How to Choose an Engagement Ring

The  Classic Kelly  engagement ring, in 18k rose gold with a cushion cut peach sapphire centre stone

The Classic Kelly engagement ring, in 18k rose gold with a cushion cut peach sapphire centre stone

Choosing and committing to an engagement ring can be a daunting process. Whether you're choosing one with your loved on or going it alone, getting it right first time is a pressure we all feel. But fear not - our certified gemologist SJ takes you through some of the most asked questions and her top tips to put your mind at ease.

What is the First thing you Should do when Choosing an Engagement Ring?

Research! Do some spy work - has your partner ever suggested what they might like? Ever sneakily watched her searching engagement rings on Instagram? Think about what’s in her jewellery box: is she into contemporary, classic, or more quirky design? Does she like colour or simple silver? Some guys like to involve their girlfriends’ BFFs for some girly advice, but I’d personally recommend going it alone to avoid ‘too many cooks’.

How can you Find Out your Partner's Ring Size?

There is a direct correlation between a woman’s dress size, height and ring size, so at Queensmith we can make a fairly decent initial estimation. I would say over-egg it slightly, to make sure it goes over the knuckle. Don’t stress about this too much, as resizing is quick and easy to do, and we, like the best bespoke jewellers, include this in your aftercare package. Queensmith can typically resize a ring within three days - free of charge.

What's the Biggest Mistake you can make when Looking for an Engagement Ring?

Overpaying for a diamond that technically isn’t as good as you’d hope. View a range of colours, and clarity so you can be sure to note how top quality diamonds can differ from something cheaper. Most importantly, always buy a diamond certified by the GIA. The Gemological Institute of America are the most renowned grading laboratory in the world, ensuring your diamond will be graded to the strictest of standards. My second top tip is to enlist a reputable jewellers with bespoke manufacturing services to ensure each element of the ring is handpicked by you -  the most thoughtful gift you will ever give. The quality of the setting is just as important as the diamond. A great quality setting will showcase your diamond in the best possible light whilst keeping it securely in place on your lady’s finger for decades to come.


The  Bardot Scallop engagement ring , by Queensmith
Queensmith's  De Carlo Scallop  engagement ring

Queensmith's De Carlo Scallop engagement ring

Are all Diamonds Certified?

Diamonds are only certified when they have been appropriately graded by an external institute. As I said, make sure your jeweller supplies GIA certified diamonds. The kind of diamonds you see auctioned by Sotheby’s for millions of pounds are always GIA certified, due to the strict nature of their grading. All GIA certified diamonds are laser-engraved with an individual code that correlates to its certificate (don’t worry - this engraving is beyond miniscule and cannot be seen by the naked eye). Upon choosing and purchasing a diamond, make sure your gemologist shows you the unique code via the microscope and that this matches the certificate. When collecting the set ring, ask again to see the code to be sure this is the exact diamond you chose and paid for.


What is the Biggest Trend Right Now for Engagement Rings?

The Halo! For optimum amount of sparkle and the biggest bang for your buck, it’s a win-win-situation. A halo is a delicate row of smaller diamonds set around the main centre diamond. A halo can make or break a design, and I’ve seen some truly shocking examples, so be careful when considering a halo and discuss with the jeweller exactly what will work. The small diamonds must be perfectly calibrated for cut, colour, clarity and size, and match the quality of the centre diamond for a seamless finish. The metal work should be refined to avoid clunkiness and keep the ring ‘wedding band friendly’ - eventually, she’ll want to be able to wear her band flush against her engagement ring.



What Should you do if Your Partner Doesn't like the Engagement Ring you Chose?

This is a really important factor to consider when first choosing your jeweller. At Queensmith, we offer an extensive aftercare package that many other bespoke jewellers fail to deliver. We provide a lifetime manufacturer's warranty, lifetime of polishing and resizing services, and, perhaps most crucially, we will give you a full money back guarantee or the offer to remake a ring for free if it was a ‘yes’ to the engagement but not to the ring…

Will my Ring Have a Hallmark?

Your ring should definitely have a hallmark. Legally, any metal jewellery weighing over 1 gram requires a hallmark to prove its worth. In terms of carats, the total carat a ring can have is 22ct. We create 18ct rings, meaning it will have 18 parts gold plus 4 parts made up of white metals, rose metals and so on to achieve the exact desired hue.  

How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

I’m sure this is something anyone looking for an engagement ring will have Googled at least a couple of times. The jury is out on this one about the various ‘rules’ (famously De Beers suggested one month’s salary should suffice, whilst other rumours encourage two or three months), but we say forget the rules! My top tips should help you find your happy medium: a. be realistic - I hear weddings are very expensive - and b. It should hurt a little bit… This is the gift of a lifetime, and if she knows more or less what you should be able to afford, now is not the time to disappoint.

Why a Diamond?

It’s true what they say - diamonds are (in most cases) a girl’s best friend. If you want to get geeky about it, diamonds rank at 10 on the MoH scale of hardness (i.e. the hardest), thus diamonds are extremely practical! They will cope better than any other stone during a lifetime of everyday wear. Alternatively, a sapphire follows closely on the scale at 9. Kate Middleton's engagement ring resulted in a huge surge in the popularity of blue sapphire centre stones with diamond halos. Diamonds are the most popular choice but not for everyone, so sapphires make a great alternative for those wanting a vintage-esque or more unique design. Anything softer than this can be problematic, so stick to the hard stones to avoid wear and chipping. Also, nothing sparkles quite like a diamond!


Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat - Which is the Most Important 'C'?

Without a doubt cut, and I think most gemologists would agree. The cut dictates the amount of sparkle the diamond will have - and sparkle can hide a multitude of sins! The clarity of a diamond is therefore slightly less important, as the tiny inclusions that can be found within a diamond are undermined by the sheer amount of sparkle in an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ cut. A lively stone is demonstrated by the beautiful rainbow colours which is the breaking up of the white light when leaving the crown facets. You will only get this total internal reflection with an excellent or very good cut, which will result in a diamond with the most brilliance, scintillation and fire - a sure fire way to impress your partner

Quick Top Tips for Choosing a Diamond


For peace of mind - Choose a hand selected GIA certified diamond

To optimise your budget - Compromise on diamond clarity first

For the ultimate sparkle - Choose a round brilliant excellent cut diamond

For pure natural beauty - Choose a colourless diamond (D-F colour)




Buying GuidesSam Nobes