Though your proposal is set to be one of the most exciting moments of your life, the process of gearing towards it isn’t half stressful. There are the whys and wherefores, the questions of ‘when’ and ‘how’, and, perhaps most daunting of all, the choosing of The Ring. How on earth can one single piece of jewellery encapsulate everything you’ve ever wanted to say?
Luckily, there is an engagement ring out there for everybody, and finding theirs is just a case of knowing where to start. The internet is awash with style guides and look books, but here are a few handy nuggets of wisdom we feel you really ought to add to your arsenal before opening that door.
The archaic ‘Two Months’ Salary Rule’ once suggested that one’s significant other should set aside the equivalent of two months’ pay and splurge it all on a diamond engagement ring. But, with time, priorities have shifted. From university education to more accessible international travel and skyrocketing house prices, the average 21st century person is faced with myriad different ways to spend their money.
Be honest with yourself, establish a budget that works for you and don’t feel pressured to stray from it. This will serve as a stable benchmark for you and your jeweller to work from as you shop.
Though some suitors are excited by the prospect of taking everyone by total surprise, we believe that the best decisions made are those that are informed. The most important thing to bear in mind when shopping for an engagement ring is the person you’re buying it for. After all, they’re going to be wearing it for the rest of their lives.
If you’ve openly discussed engagement with your partner already, you could ask them for an overview of their engagement ring likes and dislikes.
If you’d rather they remained naïve to your plans, ask a trusted friend or family member for their guidance. When it comes to a big decision like this one, a second opinion is invaluable – and might just offer you a fresh perspective.
From both environmental and economic perspectives, taking the vintage route is a savvy means of celebrating a beautiful engagement ring already in existence. What’s more, second-hand jewellery shops open the door to a twinkling world of one-of-a-kind beauties like nothing they’ll have ever seen before. However, not everybody is enthralled by the idea of wearing a pre-loved ring, perhaps because it feels as though it wasn’t designed especially for them, or maybe because of superstitious concerns about its connotations. Before you make the decision to shop vintage, it’s really important that you have a conversation with your partner or somebody who knows them well to gauge their feelings on the matter.
Collection engagement rings are pre-designed blueprints offered by most engagement ring jewellers. Ready-to-wear collection rings are great if you’re in a hurry to pop the question. Meanwhile, made-to-order collection rings take a little longer to be delivered but afford the opportunity to make small personalisations such as ring size and gemstone size.
Working with a bespoke jeweller to design an engagement ring from scratch ensures that the jewel you present to your partner on bended knee is 100% unique; just for them. To learn a little more about the bespoke process, check out our Bespoke Engagement Ring Guide and our tips for preparing for a bespoke consultation.
In the first instance you might find yourself intimidated by the vast array of metal and gemstone options available to you, and that’s totally understandable. From here, the best navigation tool you can equip yourself with is knowledge.
Here at Lebrusan Studio, we offer a variety of sustainable metal options (from Fairtrade Gold to recycled platinum) and an assortment of conflict-free diamonds and fair-traded gemstones to suit your aesthetic and moral preferences. Take some time to read about them before you begin shopping and don’t ever feel shy about asking questions.
Ring sizing is a nuanced art. This is particularly true of engagement rings, which are worn every single day – whatever the weather – and vary broadly in style. Though it’s really tricky to pinpoint a mystery ring size with 100% accuracy, there are a number of crafty routes to reaching an informed approximate and avoiding a substantial resize further down the line. These steps include ring sizing charts, at-home ring sizing gauges and the drafting-in of that all-important friend or family member.
Check out our handy guide to working out your partner’s ring size for more information.
If thoughts of planning a wedding cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, that’s fair enough. After all, you haven’t even conquered the proposal yet! However, when choosing an engagement ring it is worth remembering that it will eventually be worn alongside a wedding band.
An engagement ring whose gemstone setting is particularly low-lying or ornate - such as a halo design – could create awkward conditions for any future ring that might wish to sit perfectly flush to it. If your partner is a creative soul with an open mind, this might not necessarily be a problem; because shaped, open-fronted and bespoke wedding ring designs are always an option. However, if it’s feasible that your partner would prefer to mark your marriage with a straightforward band, this should inform your decisions when picking the gemstone setting for their engagement ring. Raised claw settings are generally the easiest to pair with neighbouring rings. You can learn more about the pros and cons of various setting styles here.
What’s more, their wedding band will also need to match their engagement ring in terms of metal hardness to avoid one ring wearing the other away over time. To learn more about pairing metals, check out our dedicated blog post.
In spite of the angst it has the potential to evoke, the process of choosing an engagement ring is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you to enjoy as much as you take it seriously. You’re about to sweep your partner off their feet with the ultimate romantic gesture; that’s fantastic! Remember how well you know them, remind yourself of why you’re doing it, and the rest will come naturally.