Top 10 Tips When Choosing an Engagement Ring

By Julian Stephens Tuesday, November 3, 2015

An engagement ring is for life, we understand popping the question is a unique, exciting and special time.

To make the process as smooth as possible for you, we’ve identified our top 10 tips.


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The biggest issue with presenting an engagement ring as a surprise is the size. But there are many options for getting around this:

  • We (or a reputable jeweller) can send you a sizer in the post, slip the sizer on her finger when she is sleeping for example.
  • Bring one of her rings to us that’s the right size.
  • Buy a ring in stock, present it to her, if it doesn’t fit then bring it back with her to be resized at no extra charge.
  • Buy a cheap ring, for example a Christmas cracker ring as a fun surprise, or a ring with symbolism, then go shopping together to choose the real thing.
  • Commission an inexpensive simple ring, present that, then comes to see us for the real thing.


This is a lovely experience, and one that will be filled with special memories for a lifetime. Whether you choose an off the peg design or commission a unique handmade ring, the whole process will be a beautiful one.


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Choosing a stone is extremely important, traditionally, a single stone (solitaire) or three stone (trilogy) ring is symbolic with an engagement ring.

Diamond is the hardest, therefore will last a lifetime. Sapphires and Rubies are also suitable alternatives as they are also hard and long lasting. The beauty of sapphires is they are available in an array of colours, not just the traditional blue.

For example colours include blues, pinks, greens, oranges and purples. Other stones to consider are chrysobels (pale greens and yellows), garnets (reds and greens).

We strongly recommend you do not buy a diamond online. Whilst there may appear to be many bargains out there, no two diamonds are the same. With the expertise and experienced eye of a jeweller you will be able to make an informed choice.


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For diamond rings, platinum is our number one choice. Platinum is the hardest, heaviest, whitest and rarest of the precious metals.

However if working with coloured gemstones (rubies and sapphires for example), the colour of the metal must be a consideration.

If you’ve chosen a gemstone that has captured your heart, and this is your starting point, the metal choice may well be dictated by the colour or hue of the stone.

On the other hand, if you are set on a particular metal the right stone can be found to compliment it, to give you some context, a blue sapphire in yellow gold will appear warm and lustrous, in 18ct white gold it will seem stormy and mysterious, and in platinum it will become glittery and ice-like.


There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a ring ‘off the peg’, so we’ve listed them below for you:


  • You can see exactly what you’re getting
  • You get it the same day


  • Mass produced
  • May not be a unique item if thousands of the same design are made
  • It’s less personal, as you’re not involved in the design process



There are infinitely more advantages than disadvantages when choosing a ‘bespoke’ ring as listed below:


  • Personal involvement in design process
  • More choice
  • Direct advice from a fine craftsman
  • Experience creating a positive memory
  • Designed and made in England using traditional skills and techniques ensuring a serviceable item of jewellery that will last a lifetime.
  • Workmanship guaranteed for 6 months
  • Often free servicing for life (we offer this at Julian Stephens)


  • Have to wait! Having chosen your perfect design, you may have to wait up to 4 weeks while we work our magic.


Pick your budget and stick to it, this is where the beauty of bespoke is it can be very good value, as your ring can be designed to fit your budget.

A good jeweller will execute expertise to help guide the design around your budget. Anything is possible from small to large budgets.



Before visiting a reputable jeweller, search on Google images for preferred design styles and bring them in. Be it a classic 1930’s solitaire.

Ascher cut diamond surrounded by and embellished with pave-set diamonds, or a vibrant blue oval sapphire simply set in a contemporary organic design, the possibilities are endless! From a practical design view point, it’s worth considering the lifestyle and job of your fiancée.

An experienced jeweller can give guidance on the practicalities of wearing a ring every day, so it’s lifestyle dictated – a builders requirement of a ring is very different to that of a princess.


When planning that special date to pop the question, if you choose to go bespoke, allow at least 4-6 weeks for the production of your unique engagement ring (2 weeks design process, and 4 weeks making)

Although here at Julian Stephens we’re always happy to accommodate more spontaneous decisions(!) or shorter deadlines.



An important consideration when choosing an engagement ring is how well a wedding band will sit with it.

Whilst it is possible to create a design to match any engagement ring, it is often advantageous to design the engagement and wedding rings together so they match. Afterall, they will be worn together for a lifetime.

But should you choose a simple band, there are various options such as the traditional ‘court’ wedding bands that will in most cases look beautiful against any engagement ring. A good jeweller will talk you through suitable options.

Categories: Rings | Shop | Bespoke | Engagement