Our simple guide covers the essentials you need to understand or have decided on when you are planning your purchase.
This is practical engagement ring advice. You don’t have to be in the jewellery trade to understand it!
Where a ring contains one or more diamonds, these will account for the greatest portion of the ring’s cost. The quality of the stone will directly affect the ring’s price and value. Other stones will impact cost on a sliding scale, dependent on the type. Heirloom will advise on the right stone for you, dependent on your needs.
The part of the ring which secures the stones. There are a variety of settings available, which give a ring it’s personality. This has the biggest influence over the ring design, different stone shapes may dictate particular settings. This is where we consider personal style, and ensure that it matches. You can see the basic settings on the final tab.
The band is the metal encircling the finger of the wearer. There are a wealth of considerations here to, from size, to finishes as well as style. The term shank is less commonly used, but one you may hear. Dependent on finger shape, bands may be narrow or wide, straight or shaped. The advantages and disadvantages of different designs will be explained.
The hallmark identifies the type and purity of the metal which has been used in the band and the setting. In the UK jewellery sold as precious is required by law to be hallmarked when it is over a certain weight – otherwise it cannot claim to be the description. Heirloom mainly offers 18Kt yellow gold, and 950 Platinum, as being the most hardwearing yellow and white precious metals respectively. Read more in our metals section.
If your intended has always styled herself like a rock chick, then potentially a classic setting is not going to work on her. Likewise, if she dresses like Audrey Hepburn, ultra-modern style is going to seem a little out of place. She will wear this ring every day. Make sure the ring is her.
Does she teach pilates, or work in an office? Does she have or work with young children, is her passion DIY or is she a chef? Little things, but there is no point buying a skyscraper diamond setting, if she’s going to be severely limited when she can wear it because it won’t fit under her cycling gloves.
Her jewellery box may comprise mainly white jewellery. In which case choosing her a yellow engagement ring unless she’s specifically requested it may not be the most practical approach. Go with the leading colour.
If she isn’t already directing the whole process, and you are confident, you can ask her a few questions. Bear in mind, you can be as subtle as you like – you may be rumbled even if you don’t know you have been!
If you’re going past a jeweller pretend to be interested in a watch. Then casually drop a comment about the styles of rings, saying you like a certain type and asking her what she likes. If you’re very good, she won’t notice the ruse. If you’re more like the general population, she’ll probably put two and two together but she still won’t know when!
You could try making a comment about a friend’s engagement ring to see if you get a reaction/opinion from her.
This will depend on whether or not you want them to know before she does, but if you were planning on seeking her father’s permission first, then may be helpful.
They may be able to canvas some opinion from a celebrity engagement ring, or again discussion on mutual friend’s ring. Pick one you know will be behind the idea, and can keep quiet about it! This is not always the best option if you’d prefer to keep it quiet until the moment of the proposal!
In addition, you may already have received some hints from her directly – does any of the following sound familiar?
Take a ring she wears now – most likely on the ring finger of her right hand and;
From any of these we can then determine her proper size. If you’ve ‘borrowed’ a ring we can tell you instantly so you can replace it quietly and quickly! It is worth noting, that if she is right handed, is likely that her ring finger will be slightly larger on this hand. However you can discuss this with your consultant.
If she doesn’t wear any rings, all is not lost, although you may need some help..
If all this fails the other option is to go for a ‘safe size’.
In the UK the average ring size for engagement rings is N. By now with all the sleuthing you’ve been doing, you should have an idea of whether this seems like a safe bet, or whether you’ll still need something larger. Most ring resizing is fairly straightforward, and will leave the engagement ring as perfect as when you received it. A good jewellery consultant will advise you on this.
The original engagement setting where the stone is visible from all sides for maximum brilliance. A classic choice that appeals to a wide variety of tastes.
The stone is held high by raised shoulders that help to protect the diamond. Timeless, elegant, for a stylish woman who favors the traditional
The stone is framed in platinum, keeping it secure and adding an illusion of size. Clean and modern, especially suited to someone with an active lifestyle.
The stone is surrounded by a band of platinum or diamond melee, framing it to appear like a halo. A classic vintage look that appeals to the modern woman.