Nine Key Decisions You Have to Make When Buying an Engagement Ring

01. Diamond vs Coloured Stone

The age-old debate of what is the best gemstone for your engagement ring generally comes down to is your gemstone of choice a diamond or gemstone that contains a distinct colour. The basis of this debate stems from the most popular type of diamond is the colourless variety. For it is important to note that diamonds also come in certain hues (known as fancy coloured diamonds). When it comes to coloured gemstones, the ‘colours’ of gemstones are usually categorized by their three (or four) most popular types: blue for sapphires, red for rubies, green for emeralds and purple for amethysts. 

02. Pre-Design or Custom Design 

The decision to go with an existing or pre-designed ring vs is an important factor to consider in your engagement ring purchasing journey. This choice usually comes down to the extent of the selection of rings that the jeweller has to offer when it comes to pre-design or custom designed rings. Whilst most jewellers have engagement ring inventories of various sizes, this may vary depending on the company you choose. When it comes to going for a custom design, this is a choice that comes down to the character and authority of the jeweller of your choice. Reputable jewellers often have reliable in-house design teams, that are able to get your engagement rings custom made. Making things interesting, rings today which are pre-designed can also be subject to further customisation, which is important in making this decision.

03. Natural Stone vs Created Stone

Natural stones are sourced directly from nature and are subjected to minimal modification in controlled (i.e. artificial) environments. Created or synthetic stones are those which are made in laboratories using elements that make up the basic chemistry of the natural gemstones they are meant to replace or be a substitute for. When it comes to choosing between natural and created stones, there are a number of factors to consider: the price, availability, gemstone quality and importantly for many, the ethical character of the stone. Natural stones are generally more expensive, with created ones considered to be the more ethical choice and come with fewer inclusions.

04. Premium Price vs Budget Option

This is an interesting question, for when it comes to fine jewellery like engagement rings the price generally tends to be higher (i.e. usually starts around $ 1200 +). This might be considered a budget price, which in turn corresponds to the quality of the ring with respect to the fundamentals: the metal band, gemstone type, character and size etc. When going for a premium-priced engagement ring, essentially means you’re ring scores higher on each of these elements: larger stone, premium ring design, high-grade metal (e.g. platinum 95). Basically, there are countless factors that determine an engagement ring’s price, what matters what are you going to choose, as the song by American singer: Don McLean ‘the more you pay the more it's worth’ goes, the bigger your budget the better the final quality of the ring. However, this does not mean that a lower price necessarily means an inferior product, for if you play your cards right (right jeweller, customisation, right design of if you bring your own gemstone) then you may end up with a quality budget engagement ring. 

05. Minimalism vs Maximalism

Minimalism is an artistic movement that sprung up in the middle of the last century that valued simplicity. Maximalism is a reactionary movement that arose in response to the believed limitations and restrictions of the minimalist period and the styles that resulted from it. When it comes to the world of engagement rings if you choose to go for a minimalist design you are going for a ring that plays down the extravagance and keeps the fundamentals in place. When it comes to minimalist ring designs, a basic solitaire ring design could be a good choice. For a maximalist design, a filigree design with numerous side stones could be the way to go. However, the choice between a minimalist and maximalist ring design isn't all that simple. 

06. Online Purchase vs Jewellery Shop

This is an important point since in recent times a considerable percentage of jewellery purchases are now moving online. One of the key factors to consider when it comes to jewellery purchases, online or physical shop is the security and reliability of the product. When it comes to online purchases there is there a natural uncertainty that accompanies the purchase. Hence it is important to verify the authenticity of the jeweller. Here, besides having a working site, with a decent range of products, it is important to seek direct, human contact. Online jewellers often have a larger range of products, in addition to great freedom for optimisations. And importantly a history of serving customers is evident via reviews. For direct shop purchase, the physical presence may act as an assurance, and to know that you can feel your future rings. However physical shops usually come with a limited range, unless they also have an online presence. Jewellers today tend to provide both, or at least have some kind of on the ground, physical presence in addition to solid online jewellery presence.

07. Locally or Internationally

When it comes to purchasing fine jewellery the location of your potential jeweller is an important choice. Depending on who you want to purchase your engagement ring from a local jeweller who serves a small market, a large global jeweller who has an international presence, who may be able to serve your local region, town etc. When it comes to choosing between the two, this is not always a straightforward decision. Since familiarity is one key factor that drives a purchasing decision. Which could mean a local jewellery store you have known for much of your life, or a popular jewellery company that has built a reputation and has made its mark around the world. Whatever way you choose to go, the key point is the quality of the final product. Is your engagement ring worth your time, effort and money, and if you can find a solid deal it does not matter if the jewellery store is local or international; what does matter however is the effect on price. If you're going for an international jeweller: such as a company that is registered abroad, the products may be subjected to import taxes, and other potential duties, which will have an effect on the price. However, this is not always the case, if the company has local branches and manufacturing. On the other, some international jewellers are able to simply provide a better price point. However, here it is best to keep in mind delivery times, cost and after-sales support.

08. Surprise or Plan Together

The act of proposing can be a straightforward process or a more secretive matter. Either way, the goal remains the same: to make your future wife the happiest she has ever been. When it comes to the act (or the art) of proposing, the element of surprise is always good. Even if the two of you share and plan most aspects of your life, there comes a moment when you want to bring a bit of uncertainty into the mix. Or if you want everything to happen in open light, with your partner knowing every step: from the planning, buying ring, build and proposal it is important to keep certain fundamentals in mind. When it comes to proposing, the element of surprise is always going to be a part of it. The question is how much of a surprise. For if your aim is to keep her completely in the dark, then this will involve greater coordination with your jeweller: from getting to know her ring preferences: gemstone, metal type, ring size, and other additions like engravings. Knowing this information, or being able to get it in a way without sending too many signals is key. Then when you have your ring ready, getting it home without her noticing it is another challenge, a logistical one that requires secrecy. The question is can your jeweller be up to the task. Next, if you want to plan it all out together, you can still add an element of surprise that will lift her spirits to a new level. There are many variables that relate to the art of proposing, which we have dealt with expansively The Art of Proposing.

09. With or Without a Wedding Ring

This is an interesting one since engagement ring purchases are usually made solo: meaning the buyer usually picks their favourite design and then move forward with the proposal and then returns later for the wedding rings. Which could potentially also include the one for the man. When it comes to buying engagement rings, you can opt to go with combined two rings: known as bridal sets: Here both the engagement ring and wedding are packaged together, and in addition to the simplicity of purchase, the buyer stands to receive a significant discount on both ring prices. So this might present a dilemma for the proposer, but there are a few points you need to know when deciding between proposing without or without a wedding ring. The latter is a cost-effective option, but it is reserved for the brave. Are you one of them?