Hmm, tricky question that a client asked me the other day. The quick answer is ‘You’. What I mean by that is personal involvement, an idea, a colour, a memory (trying not to sound too cheesy here) something that you want to bring to the design of the ring. Why is this important? Well, because this will be one of the most personal and sentimental items that you or your girlfriend will ever have. So to be able to look at it and say ‘I was involved in the making/creating/designing of it’ is really great.
However from a more functional point of view there are a few things that are good to remember. Keep it practical – sounds really boring doesn’t it? But an engagement ring with sharp edges that will catch on clothing, or a protruding gem that will be susceptible to knocks, a gem that is too soft for a lifetime of wear and tear or an uneven edge that will be tricky to match with a wedding ring will end up being annoying.
Think about the type of metal you want. Start with colour, does your girlfriend wear yellow gold or white gold/silver more? If a white metal is what you are after, you will need to choose between platinum or white gold (there are other ‘white’ metals, titanium, palladium or silver – they have some limitations on use but anything is possible!). The main 2 differences between platinum and white gold are price and durability. Platinum is more expensive than white gold but is also harder. However, that’s not to say white gold is soft, it is still a very hard metal, suitable for engagement and wedding rings. If it’s yellow gold you are after, consider rose gold too, a softer coloured, (rosier!) gold – old-fashioned but there’s a beauty in that.
Once you have the colour sorted, next is the gem. Of course diamonds are the traditional and still most popular choice – they are extremely hard and extremely beautiful. However, if you don’t want to go the white diamond route – consider a coloured diamond – still the practicality of a diamond but a little different. Diamonds come in beautiful champagne shades, luscious browns and pale yellows , black (good for men’s wedding rings) and of course pink… ahh.. pink. (I heard recently that the Pink Argyle Diamond is a good investment as they will run out soon…)
There are also a huge range of other gems, beautiful gems of all colours, really any colour you want there will be a gem that you could use in an engagement ring. Sapphires, rubies, tourmaline, garnet, aquamarine, morganite.. anything is possible.
Then the design. Consult with your jeweller (preferably me!) and don’t be afraid to speak out if you want to make changes, don’t like a particular design or want to change your mind completely! It’s is important to get it right, the jeweller will want to you love the finished product so now is the time to speak out. Keep in mind practicality as I mentioned before but also uniqueness, even if it’s a very traditional design – make it yours in some small way.
Finally… the proposal. You’re on your own there! good luck.