Did your man propose without an engagement ring? If so, David Rhode from experts Ingle and Rhode is here to reveal what you need to ask your jeweller…

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How much should I spend?

Don’t budge on your budget. Cost should not rule the decision-making process and jewellers worth their salt should be experienced and flexible enough to work to a range of prices. So choose your budget and stick to it!

How individual should the design be?

Personal style should be just that… personal. It’s easy enough to be swayed by the choices friends, and even people in the public eye, have made. However, given the highly personal nature of engagement rings, it is important to carefully consider design aspects that appeal to each of you (especially true if being purchased without the other partner). Selecting a single or multiple stone design is the first consideration but there are a wide variety of other aspects that can impact on ring design.

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What gemstone or gemstones should I select?

This is important, as the type and number of gems selected has a direct bearing on the price of an engagement ring. Diamonds are clearly a popular choice, but knowing how these are categorised will help you get value for money. The cost-based value of a diamond is determined by its weight (carats) and its quality (colour, clarity and cut). The most well-known aspect of these is the number of carats, with one carat equal to one fifth of a gram.

It is also worth remembering that the colour of diamonds is graded from D (perfect white) to Z (severely discoloured). Similarly, as a buyer, you can determine the number of imperfections in a stone by referring to 10 ratings from IF (internally flawless) to I3 (the lowest grade of clarity). The term ‘Cut’ is often used to refer to the shape of a diamond. However, in diamond grading, the ‘cut’ refers to the diamond’s proportions, symmetry and polish. It is these factors that determine how well a diamond reflects and refracts light. Fundamentally, a stone with a poor cut won’t sparkle as much as one with a good cut.

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Are the diamonds ethically sourced?

Make sure your jeweller can provide evidence of a gemstone’s origin. This is an important consideration and consumers have the power to push for as much information as possible about where a stone was mined. If your jeweller is not able to provide evidence of a stone’s source, as well as verbal confirmation about the mine and its location, you should be wary about relying on their word alone.

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What about precious metal?

Gold, platinum and silver are obvious choices, but beyond this many now consider sustainability (as well as ethically sourced stones) a major factor in the decision-making process. As well as Fairtrade gold, many jewellers now also stock rings comprising recycled metal. Certain refineries source only old materials which can be melted down and re-used, helping to cut back on the social and environmental problems that often come with mining. However, the most important thing is to buy a ring you truly love and that you feel represents the commitment you will show to each other in marriage. Good luck!

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