The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring
There's no purchase quite as significant as an engagement ring and the pressure to make the right choice can feel pretty overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be! Finding the perfect ring can be fun and exciting, and we're here to help with this guide to choosing an engagement ring that she will treasure forever.
How to choose an engagement ring
The market of engagement rings for women is vast and varied so it helps to narrow down your options from the outset. This means deciding upon the perfect stone (classic diamond or colored gem?) and type of metal, as well as the shape and setting of the stone. There's a lot to learn so we've teamed up with the engagement ring experts at With Clarity to discover the key elements of choosing of a ring she will love. Ready? Let's get started...
Choosing an engagement ring style
The shape of the main stone makes all the difference when choosing an engagement ring that connects with her personal style. Each shape sparkles in its own way and will appeal to different tastes so it is a crucial factor when considering how to choose an engagement ring for your girlfriend. Is she a contemporary woman who favors simple, understated design for example? Or a lover of nostalgic style and all things vintage? It is vital to think about her everyday style when choosing the perfect engagement ring.
The most popular diamond shape for engagement rings is round brilliant. This classic style is the quintessential sparkler due to its incredible light presentation and timeless shape, which works with all settings. Second most popular are princess-cut engagement rings, where the gem has a square-shaped shape that retains more of the rough stone in the cutting process.
Popular choices also include oval-shaped engagement rings and pear-shaped engagement rings for that classic look that will never date, as well as square, cushion, and emerald-cuts. For something more unique, marquise and heart-shaped engagement rings will stand out and make a memorable personal style statement.
How to choose your engagement ring setting
Once you’ve decided on the shape of your diamond or gemstone, it’s time to select a setting. Whether you want a classic solitaire or a setting with accent diamonds lining the band, there are hundreds of choices so let's look at some of the main options. Remember, if you're looking for a truly unique engagement ring, you can always design your own.
- Solitaire: A solitaire engagement ring setting places all of the attention on the center stone. It’s timeless, classic and a gorgeous way to showcase your main stone.
- Halo: A halo engagement ring setting has the center stone surrounded by smaller stones, which creates the illusion of it appearing bigger and more brilliant.
- Hidden halo: Instead of a row of diamonds that frames the center stone, a hidden halo sits underneath the stone towards the base. This hidden detail makes the main stone appear larger and adds extra sparkle without detracting from the center stone.
- Side stones: There are a variety of engagement ring settings with different style side stones, such as baguettes, round, marquis, and oval. A three-stone design with two smaller stones flanking the main center stone is a classic popular choice.
- Pavé: The term pavé refers to a ring setting that features small diamonds along the band of the ring. Pavé diamonds are held in place with metal prongs to look like a continuous line of small diamonds, resembling a paved or cobblestone road.
Choosing your engagement ring stone
As one of the strongest naturally occurring substances on earth, there's a reason diamonds remain the classic choice when it comes to engagement rings. Beautiful, durable and timeless, diamond engagement rings symbolize the kind of forever love we all wish for in a marriage. If you're dreaming of a diamond, one of the key decisions is whether to go for a lab grown diamond engagement ring or a natural diamond that is mined from the earth. The former are real diamonds grown by scientists in a lab, and are increasingly popular with couples keen to make an ethical and environmentally conscious choice.
While colorless diamonds are the timeless choice, colored diamonds are a gorgeous alternative for those after something more unique. Known in the jewellery trade as 'fancy diamonds', they are available in an array of colors, tones and saturations. In fact, diamonds come in almost every color you could imagine, but some hues are much rarer than others when naturally mined. Colored lab grown diamonds are a great alternative if you have your heart set on a particular color, and cost less than colored mined diamonds too.
However, if diamonds aren't your style, why not go with something else entirely? Different precious stones have been used to propose throughout history so it's not a recent trend to choose a beautiful colored gem. Precious stones in the blue-green color palette, for example, such as sapphire, emerald, aquamarine, and tourmaline are popular due to being stunning and unique yet also super wearable.
Choosing your engagement ring metal
Finally, metal choice can give a completely different feel to your ring and one of the biggest engagement ring decisions is choosing the metal that's right for you and your lifestyle. From gold, palladium, and platinum to titanium, tungsten, and sterling silver, there’s a metal for every style and budget.
Classic gold is the most popular choice for wedding and engagement rings, offering many options such as yellow, white and rose gold. However, proceed with caution when selecting gold as when it comes to the longevity of your ring, higher karat gold doesn't necessarily correlate to a higher quality ring. Of the four most common gold purity levels, 10k is the most durable, though it also has the lowest gold content.
For a more hardwearing choice, consider a platinum diamond engagement ring. As the rarest, strongest, and one of the most expensive precious metals, platinum can handle wear and tear and be totally restored with a quick professional polishing. A platinum setting will also hold your diamonds in place for a lifetime.