How to choose the perfect engagement ring
You have found the love of your life and want to propose to her, but how do you choose the right ring? If the ring misses the mark, the whole situation will deflate and perhaps she might even say no! Luckily there is a recipe on how to choose the perfect ring which will bring tears to hear eyes and that all-important YES from her lips.
“Congratulations!” is typically my first response to the sweet men, who come to my shop, shyly enquiring for a ring, because they need to ask their girlfriend something important. This IS an important question and therefore, apart from planning the actual proposal, getting the right ring is crucial! So when is a ring “right”? Your chance of a successful proposal is substantially larger if you do so with a ring which shows her how well you know her and her tastes. This way you demonstrate that she has found a man who genuinely cares about her and loves her exactly as she is. So, how to find out what would make her swoon? Observe and ask (discretely):
- Sneak a peek at her jewellery in order to determine: It is sumptuous or dainty? Does she prefer white or yellow metals? Does she like coloured gems, muted colours or white diamonds?
- What is her general preference of style when it comes to clothing? Does she prefer a classical or eclectic style? Or is she downright quirky? Does she cherish individuality and is dressing according to her own style, or is she enjoying following the trends?
- Does she prefer symmetry or an asymmetrical design? Look at her jewellery, clothes, furniture, the way she arranges things in her home...
- Perhaps she has on earlier occasions pointed out certain rings to you – a rather solid hint of her not minding you popping the question as well as helping you in choosing the right style of ring. Pay attention to these hints!
- Is there any symbol or design element, which holds a special meaning to her or the two of you? Does she love gardening, did you meet on an elephant ride in India or is the sea important to her? Consider bringing these specific passions into the ring.
- Does she have strong opinions on the provenance of the items she is surrounding herself with (in this case whether the materials have been ethically sourced) or is best quality her prime concern?
- How comfortable would she be wearing a ring with a certain price tag? Would she hardly dare wearing it or would she proudly show it off to the world?
Researching and considering all these issues will turn you into a bit of a spying detective of love and it might be wise to consider turning her best friends and family into your allies in this quest, thereby lowering the risk of costly mistakes.
The diamond – the crowning glory
Almost all engagement rings feature one or more gems, most often a diamond, a bit more rarely a sapphire or other gem at its centre. The reasons for choosing a diamond for this important ring, which possibly will be worn every day for many years to come, are several:
- A diamond is extremely beautiful. No other gem provides the same brilliance as a well cut diamond
- A diamond comes at a certain price point. This can be a frustrating fact, but giving her a diamond also conveys the message “To me you are just as precious as this diamond”
- A diamond is the most durable gem on earth. This is both a practical fact, ensuring that it will look just as beautiful when she in many years to come is carried out, feet first, as it does when you are putting it on her finger. This also conveys a very fitting message about how durable your love is. Just to put things into perspective: If you look at Mohs scale of mineral hardness, you will find talc and salt at the very bottom of the curve. Then various gems spread out as the curve which rises to nr. 9, where rubies and sapphires are placed. And then, far, far above the rest, the diamonds perches at the end of the curve, almost 3 times harder than the sapphires and rubies at second place.
- White (colourless) diamonds are a classical choice, no matter if they are set in a symmetrical solitaire ring or a quirky ring with lots of asymmetrical details. This is because the colour is neutral. It will match anything she will ever wear and the likelihood of her falling out of love of this non-colour is rather small – as opposed to a more striking colour. However, if she is a colourful person, perhaps a vivid green for instance is just her thing. Luckily diamonds also come in many beautiful hues – both natural (at a VERY high price point) and treated (at approximately the same price point than the white ones)
- Want to know more about the 4 C’s which determine the quality (and price) of a diamond in order to be able to make an informed choice? Read about the 4C's of diamonds here.
- And how did the diamond end up being the choice for engagement rings worldwide? We have looked into it and tell the story about why there is a diamond on the engagement ring in this article.
Sapphires and rubies – the other choice
If a diamond is not the thing for the lady of your heart, consider the above mentioned sapphires and rubies. Not nearly as hard as the diamonds, these gems will still sparkle for many years to come. However, by the time the lady of your heart has become an old and wise woman, the facets (like us humans) will have dulled a bit. If the gem holds a certain price, it is by then worth having it taken out of its mount (which might be in need of a slight repair anyways by now) and have the upside of the gem re-cut before resetting it.
Depending on their colour, these rubies and sapphires can actually demand an even higher price than normal white diamonds. In other words: not a secondary, just another choice. A fun fact: Sapphires and rubies are actually the exact same gem – corundum – but depending on their colour, hey fall into either of two categories: Sapphires are known for their blue hues, but come in all the colours of the rainbow (including colourless). If the sapphire is cold red or magenta, they are called ruby.
An oval blue sapphire with a halo of white diamonds has been a classical choice for engagement rings ever since Prince Charles asked Lady Diana for her hand in marriage with such a ring. In other words: If it was good enough for British royalty, it will probably do for your engagement ring too, if you think she would prefer it over a diamond.
Next step – making the choice
Once you have determined her tastes, you need to make up your mind before venturing out onto the world wide web and into the jewellers in search of that perfect ring: If there is a certain brand of jewellery she adors, go for that. If she likes classical styles and doing what is generally considered to be “come il faut”, choose something classical and symmetrical. If she considers herself a unique person and strives to surround herself with items which reflect her individuality, consider having a ring custom made for her. A custom made ring with a classical style is btw also a choice...
Regardless whether you are going for a mass produced or custom made ring, you need to get the size right. Most jewellers can resize a gold band a few sizes, depending on the design of the ring, but you want to get as close as possible on the day you are actually asking her, because putting that ring on the finger closes the deal much more that storing it in the box until it has been resized. Here are your options for discretely determining the right size:
- Discretely borrow one of her rings (a ring which you know fits the particular finger the engagement ring is going on) and bring it to your jeweller, who will measure it precisely.
- If this is not an option, use a calliper to measure the inside diameter of the ring. Measure a few times and if the measurement comes up a bit differentiated, calculate the average. Your jeweller will be able to calculate a rather precise size based on this measurement.
- Talk one of her female friends into being your ally: She could bring your girlfriend to a jeweller and they could both try out rings and have their sizes measured for fun. Or she could let your girlfriend try on her rings and note down which ones fit the best – and then have said ring measured.
- There are also other – less discrete - ways to determine the size. Read an article on how to find the size of her ring here.
Having a custom made ring created
Should you want to have a ring created uniquely for her, bring all your findings of your research to your chosen jeweller together with examples of rings you have found on said jewellers homepage and elsewhere. This is when we get to work: By asking a lot of questions (which you hopefully will be able to answer by now), we help determine the overall style of the ring to be created and together we look at examples of other rings, which might hold one or two features which fit, but which in total still aren’t right. Consider this process to be a bit like playing with LEGO: The overall shape of this ring, the dimensions of the other ring, the surface of a third ring, the setting of a fourth ring and the gem from a fifth ring – plus perhaps that special something which is so important to her.
And then we start drawing. Sometimes we manage to encompass everything in that very first drawing, sometimes it takes quite a few drawings before everything feels right. When you are happy with the choice we get to work, turning all your research and designing efforts into a tangible piece of solid love, crafted to be placed on her finger, when you are ready to ask her: Will you marry me?
Feeling inspired? Take a look at some of the bespoke engagement rigs which we have created for our customers here – or ask for a design meeting straight away:
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