In jewellery – just as in life – there are no rules. Big budget marketing campaigns may tell you that an engagement ring has to have a diamond in it. But this isn’t necessarily true. We believe that an engagement ring should tell your story as a couple, or the story of the person it’s being made for.
For some, this may mean that it does feature a big blingy diamond. For others, this may mean a bold colourful sapphire, a pebble from the beach or no gem at all.
Before assuming that your ring needs to look a certain way, determine what story you want it to tell.
Diamonds are the most popular stone used in traditional engagement rings. This doesn’t mean that your engagement ring HAS to feature a diamond. However, there are some practical reasons you may want to choose one.
Diamond is the hardest gemstone in the world. It measures 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, a scale that rates the scratch-resistance of minerals from 1 (least resistant) to 10 (most resistant). This makes a diamond perfect for long term, everyday wear. As a gem with a high refractive index, it is also displays a lot of sparkle if cut well.
However, a diamond isn’t the only option. Sapphires and rubies (both varieties of the mineral, corundum) are the second hardest stones in the world, with a rating of 9 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. Ruby is red corundum, while sapphire comes in a range of colours from blue to green to yellow to pink, just to name a few. Sapphires and rubies are also generally more affordable than diamonds, which means you may be able to fit a larger stone in your budget.
While there are many other gemstones that can be used in rings, diamonds, sapphires and rubies are the most durable options in an engagement ring that will be worn for life.
While the best and most accurate way is to have her finger measured by a jeweller, this isn’t an option when you need to keep the proposal hush hush. Here are some options:
- Measure one of her existing rings, ideally one she wears on her left ring finger.
- Ask her family and friends, who may already know her ring size.
- Pretend you’re looking for a gift for your mum or sister and take her ring shopping with you. Take note of her preferences and get a jeweller to check her ring size.
- Propose with a stand-in proposal ring. This means you can use an approximate ring size and get her finger sized accurately when it comes to the actual engagement ring.
For more information on each of these options, check out this resource (find her ring size).
If you have one of her rings to measure, try this printable ring sizing guide.
In general, and all factors equal, 18ct gold is the longer lasting, more durable choice. However 9ct gold can still be a great option for some. This is what we tend to recommend:
Choose 18ct gold if:
- It fits into your budget, or
- You are looking for a piece that is worn frequently and needs to last as long as possible, like an engagement ring, wedding band or heirloom piece
Choose 9ct gold if:
- You are looking for something in a lower price bracket, or
- You are after a piece that isn’t worn as regularly, like a cocktail ring
Read more about the differences between 9ct and 18ct gold.
Different jewellers work in different ways and have different styles. A traditional manufacturing jeweller may come up with a completely different design to a contemporary jeweller, even with the same brief. So it’s important to do your homework.
Make a list of your preferred jewellers and check out each one’s website, social media and reviews. Send the jewellers on your shortlist an email, give them a call or head in and chat to them directly.
In addition to having great designs, your jeweller should also be knowledgeable about their work, keen to answer questions and be responsive to their customers.
In some cases, a girl can really enjoy the deeply personal experience of creating her own engagement ring. She may already have a clear idea of what she wants, or may really love the process of choosing her own unique design.
But this doesn’t mean that your surprise proposal plans are ruined.
You can use a stand-in proposal ring in place of the engagement ring. A proposal ring is usually more affordable, easier to pick out and can be delivered in less time than a custom designed engagement ring (perfect for when you need a ring fast)! It also means that, when it comes to the actual engagement ring, an accurate finger size can be taken and your girlfriend can play a part in designing the ring she’s always dreamed of.
Your proposal ring can be custom made to incorporate symbols of your relationship or can be ready-made like the ones in the shop.
One of our favourite tips is to surprise her with a special proposal video. This could be a heartfelt personal message, a creative re-enactment of how you met or a video of her engagement ring being made <link>!
Of course, the best thing to do is to get the ring size right the first time. However in most cases it’s possible to resize a ring up or down if you get the size wrong.
If you think your ring may need to be resized, don’t place engravings, gemstones or other special features at the base of the band (which is where the ring is likely to be resized).
There may be some situations or designs that could make your ring difficult or risky to resize. Chat to your jeweller for more specific advice.
If you choose to email us, you’ll receive your response by email unless otherwise requested. Don’t worry, we’re discreet. We’ll make sure the subject line is something boring like “Update” so there’ll be no annoying notifications that threaten to ruin the surprise.
Help! I want to chat to my personal engagement ring advisor but I don’t know where to start or what to say!
If it all seems like too much to take in, don’t worry. You don’t have to work this all out by yourself!
Don’t be afraid to write an email that goes something like this:
Text: I have no idea what I want!
This happens more often than you might think. Don’t worry, we’re discreet. We’ll make sure the subject line is something boring like “Update” so there’ll be no annoying notifications that threaten to ruin the surprise.
Get in touch and we’ll walk you through the process of designing an engagement ring that gets you that “yes”!
Perhaps you’ve never wanted a conventional wedding (or a wedding at all) and aren’t keen on the potential stress, dollars and time involved.
If you don’t want a big wedding, it’s perfectly fine to organise something small with close family and friends (and make it as formal or informal as you want).
If you don’t want a wedding at all, that’s ok too. Some people just head to the registry office and get married with no one but the celebrant and the required witnesses in attendance. Some people plan a holiday and elope (in secret, or with the knowledge of their close friends and family).
Here’s where we gently remind you again that there are no rules. Do what feels right for you!
Have a question that’s not answered here? Contact us and we’d be glad to help you out!