PICKING THE PERFECT ENGAGEMENT RING

amore-18k-gold-heart-diamond-solitaire-ringThe engagement ring is one of the most important parts of your wedding proposal. Every girl wants a ring to be proud of – but what she’ll actually love can vary wildly depending on her personality, style and sensibility. black-diamond-18k-white-gold-ringSo, how do you nail down the right ring for the girl you want to spend the rest of your life with? We’ve chatted to Lycetts, who are experts on engagement ring insurance, for the ins and outs of choosing the right ring. philippa-18k-gold-oval-diamond-solitaire-ringPrice

The price of a ring can be wildly different, from bargain options to luxury purchases that cost tens of thousands. The simplest advice is to pick a ring that is on the upper end of what you can afford. It’s unwise to get into any kind of lasting debt over a ring, especially in an age of economic uncertainty, but spending a good chunk of money helps illustrate your commitment. mini-bulls-eye-18k-white-gold-diamond-ringThree month’s salary is an outdated rule – but remember that it’ll be on her finger for the rest of her life, so spend enough to wow her.
Band materials explained

There are a few solid choices of band styles for a ring, with some more unusual choices also available as technology improves. Here’s an overview:

Gold:
Available in various ‘carats’, gold is the classic wedding band material. Carats are the measurement of purity and increase from 9 to 14, 18, 22 and 24 carats. 22 is the purest form for jewellery.

Silver:
Silver needs to be coated or protected or it can tarnish, but it’s a classic choice and is often cheaper than gold.

Platinum:
Platinum is a high density material and is ultra-durable. It’s a beautiful material and a great choice as it’s both hypoallergenic and carries lifelong hardiness. Of all the ‘silver’ bands, it is platinum that carries the most prestige.

Palladium:
Palladium is also naturally hypoallergenic, but is a softer and more affordable metal than platinum yet carries a similar look. It will develop a patina over time to add character to the material.

White Gold:
More expensive than silver and arguably longer lasting, this is a gold ring with a palladium coating to give it the white colour. This makes the ring slightly more expensive compared to standard ‘yellow’ gold. However, the finish and coating helps enhance the brightness of a diamond. illusion-diamond-ring
Picking a setting

Before you pick the stone, you’ll need to choose which setting it’ll have. This is important as each style can change the overall look of the piece.

Prong:
The prong setting refers to claws which grip the diamond in place. These are generally rounded, pointed, flat of even V-shaped. There are generally four of them and they allow plenty of light to flood through the diamond, enhancing its brightness. However, because they stick out they can catch on clothing and prong settings sometimes snap, making engagement ring insurance vital.

The Cathedral:
This is a popular variant of the prong that sits the diamond high, which increases the amount of light it receives but also the risk of snagging.

Tiffany:
This is a six-pronged style that is very popular at the moment.

Bezel:
The bezel setting is a modern look, where a thin overlapping rim encircles the diamond. You can purchase both full and partial bezels – which are ideal for busy people in physical jobs as they don’t snag.

Tension:
This is a setting that holds a diamond in place by tension, which often gives the appearance of a floating gemstone. Most tension bands use a prong or bezel under the diamond to keep it secured.

Channel:
This is when you have diamonds set into the ‘channel’ in the ring.
Pavé: This comes from the French word for ‘to pave’ and refers to a ring that is ‘paved’ with tiny diamonds.

Halo:
This is when small diamonds are set in a circular pattern to create a ‘halo.’ There are of course lots of other settings available, but ultimately it’ll come down to what your partner likes the most. Does she prefer a simple, classic one-diamond look? Choose prong or cathedral. Does she like lots of ‘bling’? Opt for a channel or pave ring. chrysanthemum-embrace-raw-diamond-ringChoosing your stone

The most important part of choosing a ring is deciding which precious gemstone to buy. Depending on what tastes she has, your choice will vary. Most importantly, you’ll be looking for colour, clarity and shape.

The carat of a stone varies. You can normally purchase a diamond anywhere between 0.1 to a full 1 carat stone. Of course, this can vary wildly depending on how luxurious the purchase is up to stones that are 100 carats, worth millions. Unlike gold, where carats refer to purity, the carat of a diamond is about the weight. If buying a custom ring you can often get a discount if the stone is just off popular sizes such as 1/2ct, ¾ ct and 1ct. Sometimes, the diameter of the stone is different to the weight and a lesser carat can look as large as a full carat.

Alongside this, you’ll have to choose the clarity of the diamond, which varies from slightly foggier shades to fully clear and sparkling diamonds. Choose the best clarity you can afford, as everyone wants a diamond that shines bright. The colour of the diamond isn’t an important as it is hard for an untrained eye to notice much of a difference – and it will take on the colour from the ring material it’s set in.
raw-diamond-diamond-18k-rose-gold-ring
Diamond shape

Diamonds come in a variety of shapes:

Round:
The most popular shape, this simple style makes up 75% of all diamonds sold. It maximises brightness due to its reflective properties.

Princess cut:
A fancy shape that screams elegance.

Oval:
An elongated shape that helps create the illusion of greater size.
Marquise: A football-shaped, brilliant-cut diamond that creates the largest surface area of any diamond.

Pear:
Pear-shaped diamonds combine marquise and round shapes to create good symmetry.
Cushion: A cushion diamond is a square cut that has rounded corners and is one of the most popular shapes.

Emerald cut:
A large, flat-faced diamond that creates a hall of mirrors effect.

Radiant cut:
Similar to an emerald cut, but modified to have a vibrant, lively face with brilliant-cut design.

Heart-shaped:
Say you love her with an iconic symbol.

After you’ve chosen the shape, all you’ll have left is measuring her size and getting the diamond shipped – oh, and popping the question!