Engagement Rings: A Buyers Guide

Buying an engagement ring can feel like an overwhelming task. It's the ultimate symbol of the most important relationship of your life and there is a lot of pressure on getting right. For many people, purchasing an engagement ring is their first step into the world of jewellery, and this can feel very uncomfortable. But don't fear, choosing an engagement ring should induce excitement, not terror. Here are some key points to get you started on the right track......

Go bespoke or off-the-shelf?

Getting engaged is a once in a life time event, and the engagement ring should reflect this significance. It will probably be the most important piece of jewellery you will ever buy, and so the engagement ring you choose should be a thoughtful and considered purchase.  But even with the abundance of engagements rings on the market, often nothing seems to be quite what you're looking for, or perhaps you're looking for something that's unique, something that no one else has. If so, you should consider going bespoke. Choosing to design a bespoke engagement ring is not like buying something off the shelf, it's all about the experience, not to mention the bucket load of sentiment that goes with it. From the first rough sketches, to the final drawings, to selecting the diamonds and gemstones, being intimately involved in the journey and watching your commission come to life is a fascinating and hugely enjoyable experience.  And the result is something very special. A beautiful bespoke engagement ring, made especially for you and which tells a unique and personal story.

Unique Engagement Ring - Bespoke Engagement Ring

Budget: How much should I spend?

How much you spend is a personal matter, and there seems to be all sorts of rules about having to spend a certain multiple of your salary on an engagement ring. This is a myth. You know your own financial situation better than anyone and there is nothing romantic about going into debt. Be realistic. It's not about the amount of money that you spend on the engagement ring, but the amount of thought that goes into it. If you decide to go bespoke, the cost is largely down to the individual design and the materials used - so if you start the bespoke design process with a realistic idea of how much you want to spend, it will be possible to tailor the design and the materials to fit your budget.  Contrary to popular belief, bespoke pieces need not cost more than a piece off the shelf - as an approximate guide bespoke engagement rings start at £950.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend. Aren't they?

The word 'diamond' and 'engagement ring' have gone hand in hand for almost a century, but where do you start when you think you want to buy one? The diamond is likely to be where the majority of your budget will be spent, so it's important to understand what you're buying. A good place to begin is to read about the 4Cs.  Each 'C' affects the quality, and ultimately the cost of a diamond so it is important to know which C is the most important to you as you may need to compromise slightly to ensure you get the perfect stone for your budget. And this is very subjective so it's a good idea to take a look at a selection of diamonds in real life to figure out what is most important to you. For example you might think you want the biggest diamond you can get and the other C's aren't so important, but once you have a selection in front of you and you can see how the appearance is affected by a different cut, colour and clarity grade, you may change your mind. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally speaking I would choose a better cut and clearer colour over more carats.

Unique engagement ring - bespoke engagement ring

What about a coloured gemstone?

A coloured gemstone can be the perfect alternative to a diamond, and these days many brides-to-be are seeking non-diamond options when when it comes to their engagement ring.  Gemstones are often more affordable and with vast array of beautiful gemstones and colours to pick from you really could make your engagement ring unique. Most women will wear their engagement ring all the time, so if you decide on a gemstone make sure it's a colour that she likes and something that will compliment the colours she wears. If you're not sure a bold colour would be her cup of tea, there are lots of beautiful nude and pastel coloured gemstones which are more muted and would be perfect for any outfit. Because an engagement ring will be worn every day, try and stick to the harder, more durable gemstones as they will wear much better. That said, if she has her heart set on a less durable gemstone don't rule it out, but make sure you take some advice. As a general rule of thumb, if the stone is to be set in an engagement ring, I wouldn't go for a gemstone classified any lower than a 6-7 on the Mohs Scale (what on earth is the Mohs scale? Find out here).

How do I find out her size?

This is a a very common question, especially with bespoke engagement rings, and if the ring is a surprise and she hasn't told you her finger size, it can be virtually impossible to figure it out. But don't despair. As much as she’ll want to pop the ring on her finger straight away and show all her friends, it's not really the end of the world if it needs to be re-sized first. This is a relatively simple job with most bespoke rings, unless it's a more complicated design in which case it may require a bit more attention. If you think they can keep a secret you could try asking a friend, or perhaps even ask a friend to create a situation where they could find out her finger size.  If you don't think it will raise too much suspicion, probably the easiest way to find out her size is to take one of her current rings and measure this using our printable Ring Size Guide. But remember, this isn't an exact science - each of her fingers are likely to be slightly different in size so unless you measure a ring she wears on the same finger you're buying the ring for, it might be a slightly different size. But let's face it, it’s a good start.

Unique Engagement Ring - Bespoke Engagement Ring

How do I know she will like it?

This really is the million dollar question. If you're lucky she might have already hinted in the past as to what sort of ring she wants - if so head down those lines. If not, you have a little work to do. Firstly, pay attention to the jewellery that she already wears - does she gravitate to vintage style jewellery, or bold statement pieces? Does she wear dainty and delicate jewellery or does she have a more minimalist contemporary style? Is she more of a silver/platinum jewellery fan than yellow or rose gold? Take tips from her wardrobe - what colours does she wear? Does she favour classic fashions or is she more quirky or avant-garde?  Keep an eye on what she wears for a couple of weeks and make a mental note of her style. And if you're going down the bespoke route, this might not be as hard as it seems, the one to one consultation will help you decipher all of this to work out what she will love, even if you don't have a clue.

For more information or to book an appointment with Catherine call 07701 080615 or email info@catherinebuddjewellery.co.uk.