Buying an engagement ring can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know much about jewellery. Here are some tips to help you choose the perfect engagement ring for your significant other:
Figure out your budget
Why is knowing my budget important?
Any jeweller will be able to work with your budget, but we can’t help you if we don’t know what to show you! Don’t start shopping until you have at least a rough budget, ring shopping doesn’t have to be hard but if you start trying to look at rings without an idea on what you can afford you may be overwhelmed with options or put yourself into a panic over costs. You also don’t want to spend more than you can afford by setting your sights on an expensive ring before discovering you cannot afford it, instead figure out the styles you like and work with your budget to create to perfect ring at the perfect price.
How much should I spend?
This is such a hard question to answer as every situation is different, you’ll often see online talk of a three months’ salary “rule” but this is not necessary at all and most people won’t spend that amount on a ring, simply put you should spend what you can afford. One trick to get an idea on how much your partner may think is reasonable is to casually bring up how much a friend, co-worker or family member spent on a ring recently and gauge her reaction. Research shows the average amount spent on an engagement ring in the UK is between £2-3k, however some people spend considerably more or less, it is entirely dependent on many different factors such as your preferences or your financial situation, and at the end of the day it’s the proposal that matters, not the cost of the ring.
How to get a larger ring on a smaller budget
If you know your partner wants a bigger ring than you feel you can afford there are ways to work around this. Many people are opting for Lab grown diamonds lately. This is a great option if your budget is currently for a diamond below a one carat natural diamond, but you want to go bigger than that. For example for a solitaire ring you may be able to get a 0.70ct natural diamond or a 1.50ct Lab diamond for similar prices. Explore our Lab diamond engagement ring collection.
Another way people get a larger looking ring is by opting for an elongated diamond. Elongated diamond cuts such as oval or emerald can lead to the diamond appearing bigger than similar weight diamonds in a round or princess cut. Elongated stones can also create the look of longer, thinner hands.
Consider a Halo style ring. By surrounding the centre stone with smaller diamonds, you make the entire ring appear much larger and add extra sparkle, due to more diamonds sparkling in all directions. Multiple smaller diamonds can cost less than going larger with the centre stone.
Discover her style
Some men are lucky and have been already shown exactly what their partner wants in a ring, when the time comes, if this isn’t you and you want to keep your proposal a surprise until the big moment then keep reading.
Looking through her jewellery box Is a great first step, and not just at her rings, at all her jewellery. Take note of the style, is it dainty? Chunky? Floral? Maybe she loves coloured stones or a particular alternative stone. Take pictures to show somebody if you’re unsure or just to refer to later in the process. Take note of the metal colour she wears. This is very important. If they only ever wear gold jewellery, they are going to want a gold engagement ring. They may wear silver, yellow gold, rose gold or a mix of metals in which case you want to observe which items she wears most often.
Don’t worry if your partner doesn’t wear or own much jewellery or any at all. A lack of jewellery is still helpful. Often someone who doesn’t tend to wear much jewellery will opt for something more minimalist. If they are not used to wearing rings they may not want a big, stand-out ring, they would likely opt for something still special, but simpler.
If she has Pinterest, stalk it! Pinterest is often used for jewellery inspiration and your partner will very likely have a jewellery board or even an engagement ring/wedding board full of images she likes. Her social media is a visual mood board into her main likes. She may follow jewellery brands on Instagram or Facebook giving you further insight into her style.
Try asking their friends, family, sisters, anyone close to them who may have an idea on what they want, your partner might have even told someone what they want in case this scenario were to happen. However, don’t let other’s opinions sway you too much if you think you know what she wants! Advice is useful but considering you’re ready to marry her, you probably know her very well yourself.
Trust your gut.
Find her ring size
If you don’t know her size there are a few ways to figure it out. Remember that you have some leeway with ring size, if the ring size is slightly wrong, then it can be adjusted. You just want to make sure the ring isn’t so small that you can’t slide it on her finger when she says yes. We offer free resizing up to 3 sizes smaller or larger as part of our 10-year guarantee.
Again, take a peek in their jewellery box. Write down the sizes of rings they currently wear, and which finger each ring is worn on. If you can’t find the size, trace the inside of the ring on a piece of paper. It’s also helpful to acknowledge how the ring fits her, as it may be slightly big for her or be difficult to take on and off. With all this information a jeweller will be able to come up with her ring finger’s size, give or take.
Ask a friend or family member who may know their ring size. A friend might be able to get her to try on their ring and tell you how it fits. You could also just take your partner out to get sized. You don’t have to spoil the surprise and you can make a day of it. Go shopping and happen to pop into a jewellery store and get her size for “one day in the future” so that you know beforehand. You could also use that as an opportunity to further grasp her style and preferences.
Here at Avita we have a bit of a party trick. So if all else fails, or you just want to test it out; bring in a clear photo of her hand and we can likely guess her ring size, give or take a size or two.
Look around online first
Now you know her style and her budget, have a little look around online. Look at the different setting options and do some initial research into rings that match her style and your vision. Use this time to search for different jewellers, read their reviews and scan their collections. If you have a vision of what you want, or just want something unique, consider going bespoke (read this article to learn more about creating a bespoke ring).
How far in advance should I buy the ring?
We say it takes around 4-5 weeks to create your ring, but we suggest starting the process at least 6 weeks in advance to allow any room for error, changes or outside factors such as strikes.
Book an appointment with a jeweller.
When you think you’re ready, book an appointment. Talk to a jeweller in person, online or over the phone. Give them your budget, all the information you’ve gathered, show them your ideas including images if you have any, and ask any questions you still have. Then together you can create, or pick, your perfect ring.