become more and more popular these days as an alternative to the classic diamond, the light pink stone pairs perfectly with small diamond detailing for a subtle ring. Or if bright and bold is something you think would best suit your partner you could opt for a beautiful purple amethyst to really stand out.
For more inspiration, take a look at our range of alternative engagement ring styles. SHOP NOW
Whichever stone you're opting for, one thing to consider for is the shape of the stone itself. The ‘Shape’ of the stone is different to the ‘Cut’, as it refers to the geometric appearance of the stone. Round is by far the most popular shape, but modern trends have given way to an increase in popularity in some more abstract style. Your choice will ultimately depend on your partner's style. You can view some of the most popular shapes for engagement rings below:
Whether you're opting for Diamond or a gemstone, arguably the most important thing to consider in an engagement ring, besides the cut, is the setting. This is what holds your stone in place, offering both security and lending itself to the overall appearance of your ring.
The prong setting holds your ring like a claw. This setting elevates the diamond and holds it securely while not blocking any of the facets, thus enabling the maximum surface of the diamond to catch the light and sparkle.
A slightly more contemporary style, the bezel setting surrounds the diamond with a metal rim that holds the stone tightly in place. This offers a smoother, sleeker and more modern look, and unlike a prong setting there is no chance of snagging. However, a bezel setting tends to cover more of the stone than a prong setting, so less light reflection is achieved.
In a halo setting, the largest, centre stone is surrounded by smaller diamonds or gemstones in a concentric circle or square, giving a ‘halo’ effect. This not only helps the centre stone seem larger, but the smaller surrounding stones boost the overall light reflected, and therefore the sparkle, of the ring.
A channel setting features a row of diamonds side by side, embedded into a grooved channel of the band. The diamonds can run the entire length of the band, enhancing the ring’s sparkle, at the same time providing a snag-free and secure design.
The ideal choice for romantics, the three stones are said to symbolise a couple’s past, present and future together. An increasingly popular option is to select coloured side stones to accompany the larger centre diamond, adding a more personal touch to your ring.
A cluster setting consists of a number of smaller diamonds, built up tightly together to give the appearance of one larger diamond. These smaller diamonds offer a unique look with lots of texture, and the multiple stones reflect light from one another, adding to the sparkle of the ring.
Taken from the French word meaning “to pave”, this setting features small diamonds set closely together – i.e. paving the band’s surface with diamonds. This style magnifies the ring’s overall brilliance, with a continuous sparkling effect.
There are a number of metals you can chose to make up the band of your engagement ring. As previously mentioned, it may be worth noting the style of jewellery your partner already wears - if all their jewellery is gold and warm toned, a yellow or rose gold engagement ring may be the perfect choice for them. If they prefer cooler hues and white metals, explore silver-toned options such as white gold, palladium and platinum.
Popular metals for engagement rings include:
For more information on all of the metal types, take a look at our jewellery metal guide.
For those planning a surprise engagement, this can be one of the factors that causes the most stress. If your partner already wears rings, the solution could be to simply take a peek into their jewellery box to find out their size. You can measure one of your partner's current rings or even take it into a store to match it up the size. If any family or friends have previously bought them a ring as a gift they may hold vital clues to their ring size, so - if you’re discreet! - you could employ their help.
Despite every effort, you can never guarantee a perfect fit until the moment they try it on! Luckily, the majority of engagement rings can be altered after the proposal, so try not to worry too much.
For couples choosing their engagement ring together, taking a trip to a jewellery store to find out your ring size can make a special and romantic day out – and will also allow you to start exploring your options in person!
For further clues, explore our blog post on how to find your ring size.
So you’ve asked the big question, and they’ve said yes! But there are now other things to consider.
One of the most common queries about engagement rings after the proposal is; “Do I wear my engagement ring on my wedding day?”. This really comes down to personal preference, with several options available. Some would rather not wear their engagement ring on their wedding day, preferring instead to store it someplace safe. Others move the engagement ring to their right hand before the wedding ceremony. This leaves the left hand totally free for the traditional placement of the wedding ring “closest to the heart”, while still allowing you to show off your engagement ring. The engagement ring can then either be moved to sit above the wedding ring following the wedding, or stored safely for special occasions - it’s totally up to you.
Then comes the issue of looking after your ring. Our key tips for taking care of it are as follows:
• Don’t use harsh chemicals! These can damage a ring, dulling the metal and harming the precious gemstones. If you choose to clean your engagement ring yourself, use light, non-harmful cleaners and hot water.
• Never remove your ring in public! It can feel a little jarring at first to, for example, wash your hands wearing your engagement ring. Taking it off however, particularly in public bathrooms, opens up the opportunity to drop, damage or forget it. Don’t take the risk!
• For any deep cleaning or general maintenance, visit a professional jeweller who will be able to make sure your ring is kept in top condition. Certain settings and stones can loosen over time, so it is important to get your ring looked at professionally if you spot any indication of damage.