Posted on December 21, 2012

Put a ring on it – How to find the perfect engagement ring

Accessoires/ Romantique
Christmas time is engagement time – I’m sure every one of you who is married and was given an engagement ring, became a connoisseur of diamonds during the search for the perfect engagement ring. After all, the engagement ring symbolises a lifetime together.
I was lucky enough to be given a diamond from Mr Romantique’s mother: The sentimental value of a stone like this cannot be paid for!
We already had the stone, but the search for the setting and the actual ring was quite overwhelming and confusing!
During hours of internet research and having spoken to many jewellers, from big names to smaller family jewellers, we learned a lot about rings, diamonds and the process of making them.
Here are my key lessons learned from our ring research which I hope will help you finding your perfect engagement:
 
The Diamond
The 4 C’s: Clarity, Cut, Colour and Carat Weight determine the quality of the diamond. You can read more details about it here.
In my opinion, a 0.6 – 1.2 carat diamond is the perfect size. This of course also depends on your budget. Everything above 1.2 carat can look tacky and worse, like costume jewellrey.  I prefer the centuries old Brilliant cut which shows off the diamond to it’s perfection, making it sparkle in 100000 ways.
The Setting
The setting of the ring is the construction that holds the diamond. It consist of the band and the setting.Prong/Claw setting:Did you know that Tiffany is not only  a diamond authority and the market leader in engagement rings, but they also set the trend for the band and style of the engagement ring? Every 10 years Tiffany changes this style and the whole world of jewellery tends to follow. At the moment, this Tiffany setting is a solitaire diamond held by a 6 prong claw setting. The prong setting pulls the diamond up into the light and at the same time protects the diamond.

I went for the classic Tiffany setting as it is minimalistic and beautiful and will fit with every style of clothes. The shank of my ring, featuring the small “windows” has been around for hundreds of years, I loved the idea of such a timeless ring.


The myth says that the claw (prong) setting lets through more light than a bezel setting, which surrounds the diamond like a turtleneck jumper. That’s not actually true because diamonds are designed to reflect light from the top, not from the sides or the bottom. So don’t be put off by a bezel setting. The below pic shows my engagement diamond in it’s original setting before we had it reset.
Metal

White gold, platinum, gold or even rose gold? These are the questions when looking for a ring. It depends on your budget (platinum is 40% more expensive than white gold) and also on your preference. Various jeweller told us that platinum is more malleable, i.e. if you hit your ring accidentally, the whole setting of the ring might shift, whereas gold will scratch.
Both metals need maintenance once every two years: Platinum needs polishing and white gold needs rhodium plating to preserve the white colour. I chose the white gold simply because I like a ring to get scratched a bit rather than the high polish look of the platinum.

Hand crafted versus cast rings

A “cast” ring is a one where the jeweller uses a “ready made” design, in which your stone is set. This is typically what can be found in high street jewellers with attractive retail pricing and many standard designs to choose from.   There is nothing inherently wrong with these designs – many look fabulous – but if you’re wanting something that is unique and/or designed to seamlessly show off a certain stone, you need to go for a bespoke crafted piece. This means that you specify what you want, and the jeweller makes it.  Jewellers won’t tell you this, but most bespoke rings will also be based on a skeleton cast made of your chosen metal, around which your design is built.  This saves labour costs, and makes the end product more cost effective and shouldn’t in any way be viewed as a negative.

My ring was handmade, it is slightly tapered to make the diamond look bigger. I chose the band itself to be a bit bigger to give it a weightier feel and because wider bands are a better fit for my hands. This is the widest I could get, without overpowering the diamond.

Me being a happy bunny with the new engagement ring.

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