With Christmas and New Year approaching, followed swiftly by Valentine’s Day, we are rapidly heading to a busy few months for engagements! If you are planning to join the majority of British men who buy a diamond engagement ring, you will want to make sure you choose the ‘right’ ring! Some couples choose the ring together and this certainly makes for a much more straightforward process! But what if you want to go it alone and surprise her…?
Engagement rings can cost a substantial amount of money (all women know the old adage that her fiancé will spend at least a month’s salary on her ring!), but you are also about to purchase something which will be a permanent recognition of the commitment you are about to make to your future wife.
The custom of giving an engagement ring is believed to have started in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond ring to celebrate their imminent engagement. He placed it on the third finger of her left hand – the finger believed by ancient Egyptians to have a vein that led straight to the heart.
Choosing an Engagement Ring
The Four Cs
Jewellers usually refer to the Four C’s when talking about engagement rings – cut, colour, clarity and carat. Generally speaking, from a design point of view, you need to focus on the cut. Your fiancé may also be interested in the carat, as this is widely seen to be the measure of a ‘good’ ring… Colour and clarity will be explained to you by any reputable and trusted jeweller, such as Nigel O’Hara, a diamond jeweller with years of experience and knowledge.
Cut: The cut basically determines the shape of the diamond. The most common shape is the round cut, but others include the pear, the marquise, the princess, the oval, the heart and the emerald/square cut.
Carat: The weight, and therefore the size, of a diamond is measured by carat. A carat is equal to 0.2gm, or 200mgm. A carat is divided into 100 smaller units called points. For example, three-quarters of a carat is 75 points. The average size of most engagement-ring diamonds is somewhere between one carat and half a carat.
How much should I pay?
Obviously, how much you spend is a personal matter, but you will no doubt hear that one to two months’ salary is the ‘expected’ norm. This ‘rule’ seems to be a guide which the diamond companies have introduced and promoted, and it is totally arbitrary! Spend whatever you like and can realistically afford…
Choosing a style…
One way to find out what she likes is to look at the style of jewellery she regularly wears.
Does she prefer contemporary, classic or vintage? Does she favour white gold, yellow gold, two-tone (white and yellow gold) or platinum (currently the most popular metal for engagement rings)?
The a classic diamond solitaire remains the most popular design for engagement, but there are many ways to ‘present’ a solitaire ring, e.g. set within a band, in a basket setting or set high on ‘prongs’, so think carefully before making your choice! Other options include ‘flower clusters’ of diamonds, or three stone set rings…
Above all, take your time, do your research and don’t make a rushed decision!
If you want to look at some different designs, take a look at Nigel O’Hara’s diamond rings, you’ll be sure to find plenty of ideas and inspiration!
Category: Fashion & Bling