Engagement rings hold great importance within our culture, and they have been a treasured way of marking a relationship and the promise of future marriage for generations. But the traditions and expectations surrounding engagement rings can also bring great confusion.
To help you understand the diverse world of engagement rings, here is our ultimate engagement ring guide; featuring some answers to the questions we receive most often at London DE.
What does an engagement ring mean?
An engagement ring holds great meaning. It’s supposed to symbolise your deepest feelings about your partner and represent your relationship with them; as well as being a piece of jewellery that they will covet and wear for the rest of their life.
Which finger does an engagement ring go on?
One of the most important engagement ring traditions is the finger it is placed upon. The engagement ring is typically worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. Ancient Romans began this tradition. They did this because they believed that there was a special vein that was directly connected to the heart in this finger, which they called the “vena amoris,” meaning ‘the vein of love.’
How can I buy an engagement ring?
An engagement ring can be bought at many places. Some choose to surprise their partner with an engagement ring they have designed themselves, others go to a jewellery shop and pick one out together. Or some run to Portobello Road Market or Hatton Garden and pick out the first ring that really caught their eye, because they knew they had met the person they wanted to marry and couldn’t wait any longer to propose; like my father did. The choice of how you choose to select and buy an engagement ring is a very personal decision.
How much is an engagement ring on average?
An engagement ring and its cost is a contentious topic. In the UK, the average cost of an engagement ring in 2022 is £2100; and here at London DE we have a range of engagement rings starting at £1000 up to £12,000.
De Beers / Their “2 months salary” advertising campaign from the 1980’s
You will often hear that “a man should spend 3 months salary on the engagement ring”; but this isn’t the long running tradition that many think of it as. The idea of an engagement ring costing a percentage of your salary was started by an advertising campaign from the De Beers diamond cartel that started during the Great Depression in the 1930s. At the start of this masterful advertising campaign, a single month's salary was the suggested ring spend. In the 1980s in the United States, it became two months.
However, the exact three-month salary idea actually came from De Beers spinning off their advertising campaigns to Japanese consumers. Diamonds were not popular in Japan, practically unheard of as a jewellery choice there before World War Two; but this all changed with their advertising efforts.
Japanese men were urged to spend three months' salary on engagement rings by De Beers, and this was a stroke of genius because it linked spending money with a Japanese sense of honour. From there, the three-month idea spread back to the western world.
So whilst you might be curious about the average cost of an engagement ring, or the expectations placed upon how much you should spend on the ring; the thing you should be placing more consideration on is the ring itself.
Aside from buying the ring outright, at London DE also have a number of other different financing options available for you when you are purchasing an engagement ring.
An engagement ring is obviously a large and very important purchase, and especially in the current economic situation, you may not be able to consider purchasing it conventionally. That is where our various financing options could help you. It provides flexibility and reassurance for those worried about the purchase.
Using Klarna, the Swedish fintech program, you can “buy now, pay later” with their credit system, using one of their many different payment streams; whichever one works for you.
If you would like to, you can now pay for your jewellery on Paypal, making transactions much easier.
Our own payment plan
Or you can set up your own payment plan with us, where we will allow you to spread your payments across 12 months if you would like to.
What should I consider when buying an engagement ring?
Now that we have addressed the average cost of engagement rings and the sayings that are often repeated; we would reiterate that the cost of the engagement ring shouldn’t be your first concern when you are considering what ring to choose for your engagement.
There are no strict rules for engagement rings, and even if there was; rules are made to be broken. But there are a number of things we would always have in mind when selecting an engagement ring.
An engagement ring is a ring that your partner should want to wear forever. They should enjoy it now, but it should also grow with you. For this reason, longevity is very important. Your engagement ring should be made with high quality craftsmanship, and its design should be something that feels like it works in harmony with your potential fiance's hand.
Style Magazine / A variety of different diamond cuts
Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat Weight
If you are looking for a high-quality gemstone; you need to remember to keep in mind the 4 C’s. The quality of a gemstone is derived from its Cut (how the gemstone has been cut), Colour (the intensity of the colour), Clarity (how clear the diamond is, and how few blemishes the stone has) and Carat Weight (the simple size of the stone).
Whilst the stone at the centre of the ring may be your primary concern, the band of the ring is equally important. Just like the frame for a lovely piece of art, it needs to complement the painting.
Whether you want to be bold and do something different and unique, or try to be traditional; it is important that the ring’s band helps show off the stone's quality, and that it is comfortable for the person wearing it.
How do you choose a diamond or gemstone?
Reddit / A spectacular diamond that can’t be ignored
First of all, it is essential to take your time when choosing the diamond or gemstone that will be at the centre of your engagement ring. The choice can hold great weight, so it should be a gemstone that you desire; as well as being a stone that reflects the emotions, memories and meaning you associate with your engagement.
If your partner already wears a lot of jewellery, you can use the preferences they have shown within their jewellery collection to help inspire what sort of ring they would like; or help you rule out things that they wouldn’t like.
It can be hard to choose what diamond or gemstone to choose if your partner doesn’t have a distinct taste in jewellery or have specific feelings towards gemstones. In these cases, you can feel overwhelmed by the endless options and great variety of engagement rings that are out there. Here it is especially important to do your research, even when it can feel intimidating.
In the process of choosing your engagement ring; make a note of gemstones or specific rings that you and your partner like, whether you see the pieces of jewellery online, or in person when you see that piece of jewellery being worn. If you or your partner have a particularly strong and positive reaction to something, it can definitely help when it comes to deciding upon a ring to buy.
How should I choose the engagement ring?
There is no one way to choose an engagement ring. It’s a deeply personal decision.
As long as the ring you end up choosing has;
- Been properly considered and thought of the ring as a long term commitment
A gemstone that you like and meets the following criteria
- A good cut
- Brilliant and deep pigmentation
- The gemstone has a high clarity
- A suitable carat
- A complimentary band that highlights the qualities of the stone
Then feel free to go with it!
What are the most popular styles of engagement ring?
There are a variety of popular styles of engagement ring you can choose from. Here are three of the most timeless and popular choices.
Halo engagement rings
The word halo may conjure thoughts of the catchy Beyonce song, the popular science fiction video game, or the angelic band of light that surrounds a saint or angel’s head in religious images.
But if you are more interested in the cosmological world, the word halo will make you think of the hazy rings around the sun or moon. Halo rings have a similar effect. The classification describes a ring that has one main stone and a set of smaller stones surrounding it. The main stone could be any shape or size, and you can even have multiple halos on a single engagement ring.
A beautiful halo engagement ring
Solitaire engagement rings
A solitaire engagement ring is simply a ring that has one single gemstone, usually a diamond. It could also be a ruby or a sapphire, which are both hard stones. You can also get solitaire engagement rings made from softer stones like emerald and put it in a setting that partially protects the stone.
A solitaire ring can be any shape, style, or setting; the main thing is that there is only one stone on the ring.
Oval engagement rings
Round rings are popular with many people, granting a familiar and comforting feeling. They also reflect light really well. Oval engagement rings have a similar effect but have a more elongated shape. The oval can be set in different ways, sideways if you have shorter fingers or vertically for longer hands. These types of engagement rings work really well when made with a bold choice of gemstone, like the fancy yellow diamond below.
Which engagement ring style is best for me?
With engagement rings, there is no “best” style for you. It’s all a matter of personal preference. There’s no right or wrong choice for the style of engagement ring you choose. But there are certain styles that evoke different things.
If you want your engagement ring to be simple and elegant, then a solitaire ring might be a better style for you than some of the more intricate styles.
If however, you are looking for an engagement ring that will get you noticed and catch people's eye, a halo ring with the halo of smaller diamonds might be more suitable than a single solitaire diamond.
If you have chosen a bolder gemstone, like a yellow diamond or a bright ruby, then the oval style engagement ring often suits those stones best.
Whichever style of ring you choose, you will need to take into consideration your budget. Halo rings are often less expensive, with a lower quality centre stone and their beauty accentuated by the halo of smaller diamonds. Solitaire engagement rings do not have the glitz of the extra diamonds; meaning that their value comes from more impressive centre stones, which are generally more expensive.
Can any ring be an engagement ring?
There are certain classic engagement rings, or modern rings that are labelled engagement rings; but in principle any ring can be an engagement ring. An engagement ring is simply a ring that symbolises your betrothal and intention to get married in the future; the ring itself is of your choice.
Can you help me choose an engagement ring?
Instagram / A streak of light catching this beautiful diamond engagement ring
If you are struggling to choose your engagement ring, do not worry. Many people have trouble narrowing down options or working out what they want, but at London DE we are happy to assist you in your journey to choosing the perfect engagement ring.
We offer a free, no-obligation appointment where you can discuss bespoke jewellery with our expert team, which includes a consultation on engagement rings. Our staff have earned a 5-star rating from jewellery authorities, and their unrivalled expertise in crafting responsibly sourced and beautifully crafted jewellery is evident when you get to speak to them.
You can choose between an in-person consultation at our Hatton Garden Studio if you live in the London area or opt for a virtual appointment if you live further afar.
Can I design my own engagement ring?
Reddit / A wonderful vintage Toi et Moi ring
Whilst some people find the perfect ring for them in the store; others will have a design in mind that they have to see brought to life. It can be an incredibly personal and rewarding process to get a bespoke jewellery piece.
It allows you to transform your dreams and ideas into a real heirloom engagement ring that you and your family will treasure for hopefully many generations. The bespoke aspect of the jewellery makes it especially timeless and romantic.
If you are interested in crafting a bespoke handmade engagement ring with us at London DE, you’ll have the freedom to choose any metal for the band, as well as any diamond or gemstone for the centre of the ring. There are so many different combinations, which can then also be set and engraved in any way you wish.
The process begins by you sharing your ideas and inspiration with our designers. This will help them understand the story behind the engagement ring you would like to create. Sometimes people have a family heirloom they want the piece to be based on, and this can also be useful, because it is associated with lots of personal memories.
Brides.com / An intricate engagement ring
Once you have agreed upon your bespoke design, we’ll send through your initial designs as a CAD image (Computer Aided Design) via email, along with the stone options and a no-obligation full price estimate. Bespoke engagement rings typically start from £2,495; but the estimate will take into consideration all your various choices.
You’ll have the freedom to arrange as many follow up consultations with Tobias until the engagement ring is exactly as you would want it. Once you are ready to proceed, we will then take a deposit and your item will be lovingly crafted in our Hatton Garden studio and delivered to your door.
This bespoke process typically takes around 4 weeks from consultation to delivery, but it can be quicker or take longer depending on the design and creation process.
The benefits of buying a bespoke engagement ring from us at London DE is that once you have your ring; you will also be granted unparalleled aftercare. This includes a lifetime guarantee for the ring, free resizing, and polishing as a ‘thank you’ for creating your bespoke jewellery with us.
Furthermore, London DE’s lifetime care comes with complimentary engagement ring cleaning.
As mentioned previously, if you are interested in creating a bespoke engagement ring; you can arrange a free consultation with London DE, either in person at our Hatton Garden location or over Zoom.
Remembering the Queen