So, you’ve decided to pop the question, congratulations! You’re now probably thinking of buying the engagement ring, however, with so many different options, price ranges and providers, where on earth do you start??
Your fiancé-to-be is unique, and so it’s important to tailor any engagement ring to their own distinct tastes and preferences, all the while sticking to your budget (if you even know what that is yet).
Proposing is certainly an exciting time, but the run-up to it can be confusing and stressful, trying to find the perfect ring whilst trying to considering a million other things at the same time.
For those needing advice, fear not! Hatton Garden Diamond have created this useful guide to cover many of the frequently asked questions around buying an engagement ring. From styles to budget, and even the ring box, this is the ultimate “how-to” guide on engagement rings.
- Engagement rings are given to your loved upon proposing
- A wedding band is a plain metal ring given at the wedding ceremony
- Engagement rings are typically 3-month’s worth of your salary
- Your engagement ring should come with a box and certificate to confirm its authenticity
- You should always get your engagement ring insured
What is an engagement ring?
An engagement ring is typically a larger, more expensive ring that you present to your loved one upon getting engaged. It is characterised by a band (silver, gold or platinum) and a rock or gemstone on top. You will typically spend 3 months’ salary on this, although it is not uncommon to spend more than this.
For many people, the engagement ring will be one of their most expensive purchases to date – and it is something that the bride will wear all the time, day-in and day-out.
An engagement ring is highly symbolic and has become a universal statement for professing your love and commitment to a partner, and used in a variety of different cultures and religions.
Engagement rings will vary between cultures
Different cultures can have different customs to the styles of the engagement ring. For example, in Western cultures, engagement rings are often made up of platinum or gold with diamonds, bought and offered to one partner who wears the ring as a token of accepting the marriage proposal. In other cultures, engagement rings are worn by both parties when becoming engaged.
In certain religions, engagement rings will have to meet certain standards in order to be viable. For example, the ring must hold a certain monetary value in order to show the proposer’s loyalty to their loved one. This combined with the social pressure to buy the biggest and brightest piece often leads peoples to paying huge amounts of money for their engagement ring.
In contrast to this, some religions and cultures prefer these rings to be less flashy and more modest, materialistic possessions valued less than in other, more Westernised societies.
Whilst the factors listed above can all be important in influencing the style of the engagement ring, arguably, one of the most important aspects is personal preference. Whilst diamonds are a popular choice for engagement rings, if your loved one prefers a different type of stone, or their style is quite alternative compared to the classic engagement ring, this should be chosen over traditional styles.
Therefore, whilst any ring can be an engagement ring, the right one for your proposal will ultimately be down to your partners’ preference and personal taste.
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What is the difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring?
- An engagement ring is given upon proposal, it includes a band and a gemstone and is typically more expensive
- A wedding band is a plain ring made of gold, silver or platinum and is exchanged at the wedding
The fundamental difference between an engagement ring and a wedding ring is the purpose of the ring. Whilst a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage, exchanged during the vows of a wedding ceremony, the engagement ring is a symbol of accepting a marriage proposal.
Therefore, wedding rings typically signify the partners are married, whereas someone wearing an engagement ring is usually, as the name suggests, engaged to be married.
A wedding ring usually comes in the form of a plain metal band, whereas engagement rings will typically come with a band that holds either one centre stone, or a centre stone with accompanying smaller stones.
Additionally, in the more Westernised tradition, the one who is proposed to usually is the only one who wears the engagement ring, whereas both partners typically wear a wedding ring when married.
How much do you spend on an engagement ring?
- Many people follow the three month salary rule
As with the engagement ring itself, the budget should ultimately be personalised to your unique circumstances. Whilst it’s difficult not to get sucked in by the flashy expensive rings, the biggest rock money can buy might not be right for you and your partner.
In fact, those getting engaged are spending roughly 19% less on the engagement ring compared to ten years ago. Whilst this is the case, the precise cost of the engagement ring will depend on your unique circumstances, as well as how much you are prepared to invest in the ring.
Some follow the classic three months’ salary rule when deciding on the budget for their engagement ring. This rule is pretty self-explanatory, with the budget for the engagement ring set at three full months’ the proposer’s salary. Historically, it was because if the family had financial trouble, they could always exchange the ring and live off three month’s salary.
However, it is ultimately all down to personal preference, and costs can vary greatly depending on the type of ring you desire and the materials used to create it.
What style engagement ring should I get?
When picking your engagement ring, there are a range of different styles to choose from, as well as the cut of the stone(s) in the ring. These cuts can vary considerably, and it’s important to choose one that will best suit your partner’s tastes.
Below are some of the most popular shapes for these stones:
There are also a variety of engagement ring styles to choose from, including those listed below:
- Solitare rings – a classic design that helps to enhance the centre stone. With this type of ring, the centre stone is held together by plain shoulders leading into a plain band to offer a simple yet elegant style.
- Fancy shape rings – another stunning design that offers a fancy twist to the traditional solitare design, able to add diamond shoulders or keep these plain, all with the same enhanced focus on the centre stone, be this a princess cut, an emerald cut or otherwise.
- Halo rings – a popular choice of ring that offers a circle, or ‘halo’ of diamonds around the centre stone, all of which can be accompanied by plain or diamond shoulders. This style not only goes to enhance the centre stone, but also furthers its sparkle with a stunning outline of diamonds.
- Trilogy rings – a beautiful ring design made to stand out from the crowd. The Trilogy ring comes with three stones held together by a metal band, the centre stone slightly bigger than the two equally-sized side stones to create a balanced look whilst emphasising the centre stone of the ring.
Should I buy a dummy engagement ring beforehand?
It’s often common for people to propose with a ‘dummy’, or temporary ring. These temporary rings can still be beautiful and fitting for the proposal, however, are nowhere near as expensive, and are meant as a symbol rather than the engagement ring itself. When proposing with this type of ring, it’s expected that afterwards the couple will then shop together to find the actual engagement ring.
Best places to find and buy an engagement ring
When finding the perfect engagement ring for your soon-to-be fiancé, it’s important to shop with experienced specialists. Hatton Garden Diamond can offer just that, an experienced and trusted jeweller, and also one of the most reputable companies situated on London’s iconic Hatton Garden – a renowned jewellery district in the capital.
As specialist Hatton Garden jewellers, we will advise you on the best type of ring to suit yours and your fiancé’s requirements.
Get an engagement ring with a certificate
When purchasing an engagement ring, as it is such a major financial purchase, it’s important that you get a diamond certificate as well as its valuation to confirm its value and authenticity. This will also help if you are taking out insurance for the engagement ring, helping insurers to confirm its value.
Should you insure the engagement ring?
Absolutely, yes. An engagement ring is a huge purchase and has huge sentimental value – and having insurance is key to protect and replace your engagement ring in the event it is lost, stolen or damaged.
It is common to have a jewellery valuation every 1 to 2 years, to make sure your valuables are up to date and you can be fully insured and covered for any potential fixes or replacements.
Experts claim that:
“You should always insure your jewellery for its current market value. Especially if you’ve been engaged or married for quite a while because gold and items of jewellery usually increase in value over time. That’s why many people choose to visit a specialist jeweller, for a professional valuation. An up-to-date valuation should give you a good idea of how much cover you really need.”
Does an engagement ring come with a box? Or do you buy it?
Typically, most jewellers will provide a box for the engagement ring. Whilst this box is often well designed, many choose to purchase another to add a personal touch to their engagement.
The engagement ring box is not only a there to safely store the ring, it can also be a symbolic part to the proposal itself. Therefore, the appearance of the box is often an important consideration to those planning on proposing to their partner.
There are a range of different ring boxes and alternative ring packaging options available to choose from, helping to personalise your proposal. Some companies even offer light-up LED boxes to enhance the shine from the stones, or add a unique twist with alternative casing materials (e.g. a wooden box).
However, for those who want a simple yet elegant presentation, most jewellers will be able to provide this along with the ring.
Where is the best place to hide an engagement ring?
Once you’ve found and purchased the perfect engagement ring for your soon-to-be fiancé, another challenge to overcome will be hiding the ring before the proposal. Proposing to the love of your life will always be a memorable moment, and the kind of moment you won’t want spoilt by having them find the ring early!
Whilst the precise way in which people propose varies considerably, one thing most traditional proposals want is for it to be a surprise. To stop your partner from finding out before the day, it’s important that you hide the ring somewhere they won’t find it.
A great hiding spot for the ring could be inside the pockets of off-season clothing – e.g. a winter coat in the middle of summer. You might also want to consider hard-to-reach places no one typically goes routing around in, or if you have one, a personal safe your partner doesn’t know the code to.
However, if hiding the ring in your house makes you anxious regardless, it might be worth asking a trusted friend or family member to hide it in their house instead, eliminating any risk of your partner accidentally stumbling across it.
It’s also vital that you don’t accidentally reveal the ring during the day of the proposal. If you’re going to keep the engagement ring box in your pocket that day, it might help to wear loose fitted clothing to better conceal it.
It also might help to hide the ring somewhere else during the day of the proposal, such as at the bottom of a Champaign glass or inside the romantic picnic box you’ve prepared. However you’ve planned this special moment to be, there are loads of creative ways you can keep the proposal a surprise.
Speak to a consultant about your engagement ring
Speak to one of our consultants today and book an appointment at a time that suits you.
Simply pick up the phone and give us a call on 020 7404 9202 or email us and we will be delighted to listen to your requirements and find your the perfect engagement ring for you and your loved one.