A Modern Man’s Guide To Choosing An Engagement Ring


So, you’re going to pop the question? Excellent. Good on you. Burt Bacharach was not wrong when he famously said what the world needs now is love, sweet love and you’re going to be one of the many chaps out there to start the marriage ball rolling. We don’t want to tell you how to do your thing when it comes to question time, that’s on you (no pressure). But we can, with the help of Taylor & Hart, provide a few tips on how to choose the perfect engagement ring.

It goes without saying that you should listen to your partner at all times but unbeknownst to you, when it comes to the ring, they’ve probably been leaving hints.

Once you’ve made the decision to propose, start asking them how they feel about other people’s proposals, taking note of their reactions to proposal stories or check what engagement ring designers they’re following on social media. You’ll be surprised at how easily the design will start to shape up in your head. Let their personality and lifestyle guide you through the process.

Set Yourself A Budget

The golden rule when it comes to budget is to spend what you are comfortable with. There’s no set amount you need to be spending and it’s worth noting the three months’ salary thing was a myth made up by an advertising campaign in the 1950s.

Deciding on a budget before you begin is key. Any reputable jeweller will offer good financing options, allowing you to split the total sum into portions that’ll be easier on your wallet.

The cost of an engagement ring is shaped by many factors such as metal, the size and quality of the diamond or coloured gemstone, gemstone provenance, as well as other variables. There are plenty of ways to balance those factors so that you don’t have to compromise on your design while getting the best value for your money.

Choosing The Rock

6-prong diamond engagement ring

When most people picture an engagement ring they think of the classic round diamond solitaire. But if you’re looking to move beyond the traditional for a more personal design, you need to know about the four Cs: carat weight, colour, clarity and cut. It’s not the case that the bigger the carat weight, the better the diamond is. Carats are just that – the weight of a diamond.

It’s actually the colour and clarity that contribute to a diamond’s outstanding sparkle. For round diamonds the cut is key and they carry a premium over fancy shaped diamonds because of the extra waste they produce in the cutting process.

Expert Tip: Choose a G/H colour and VS2 clarity. This combination looks stunning and does not carry the premium pricing of higher clarity and colour grades.

Shapes And Styles

Utopia ring – pear diamond centre and tapered baguettes set in platinum

When it comes to engagement ring styles, retailers will commonly refer to solitaires (single-stone rings), trilogies, pavé and halo designs. The latter two boast tiny diamonds closely set together either forming a line or a circle (halo) around the centre stone. Having these extra small diamonds will add to the overall cost of your ring, but will also make your centre stone appear larger, meaning that you can opt for a smaller (possibly less expensive) centre diamond. Plain-band styles, on the other hand, can be easily personalised with hand engraving and milgrain details.

The shape of the gemstones makes a huge difference to the overall design. Shapes like round, oval or cushion are considered more traditional and boast stunning internal fire, while others, such as emerald and asscher cut gemstones have an aristocratic flair and go very well with vintage designs.

Your choice will depend on your partner’s preferences so be sure to do your detective work without giving the game away.

An Alternative Style Of Rock

Ruby engagement ring

Fancy coloured stones have a unique appeal and are worth considering when choosing an engagement ring. Does your partner have a signature colour that they wear day to day?

Sapphires are a great choice because they come in every colour of the rainbow (not just blue) and look stunning on every skin tone. Rubies vary from bright pink to deep dark red and are often chosen because of their symbolism. Emeralds are a great option for nature lovers.

Considering The Metal

Sapphire engagement ring in rose gold

A classic choice for diamond rings is platinum as it’s the least prone to scratches and requires very little maintenance. Blue gemstones shine brightest when set in rose gold due to the materials’ colour contrast, but yellow gold has seen an overall spike in popularity over recent years.

The most affordable option is white gold, but bear in mind that white gold needs to be re-plated in rhodium every few years in order to keep its white lustre, otherwise it fades back to yellow gold, so it might be more expensive in the long term.

Do not underestimate the creative potential of metals. Jewellers can do wonders with the finish – whether polished, matte, brushed, pebbled – and they can add filigree and milgrain details for added texture.

Alternatively, Design The Ring Together

Life is stressful enough without having to worry about ruining the perfect proposal with an unfortunate ring choice. Ditch the guesswork and go for something simple and unique. You can even propose with a ‘proposal ring’, which is an affordable placeholder option where, after your partner says yes, you design the real engagement ring together.

This will ensure you’ve both created something deeply meaningful together, which in the end, is what it’s all about.


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