The engagement ring is a key part of any proposal, and finding the perfect one can be difficult when it has to be kept a secret. Making the big decision to ask for your partner’s hand in marriage may have felt like the biggest hurdle of the process, but many find that choosing the ideal ring is trickier still! If you’re planning to propose on Valentine’s Day it’s wise to begin your search as soon as possible, to ensure you have enough time to seek out a ring that your partner will adore.
But where do you start? You may already have a vague idea of what you’re looking for, or you could be starting completely from scratch. Either way, this guide will help you to understand the various different options available and will ensure you know exactly what to ask for when you begin the big search.
Engagement ring styles
The most traditional style of engagement ring consists of a simple gold or platinum band with a single, typically round-cut diamond mounted in the centre. This is commonly known as a solitaire diamond ring. However, this is not the only popular type of engagement ring. Other styles can have more diamonds, or the addition of coloured gemstones. Decorative bands in both symmetrical and asymmetrical styles are also popular.
Having some kind of precious stone present is often expected in an engagement ring, but of course this is not a hard and fast rule. The most important thing is that your loved one will like it and that it fits with their tastes. Consider the style of jewellery they usually wear, and speak to a trustworthy close friend or family member of theirs to find out if your partner has dropped any hints.
Diamonds and gemstones
Whilst white diamonds are the most popular stone used in engagement rings, coloured diamonds and other precious gemstones can also be preferred. There are no hard and fast rules about what an engagement ring should be. While simplistic diamond-centric pieces tend to be the most popular and traditional, there are many couples who go for something different. Prince William, for instance, proposed to Catherine Middleton with his mother’s oval cut brilliant blue sapphire ring. While small diamonds are still present on the design, they certainly aren’t the focal point.
The cut, as well as the colour of the stone should also be considered. There are many different ways to cut a diamond or precious stone – they could be round, square, heart-shaped or tear-drop shaped, to name a few. Additionally, the more facets the stone is given, the more it will sparkle when worn.
If your partner wears rings day-to-day, it may be possible to get some idea of what shape may be their favoured one. Of course, if they don’t have anything to use as a reference then it can be difficult to know the best course of action. In this instance, it can be helpful to trust your gut – the right ring may well jump right out at you.
Precious metal options
The type of metal used for the main structure of the ring is also important to consider, as the popular choices differ in look considerably. This is where looking at your partner’s current taste in jewellery can be a help, as people tend to lean more towards gold or silver when it comes to everyday pieces.
If your partner has very little or no items of yellow gold jewellery, for instance, then it may be best to go for a lighter coloured metal such as white gold or platinum for the ring. Yellow gold and rose gold are also popular choices, with yellow gold being more traditional. These precious metals are able to stand the test of time and will always retain their looks with the correct maintenance. This is an important aspect of the engagement ring, as it represents an everlasting bond. The ring will likely be worn and cherished for decades to come, and may one day become a family heirloom for your children and grandchildren.
How to choose the right size
Once you have an idea of style – or at least an idea of what your partner doesn’t like – it’s time to get an idea of their ring size. Nothing quite dampens the moment like an engagement ring which is far too small or far too big. If your partner wears rings day-to-day, then ‘borrowing’ one is the surest way of finding out an accurate sizing. If this is not possible, discreetly comparing their hands next to your own can put you in the right ballpark.
If you get it wrong, you can always have the ring adjusted and fitted properly by a jeweller after the proposal. This is a common practice – having to make a small adjustment is expected when the ring has been bought without the wearer’s knowledge. If you’re debating between two sizes, go for the larger one, as this will be the easiest and cheapest to adjust at a later date.
Getting the most for your money
When it comes to diamonds, the bigger the stone, the more expensive it tends to be. People can be concerned with the size of the diamond or gemstone on their engagement ring, with bigger tending to be ‘better’. Of course, it’s the gesture that counts, but if you’re on a tight budget it can be difficult to find something which has that wow factor.
As rings made from precious stones and metals are made to stand the test of time, there are many pre-owned, antique and vintage pieces out there which can really help you to stretch your cash. At EST 1897, we have a wide variety of unique, pre-owned rings for sale which have been refurbished and cleaned to as-new standards. Rather than buying new, why not consider giving a new lease of life to a timeless and beautiful second hand ring? When buying with us, it’s possible to get double the diamond for your money compared to a high-street jeweller. If you’re looking for something eye-catching and expensive-looking without the price tag, take a look at what we have to offer.
Our range is ever-changing, so check back if you can’t find quite what you’re looking for straight away. Remember that when it comes to finding the perfect ring, you get to decide what makes it perfect. There is no right or wrong answer – as long as you take your partner’s likes and dislikes into account and buy from the heart, you shouldn’t go far wrong.