The Christmas season is truly magical: the world is bathed in warm, twinkling lights, everywhere you look shop windows and homes are decorated lovingly and beautifully, and not a child walks by without that excited sparkle in their eyes. This time of the year offers the perfect setting for a romantic marriage proposal – the globe has turned into a winter wonderland, so why not hijack it as the backdrop for your proposal? Go on, make this Christmas a double celebration for your friends, family and, especially, your partner.
It’s true, choosing the perfect engagement ring for your partner is no easy feat, after all, there is a lot of pressure on getting it right: the right stone, cut and style to match your partner’s beauty. Fortunately for you, we have put together the ultimate guide to choosing an engagement ring so, take a deep breath and start ticking of your checklist!
The Surprise Factor
The first thing to decide on as you get ready to choose an engagement ring, is whether you want the choice to be a joined decision or whether you want to surprise your partner with the ring.
Picking engagement rings together can be a lovely, bonding experience that will only enhance the excitement you’re already feeling about this special new journey you’re about to embark on. It can also be highly advisable for those of you lucky enough to have been saddled with a partner whose style is so ambiguous it would be literally impossible to choose a ring for them.
The surprise factor is every bit as beautiful, however. Even if your partner has been suspecting the moment would come sooner rather than later, they’ll never know just when you might drop to one knee and pop the big question – and that’s the kind of romantic surprise that will live on in your partner’s memories forever.
Set Your Budget
Before you head out in search of the perfect rock for your rock, set a budget for yourself. There’s absolutely no need to break bank over your engagement – you can find incredibly gorgeous rings even on a limited budget, so don’t sweat it.
Establishing your budget before going out to browse through various jewellery shops will help you stand your ground when insistent store managers try to talk you into something more expensive. Be clear from the get-go: inform the manager of your budget before allowing them to talk you through their selections.
Do Your Pinterest-Research
If you’ve been hinting at popping the big question to your partner for the past few months, they may be hinting at the type of engagement ring they’d like via Pinterest – the social media platform for creating vision and inspiration boards. If your partner is an avid social media user and is always looking to Pinterest for the latest DIY, fashion, home or jewellry trends, they’ll most likely have created a page full of ring, wedding decoration and dress/suit inspiration. The next time you have the house to yourself, peruse your partner’s Pinterest account for ideas. If you find what you’re looking for, snap pics on your phone and take them along to the jeweller.
Operation Ring Size
If you are planning on surprising your partner with an engagement ring, be sure to find out their ring size to avoid buying a size too small or big. This will turn into a sneaky operation as you will have to be smooth about suddenly taking an interest in their rings. There are two ways to go about operation ring size:
Next time you are sat on the couch together for a cozy Netflix session, grab your partner’s hand and tickle their arm a bit. Once your partner has relaxed into the cuddly situation, start playing around with the rings on their finger. Just twist it around their finger a bit, while keeping focused on the screen to make it seem as you are doing so absent-mindedly. Then slip the finger off and start slipping it onto other fingers on their hand and eventually onto yours. Make a mental note of where the ring fits on which of your fingers for guidance, then use that rule-of-thumb measurement at the jewellers.
Wait for a moment when your partner’s not around and swipe one of their rings from their jewellery box. Wrap a piece of string or dental floss around the ring and mark the point where the ends meet. Refer to the ring size chart on RingSizes.co to find the right fit.
Ready-Made or Customised?
Now that you’ve locked down on your budget and have figured out the ring size, it’s time to decide whether you want to buy a ready-made ring from a specialised jewellery shop or would like to have one custom-made based on your own design. There is no right or wrong approach here – it’s simply a matter of the heart. We all have our own unique tastes and not all are catered for when it comes to engagement rings seeing as they are traditionally kept in a rather classic style. It may be difficult, for example, to find a gothic style ring with a skull-shaped diamond or a chakra themed gemstone band in your local high-street.
These days many future spouses are drawn to custom rings simply because it allows them to be unique and creative, and adaptable to their partner’s style. Many LGBTQ couples opt for customised rings to veer from designs associated with strictly binary and patriarchic traditions. It is not always easy to find a ring that truly informs who you and your partner are when mainstream jewellers have not yet bridged the gap between the ultra -feminine and starkly masculine. Customised pieces celebrate diversity and inclusivity by ways of your own design.
Time to Shop
If you have decided on a ready-made engagement ring, it’s time to pull up Google and research the best jewellers in your area. Perhaps your partner has stopped to admire something at a jewellery shop before – be sure to add it to your list of places to check out. Once you’ve made your selection, visit each shop and take a good look around. Ask for assistance, prices and trends and be sure to take along all your research material. Don’t rush your decision – take a few days to mull over your options before you make the purchase.
If you’d rather go for a customised ring, reserve a day for research – the options for customised engagement rings are endless, and if you’re going to go the unique route, you’ll want to make sure that the designer or shop you choose reflects that. Draw up as many sketches and collect as many example images as you possibly can to give the designer a solid idea of what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to voice all your ideas and ask any questions you might have – this will be one of the most important purchases you’ll make in your life and you have every right to be excited about it.