Choosing the Perfect Engagement Ring

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching and this traditionally being a popular time of year to get engaged, I thought I would write a guide for ladies & gentlemen looking to invest in what could be essentially the most important piece of jewellery you will ever buy. 

Choosing a Gemstone

Diamonds are the most popular gemstone for an engagement ring, and we understand why: they’re one of the strongest stones so can be worn without worry. They’re extremely valuable and the colour (or lack of) means that diamonds will go with any outfit. Diamond handles light better than any other gemstone, hence why they are the sparkliest of all.

The only downside might be its price, which increases quickly when looking at larger and rarer diamonds. A good option could be to choose a ring with several small diamonds rather than a large single stone, giving you just as much impact on a tighter budget and more sparkle for your money.

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Sapphire is one of the most popular stones for an engagement ring and can look extremely sophisticated. Sapphire’s strength is similar to diamond’s, and so a sapphire engagement ring will never keep you from doing what you want. Plus, sapphires offer not only a beautiful blue colour, but a whole range of stunning yellows, oranges, pinks, purples, and greens. As a stone from the same family, ruby offers a radiant red option. The largest and clearest stones are the highest quality – but also the most valuable.

Although a diamond can be considerably costly, sometimes a beautiful alternative gemstone is an even more considerable purchase.

Whatever type of gemstone you decide to go for, make sure you do some research before making your choice. For example, however beautiful an emerald is, it’s a brittle gemstone and can easily be damaged by perfume and cosmetics. Opal is also stunning and offers the most amazing colours, but it can dry out and crack easily.

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There are plenty other options for engagement ring stones, such as aquamarines, garnets, and tourmalines, so no matter what style of stone you desire, you will always find something that works for you and your partner. Being a bit of gem-nut myself it’s a pleasure to source as many options as possible for you to see!

Choosing a Precious Metal

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White metals such as platinum and white gold are currently the most popular choices in the world of engagement rings. The whiteness of the metal makes diamonds stand out beautifully. Yellow gold is also gaining popularity again, and so is rose gold. The easiest way to pick out a metal would be to find out your partner’s preference if you can (look at his or her other jewellery, watch etc), but if not, here’s some information on the most common metals used for engagement rings.

Platinum is stronger than gold and offers more style options because of this. Historically platinum costs more than white gold per gram but currently (due to stocks, shares & economic climates) platinum is surprisingly cheaper and so it is an excellent time to invest in it. Although white gold is extremely resistant, it’s not naturally white and instead coated with rhodium – which means that it may need re-plating every year or so to keep its colour. Rose gold offers a beautiful pinkish, orange-ish, or even reddish colour and yellow gold is classic.

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The quality of gold is given in carats (which are different from the carats of gemstones). Pure gold would be 24ct, but the gold would be too soft to use for a ring. The most common alloys in the UK are 9ct and 18ct, but the US also use 14ct and 15ct, while some countries go as far up as 22ct. Generally, the purer the gold, the yellower the colour – except for white gold!

Titanium is popular for wedding rings at the moment, but as it is quite brittle and therefore not recommended for a stone-set ring. As silver is quite soft and tarnishes easily, it it not a very good option for a piece of jewellery that is means to be worn every day and hold valuable stones.

Find a Jeweller You can Trust

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A good jeweller will offer free advice, but it is always recommended to view a stone before buying it as every gemstone is unique. Diamonds over .50ct may be certificated by independent labs or organisations such as GIA, IGI, or Anchorcert in the UK. Larger stones may also have the certificate number laser engraved into them.

If you choose to buy your ring online, make sure to do so from a reputable, trustworthy jeweller to ensure the best service. A good jeweller will also ensure that the ring fits your partner’s finger and may ask to measure your loved one’s finger. However, in the case of a surprise proposal, the jeweller can always offer to alter the ring afterwards for the perfect fit.

Commission a Bespoke Engagement Ring

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If you like the idea of creating a one-off ring it might be an idea to go down the bespoke route. It’s very special to be part of every step of the process – picking the gemstone, incorporating personal details in the design and knowing that this ring is completely unique to you both. Even if you want a really simple solitaire diamond ring, or a diamond band, you don’t have to buy one off the shelf. Sometimes it’s worth exploring your options and making one from scratch exactly as you would like – it could save you money too. Find out more about our bespoke design service here.

Remodelling & Refurbishing Older Jewellery

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It’s very common for people to inherit hugely sentimental jewellery and it’s a lovely idea to carry on the memory of that person by passing the ring on to your loved one as an engagement ring. If you decide to go down this route have your jewellery checked by a professional; older jewellery may be a little worn and you need to make sure all the settings are safe and the ring can withstand day to day life. Another popular idea is to re-use the gemstones and make something new. Find out more about our jewellery remodelling service here.

I hope this little guide offers some basic insight into the world of engagement rings. It’s a very exciting and a hugely sentimental process so make sure you enjoy it, keep your options open and think long term about this very special piece of jewellery.


If you have any questions please email moira@patiencejewellery.com or call on  07557 098 983 for some professional advice.

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