Ask anyone about the engagement ring on their finger and their eyes will sparkle just as brightly as the day on which they first received it – and that’s exactly how it should be. An engagement ring is the kind of gift most people receive only once in a lifetime and, as such, it should reflect the uniqueness of the moment in terms of style, vivacity and personality.
An engagement ring is the ultimate statement jewellery piece – one that tells a story and acts as an eternal promise. Therefore, when it comes to choosing the perfect design for the special person in your life, it is important to base your decision not only on style and beauty, but the message it relays.
Proposing is the easy part. You already know this is the person you want to spend eternity with and making it official is going to mark one of the happiest days of your life. Choosing a ring that you and your partner will be looking at for the rest of your lives, however, is a whole other story. With this guide we hope to ensure that, the big ring-selection-day will turn into just as much of a joyous occasion as every other part of the proposal-planning, instead of an indecisive affair.
Cuts, Styles & Precious Stones
Entering a jewellery shop and coming to terms with the vast range of styles, cuts and precious stones can be overwhelming to say the least – especially for the inexperienced. Prior to familiarizing yourself with the different cuts, visualize your better half and consider their personal style. Are they all about the subtle accents or the chunky and loud variety of jewellery? Do they wear jewellery daily or will this be the first ring you’ll have ever seen them wear? These are important questions to ask yourself before you even begin to study the plethora of designs available to you.
The most popular choices for engagement rings are diamonds and other precious stones such as the ruby, sapphire or emerald, depending on the available budget. These types of rings are available in a variety of cuts, materials and stone settings, usually consisting of one main, centrepiece diamond or stone and smaller, precious details around it or along the band itself. There are around twelve common precious stone cuts including the princess, cushion, oval, brilliant round, pear and marquise cut.
For partners who favour a timeless, classic style, the brilliant round cut is an excellent choice. Someone who prefers a good design and practicality over bling, on the other hand, will appreciate a simple oval cut. Should you have a keen eye for beauty and design, you could even choose to go with a bespoke engagement ring for something truly unique.
While questions of style and budget are very important, there is a far more crucial aspect to this purchasing experience you should be taking into consideration, namely, where the materials for your chosen engagement rings are sourced.
Enter into marriage with a clean conscience by purchasing your ring from a recognized establishment offering traceable diamonds. While many professionals like to insist that the Kimberly Process guarantees conflict-free diamonds, the system unfortunately cannot guarantee this and you will only be sure if you look for diamonds such as some from Canada which are fully traceable.
Of course, it’s not only the origin of diamonds and precious stones we should be worrying about. If you want to ensure that the raw materials of your ring were sourced in a manner that supports good working conditions, fair wages and better opportunities for small mining communities, you should contemplate Fairtrade gold too.
Ingle & Rhode in London is a great example of a specialized jeweller that is not only known for fabulous and exclusive designs made by a team of talented craftsmen and women, but Fairtrade practices and a zero-tolerance policy on conflict diamonds. Known as “The Ethical Jeweller”, Ingle & Rhode’s diamonds are traceable to their original source thus, 100% Kimberly Certified without having fallen through any loopholes. If diamonds or Fairtrade gold aren’t quite what you’re after, they can create any bespoke gold or platinum ethical jewellery you require giving you a unique and entirely custom made design that is made in the UK.
People are quick to assume that an ethically sourced engagement ring is not economically viable to them when the truth is, fair trade jewellery is available to all budgets – and that does not mean you’ll have to compromise on the beauty and design either. Inform the jewellery sales person of your budget and you will see just how wide of a selection is available to you even on a minimal budget. Eco-conscious purchasing does not always equal steep prices, and the greater good will far outweigh your initial setback.
Sizing Up Your Choices
Don’t panic about how to get your ring sized without ruining the surprise for your partner – there are many ingenious ways to go about it and it will most certainly involve a little detective work. If possible, try and get a hold of one of your partner’s rings and try them on for size. If it fits any of your fingers, you’ll have the perfect indicator for the sales person at the shop. If you can’t seem to get any of your partner’s rings past your nailbed, you can always turn to the trusted internet to help you out. There are various sizing charts available online that will help you determine the size needed.
One thing to keep in mind before you start consulting the charts or measuring your finger with a piece of string, is your body temperature. You’ll want to make sure that you are at your natural temperature – i.e. neither hot nor cold – as this can drastically affect your sizing. If your hands are particularly cold you could note a difference of up to half a size. Last but not least, don’t forget that the width of the band will also play a role in sizing. If you are going for a wide band, it will always fit somewhat tighter than a thin band.
Photos courtesy of Ingle & Rhode
Guest Author Bio
Ingle & Rhode
Experts in ethical fine jewellery, having been established since 2007. Ingle & Rhode, based in London, aim to raise awareness of the issues of many of the diamonds still used in jewellery and rings today such as coming from conflict areas or being smuggled to other countries to receive ‘Kimberley Process Certification’. They are pioneers in ethical sourcing using only recycled or Fairtrade precious metals and producing all their jewellery in the UK.