Choosing an engagement ring

Choosing an engagement ring is one of the biggest decisions anyone makes in their life. The hardest part is knowing where to start as the process can be daunting – all this before the proposal! Here we have some excellent advice from David Rhode who is co-founder of Ingle & Rhode, an ethical jeweller based in London.

Below is a checklist of questions to ask a jeweller when beginning the process of buying a ring.

What design of engagement ring should I go for?

Design and style are very subjective and it’s important to understand what your partner would be happy to wear – for many years to come.

Going for a single or multiple stone is the first area your jeweller should help with – it’s important to consider a broad range of options.

And, classic and art deco influences are popular at the moment, so it is well worth considering whether your partner likes the art, architecture and fashion of a particular time period. Your jeweller should be able to steer you in the right direction on this.

How much do engagement rings cost?

As much as you want to pay! Cost should not decide the decision making process and reputable jewellers should be experienced and flexible enough to work to a range of prices. Set your budget and stick to it!

What stones shall I go for?

Diamonds are traditionally most popular, but understanding how these are graded will help you get to grips.

A diamond’s value is determined by its weight (carats) and its quality (colour, clarity and cut), collectively known as the four c’s The most important of the four C’s to ask a jeweller is the amount of carats, with one carat equal to one fifth of a gram. As well as this, the colour of diamonds is graded from D (perfect white) to Z (severely discoloured). In the same way, buyers can determine the number of imperfections in a stone by referring to 10 ratings from IF (Internally Flawless) to I3 (the lowest grade of clarity).

The ‘cut’ refers to the diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish and is related to how a diamond reflects and refracts light – essentially how much it sparkles

If colour is a priority for the engagement ring, then sapphires are a good alternative and these can come in yellow and pink as well as the more traditional royal blue. Coloured diamonds are graded on a different scale and can often be very expensive.

The term ‘Cut’ is frequently used to refer to the shape of a diamond. Still, in diamond grading, the ‘cut’ refers to the diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. This determines how well a diamond reflects and refracts light. Essentially, a stone with a poor cut won’t sparkle as much as one with a good cut.

Where do the diamonds come from?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where profits are often put before ethical considerations so help take the power back by demanding official proof – any jeweller should be able to produce certification that says where the diamond was mined from.

What options do I have with the band?

The three main choices your jeweller should present will be gold, platinum and silver. Beyond this however, many offer more sustainable options for the band. In addition to Fairtrade gold, many jewellers now sell rings made from recycled metal.

A number of refineries source only old materials which can be melted down and re-used, helping to reduce the social and environmental impact from gold and silver mining.

Three Sapphire Rings www.ingleandrhode.co.uk

With these five questions, navigating the sometimes daunting process of buying an engagement ring can be easier – it only leaves the most important question of all to be asked…

The best of luck to you!

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For more information on Ingle and Rhode, visit the website: ingleandrhode.co.uk

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