With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching and the highest percentage of proposals taking place on the day, comes a dilemma – where to start on choosing and buying the perfect engagement ring? Elmwood’s Samuel Hill offers some top tips to ease the process!
“Choosing the perfect engagement ring can be a minefield, especially if you’ve decided to surprise the one you love. Quite often, couples wisely consult on the ‘types’ of rings their partner might want in advance, in order to not be completely in the dark when they eventually pop the question”, says Hill.
One of the first things to consider is his or her personal style, which will determine what type of stone you choose. 76% of all engagement rings purchased are classic diamond solitaires, however, this is a ring that your partner will wear for a long time, and it’s a very personal choice, so it’s vital you get it right.
When looking at personal preferences, think about whether she/he prefers gold to silver, or traditional style jewellery, to contemporary and if in doubt DON’T guess! Take aside a trusted relative or friend to collaborate.
It’s become popular recently to look at a partner’s birthstone as an option, which adds a very personal element. If you do opt for the classic diamond ring however you should consider the ‘4C’s’ Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat.
“To safeguard yourself I would recommend purchasing a certified stone”, says Hill, “which means that the diamond has an accompanying certificate that proves it has been evaluated, graded and coded by an independent gemmological laboratory. The most internationally recognised are those issued by the GIA and others include; HRD, IGL, EGL and AGS”.
Another very important consideration before you make your purchase is budget. While convention suggests you spend three times your monthly salary, in today’s society, where the sexes divide is narrower than ever, it’s about working to a sensible budget that isn’t going to cripple you as a couple, otherwise, your ‘surprise’ may backfire.
If the size is important to her, but your budget isn’t super-sized, opt for a stone with a slightly larger surface area, but where the stone isn’t as deep. The stone is the most important aspect of the ring and can usually be set in whatever metal band you choose.
Regarding the choice of metal for your band, the key is to assure quality and durability. Platinum is one of the most popular choices in engagement rings, as it is the most resilient and long-lasting of metals and is also hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin.
However, if gold is preferred, you have the choice of white, rose, green (!) and yellow. If recycling is a big concern, a band of combined metals is also an option and has seen a significant rise in demand.
Where you buy is crucial, whether purchasing from a high street retailer, a jeweller in London’s famous Hatton Garden, or an auction house. When parting with a significant amount of money for the long-term, it makes sense to seek out an expert.
Hill runs Elmwood’s auction house in West London and being a jewellery expert offers clients peace of mind that they are buying a high quality, certified piece complete with a condition report, which presents everything in black and white.
However, wherever you decide to buy, he offers this advice: “Always buy from an established company, that has a good reputation. Check whether the staff has sound gemmological knowledge (credentials are usually presented on the company’s website). Is the company a member of a trade association working to industry standards; will you receive a gemmological certificate stating the source of your stone and any treatment, plus a detailed receipt, warranty and guarantee”.
A great place to buy an engagement ring:
Elmwood’s upcoming Jewellery auction on Wednesday, January 29th will be offering an array of high-quality sparklers, just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Pre-sale viewing is always welcome; you can handle the ring and ask a specialist any questions you may have face to face. If you’d rather be discreet, you can leave a bid up to an amount you feel comfortable with, or you bid by telephone, or online while the auction is taking place. Specialists are on hand to guide you and offer advice throughout the process.
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