On any given day, there are hundreds of thousands of diamond engagement rings for sale across 5,000 UK jewellery businesses. And of those, there are maybe a handful that are fit to grace the finger of the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. It’s entirely possible that of those, only one will be perfect.
Your job is to find it.
That’s a pretty daunting quest: you don’t know where the perfect ring is and, more importantly, you don’t know where to start looking for it. In this regard, the perfect diamond engagement ring is a very expensive needle in the most sparkly haystack you can possibly imagine.
Worse, you may have no idea whether your definition of perfect matches your partner’s, you don’t know a carat from a carrot and the nice guy in the shiny suit who’s saying all the right things could well be trying to sell you an inferior stone at a superior price.
What you really need is someone to guide you through the process of finding the perfect ring at the perfect price. And here I am.
What follows is an indispensable guide to buying the perfect diamond engagement ring in London and beyond. It’ll walk you through the 10 basic steps you need to take to ensure the look on his or her face when you propose is worth every penny you’ve spent. And if you want a more comprehensive guide, you can always pick up a copy of my popular book - How to choose the perfect engagement ring – and get it right first time
- Set a realistic budget: A recent survey suggests the average amount spent on an engagement ring last year was just short of six thousand pounds. Of course, that's not to say this is set in stone - no pun intended - and my advice would be to spend only what you can afford.
- Do your research: We’re really lucky these days to have an infinite amount of specialist knowledge at our fingertips. Years ago, you would only have had your High Street jeweller to ask for advice, but now we can do amazing research at our kitchen tables. Most guys, if going down the road of surprising his girlfriend, will spend around 3-4 months looking around and researching. The better prepared you are, the better the results will be.
- Keep your eyes and ears open for hints: Women have a sixth sense when it comes to this sort of thing. They may not know the exact date, but, they probably know you are considering a proposal – and that can be really helpful for any guy who’s not totally sure what she wants. Just listen to what she says when her newly engaged friends come over, and make some mental notes. It could very well be that the ring you think she will love is actually one she'll dislike. According to reports, a fifth of all women who are secretly proposed to hate their engagement ring, so don't be afraid to take her best friend into your confidence.
- Shape is important: The majority of people rightly believe the round brilliant cut diamond is the most popular. Did you know, though, that the princess cut is in second place? But don't necessarily be swayed by popularity – you’ll find better value for money with other shapes and they could also look even larger on the finger!
- Education: Make sure you understand the all-important 4C's of diamonds. The best advice I can give you here is that you need a good balance between the colour and clarity. If you’re speaking to a competent jeweller, he should have a great selection of well-cut diamonds - and the carat (weight) doesn’t always have to be large to be expensive.
- Size isn't everything: Don't be misled into thinking that the bigger the stone, the better the ring and the better the chance she’ll say yes. A lot of women prefer to have quality over size, and don't forget she’s the one who’ll be wearing the ring every day.
- Picking the setting: I believe that nothing is sexier than a solitaire, and if the correct setting is chosen then of course the ring will look a million dollars. There are different settings to choose from, and right now the halo design is popular. Just remember fashions come and go, but classics last forever.
- Finger size: A lot of guys have come to me having "stolen" one of her rings and asked me to make the engagement ring that size. The fact of the matter is that both hands aren't identical and the fingers will differ in size slightly. Make sure the jeweller you use offers a free ring alteration should the ring not fit. It's something I offer all my clients.
- Get the ring insured: The cost of insurance for your engagement ring will differ from company to company but should cost between 2-4% of the purchase price, depending on who you use. It will need to be under your home contents policy and I'm happy to recommend a broker should you want one. Having the insurance in place when you collect the ring should help with peace of mind. Read about insurance here.
- The time is now: So all the diamond research is done and it's time to make the purchase. Book an appointment and tell the jeweller what you want to see. Make sure that if you are going for a solitaire over half a carat you ask for diamonds only graded by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) since they are the most respected and renowned worldwide.
Although the actual proposal can be a nervous moment – will she say yes or won’t she? – if you follow these basic steps, you’ll be able to go down on one knee with the knowledge that at the very least you’ve done your best to pick the perfect diamond engagement ring.
Want to see for yourself what I'm talking about? Watch my video:
If you would like an appointment to choose your dream engagement ring, then please do call for a free consultation in our central London Hatton Garden office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Lewis Malka London website.
Lewis Malka is a highly regarded expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB) and also sits on the board within the Diamond Bourse. You can follow him daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you would like any bespoke jewellery made – including the perfect diamond engagement ring, of course - then please visit his website.