Might a ‘placeholder’ be the ideal temporary engagement ring for the proposal?


When Prince Charming found his Cinderella the slipper fitted perfectly, she loved it and they lived happily ever after.  Modern day princes are beset with many more difficulties when it comes to sourcing the perfect engagement ring.

Ruth Donaldson, from Heirloom London has helped dozens of Prince Charming’s navigate the perilous channels of engagement ring size, taste and budget. But increasingly she has found that today’s hopeful grooms are opting for stones or placeholders instead of a traditional ring.



The Ring

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The engagement ring is still the number one item to have ready when proposing. It’s beautiful and it’s a symbol of what the relationship means to both individuals.

The benefits

  • It takes no explaining
  • You don’t have to spend ages visiting  jewellers after the proposal looking for the right ring
  • You have full control of the purchase (including the budget)
  • It was your choice, which makes it very personal


The disadvantages

  • It might not fit
  • She may not like it
  • She might say no, and then you have a ring to get rid of…


The Diamond

For a growing number of individuals, a preference is to choose the centre stone first, and then get her involved when it comes to the design.

In my experience men really enjoy choosing the stone but can be more daunted by the design aspects of the ring – whereas often this is the side that interests women most. So choosing a stone and then letting your fiancé choose the design plays to each partners’ strengths.


The benefits

  • You can still enjoy choosing something special, and then you can both enjoy getting the design and fit right
  • You have control over the most expensive part of the ring, and if you find the right source, you can get a good price on a stone
  • You can choose the right stone for the ring, rather than having to take the stone which comes with the design.


The disadvantages

  • It often costs more to get a diamond set into a ring, than it would have done to buy the ring with the diamond.  This is due to the labour charges.
  • You may find your diamond is not quite as advertised, especially if you buy online.
  • After you have proposed, you are carrying a loose diamond around with you, which is easier to lose than wearing an engagement ring.

The Placeholder

For another group of individuals, a placeholder is like a dry run on the engagement ring.  “I wasn’t sure what Jas wanted explained Andy.  So I picked something that I thought she might like the style of in silver. She did, although we still wound up choosing something different when it came to the platinum and diamond variety!  It made the engagement very special and I was relaxed afterwards knowing I’d have her input.”


The benefits

  • Low cost, with minimal risk
  • Even if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t matter, as you will be arranging the ‘real deal’ together
  • Perfect for very ‘spur of the moment’ engagements – a placeholder can be made of anything
  • For summer music festivals, for example, this is ideal, as even if lost, it’s not a huge financial disadvantage


The disadvantages

  • Not always taken seriously
  • May be considered cheap and off-putting



Although a ring may be the obvious choice, take a moment to consider whether a loose stone or a placeholder is better suited to you, your intended and the circumstances of the proposal.  If you do opt for the ring or the stones, then it’s worth getting professional help – they can advise on the right shape, style and cut, and you’ll usually get a much better ring or stone for your money – allowing your budget to go further.