How to pick the perfect engagement ring

Buying the perfect engagement ring is a huge challenge, so it’s little wonder that the prospect of making the right decision can transform even the most self-assured of men into nervous wrecks.

Don’t be that man, that guy who stumbles and bumbles around the jewellery store asking inane questions, or who spends hours just staring at rings online, paralysed with indecision. Buying the perfect ring is easier to achieve than you might think. Armed with knowledge, you can go from winging it to owning it. And here’s how.

First up, drop the focus on the perfect engagement ring – it’s only perfect if it’s exactly what your partner wants. You’re not working to a Hollywood ideal here, and you’re not competing with the spending power of Kanye West. Your job is to get a ring that suits your fiancee’s tastes. In preparation for the actual purchase, keep a close eye on her fashion likes and dislikes, pay attention when she points out jewellery and other bling in glossy magazines. Ask her friends – they’re all bound to have discussed the subject.

Once you have an idea of the type of ring, start browsing and give yourself plenty of time. Don’t walk into the nearest store and pick the ring closest to the one in your imagination – and don’t settle for a compromise because you’ll know it wasn’t quite the one you wanted.

If you can’t find exactly what you’re searching for, buy a loose diamond instead and go from there. The process is simpler than you might think. 77Diamonds, in London, have an extensive selection of them and a quite brilliant online tool that allows potential buyers to choose and design their ring – and make adjustments to fall in line with a particular budget.

You don’t have to be an expert to get a decent grasp of what makes a worthy diamond. Just a little insight can go a long way when choosing a diamond to be the centrepiece of your perfect engagement ring.

The quality of a diamond is rated on more criteria than just size. Diamonds are primarily graded on cut, colour, clarity and carat, though three other ‘Cs’ can also be taken into account – contour, certification and cost. It’s easy to grasp that the carat is the weight of the stone and therefore that a 2.0ct diamond is larger than a 1.0ct version – but if you have your heart set on a particular carat and your budget doesn’t stretch that far, don’t lose hope and give up on the ring you want. A 2.0ct diamond isn’t twice as large as a 1.0ct diamond so consider a 1.5ct instead – you’ll struggle to notice the difference.

If it’s a real sparkler you’re looking for, then a diamond with a top grading in terms of cut (excellent), colour (D) and clarity (Flawless/Internally Flawless) will be of superb quality. But it will also cost a small fortune. By making some simple and small compromises on these gradings you can still end up with a fantastic ring. There is, for example, little difference between excellent and very good (even good) when it comes to the cut, between D and G in colour, and between Flawless/Internally Flawless and Very Slightly Included in the clarity stakes. To the naked eye these adjustments will barely be noticeable but you’ll have saved thousands of pounds – and you’ll still have the perfect engagement ring.

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