Buying Engagement Rings - A Complete Guide on How to Choose & Buy an Engagement Ring

So, you have found the love of your life and now you are ready to take the next step. But first, you will need an engagement ring. You may be wondering how to buy an engagement ring. This can be an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience. From solitaires to cluster rings and diamonds in every shape and colour, it is easy to feel overwhelmed on your search for the perfect engagement ring. 

That is why we have created this engagement ring guide to help you along the way. Keep reading for our tips and advice to help you discover the best way to buy an engagement ring online or in person. 

Do your research 

After you have determined your budget, it is time to start doing a little digging. Try looking at your partner's social media accounts for clues. Are they following any jewellery designers or boutiques? Try searching their 'likes' for specific ring styles, or see if they have a ring or jewellery Pinterest board. Pay attention when you pass any jewellery stores to see which rings catch their eye. Use your partner's friends and family to understand their jewellery preferences better. They can be a great resource and help you discover the style of ring that your partner has been thinking about.

Hand engraved engagement and wedding rings set with diamonds


Before you even start researching rings, you should set yourself a clear and realistic budget. While you may have heard the old adage that you should spend three months salary on an engagement ring, your budget should reflect you and your lifestyle. That is why setting a realistic budget is essential. You do not want to fall in love with a ring to realise it is out of your price range. Purchasing an engagement ring is a significant moment in your life. You want a ring fit for a lifetime, but you do not want its purchase to put you in a financially difficult position. The most important thing is getting a beautiful ring that suits your partner and their lifestyle.

Diamonds and The 4Cs

Diamonds are a timeless choice for an engagement ring. When selecting and buying the perfect diamond, you will want to take into consideration the 4Cs:

Cut: Diamond Cut refers to the quality and precision of how a round brilliant diamond’s facets are proportioned. The cut determines the diamond's characteristic sparkle, fire, and brilliance. Diamonds with a superior cut will reflect the light better, giving the diamond maximum brightness and scintillation.

Colour: Diamond colour is rated on a scale from D-Z, with D being completely colourless and Z being light yellow. On the GIA grading scale, D-F coloured diamonds are considered 'colourless' while G-J coloured diamonds are ‘near-colourless. K-Z coloured diamonds will have a faint to very light colour.

Diamonds are also available in various fancy colours, including yellow, blue and pink. Colourless and intensely coloured diamonds are the rarest and most expensive.

Clarity: Clarity refers to the absence of blemishes and inclusions. Diamonds with fewer inclusions are rarer and have a higher grading. VVS and VS clarity stones contain very small inclusions that can only be seen with difficulty under 10x magnification. SI1 and SI2 diamonds have inclusions that can be seen with 10x magnification but not with the naked eye. A trusted jeweller will have the experience to view the stone and give you the best advice. An independent grading report can be your guarantee of diamond quality.

Carat Weight:  Carat measures the weight of the diamond. Carat weight can be a factor in size, but it is important to check the dimensions of the diamond for an accurate size. On average, a 0.25ct round diamond is approximately 4mm in diameter and a 1.00ct round diamond is 6.5mm in diameter.

Vintage sapphire and diamond engagement rings

 The 4C's will determine your diamond's overall quality and price.

Should you buy Diamond or Coloured Gemstone?

The central stone is the centrepiece of many engagement rings. While many choose to buy a diamond for their main stone, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires also make a stunning choice. Durability and your partner's lifestyle may play a factor in your centre stone selection. Diamonds are the hardest and most durable option, rating a ten on the Mohs hardness scale. So if your partner has an active lifestyle, diamonds make an ideal choice. Rubies and sapphires are also durable options with a nine hardness, just below diamond. Softer materials such as opal or pearl are not as hard-wearing and may not be the best option for daily wear.

Vintage Style Sapphire and Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring
Diamonds are not the only option. Sapphire makes an attractive choice for an engagement ring.

Gemstone Size

Size is another important factor when selecting and buying a centre stone for your partner's engagement ring, but not in the way you may think. Contrary to popular belief, size is not everything when it comes to selecting your centre stone. The engagement ring should be an extension of your partner's personal style. It is crucial to have a feel for your partner's taste to understand whether they prefer larger stones, higher quality or put importance on design.

Ring Setting and Style

The setting is the framework of your ring and defines its style. Setting selection is essential when selecting the ideal engagement ring. Some of the most popular types are solitaire engagement rings, which feature a single central stone, three-stone rings consisting of a main stone accented on either side or cluster rings that boast glittering accents surrounding your central stone. While these are the most common styles, don't be afraid to step out of the box. 

A stunning array of Floral Rings
The setting you choose informs the style of the ring


Once you have selected your stone and setting, it is time to decide what colour metal to choose. Most rings are available in rose, white and yellow gold, and platinum. The colour metal you choose to buy is really up to you and your partner's personal preference. Yellow gold has a rich colour perfect for warmer skin tones and those looking for a traditional style. White gold and platinum are a timeless choice with cool, minimalist undertones. Rose gold is a modern choice that looks fantastic on all skin tones. 

Ring Size

Once you have selected the perfect ring for your partner, you will want to make sure it fits. Women have an average ring size of K-N, while men have an average size of S-U. If you are struggling to determine your partner's ring size, read our ring size guide with an engagement ring size chart for helpful tips and advice for selecting the correct size.

Consider Teaming up with a Jeweller to Buy your Engagement Ring

Nothing says love quite like a custom creation designed from the heart. Jewellers are experts in their field and can help you create a bespoke engagement ring as unique as your love. So call or make an appointment today. Our team of engagement ring specialists are here to help with any questions you may have along the way.

Bespoke Art Deco Tourmaline Ring
Think unique and consider a bespoke made engagement ring

If you would like more information about choosing your ring and the engagement ring buying guide, please contact us by telephone on 0207 193 4412 or email