When it comes time to shop for engagement rings, you probably know your partner well enough to know what they might like. But if you don’t or you’re confused by all the unfamiliar words and designs that get thrown around, don’t worry because we’re here to help.
From picking the ring itself through to deciding on the gem, this all-purpose guide will be your best friend and event planner all in one!
This is always the first question that most people think about when they decide to pop the question, and the thing is, the answer will differ for everyone. There’s an old wives tale that says that your engagement ring should cost the equivalent of three months' salary, but we think that’s far too outdated – that means if you earn over $100,000 p.a., you’re paying at least $20,000 on the ring alone!
Now don’t get us wrong. If you want to splurge on your (hopefully!) future spouse, go right ahead. There are definitely ways to finance an engagement ring if you've got your heart set on one a little out of your regular range. There’s no hard and fast rule about how much you "need" to spend on a ring and it really depends on your budget, your partner’s taste and your situation. Don’t forget, once the ring is bought and the question is asked, there’s still a whole wedding to pay for.
This is the best starting point. Have a look at the rest of your partner's jewellery and figure out what they normally go for. Trust me, if you buy something in yellow gold and they only wear white gold, you're going to be in far more trouble than you might expect because it'll seem as though you don't know them.
Yellow gold is the traditional choice so it will definitely be the easiest option if you’re after variety. Almost all jewellery retailers sell yellow gold rings and you can get pretty much any stone or setting in that metal due to its popularity.
White gold is a popular option for people who prefer silver jewellery but want the longevity and prestige of a gold ring. A lot of retailers will have this as an option, and even if the display ring that you like isn’t in white gold, it can often be made to order.
Rose gold is a sneaky outside option that has become more and more popular over the last few years. A much more feminine look, rose gold is starting to get stocked more consistently in stores and creates a look that isn’t quite as traditional as yellow, but still elegant.
Choosing a gemstone is one of the most exciting parts of picking out the ring. Not only do you have to decide on whether your love is a traditional "diamond or nothing" kind of person, but you can also experiment with colour and find something that works for your price range. Maybe your future spouse is a bit more daring and prefers onyx or pearl to the traditional gems. No matter what you're after, these stones are incredibly popular and easy enough to find in stores.
This is where most people start to get a bit more confused. The type of gemstone cut refers to the shape of the actual stone in the ring. Traditionally most rings are round or oval, but there are plenty of alternatives if you want to get a little bit more unique. It's also important to remember that whatever style cut you choose, you'll have to find a wedding band that fits along with it.
There's no reason why men can't wear engagement rings, though traditionally this wasn't always the case.
A lot of the traditions associated with weddings and engagements stem from a time period that was particularly patriarchal, but in a society that is far more accepting not only of men being more feminine, but also of LGBTQIA+ marriage and equality, there's no reason you can't get your man a ring.
Plus, if you're in a heterosexual relationship, there's no reason the woman can't propose!
Top tip: If your fellow works outside, opt for a ring made of titanium or tungsten. These metals are a lot more durable and will stand the test of time.
if you opt to go with a diamond, you'll need to know a little bit more about how they're chosen. This refers to the four Cs of diamonds: cut, clarity, colour and carat.
Cut: as described above, the cut of the diamond affects its proportion and the dispersion of light
Clarity: This is determined by the amount of flaws in the diamond as seen under strong magnification
Colour: You can actually get diamonds in most colours, but the goal is to strive for colourless
Carat: This determines the rarity of the diamond and is determined by its weight
It's also important to know that some people are against the use of diamonds due to the ethical concerns with diamond mining. If your love is environmentally-conscious and has a strong stance on human rights, it might be wise to choose an alternative stone.
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