You've decided to ask your partner to marry you? How exciting! Our team of experts at VG Jewellers have put together this comprehensive guide to buying an engagement ring.
At first, buying an engagement ring can seem like a daunting task. With so many things to consider, how do you know where to start?
First, let's start with something, or rather someone, you know... Your fiancé-to-be!
Think about what kind of jewellery they wear, what their lifestyle is like and also if they've hinted at any ring styles while scrolling Pinterest or out shopping for example.
The other thing to consider, is your own personal story and whether there are any significant elements to your story that you want reflected in the ring.
THE CENTER PIECE
A diamond is a traditional and common choice for an engagement ring for its pure beauty and hard-wearing properties making it the perfect representation of ever-lasting love.
If your partner will wear their engagement ring every day, we recommend sapphires and rubies due to their hardness being a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, compared to a diamond which is 10, at the top of the hardness scale. This gives you many options as sapphires come in a range of colours, not just blue!
THE FOUR C'S
The Cut refers to the proportions and finish of a diamond and is an important factor in the diamonds appearance. The importance of cut is often overlooked in many diamond guides but is a key element when ascertaining an overall diamond grade. A well-cut diamond will increase its brilliance, sparkle and appeal to the eye. A poor cut can make a diamond look dull, glassy and lack fire.
Diamonds contain characteristics, each being unique to the particular diamond, just like a fingerprint. Clarity is a way of grading the extent to which the stone is free from external marks, called blemishes, or internal marks called inclusions.
The fewer noticeable flaws, the higher the value of the diamond. Diamonds that have no inclusions are graded Flawless (FL) and diamonds that have no inclusions or blemishes are graded Internally Flawless (IF).
The less colour in a diamond, the rarer it is. Colour is measured in alphabetical order beginning with the colourless range of D-F and descending to Z. The colour in a diamond is harder to detect once set in a ring, especially in yellow gold. Because of this, you may be able to choose a lower colour grading and get a higher clarity and/or carat for a similar price.
Fancy colored diamonds are an exception to the rule however, these are exceptionally rare and come in a range of colours including pink, blue and yellow.
The weight of the diamond is expressed in carats. When deciding what diamond to choose, size is an important factor but try not to get too caught up in carat weight and forget to consider the other three C's. The size between a 0.90ct and a 1.00ct can be marginal, so depending on your own preferences, it may be worth considering a higher quality diamond.
BEYOND THE FOUR C'S
The four C’s are just a starting point when finding you the best quality grade diamond. Other factors that have an impact on the quality of a diamond include fluorescence, luster, and type and placement of inclusions.
It’s important that when you are comparing diamonds, you are comparing like for like. If you are deciding between a couple options, make sure to ask for information about all quality factors to help make your decision.
If you know your partner will love a classic design, or if they don't currently wear jewellery, a simple yet very elegant diamond solitaire ring is a great choice. Other setting styles such as a simple halo ring or three stone ring are also very popular classic styles.
If your partner loves florals, lace, art deco, or intricate patterns, they might also love a vintage style engagement ring.
Vintage rings can be inspired by many different design trends and fashion eras of the past so there'll be something to fit any vintage lovers style.
If they're the trendsetter among friends and always on the hunt for something exciting and new, a contemporary style engagement ring is sure to please.
Can't choose between classic and contemporary? Check out The Floeting Diamond, the latest innovation in diamond settings.
Maybe you both love nature or maybe you fell in love with the architecture of a building you found on a holiday together. Either way, we can help tell your story in a ring.
Including elements inspired by your own love story are a great way to make the ring full of meaning and unique to you both. If you have a few ideas but not sure how to bring them to life in a ring design, get in touch here and we'd love to help.
DIAMOND AND GEMSTONE CUTS
The round brilliant cut is just one of many options! Below are some of the more common and popular diamond and gemstone shapes, however we have access to many more so don't hesitate to ask. View our range of engagement rings here.
Round brilliant cut diamonds are distinguished by numerous facets, shaped to maximise the white light returned through the top of the diamond, significantly increasing its fire and brilliance.
THE FLOETING DIAMOND
The patented Floeting Diamond Cut may look similar to a round brilliant cut diamond but there are a few differences that set them apart. This cut allows the diamond to be set without any claws or clasps in a way that lets more light to be reflected from every facet, to enhance the sparkle.
The sophisticated oval cut diamond is an elegant and unique choice for an engagement ring. An oval diamond can be cut with the same number of facets as a brilliant cut giving the potential for as much brilliance as the classic shape. The elongated shape of the oval diamond means that it can often appear larger than other diamond shapes of the same carat weight!
The emerald cut diamond is distinguished by the step cuts of its pavilion and large open table. Emerald cut diamonds produce a hall-of-mirrors effect, with the interplay of light and dark planes. The long lines and dramatic flashes of light give the emerald cut an elegant appeal.
The cushion cut diamond combines a square cut with round corners, resulting in a 'pillow' shape that gives it its name. The cushion cut has been around for almost 200 years, and as such has an antique look to it.
The princess cut accentuates the diamond’s brilliance rather than its luster, with triangular and kite-shaped facets radiating from the center. The higher fire and brilliance compared to other mixed cuts accounts for the popularity of princess cut diamond and engagement rings.
Marquise cut diamonds have elongated ends that stretch the diamond into an oval shape, creating a slender and striking look. With the brilliance and sparkle of a perfect round brilliant cut diamond, the marquise is a flattering diamond shape that has a regal feel to it.
Radiant cut diamonds are distinguished by the central cross pattern created by the pavilion facets. The radiant cut diamond has a total of seventy facets, and it exists in a large number of modified forms with differing facet arrangements and combinations.
The pear cut diamond is a modified brilliant diamond. Pear cut diamonds are also known as teardrops and are a hybrid between the marquise cut and the round brilliant diamond. We individually inspect each pear cut diamond and analyse the cut dimensions to ensure maximum brilliance and scintillation.
Diamonds and gemstones can be set within a ring in various ways to achieve an overall aesthetic and accentuate different forms and features.
Take a look at some of the styles below to get an idea of the range of setting styles available. Your choice will depend on the overall look you are going for, and the style you think will suit your partner and their lifestyle. View our wide range of styles here.
While this is the most traditional choice, it is still a great one. Pure gold is often referred to as 24 carat (ct in UK or k in US), but as it is quite soft and malleable, it is not the most suitable for an item worn every day.
The more commonly used gold alloys are 9k, 14k and 18k, where gold is combined with other metals to make them more durable. A higher carat grade is more expensive but is also richer in color and more resistant to tarnishing.
Platinum & White Gold
If you’re wanting a white colored metal for your engagement ring, the two recommended choices are white gold and platinum. While white gold is still a popular choice, there are many reasons why we would choose platinum first.
Platinum is the most durable and dense precious metal, meaning it lasts longest for wear and tear.
In terms of colour, the two look virtually identical when first made. However White gold does naturally fade to a pale yellow color with wear. Traditionally, rhodium plating is applied to white gold to give it a brighter white finish. This plating does wear off over time and will need to be re-done to maintain the bright white look. Platinum however is naturally a white color, so does not wear or fade.
Rose gold is alloyed with a percentage of copper, which gives it its rosy, pink tinge. With rose gold, the higher the carat grade the more subtle the pink colour appears.
For gold in general, the lower the carat grade (therefore the higher the amount of other metals within the alloy) the greater the risk of allergic reaction.
Does size matter?
Of course, it does! When it comes to getting her finger size, it's best to get as close as possible. Because we've been in the game for over 40 years, we have a few tricks up our sleeve for getting as close as possible, without giving away the surprise.
What if I get it wrong?
Don’t worry, it can be resized! We understand how difficult it can be to get the size right while still trying to keep everything a surprise, that's why we offer an initial complimentary re-sizing if the alteration required is within two sizes difference.
YOU MIGHT ALSO WANT TO CONSIDER...
You may have heard the old "two month's salary" rule when determining how much to spend on an engagement ring. This is old-fashioned and not very relevant today. The answer is to spend an amount you are comfortable with spending.
The important thing is that you get value for money!
It will take approximately 3 - 6 weeks to design and craft your piece. However, if you have an urgent request we will do everything possible to accommodate you. If we have your perfect ring in stock (it might just require re-sizing), this timeframe will be shorter. If you need it urgently, view our range of ready to ship rings here.
Yes, we highly recommend getting your ring insured. This should be the first task as soon as you have purchased your ring. Engagement rings require separate disclosure and are not covered by your general contents’ insurance.
Still after more information or advice? Give us an email or a call here and we'd love to help. Or check out our FAQ page for more helpful information.
YOU'VE GOT THE RING, NOW WHAT?
The perfect proposal is different to everyone. You know your partner best, so think about how you can make it special for them.
Whether you set the scene at your favourite holiday spot, recreate your first date, or arrange to do their favourite activity, your proposal story will be one you will both treasure for a lifetime.
After you have proposed, we’d love for you to get in touch to share your pictures and tell us all about it.
After all, we love a good love story.