Have you made the big decision to propose to the love of your life but have no idea how to choose a ring? Here is White Avenue’s guide to choosing the perfect engagement ring. Sounds like the hardest thing you have ever done right?! Well we will try and make it as simple as possible.
The Guardian newspaper gives us a little insight into where diamonds come from…
“Diamonds are 99.95% pure crystallised carbon and can be extremely old – one to three billion years old, in fact. They are the hardest naturally occurring substance known and are formed beneath the Earth’s surface when crystals of diamond occur in volcano feed-pipes. When volcanoes erode down, they release diamonds from their feed-pipes into layers of gravel, which are later mined. However, due to the relative rarity of this natural process, diamond mines are found in just a handful of sites around the world. In rough form, diamonds are shipped to the world’s cutting centres to be shaped and polished before being set as jewellery. It is the hardness, brilliance and sparkle that emerges during this process that transforms them into a girl’s best friend.”
OK, so now you have had a geology lesson, the first thing you need to do is make sure the ring is going to fit your partner. There’s nothing worse than proposing with a ring that won’t go on or is as big as a hoola-hoop. It is true, there are lot of guys who guess but buying the perfect sized engagement ring shouldn’t be that hard; it’s all down to the alphabet. In Britain rings range from A-Z.
So how can you measure your girlfriend’s finger without her suspecting that you plan to propose?
Try “borrowing” any rings she has left lying around and taking them to a jewellery shop to measure them. (Even more fantastic if she already wears a ring on her ring finger.) The jewellery shop can tell you instantly which size it is so you will only need to borrow it for a few hours.
Recruit a best friend or family member who can be trusted not to give the game away and ask them to take her shopping and just for fun look at jewellery that they both can try on. Women wear rings for fashion and sometimes purchase rings, which have their birthstone in it. Ask the friend or family member to make sure they get the correct size.
If you are still struggling – try guessing based on the average, which is between a K and an N. After all, rings can be resized.
Be honest with yourself… If its just going to be too difficult to choose the size and style of the ring and if you have no idea what she would want – the best thing to do is let her pick it herself. You can still have a romantic proposal, but allow her to choose the perfect ring.
If you are going to choose it yourself, here’s what to do next…
You now have to consider the design of the ring. Remember the 4 C’s which are: carat, colour, cut and clarity. There is of course a 5th C, the cost. So many men feel pressured in to buying the most expensive ring but there is no set price for your affection. Most people feel engagement rings should cost around a month’s salary, however it will differ according to different couple tastes, needs and feelings and shouldn’t break the bank; after all you can’t put a price on love.
CARAT: What makes the cost go up is the carat of the diamond. For example you choose from half a carat, to one carat and so on. The colour, cut and design of your ring is also important when choosing a ring, as you have to think about what she likes and what she wouldn’t. She is going to wear it every day for the rest of her life.
COLOUR: The best and most valuable colour is white – which is colourless. They are graded to how colourless they are, being “D” the most colourless and Z being the least.
CUT: The most popular shapes are the round and princess cut, but others include the emerald, the pear, the marquise, the oval and the heart shape. Usually a solitaire design is chosen but two stones on either side of the main one is lovely, or to have the whole band encrusted.
CLARITY: Try not to worry too much about the clarity of the diamond; after all it is invisible to the human eye, (unless you start looking under a microscope) and really is the flawlessness of a diamond. All diamonds will have inclusions, which are described as imperfections. Tiffany says “A stone is said to be “flawless” if, under 10-power magnification, no external imperfections or internal flaws are visible. A truly flawless diamond is extremely rare and priced accordingly. All gem-grade diamonds can receive a clarity rating based on an industry standard scale: FL (flawless) to I3 (heavily included).”
Ensure you choose reputable jewellers and be wary about ordering online, as you should really choose a diamond in person.
If you want additional piece of mind you can request a “cert stone” – a diamond that has been assessed graded and coded with a laser by an independent gemmological laboratory. Oh and don’t forget you can also buy a matching wedding band which sits along side the engagement ring perfectly.
Several people have asked us.. ‘How much should I spend on a ring?‘. Well there is no simple answer to this because it all depends on what you can afford. Just remember, she is going to wear this ring every day for the rest of her life so it needs to be good quality. It has been said that most people spend three months salary on an engagement ring. On average, I would say our grooms spend anything from £3,000 upwards but apparently the UK average spend is £1,800. The final word is, its up to you. What matters is that you pay for something reflecting your budget and shows your true feelings towards your partner.
Some of our favourite top brands to look for engagement and wedding rings are Tiffany & Co, De Beers, & Cartier. In London there are so many beautiful jewellery stores to look for the perfect engagement ring. One of the most popular areas to search for an engagement ring or your wedding bands is Hatton Garden. We would recommend Hyde Park Design . Good Luck !