A small but vital decision to make when planning your marriage is that of choosing an engagement ring and a wedding band that works with it.
We spoke with one of the UK’s leading luxury online jewellers who specialise in diamond engagement and wedding rings, and got them to share their expert knowledge on this important topic.
Choosing an engagement ring
The key to making the purchase of your engagement ring is to consider the bride’s taste and style, as she will be wearing it for a lifetime, it’s important that she loves her ring.
You can take cues from looking at her current jewellery style and clothing.
If the ring’s wearer likes simple, elegant styles, then an understated diamond or gemstone maybe best. If she normally goes for large, opulent jewellery, consider a more extravagant ring. Or perhaps she gravitates towards vintage styles then a more antique ring might suit her better.
Here are some popular diamond designs:
Solitaire – a single diamond
Halo – a solitaire encircled by smaller diamonds
Sidestones – extra diamonds on the ring’s band
Cluster – several small diamonds are grouped closely together
Gemstones – colourful gems like emeralds, sapphires , amethyst or rubies
The rings setting
Once you have chosen the stone and style or ring, the next decision needs to be based on the colour gold the bride currently prefers. The white precious metals are: white gold, platinum, palladium. 18K gold (yellow and white) has more gold content than 9K gold, but it’s more expensive.
- Platinum is the most expensive of the precious metals but it is also the most durable.
- White gold looks the same as platinum, and although it is generally less expensive, it does requires regular re-coating maintenance which will raise its price long term.
- Palladium is a relative newcomer on the jewellery market; it’s a beautiful white precious metal similar to platinum but priced about the same as white gold.
- Rose Gold is a gold and copper alloy, more affordable than white gold and is durable. although can cause allergies in those allergic to copper.
Image via thenaturalsapphirecompany.com
When considering purchasing a diamond its a good idea to become familiar with the Four Cs -cut, colour, clarity and carat weight.
However, don’t get too bogged down with the technicalities, as the most important factor is that the bride loves the ring. Decide on the the style of the ring and your budget, then let an experienced jeweller guide you to the best possible purchase for your money.
Most people like their diamonds to have lots of sparkle. Because sparkle depends on a diamond’s cut, let’s take a quick look at diamond shapes:
- Round ‘brilliant’ cut – This is the sparkiest diamond cut, with most facets reflecting light
- Princess cut – A square diamond shape, elegant and also very sparkly
- Marquise cut – Cut with two rounded sides that taper into points, it offers medium sparkle
- Pear shape – Resembling a teardrop, this shape gives off medium sparkle, like the marquise
- Emerald, baguette and cushion cuts – Rectangular in shape, flat on top, and with the least facets, these diamonds give off long, sustained flashes of light rather than sparkle
As for diamond quality, the smaller the diamond, the harder it is to see any flaws (markings) inside it.
We’d generally recommend that if you’re choosing a solitaire between 0.50 to 1.00 carats, go for a minimum of H/Si grade, or even G/D and Vs grades.
However, anything better than those qualities would be extremely difficult to spot in a one carat diamond, unless you’re a diamond expert studying the stone with a magnifying glass!
So if you have any budget left over at this stage, use it for a slightly bigger stone or upgrade to platinum. For very small diamonds, premium quality can be good enough.
If you want to get a big diamond ring but have a small budget, go for a ring with a cluster of smaller diamonds, rather than one big solitaire stone. Many small diamonds will cost you less than one big one, even if they amount to the same carat weight.
Of course not everyone chooses a diamond and some brides actually prefer a coloured gemstone that sets their ring apart.
Popular gemstones include Amethyst, Ruby Emerald and Sapphires.
Buying a Wedding Ring
Contrary to popular belief, your wedding and engagement rings’ bands don’t have to have matching metals.
In other words, it’s fine to have a white gold engagement ring and a yellow gold wedding band, or vice versa. The Queen’s wedding and engagement rings are proof that this is acceptable etiquette!Embed from Getty Images
However, it’s vital that your wedding and engagement rings sit comfortably with each other, style-wise and also in terms of design. Here are some tips to combine the two:
- An engagement ring with a large centre stone can push your wedding ring away from it, so there’s a gap between the two. To resolve this, choose a ‘bridal set’, where the wedding band and the engagement ring come as a set that have been designed to fit perfectly together. In bridal sets, the wedding ring is designed to curve around the engagement ring’s stone. Or you could choose a ‘wishbone’ ring as your wedding band: its V-shaped upper face will give more room for your engagement ring’s stone.
- If you love lots of sparkle, opt for a diamond wedding ring. Choose one with either a full circle of diamonds going around the entire band, or diamonds along the top face of the ring.
- It’s OK to mix and match eras, but avoid extreme style differences. For example, a classic blue sapphire engagement ring will look good with a diamond wedding band. But an ornate Art Deco engagement ring wouldn’t necessarily suit a modern-minimalist wedding band.
Last But Not Least
It’s never too early to order your rings. The temptation during the hectic months of wedding planning is to leave the wedding rings until the last minute. However, most jewellers don’t stock each ring in every finger size, and may have to handcraft or order yours – which could take from several days to a few weeks. So to get the ring you really want, always order early.