It was once the case that engagements were always a surprise. The man would plan an elaborate event where he would get down on bended knee and present the ring to their shocked and (hopefully) delighted fiancée.
These days, however, it is much more common for women to choose their own engagement ring. Engagements are very often planned in advance, discussed and put in place by the couple, rather than the rather archaic idea of it being a surprise question put forward by the man.
This means that women can now not only choose but even design the ring of their dreams, which is much more preferable than rely on the hapless man to choose a ring they will love. After all, this is probably the most expensive piece of jewellery you will ever buy, and something you will wear every day for a lifetime, so you should make the most of it!
Here is how to design the engagement ring you will love wearing every day.
Plan Your Design
Choosing the design for your engagement ring can be a complex matter, with so many options and alternatives to choose between. Taking the time to do a little research and explore your options will more than pay off in the end, allowing you to create the perfect ring that will last a lifetime.
The first decision you need to make when designing your ring is whether to feature a diamond or another precious stone. You may think of an engagement ring as being a diamond ring, and indeed the vast majority of engagement rings are diamond solitaires or settings of multiple diamonds. However, it not unheard of to have engagement rings featuring emeralds, sapphires, rubies or other precious stones, either as a complement to a diamond, or by themselves. This is in fact a more traditional approach if going back to the early 20th or 19th centuries, so great for brides with vintage tastes. It is also a lovely option for those who are looking for something a little different. On the other hand, diamonds are so wildly popular for good reason: they are durable, valuable, and have unparalleled sparkle, especially at high clarity (more on this later).
Cut, Carats, Color & Clarity
If you choose to have a diamond or diamonds on your ring, you’ll need to make sure you get the right one, as quality can vary significantly. It is often said that diamonds come down to the four C’s: cut, color, clarity and carat. To most people diamonds all have the same color, but there are in fact great variations in diamond color, from completely colorless to yellow. These may not be easily visible to the amateur eye, but this can make a big difference to the overall appearance of the diamond.
The clarity of the diamond refers to the number of imperfections. Most diamonds have imperfections, even high quality ones, so this is not about finding a stone which is absolutely perfect (categorised as VVS2 or better), but rather with few imperfections. Most diamonds old are in the range of VS1-VS2 for clarity, whose imperfections will unlikely be noticeable to the naked eye. The carats refers to the size (or more specifically the weight) of the diamond, and this will largely be determined by your budget. Keep in mind, however, that bigger is not always better, and the size should be suitable for the setting you want. Stones are usually sold by 1 carat, ½ carat, ¾ carat and so on, so it is sometimes possible to get a bargain by buying one at just below one of these standard sizes, for example a 0.9 carat stone.
The cut is perhaps the most important of all, because a high quality cut can improve the appearance of diamonds that a lacking in other areas. On the other hand, diamonds with excellent color and clarity can look dull if they are poorly cut. When choosing your diamond, check the cut grade and aim for a stone with Very Good or Excellent cut grade, also verifying that the symmetry and polish are to a high standard.
Whether a diamond or another kind of precious stone, the next step in designing your engagement ring is to choose the setting. There are many options here: solitaire, halo, rubover, contemporary, diamond shoulders, trilogy, and more. In the end this will come down to your person taste and what looks the most appealing to your eye. Browse catalogues and magazines to see what strikes a chord with you.
You’ll also need to consider the shape of the stone itself and how this fits in with the setting. Unless you have a particular setting in mind that means otherwise, generally a round cut stone is the way to go. This shape gives the stone the maximum brilliance and sparkle, especially when it comes to diamonds.
Place Your Order
Now you have settled on the design for your perfect ring, all that is left is to place your order. These days, you have the option to go to a bricks and mortar store, or your ring order online. Ordering online can be tempting: there are ecommerce stores which offer a large number of customization and self-design options. However, ordering online also carries a number of risks, namely in not being able to check and verify in person the quality of the stone, setting and workmanship before it is finalised.
There are some great options for bespoke engagement rings in Hatton Garden, where you can design or customise your own ring and choose the diamond you want. Visiting a reputable jeweller like these means you can be assured of the quality and see it in person right from the start.