Your partner will never have received such an important piece of jewellery, so each step in the decision-making process needs to be considered carefully. After all, an engagement ring is a symbol of your love for your partner, so follow this guide to make sure it’s as special as she is.
The average cost of an engagement ring in the UK is £1,483, but not everybody is in a position to splurge on pricey jewellery. When there’s rent, bills and other expenses to cover, setting and sticking to a budget will make choosing an engagement ring much easier. You can then consider the different factors that impact the cost, and make decisions in line with what you can afford. For example, Taylor & Hart claim you can get a bigger diamond for a cheaper price if you go for a lab-grown option, which could “one day cost just 10% of naturally occurring earth-mined diamonds”. It’s also less expensive to choose a gemstone shape that isn’t round; a pear, heart or emerald for example. This is because round ones are cut from larger diamonds. And when it comes to precious metals, silver and yellow gold are more affordable than platinum and white gold.
The best engagement ring will be tailored to the preferences of the lady in your life so think about what she would most be drawn to. You can get clues by looking at the jewellery she already owns to see which colours, styles and materials she tends to choose, or ask her family and friends for ideas. Also consider the clothes she typically wears to get a sense of her personal style, and work out what would go well with it. For example, an overly flashy ring is less likely to appeal to someone with a simple, classic dress style.
Diamonds remain the most obvious choice, ever since a very effective ad campaign by De Beers which enabled the brand to increase wholesale diamond sales in the US from $23 million to $2.1 billion between 1939 and 1979. Though the perception endures that diamonds are the norm, you may want to consider making a statement with a different gemstone. Kate Middleton brought sapphires into the spotlight when Prince William proposed to her in 2010. Emerald, ruby and topaz engagement rings also make striking alternatives.
These are all generally cheaper than diamonds, which means that you may be able to afford a larger stone. Alternatively, if you decide to forgo a solitaire style for another ring setting, you could include a wider selection of gems, such as a three-stone engagement ring with a large central emerald and two smaller diamonds.
Selecting the right seller is as important as the engagement ring itself. It’s always worth shopping around to see what’s available on the market and comparing prices. According to Jewelry Wise, there are 10 questions to ask before choosing a jeweller.
1. Do they offer guidance without being overwhelming, and take your views into account?
2. Does the jeweller have a good reputation?
3. Do they offer additional services, like repairs, resizing and custom designs?
4. Is there a range of jewellery to choose from?
5. Can they answer your questions with certainty, and know what they’re talking about?
6. Can they provide third-party certification from an independent body like the GIA to detail the quality and characteristics of the gemstone.
7. Will they show you the 4Cs — cut, colour, carat and clarity — and talk you through the grading process so you can appreciate what you’re buying.
8. Can they verify the quality of the metal the ring is made of?
9. What are their warranty and return policies?
10. Are they trustworthy? Referrals from previous customers, and further research on sites like Yelp may help reaffirm any good feelings you already have.
Just like a car or mobile phone, an engagement ring is an incredibly valuable purchase which is well worth protecting, and as such, it’s sensible to take out engagement ring insurance. The jewellery may already be covered by your home contents or personal possessions insurance policies if you have these, but you should be sure to check the terms and conditions, as you’ll probably need to manually add the ring to your policy if it’s valued at more than £1,500. There are also some companies who offer dedicated engagement ring insurance, which covers accidental loss, damage and theft.
However you decide to secure your insurance, make sure you tell your provider to cover the ring both inside and outside the home. Hopefully nothing will ever happen to your bride-to-be’s dream engagement ring, but at least you’re guaranteed an amazing replacement if worse comes to worst.