Engagement Ring Buyer's Guide

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The classic engagement ring is composed of two parts, a diamond and a setting. For the best value, find the setting she'll love then devote the remainder of your budget to a beautiful, certified diamond.

How much should I spend?

This is an emotional event, and a purchase that will last a lifetime. The two-months salary convention is a common starting point, but we believe that regardless of the amount you budget, your most important considerations should be quality and value.

This guide will help you choose a setting your partner will love, and decide on the right combination of diamond size and quality, so you're sure to choose the perfect ring.

Choosing the right ring.

Discovering what kind of ring they like can be a challenge if you want to keep your proposal a secret. We'll give you a list of all the points you'll need to know before you begin shopping, as well as some secret methods for discovering their ring size as well as their taste in engagement rings.

You partner is going to wear this ring for the rest of their life, so you want to ensure they like it. Whether you want your proposal to be a surprise, or to involve your partner in the decision, here are the decisions you'll need to make:

Gold or Platinum?

If you're unsure what ring metal to choose, consider the differences between 18k gold and platinum:

Platinum: the strongest, most pure metal. It will last a lifetime.

    * More expensive
    * Platinum jewellery is composed of 90-95% pure platinum. It is more rare than gold
    * Strongest jewellery metal
    * Resistant to damage
    * Won't wear away
    * Develops a satin finish
    * Difficult to polish, repair
    * Won't tarnish

Platinum is a white metal (looking similar to silver), but unlike gold it is used in jewellery in almost its pure form (approximately 95% pure). The other 5% is usually made from other metals such as gold, nickel, iridium, palladium, rhodium, or ruthenium. Platinum does not need to be Rhodium plated like white gold, as it is extremely resilient. In fact, its durability is what makes Platinum so popular. It is so strong that it doesn't splinter or whittle away like other metals, and will not need to be reinforced to make it stronger.

While it is the strongest of jewellery metals, platinum can still scratch with everyday wear. This produces sheen unique to platinum, called a patina. Many people prefer this finish. Those who prefer the shiny reflective look need only polish their jewellery to return it to its original lustre.

Platinum requires little care - a soft bristled brush with a solution of soap and water is all that is needed to maintain the metal's lustre.

Platinum usually costs roughly 2-4 times as much as the same piece of jewellery made in gold. This is due to the extreme heat and techniques necessary for its manufacture, as well as its density. The specific gravity of platinum is 21.5, which is somewhat heavier than gold, and so a platinum ring will feel heavier than an 18ct gold ring.

Gold: the most common engagement ring setting.

    * Less expensive
    * Mixed with metal alloys to give it strength
    * Softer, malleable metal
    * More easily damaged
    * Will wear away over years
    * Easy to polish, repair
    * Won't tarnish

Gold is naturally yellow in colour and will not tarnish, corrode or rust and is the most malleable of all metals. Pure gold is defined as 24 carat, and is too soft for most jewellery uses, so it is alloyed (mixed) with other metals to alter its properties, strength and colour.

The purity of gold is measured in carats, which are expressed in 24ths. Therefore, 24-carat gold is pure while 12-carat gold 50% gold and 50% alloy.

24 Carat: This is pure gold and is too soft for jewellery
22 Carat: 91.7% gold and too soft for jewellery
18 Carat: 75% gold and used for fine jewellery
14 Carat: 58.3% gold and used for good quality jewellery
12 Carat: 50% gold and used for jewellery of a fair quality
9 Carat: 37.5% gold, most commonly used metal in UK.

NB: Do not confuse metal carat with diamond carat; diamond carat refers to the weight of a diamond, while metal carat means the purity of the gold.

Keep gold jewellery away from chemicals and cleaning fluids to reduce daily scratches and prolong its lustre. Wash the jewellery gently with a soft-bristled brush using a solution of detergent-free soap and warm water. Store gold pieces separately in their original boxes or soft cloth bags to protect them from the elements.


A point to remember is that the higher the percentage of gold, the higher the price.

White Gold

White gold is an alloy of gold and some white metals such as nickel, silver and palladium. Yellow gold and white gold are very similar and tend to have the same alloy percentages. The only difference is the other metals use

An example:
18-carat yellow gold and 18-carat white gold are both made from 75% gold and 25% other metals. The difference between the two metals lies only in the alloy. The yellow gold is alloyed with coloured metals such as copper and zinc. The white gold is alloyed with white metals such as nickel and silver.

White Gold is then Rhodium plated to give it its final shine. Although this is very effective it will eventually rub off and need replating.

Bespoke Diamonds only uses Platinum and 18ct Gold in its jewellery manufacture.

Choosing the right setting for your diamond.

There are many different settings available and it can be hard to choose. We have a wide selection of styles available online from which you can choose but if you still can't find the ring you are looking for Bespoke Diamond is here to help. Contact us with any ideas and we will find the correct setting for you.
Choosing a ring without them knowing

How do you know if she'll like the ring if she doesn't pick it out? If you consider her tastes and lifestyle, you'll be sure to make the right choice.

    * Take a good look at the colour of jewellery your partner wears. What colour is the metal?
    * Ask her friends or mother if there is a type or style of ring she likes.
    * Is she very active or not used to wearing jewellery? If so, consider a cathedral or contour setting, which will protect a diamond from rough treatment.

Engagements are rarely an out-of-the-blue surprise, so it is common to discuss engagement ring choices with your partner. The only way to ensure you find a ring that will match her taste and style is to shop for a ring together.

Choosing the right diamond

An engagement diamond may be the biggest purchase you've ever made. And with the right information, you'll be able to spend your budget on the diamond qualities that are most important to you.

To start, find out what shape she likes. You can choose from round, oval, princess-cut, emerald-cut, Asscher-cut, marquise-cut, radiant-cut, pear-shaped, and heart-shaped diamonds. The majority of diamond engagement rings today are set with a round diamond. And most of the remaining rings are set with princess-cut diamonds.

Once you have decided on a shape the qualities are important. Please use my  Diamond Buyer's Guide to help you make the right decision.
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