How to pick the perfect engagement ring

Once you’ve chosen your future fiancé, you’ve got the big task of finding the right engagement ring to propose with. Make no mistake: this choice has the potential to make or break their decision — …


Once you’ve chosen your future fiancé, you’ve got the big task of finding the right engagement ring to propose with. Make no mistake: this choice has the potential to make or break their decision — so you’ll want to get it right the first time. But with so much choice on the market and not a lot of jewelry know-how, where should you begin?

We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to picking out the perfect ring for your partner, so you can be confident when it comes time to propose. As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds — but you can also buy them in a shop. Why make it harder than it needs to be?

1. Decide on a budget

You might have heard old wives’ tales about how much you should spend on a ring, be it one month’s salary, three months’, or your life’s savings. But the truth is, you should only spend what you can afford. You still need to keep a roof over your head and pay for the bounty of other costs associated with the happiest day of your life — and that means budgeting. Establish how much you’ll be spending on the proposal and factor in the other expenses too, from actual wedding rings to outfits to the reception.

If you’re hearing alarm bells rather than church bells, consider spreading the cost to help cover the payment. While you should ensure that you’re spending a responsible amount, setting aside a wedding prep budget each month or inquiring about short-term financing options could help you cover the costs without accumulating debt interest.

Providers such as Zilch offer buy now, pay later for jewelry, giving dearly beloved shoppers the opportunity to split the price of a purchase into four equal payments and pay them over six weeks. It’s important you only spend what you can afford to repay back, but this way, you only have to cover 25% of the price upfront — so you can pop the question when the time is right, rather than leave your beau waiting.*

2. Choose a ring style

Everyone’s tastes are different, and this is where it pays to know your partner. No matter your budget, there are many different design elements to consider when picking out the perfect engagement ring, from band style, to stone, to setting.

First of all, consider the weight, thickness, and material of the band — will your fiancé-to-be prefer a statement piece or something minimal? At this point, pay attention to the jewelry style they currently wear, especially when weighing up gold, silver or platinum.

Next, you’ll need a stone. A range of jewels are fit for an engagement ring, but the most commonly used is, of course, the diamond. Diamond sellers will often advertise the “four Cs”, being carat, color, cut and clarity — but the truth is, very few people will be able to distinguish between the characteristics of a flawless and a VVS jewel. So, while you should consider grading in your final choice, the decision should be mainly based on which you think your partner will like the look of most, as well as your budget constraints so that you don’t take a financial risk.

Lastly, you’ll need to choose the stone’s setting, from prong to solitaire to bezel. Check out this guide from The Diamond Pro for a taste of some of the most iconic styles.

3. Find out the correct ring measurements

The final step on our list is certainly the most important — both you and your partner need to get your ring fingers measured. We’ve all heard the horror stories of breakaway bling and disappearing diamonds, so you’ll want to avoid getting a band too big. Or, on the opposite end of the scale, a ring that’s too tight can cause loss of circulation, nerve constriction and even embedded ring syndrome.

If your bride or groom-to-be is in on your proposal plans, it’s easy enough to get sized in advance — simply visit a jeweler and have them measure you up. However, if you’re a romantic at heart, you may be planning a surprise proposal — and much like a wrongly-sized ring, this can be hard to pull off. If you want to keep the secret, try to casually cover the conversation of ring size well in advance, so that they don’t suspect anything. Alternatively, most jewelers also offer a resizing service — so if you didn’t pick up the perfect match, you can have the band you selected moulded to the right size. Yes, it’s a compromise — but isn’t that what relationships are all about?

Once you’ve got the perfect ring, it’s time to pop the question. But who could say no when you’ve gone to all of this effort? Best of luck!

*Spend responsibly, spending more than you can afford could seriously affect your financial status. Credit subject to status, 18+, UK residents only. Representative APR 18.1% (fixed) based on total spend: £240 (+£2.50 fees). Total repayable: £242.50 paid over 6 weeks, 1st payment £62.50, then 3 payments of £60.00 every 2 weeks. T&Cs apply.

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