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How To Pick The Perfect Engagement Ring

How To Pick The

Perfect Engagement Ring

First of all, congratulations! If you’re reading this then chances are you’ve found someone amazing, and you’re considering asking them one of the biggest questions of your life. That’s tremendously exciting and romantic and brave, and we’re delighted for you.

Actually getting down on one knee, however, can also be pretty daunting. Where to do it, how to do it, what you include in your little speech beforehand - all these things need to be considered, and sadly we’re not going to be of much use in that respect.

There is one thing we can help with though - the ring. Choosing the right engagement ring is a pretty vital ingredient in any proposal, and getting it right can be tricky.

But don’t worry - we’re here to help. Not to brag, but rings are kind of our speciality, and with our guide you’re sure to find something special that’s going to be perfect for the big moment.


Homework

If you want to really get this right, then the first step is going to involve a bit of homework.

You’re going to need to look at the jewellery of your soon-to-be betrothed (any rings, a favourite bracelet or pair of earrings), to get an idea of what type of ring they're really going to love. The pieces to focus on are those that they wear the most often.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

Do they tend to wear yellow metal or white metal? Or do they freely mix and match?

This Victorian ruby and diamond ring is mounted in rich yellow gold, beautifully offsetting its central stone.
The platinum mount of this Edwardian ‘toi et moi’ style ring brings out the icy white of its diamonds.
This sapphire and diamond cluster is a good example of mixed metals - the band is yellow gold, but the setting is in platinum.

What colours do they like? Delicate pastel shades, bright bold colours or minimal monochrome?

Rings with subtly coloured stones, like this aquamarine ring, are a great choice for lovers of pastel shades.
Stones like this pink sapphire are a great choice for a bright pop of colour.
Or you can stick with classic monochrome, like this Edwardian diamond ring.

What style of jewels do they wear? Big and chunky, or small and sleek? Adventurous or traditional?

This extraordinary Belle Epoque sapphire and diamond ring is a brilliant choice for the more adventurous jewellery collector.
Three-stone rings are a great choice for more traditional styles, and they’re very easy to wear next to a wedding ring.
Three-stone rings are a great choice for more traditional styles, and they’re very easy to wear next to a wedding ring.
This extraordinary Belle Epoque sapphire and diamond ring is a brilliant choice for the more adventurous jewellery collector.

…but what if they don't wear jewellery?

If you haven’t got any examples to go by, then look more broadly at their clothes and personal style. What’s their favourite colour to wear? Do they like a particular era of fashion, or do they admire a particular celebrity for their sense of style? All of these can help you get started.

If you’re still finding it hard to find the right fit, then try reaching out discreetly to one of their close friends - perhaps they can shed some light? And remember, we can always offer you advice as well!


Styles

Once you have a basic idea of what you’re looking for, you have some options to consider. Rings come in a number of different styles.

Solitaire
A solitaire rings has a single stone, as the name implies. For engagement rings, this single stone is most commonly a diamond.
Two-Stone
Two-stone rings are often known as ‘toi-et-moi’, or ‘you and me’. They’re surprisingly rare designs nowadays, and have a wonderfully romantic name.
Three-Stone
Three stones, laid out next to each other. in any combination of coloured stones and diamonds, all the same size, or with smaller side stones to emphasise the centre.
Five-Stone
Five-stone rings have been popular for centuries but we particularly favour those made in the Victorian era, in yellow gold with beautiful scrolled sides, and tiny little rose diamonds filling the spaces between the stones. Delightful.
Cluster
Clusters are a great way to place emphasis on a beautiful central stone, are surprisingly versatile and wearable, and can be great protective settings for slightly more fragile central stones like emerald.
Eternity
Eternity rings come in two types - half eternities (the stones go only across the front, and the back is plain), or full eternities (the stones go all the way around). Traditionally they symbolise ongoing commitment to each other.

Eras

Whether it’s the charm of a Georgian cluster or the slick geometry of an Art Deco design, we have great vintage and antique engagement rings from all eras.

Georgian (1714 - 1830)
Characterised by early cut stones such as old mine, rose and table cut diamonds, along with foil-backed gemstones such as pink and imperial topaz, old Ceylon sapphires, and Burmese rubies.
Victorian (1837 - 1901)
Marked by romance and grandeur. Rings set with cameos and intaglios, snake motifs, beautiful five-stone rings, along with rare gemstones such chrysoberyl, and demantoid garnets.
Edwardian (1901 - 1915)
The birth of platinum jewellery - in delicate, ornate designs (think laurel wreaths and bows), contrasted with the decadent, poetic style of Art Nouveau.
Art Deco (1915 - 1945)
Clean, geometric designs, and a stone cutting revolution - baguette diamonds and industrial designs created a stylish aesthetic that feels as fresh now as it did in the 1920s.
Mid Century (1945 - 1965)
Cocktail jewels were popularised in period, defined by larger-than-life designs in exuberant colours and unusual stone combinations which were a hit in post-war Europe and America.
Art Deco (1915 - 1945)
Clean, geometric designs, and a stone cutting revolution - baguette diamonds and industrial designs created a stylish aesthetic that feels as fresh now as it did in the 1920s.
Mid Century (1945 - 1965)
Cocktail jewels were popularised in period, defined by larger-than-life designs in exuberant colours and unusual stone combinations which were a hit in post-war Europe and America.

Durability

Whichever style and era float your boat, people tend to wear their engagement rings every day, so if you want it to stand the test of time, there are a couple more things to consider when making your choice.

Some stones are harder than others. For an engagement ring, go for hard stones, that will withstand moderate daily wear. The best options for this are diamonds, sapphires, rubies, spinels, tourmalines, aquamarines, garnets, and topaz.

Emeralds are also a popular choice, but it’s best to keep them in protective settings as they’re quite brittle. As long as they’re set correctly and treated with care, however, then they make a great choice for an engagement ring.

For engagement rings, it’s best to avoid pearls, coral, turquoise and opals, simply because they’re softer and more prone to damage if worn every day. Nevertheless, they make fantastic stones when set in rings for occasional wear.

 

How do you know if a setting is protective?

You can judge whether a setting is protective or not by looking at two things - how far the setting sticks out from the finger when it is worn, and how much the sides of the stone are covered by the setting. Simply put, the more it sticks out, the more likely it’s going to get the occasional knock. For maximum durability, the edges and corners of the stone should be adequately covered by claws, or even entirely covered by a collet setting, so when it does inevitably get knocked, it’s the metal and not the stone that take the hit. Not to worry though - all our rings are checked for condition and durability, and we’re happy to talk through any concerns.

Finally, it’s common sense, but even the hardest, most protectively-set stones can still scratch if they’re not treated right. Take them off when doing things like gardening and washing up, or more adventurous activities like rock climbing, cage fighting or crocodile wrestling.


Sizing

Short of somehow measuring their finger with a tape measure, or resorting to ‘borrowing’ a ring they wear to get the right size, it can be difficult to get an accurate idea of the best ring size to go for without giving the game away. We recommend having the size gauged by a professional jeweller, but luckily, if it doesn’t fit, there’s no need to despair - our rings are offered with complimentary one-time size adjustment where possible.


Budget

Finally, the all important question! Start typing ‘how much…’ into Google, and one of the most frequent questions that appears below is ‘How much should I spend on an engagement ring?’. It’s a common dilemma.

Of course, the answer to that is relative to how much you can afford. The traditional rule of thumb is three months’ salary, but frankly, that’s an advertising campaign from De Beers. Take it with a pinch of salt.

Our advice is to go with your own feelings and your own budget (your savings and your salary). This is a very important purchase, so treat it as such, and prepare to be generous. Spend enough money that you feel like it’s a bigger purchase than normal for your circumstances, but at the same time, don’t feel like you have to bankrupt yourself - with the variety of different designs we have in stock, we can fit pretty much any budget.


Lastly...

Above all, remember that you are buying for pleasure - prioritise choosing the ring they will like the most, and let that guide you.

Don't forget, you can also ask us! With a name like ‘Antique Ring Boutique’, it’s pretty much our job anyway, and we’re always happy to help! Get in touch - no question too great or small, we promise.