Ask The Expert: Finding The Perfect Engagement Ring
29th August 2018
As twitterite’s we always love to follow hashtags especially – #justengaged. Proposals are very common at those special times of the year you spend together such as a couple; Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, anniversaries and of course, Valentine’s Day. So with two big days not too far away, we thought we’d help out the potential grooms of the world with one of the most precious gifts they will ever have to buy: an engagement ring.
Engagement rings are very personal things and every woman will want something different. For example one person could dream of a solitaire emerald cut diamond with a platinum band whereas others may go sparkly-eyed over a coloured teardrop diamond on a gold band. But what does that even mean and how do you know what style your girlfriend will love? To help clear things up, we asked Vashi Dominguez, jeweller to the stars and diamond expert, how to choose the perfect engagement ring.
1. How can you choose a ring without your girlfriend knowing?
“Choosing the right ring is usually an extremely difficult task for men who haven’t paid attention to their girlfriends’ jewellery preferences and who (most likely) won’t be interested in female jewellery. I have a few easy to follow tips that will help narrow down your ring style and find out what size the ring should be”
a) Find a quiet time when you can look through her jewellery box, this’ll give you a general idea of the style of jewellery she has. Here are a few questions to ask yourself: Does she like statement pieces and does she wear them often? Does she prefer classic smaller pieces that can be worn every day i.e. pearl earrings or diamond studs? What type of metal does she wear e.g. silver or white gold or perhaps yellow gold? Does she like gemstones or does she avoid jewels altogether, focusing purely on metal designs?
b) When you have had a chance to look through her jewellery box, take a ring that you know she wears often. This will allow you to get a better idea of her ring size.
c) You should take into consideration her lifestyle. Many women have active lifestyles that’ll require excessive use of their hands. In those cases, they might need to wear an engagement ring that lets them carry on with their daily activities without having to constantly take off their ring.’
2. How much does a diamond engagement ring cost?
“At Vashi.com , we don’t believe in the ‘rule’ that states an engagement ring should cost you at least two months of your salary. We recommend that men set themselves a budget they feel comfortable with and then look for a beautiful ring to match it”.
Learning about the 4C’s (clarity, colour, carat and cut) allows men to find diamonds to match their budget and their partner’s taste. For example, men who are on a tight budget and who want to get ‘more diamond for their money’, could look into buying a diamond of a SI2 clarity (a slightly included diamond), which will allow them to get a bigger stone that will still look fantastic to the naked eye. With this particular clarity, imperfections are not visible without a loop.
We have a full section of content that helps men understand the 4Cs at our guidance centre.
3. What are the different types of ring styles?
‘There are as many types of rings as there are brides to be! However there are a few main styles that prevail as the nation’s favourites:
1) Solitaire engagement ring: A classic design that centres the attention in the stone. The best-selling diamond shape is the round diamond (which is also the one to appear largest from all the different diamond shapes), followed by the princess cut.
2) Halo engagement rings: The centre stone is surrounded by a myriad of smaller diamonds. This style is perfect for women who like statement pieces. We recommend that the colour of the centre stone is as white (colourless) as possible, so that it matches the high quality of the stones in the halo.
3) Three and five stone engagement rings: The main diamond is accompanied by either two or four side stones. These are classic designs that also require a high grade of colour for the centre stone. As with the halo design, the central diamond can have a lower carat weight (bringing the cost down) but still capturing everyone’s attention.
4) Gemstone engagement rings: A style that has increased in interest over the last few years. Princess Diana’s blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring, now belonging to the Duchess of Cambridge, is one of our best sellers at Vashi.com.’
4. How can you tell if you’re getting a quality diamond?
‘For untrained people it’ll be difficult to ascertain the quality of a diamond without some basic training. Identifying certain characteristics once a diamond is set on a ring is also very difficult. I always recommends that you get a certificate for the diamond that you’ve purchased. These certificates summarise the main characteristics of the diamond.
The certificate will also have all the specifications of the diamond. There are four main characteristics that every diamond is rated for and this will determine the value and their certification:
a) Carat weight: The weight of the diamond, not the size
b) Cut: How the diamond’s facets have been cut to maximise the reflection of the light and therefore win that sparkle
c) Colour: Its colour is graded from D (colourless) to Z (fancy yellow).
d) Clarity: Whether a diamond has inclusions. Inclusions in the stone will prevent the optimal reflection of the light. Vashi only sells diamonds of the best quality, from Flawless (FL) to SI1 (slightly included).
There isn’t a standard set of criteria that diamond laboratories follow to produce the certificates, as each have their own criteria. The most important thing when buying a diamond ring is that the buyer and the person the ring is intended for are both happy with how it looks and/or are comfortable with the price.’
5. What can you expect when you consult a designer to make a bespoke ring?
‘Designers will work with the customer to find out what the main characteristics of the piece should be i.e. metal, setting type, stone type, size and number; as well as any special design requirements the customer might have in place.
After this initial brief, the designer will create a computer generated 3D design and moulds for the ring, which will be created using a 3D printer in many cases. These will be used by the diamond workshops to create the final piece.
Once the ring is ready, the customer can pick it up or receive it at the address of his choice.’
6. Does it have to be a diamond ring?
“Absolutely not, engagement rings can be anything that is meaningful to the bride and that she’ll be proud to wear. Gemstones like sapphires, rubies or emeralds are popular centre stones among brides who like more colourful engagement rings and don’t necessarily want a conventional diamond ring.”
7. What if she doesn’t like it?
“At Vashi we offer free returns on our hand-picked collection. In the unfortunate event that a bride doesn’t like her engagement ring, as long as the ring hasn’t been custom made or engraved, the ring can be returned.”
8. What is the one thing you wish you could advise all men ready to pop the question?
“Firstly ensure that you pick a way to propose that you both will remember and cherish forever, this will be one of the most important moments of your life… No pressure! Don’t rush into it, ensure you have planned it, breathe deeply and take the plunge!”
Thank you to Vashi Dominguez for his help with this article. He founded www.vashi.com in 2007, a diamond jewellery online brand and has had among his clients Cheryl during the X Factor, who wore an amazing yellow sapphire and diamond ring, worth over £800K!
We hope this article helped you choose the right engagement ring for your girlfriend. The ring is just the first step – you’ve still got to propose… so good luck!
Main images: vashi.com and wwd.com
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