An engagement ring is a symbol of love and commitment between two people, therefore choosing the right one is an important decision. In this guide we look at the key factors involved in making that choice.
Factors to consider when choosing an engagement ring
There are several factors to consider when choosing an engagement ring. These include your budget, the choice of diamond or gemstone, the style and design and the choice of metal.
How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
An engagement ring is not simply a purchase, it is a representation of love and devotion. The traditional guideline has been to spend 1-3 months’ salary on the engagement ring, but ultimately, the budget should be determined by what is comfortable for both partners. Many retailers will offer financing options, but make sure this is something you can afford in the long term.
What style of engagement ring should I get?
There are several different styles of engagement ring with the most popular being: solitaire, halo, oval and trilogy.
A solitaire engagement ring is, as the name might suggest, simply a ring with a single diamond. It is a timeless classic and is the most popular style of engagement ring. Beautifully highlighting the chosen stone, it works particularly well with a large round brilliant cut diamond.
Solitaire engagement ring (Minar Collection)
Like solitaire rings, halo engagement rings have a single central stone, but they are surrounded by a ring or halo of smaller diamonds (known as pavé set diamonds). The smaller diamonds within the halo help draw the focus to the central stone, making it look larger.
Halo engagement ring (canva)
Oval engagement rings, which feature an oval cut diamond or gemstone, have increased in popularity recently. Due to their long shape, oval cut stones, tend to look larger than other diamonds of the same carat weight.
Oval engagement ring (canva)
As the name implies, a trilogy engagement ring features three stones which symbolize the past, present and future of the relationship between the wearer and their partner. The three stones are usually diamonds, but can also be gemstones or a combination of the two.
Trilogy engagement ring (canva)
One crucial question to ask yourself is how the engagement ring will suit your hand specifically. Longer fingers tend to suit a longer shaped stone like an oval, or even a halo engagement ring. For shorter fingers we would suggest a classic round brilliant or a square shaped princess cut stone within a solitaire engagement ring.
What are the best stones for engagement rings?
An important factor to consider when choosing a stone for the engagement ring is hardness. This ensures a secure and safe setting and reduces the likelihood of the stone falling out and being lost. Diamonds are generally harder than gemstones but in the end, it really does come down to your personal preference and style.
Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamonds have been the traditional choice for engagement rings for decades. The diamond’s quality is another important factor to consider. The 4 C’s - colour, cut, clarity and carat weight - an internationally recognised diamond grading system, helps to ensure consumers know exactly what they are getting. Colour refers to the absence of colour in a diamond, with colourless being the most valuable. Cut refers to the proportions and symmetry of the diamond, which can have an impact on its sparkle. Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or blemishes within the diamond. Carat weight refers to the diamond’s size.
It is important to understand the 4 C’s and how they affect the diamond’s appearance and value. This is something a professional and reputable jeweller can help with. At Minar Jewellers we have over 40 years experience in the jewellery industry and have been helping many of our customers choose their perfect engagement rings.
How to choose a diamond shape for an engagement ring?
You may think that a diamond’s cut is the same as its shape - but actually, they are different. While a diamond’s cut refers to its proportions and symmetry, a diamond’s shape is exactly that - its shape. As part of this guide, we look at the four most popular diamond cuts.
Round Brilliant Cut
By far the most popular of these is the round-shaped diamond (also known as a round brilliant cut) A timeless classic, it is an incredibly versatile stone and can be used in a solitaire, halo or trilogy engagement. The name ‘brilliant’ comes from its ability to show the most brilliance or the amount of light reflected within the diamond.
Round brilliant cut diamond solitaire engagement ring (canva)
The second most popular diamond cut. When viewed from above, a princess cut diamond has a square shape, and when viewed from the side it has the shape of an inverted pyramid. Like round brilliant cuts, they exhibit a significant amount of brilliance.
Princess cut diamond engagement ring (canva)
Similar in shape to a princess cut, but with soft rounded edges. They have less brilliance than round brilliant cut diamonds, and are therefore a less expensive option. However, they are capable of significant fire (or coloured flashes of light) within the diamond.
Cushion cut diamond (canva)
If you are looking for a larger stone but with a smaller budget then an emerald cut could be for you. Although somewhat lacking in brilliance compared to the round brilliant, emerald cut diamonds have an elegance and symmetry to them.
Emerald cut diamond engagement ring (canva)
Gemstone Engagement Rings
More and more people are deciding to go for a gemstone in their engagement ring rather than a diamond. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Princess Diana’s blue sapphire engagement ring - which now belongs to Princess Catherine (Kate Middleton)
One of the most important factors when deciding on a gemstone for your engagement ring, is the hardness of the stone that you choose. A harder gemstone very often equates to a more durable one, and will also be more secure in its setting within the ring.
Aside from diamonds - which are considered to be one of the hardest, moissanites, sapphires and rubies are some of the hardest gemstones available and are therefore popular choices for engagement rings. Emeralds although slightly softer, are also a popular choice. Stones on the softer side like amethyst, tourmaline, opal, moonstone and pearl are not ideal for engagement rings as they are too soft to be set into a ring that will be worn everyday.
Blue sapphire and diamond trilogy engagement ring (canva)
What is the best setting for my engagement ring?
The claw setting is the most common setting used in engagement rings. As there is a minimal amount of metal covering the stone it allows a good amount of light to come in and reflect through the stone.
An example of a claw setting engagement ring (canva)
A popular choice for its protection of the stone is the rub-over or bezel setting, but you will have less light coming into the stone as a result.
Yellow gold ring set with a blue sapphire in a bezel setting (Minar collection)
The tension setting can often make a beautiful looking ring, with plenty of light shining through the stone, however they are not as secure and you may run the risk of the stone falling out.
Platinum diamond engagement ring with a tension setting (Minar collection)
What is the best metal for an engagement ring?
The type and quality of the metal used to make the engagement ring are also important to factor in when choosing an engagement ring. Platinum and gold are the most popular metals for engagement rings.
Yellow, white and rose gold are available in different levels of quality or carats, usually ranging from 9 carat (37.5% gold purity) to 22 carat (91.67%).
14 (58.3% gold purity) and 18 carat gold (75% gold purity) are the most commonly used in engagement rings, as they provide a good balance of metal integrity, colour and gold purity.
Platinum is a more durable and rare precious metal than gold. It has a silvery-white colour, and is usually around 90-95% pure when used in jewellery. Unlike white gold, platinum does not require rhodium plating to maintain its whiteness.
Have in mind the metal that will be used for the wedding band, as this should align with your choice of metal for the engagement ring. For example if you were to have a platinum ring next to a white gold ring, the colours would not be the same and also the platinum ring would wear down the white gold ring.
Another thing to be aware of is to make sure the band is thick enough. A light and dainty band will not have sufficient durability for an engagement ring that is worn on a daily basis, and you may be making frequent visits to the jewellers for repairs.
If your budget and style allow, we would suggest getting a platinum engagement ring. Its combination of rarity, durability and natural colour are unmatched. If you prefer the gold colour then we would suggest going for 18ct gold as it is less susceptible to tarnishing over the rings lifetime compared to 14ct or 9ct gold.
How to determine the right ring size
Getting the right ring size is very important and there a various ways of finding out. Perhaps the most precise way is to get your ring finger measured by a professional jeweller. If this is not an option then there ways of checking your ring size at home. We have a handy guide, with multiple methods of finding out your ring size. If you are buying an engagement ring for someone else and want to keep at surprise, we also have some helpful tips to find out your partner’s ring size.
Choosing an engagement ring is a special and personal decision that requires careful consideration. It's important to take into account your partner’s taste and style, as well as your budget. By taking the time to research and make an informed decision, you can choose a ring that your loved one will cherish for a lifetime.