A guide to help you find and choose the perfect engagement ring.
‘“But how do I know that that ring is the one?!”
It’s a question that I believe is frequently asked. So you aren’t alone in this big decision.
I bet what you’re finding even more daunting is that you’re desperately seeking an ethical diamond, but you have no idea where to start looking, and you’re terrified of the price tag. Well, fear not!
Today it is entirely possible to find an eco-friendly, ethical diamond engagement ring without compromising price or quality.
I’ll show you in this guide my favourite affordable engagement rings on the market at the moment.
Table of Contents
Editors Top Picks
Setting the budget for buying an engagement ring
I bet you’ve heard that buying an engagement ring is a purchase that you should be expecting to be a little pricey. Especially if you want to get the most exceptional ring ever since the love of your life deserves it 100%. In today’s climate, that is complete tosh!
You might have also read an engagement ring price guide that provides very high estimates for how much a “good” engagement ring should cost, and that many people have abided by an engagement ring price rule; that the diamond should cost at least three months’ salary.
This “rule” is also complete tosh.
That old way of thinking is in the past. YOU set the budget with which YOU are comfortable.
At Ethical Weddings, we believe you shouldn’t have to follow specific “rules,” as most rules regarding engagement rings and prices are gimmicks created by diamond marketers and sellers.
But, let’s move away from the price tags, as finding a ring you love is much more critical. But it is paramount to have a figure in the back of your head to compare ring styles that you like, as there will be a difference in price with differentiating factors.
Engagement Ring Shopping Together
If you are shopping for this engagement ring alone, which is technically a tradition? You will want to desperately find that one ring that is going to be perfect.
Or perhaps you’re in a relationship where you want to pick the ring out together. It’s not unheard of. These days, more and more couples are in favour of it. Honestly, I think that a surprise proposal might end up becoming extinct in the future.
If you are shopping together, you both might end up stuck on the decision of the ring. Your other half may not know what they want, or perhaps you don’t know what to look for, or you know that you wish to have the most popular style of the ring right now, but you have no idea what the trend is.
That is why I am here to guide you through buying an engagement ring, the 101!
Don't be afraid to negotiate.
Engagement rings are a symbol of love and commitment. But did you know that some engagement rings can be marked up as much as 500%? Your partner might not want to shell out the big bucks, but it’s important for him or her to have an input on your ring selection – so do your research before putting down any money!
The purchasing process may seem exciting, but it’s always best to visit different vendors to see a range of much broader options.
You’ll be able to find a high-quality piece that fits your needs and is within your budget. Any good jeweller will work with you to make it happen!
Engagement Ring Styles
The first place to start is finding your desired shape, specifically the diamond shape.
It will start you off in a niche instead of just looking for a big diamond, which there are millions of styles for.
The Cut of the Diamond (The Shape) will all be priced differently. It’s all down to the size of the carat. So the first decision!
How big of a diamond do you want? This is completely your choice, your personal style.
Take a look at a few popular shapes.
The Round cut for the diamond is what is usually preferred, and of course, the retailers have profited on it. But you have to agree that these diamonds are flawless and elegant and no one would be unhappy to wear them forever. So please don’t rule it out, especially if you’re thinking of maybe making future purchases of upgrading the ring.
On a tight budget, a large diamond can be bought. Take a look at a pear-shaped diamond.
Pear-shaped diamonds are usually cut with 58 facets and have the brilliance of a round diamond, but the unique romance of the elongated point. They’re becoming popular, too, as women love the teardrop shape right now.
Now, before you hit the online shops, I’d recommend that you have 2 of your favourite cuts of diamonds in mind.
Diamond Carat Meaning
Along with colour, clarity, and cut, carat weight is one of the four primary components (the 4 Cs) of a diamond that determines its quality and worth. The price of a diamond rises with its carat weight since larger diamonds are rarer and therefore more valuable.
The age-old debate over quality vs quantity applies to engagement rings as well; some people prefer a larger stone to a whiter stone, while others desire the clearest diamond imaginable, regardless of carat count.
“The spouse-to-be should definitely have an idea of her (or his) stone size. As much as people say size isn’t important, it’s always the kicking off point because colour and clarity can always be tweaked to find something within your budget,” says Jaclyne Kirkorian of Jupiter Jewelry in New York.
If the size is important to you, have a desired carat size in mind even when shopping with your partner, and be flexible on the other components to fit your budget.
This part is where the compromises come in, and a decision on what you want will determine your next step.
What is the best metal for a ring?
The next step is to look at the band. The type of metal that you want. You may already know what Metal you want, so you might want to jump in and start looking for that.
If you don’t, then here are some facts.
Traditionally, engagement rings have always been made from precious metals such as Yellow Gold, White Gold and, in more recent years, Platinum.
Yellow gold is still very fashionable, offering a classic option for those who are more traditional.
Platinum is very similar to silver, but it is more expensive due to its rarity and durability. So this is something to bear in mind for that budget.
In the last couple of years, rose gold has also been a top favourite. Bring this fresh, modern quality to an Engagement ring.
Different metal options have distinct qualities related to durability, from platinum and rose gold engagement rings to gold engagement rings. Some metals will scratch more than others.
If you have quite a bustling job, you might want to look into a metal that is more scratch-resistant. But don’t focus on this. I think a little scratch over the years is nothing to worry about. It’ll add character to your ring and memories of how and when you got that scratch during your marriage.
Make sure the Certificate Matches The Diamond.
Most diamonds are laser inscribed on the girdle, and this can be checked with a jeweller’s loupe.
Many have inclusions, so you can look at the diamond and see if you can match the imperfections to the map on the certificate, too.
Ethical Diamonds and Companies
Lastly, you absolutely must look into where the diamond was sourced. A ‘Blood Diamond’ is not something you want to buy.
As a result, you’ll need to research the brand and ask to see a Certificate of Authenticity with your select ring.
For additional information about the Kimberley Process and the work being done to eliminate the trade of conflict diamonds, please visit the diamond industry’s website www.diamondfacts.org
Now, as to where you start looking, the online shops you need to hit.
First, you will need to find your desired style or have a style in mind.
If you are unsure whether you want a modern, newly made ring, perhaps you should take a look at a vintage antique? We have a great article all about them! – you can read about antique rings here. Antique Engagement Rings
Will it work with a Wedding Ring?
Now I bet you are getting all excited thinking about the ring and all the designs, styles and carats you want. Perhaps you’ve even decided.
The next step is to think about whether it will sit correctly, aesthetically and comfortably next to your wedding band. You know, the wedding band? That piece of jewellery that is technically the far more important piece of jewellery is actually a symbol of your marriage?
It is definitely not the first thing you think about; it’s an afterthought.
Needless to say, if you want the wedding band to sit next to the engagement ring, you will have to pick an engagement ring that will fit flush with the wedding band. Ponder over all the styles and come to a decision that will make you happy!
5 Best Engagement Ring Styles on the Market.
Here are some examples of some new, great quality rings that you can purchase online at The Jewel Hut. I’ve chosen the Jewel Hut as they have an abundance of Brands, styles, shapes, colours and cuts of engagement rings. It’s a great online shop to search for your engagement ring if you are unsure what you want and haven’t decided on your budget yet.
My first pick is this simple Platinum, Princess cut Diamond. Set in the traditional method of the 4 claws with open shoulders. The ring is hand made in Birmingham, England. All of their jewellery has been made there over the last 130 years. This ring also has a GIA certificate.
Because it’s a perfect, flawless diamond cut, it is very common to see it on newly engaged couples.
This is a brilliant ring choice if you like to be with the trends.
If you’re looking at rings that are slightly more flamboyant but still want the traditional diamonds, the Platinum Certificated 1.00ct Diamond Split-Shoulder Ring is where you need to draw your attention.
This ring is a 1.00ct plus certificated brilliant-cut, central diamond, hand placed in a platinum four-claw setting. It is then framed with a diamond halo and split pave-set shoulders.
This ring is perfect for a bride who loves having their own individual style and pushing fashion boundaries.
Let us steer from the Platinum and have a look at the Yellow Gold.
This Gold Impression, 18ct Gold 1.01ct Pear-cut Diamond Solitaire Ring Is simplicity at its finest.
The huge stone is mounted on the gold band in a three-claw arrangement. This allows the Diamond to be the ring’s focal point, allowing you to view it in all of its brilliance.
This is a great example of the Pear cut I referenced earlier. It sparkles and has that elegant, defined shape.
1888 Collection, Platinum Certificated 0.50ct Five-Stone Diamond Ring is a ring choice you can’t go wrong with. It features 5 round, brilliant-cut diamonds. Hand placed on a Platinum, basket mount bridge.
0.50cts of a diamond is going to give you a very sparkly ring. But this style has a variety of diamonds available, such as a Diamond in another carat, a coloured diamond, colourless diamonds and clarity options.
I personally love this ring. I love that it is simple and stunning. It doesn’t need the massive diamond, as the sparkle that twinkles when it catches the sunlight is breathtaking. And I know that it will pair harmoniously with the wedding band.
For my final choice, I thought I’d share a Rose Gold band engagement ring. As I said, Rose gold bands are becoming an increasingly popular engagement ring design, and this might be the sign that it is, in fact, what you are looking for.
For a metal that isn’t quite a yellow and the traditional gold, or the coldness of white gold or platinum, this beautiful 18ct Rose Gold 0.20ct Diamond Solitaire Ring has all the traditional elements a bride wants with having that modern, freshness to the style. It features a 0.20ct round brilliant-cut diamond in a four-claw setting. Set on an 18ct rose gold band.
They mention on the website that his ring is set to pair beautifully with any wedding ring. Bonus!
What is the best setting for diamonds?
The prong setting is the most traditional of them. The stone is kept in place with the least amount of metal – usually four or six prongs – letting more light travel through the diamond, resulting in increased brilliance.
What metal are engagement rings made of?
Gold is the most popular and classic metal for wedding and engagement rings. This metal comes in a variety of colours, from white to yellow to rose gold. But Palladium and Platinum are rising in popularity.
Is it necessary to get measured?
Make sure your ring finger is measured correctly. You don’t want a ring that’s cutting off your circulation or, even worse, one that’s loose enough to slip off. It should be tight yet not oppressive. You can go to a jewellery store on your own and then casually mention your size the next time the topic arises, or tell your best friend, just in case your partner asks them.