1. Pick the right style. Don’t let the sales assistant tell you what style your fiance will love. Do your research – If you’re talking about the engagement openly then ask her what style of ring she’d most love. The classic styles to choose from are solitaire (a single stone), multi-stone and cluster rings.
2. Seek advice from her family and friends. Getting your fiancé’s mother or best girlfriend to OK the purchase before swiping your credit card is the best way to guarantee you’re on the right track. Some online retailers are great for this because you can forward links of the shortlist to family and friends anywhere in the world.
3. Buy for your partner’s body, character and lifestyle. It’s important to keep a ring in proportion with the wearer’s frame and hands, so narrower bands suit wider fingers and wider, chunkier bands suit longer, slender fingers.
4. Customise the ring. If you want to buy her the perfect ring then consider a custom design. It is not necessarily any more expensive and it’s a great way to make the ring all the more special. Some websites offer great design-your-own features.
5. Choose the right metal for your band. In terms of precious metals to choose from you have 18ct yellow, white, or rose gold, and platinum, with the latter being the most expensive. Platinum is the most resistant metal, but a good 18 carat gold will provide almost the same durability.
6. Get the ring size right. Some common tricks are to take a ring she wears now and press it into a bar of soap or trace the outline onto a piece of paper. Some retailers will even send a complementary ring-sizer to you – so you don’t have to smuggle one of hers out of the house.
7. Follow the four C’s – carat, cut, colour, and clarity. This is a common recommendation when it comes to diamonds, but it’s advice you’d be wise to adhere to! Carat denotes weight, but remember that bigger is not always better and the other factors must be taken into account. How well your diamond is “cut”, will denote the brilliance of your diamond’s sparkle. Alice Herald, lead jewellery designer at 1791diamonds.com recommends that you choose nothing less than a “very good” cut of diamond. Herald also places colour above clarity in the order for choosing your diamond. She says that you will be able to see how “white” your diamond is, more than being able to see the tiny defects or inclusions in your diamond; these are usually only visible with a 10x magnifying loupe. If you stay above an “SI2” in clarity, and above an “H” in colour, your diamond will appear bright and full of life.
8. Make sure the diamond is certified. A certificate or report from a reputable gem grading laboratory will enable you to feel confident in your buying as it will outline exactly what the gemologists have assessed your diamond to be in terms of cut, clarity, colour and carat. It’s wise to ensure that the report or certification is done by an independent diamond grading laboratory, rather than the retailer you’re buying from!
9. Be conscious to check that the retailer you purchase from doesn’t support the sale of conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds” as they’re also known. Fortunately, the introduction of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme has brought about a significant reduction in the number of conflict diamonds traded.