Choosing the perfect engagement ring is one of the most important decisions of your life. The engagement ring symbolises a moment of your relationship that you and your partner will always remember.
Every woman is different, and the engagement ring you choose should reflect your future wife’s unique personality and style. The engagement ring is something your partner will treasure forever and enjoy wearing every day. Most importantly, the ring you choose should represent your love for one another and be a lasting symbol of your commitment.
Engagement Ring Stones
75% of British men propose to their future wives with diamonds. Although the diamond may be the classic choice for an engagement ring, it is by no means the only option.
In Ancient Greece, the diamond was the traditional symbol of love, and the very name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas” meaning unconquerable or invincible. The superstitious Greeks believed that the sparkling fire in a white diamond reflected the constant flame of love, and they often called it the “sunstone”. During the twentieth century diamonds became synonymous with engagement rings. The diamond’s legendary status as an engagement stone is partly due to its romantic symbolism. A diamond is quite literally forever. Diamond is the hardest substance known to man, and each diamond is unique. If you present your partner with a diamond, nobody else will ever have a diamond exactly like hers.
The diamond isn’t the only precious stone with romantic meaning. Coloured natural gemstones are also an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings. Some of the best-known gemstones include sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Sapphires, which come from the Greek word for “blue”, symbolise charm and poise. Rubies represent hope, and emeralds signify success and love. Gemstones are also birthstones with each stone assigned to a different month of the year. So if your partner has a birthday in September, a sapphire birthstone could be the perfect choice.
Engagement Ring Cuts
The cut of an engagement ring refers to the shape of the stone. The round brilliant cut diamond is the most common engagement ring cut as it shows off the diamond at its best. In a brilliant cut, triangular and kite-shaped facets emerge from the centre and surround the diamond’s crown and pavilion. This cut a favourite for engagement rings because it enhances a diamond’s reflective quality, making it the most brilliant cut of all.
The baguette cut and emerald cut are more rectangular shapes. These cuts will not sparkle and catch the light as much as a brilliant cut, but they invite you to look into the stone and admire its deep hue and clarity. An effortless and sophisticated choice, the emerald cut has diagonal corners and rows of facets positioned parallel to the girdle of the crown and pavilion.
Square cuts include the cushion cut and the princess cut. The angular princess cut is a modern variation on the brilliant cut, and is sometimes referred to as a square modified brilliant. A more traditional square cut is the cushion cut. Cushion cut stones have a squared girdle outline, with rounded corners and curved sides. With brilliant cut facets, the cushion cut projects a dramatic sparkle, but its appearance is softer than the princess cut due to its rounded corners.
Other options include the boat-shaped marquise; a lengthened brilliant cut with curved sides and pointed ends. Pear, oval and heart-shaped cuts are also possibilities. These types of cuts are usually referred to as “fancy cuts”.
Engagement Ring Metals
The metal you choose for your engagement ring is a matter of personal preference and budget. The most widely available options are yellow gold and white gold. Gold is a naturally yellow metal and yellow gold is often considered a traditional choice for an engagement ring as it represents fidelity. Yellow gold becomes white gold when its surface is plated with rhodium. White gold can instantly modernize a simple diamond solitaire, and it symbolises friendship. As white gold is plated, the coating might eventually wear away and return the gold to its original yellow colour.
Gold is a classic choice for an engagement ring, and more affordable than other metal options. It is also possible to add alloys to gold. This means that you can personalize the shade of the metal. Rose gold is a pinkish metal that is produced by adding a copper alloy. This particular hue of gold compliments many skin tones, and is very durable. Rose gold is often a choice for engagement rings because it represents love.
Another metal option is platinum. This rare, naturally white metal is renowned for purity and strength. The density of platinum makes it incredibly durable, and ensures that the stone will be held securely. It usually 95% pure and is naturally hypoallergenic, so it is an ideal choice for sensitive skin. As it is a pure-white metal, platinum will focus the eye on the stone. Although it is more expensive than gold, platinum is very hard wearing, and when it scratches very little metal is lost.
Engagement Ring Designers
If you don’t know Harry Winston from Harry Houdini, fear not. From luxury jewellery designers to independent, artisan craftsmen, engagement ring designers today are producing a wide range of vast and versatile pieces. If you are still struggling to find your perfect engagement ring, many jewellers and designers are also happy to help you create your own customised ring.
The most famous high-end engagement ring designers include French houses Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. American luxury designers Harry Winston, Tiffany and Tacori are also famous worldwide for their signature engagement rings. Specialising in the highest quality of diamonds, these jewellery houses produce statement pieces with exquisite diamonds that are instantly recognisable. Worn by the rich and the famous, a luxury engagement ring designed by one of these jewellery houses is definitely worth the price tag.
Alternatively, you might consider exploring the work of contemporary engagement ring designers. Independent designers usually have a wide variety of styles and something for every budget. Artisan designers are also a good source for unique engagement pieces and rings that update classic styles. Japanese designer Satomi Kawakita sets diamonds into beautiful, delicate engagement rings, which are ideal for petite hands and women with a muted personal style. For the environmentally conscious, Bario-Neal is a design house based in Philadelphia which works with reclaimed metals and ethically sourced stones. In addition to their range of beautiful handcrafted engagement rings, Bario-Neal also collaborate with clients to recreate custom pieces from heirloom engagement rings. Finally, Erica Weiner is a New York based engagement ring designer who is quickly becoming well known in the design world for her antique inspired engagement pieces.
If an artisan engagement ring is something that appeals to you, consider looking for local designers in your area. You might stumble upon the perfect engagement ring, right on your doorstep.