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How to choose an engagement ring

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The choices and options can seem overwhelming if you're considering buying an engagement ring. Since 2007, Ingle & Rhode has helped thousands of customers on this journey, so we've produced a detailed guide to help you get it right. In this article, we've summarised the key points from the guide, passing on years of experience and expertise to answer some of the most important questions.

Three simple steps to getting it right

We surveyed 500 people who had just got engaged and asked them if they would have preferred to select their own engagement ring. Of those whose partner chose the ring for them, nearly three-quarters said it was the right thing to do. The good news is, from that same group, almost 90% said they were happy with the ring.

If you're unsure about what type of engagement ring your partner would like, there are three steps you can take to help spark inspiration.

1. Remember, it's all about them

It's easy to get caught up in the buying process, but your spouse-to-be will be the one wearing the ring for the rest of their life. Make sure you keep them at the front of your mind every step of the way.

2. Look for clues in what they own

Think about their style and the clothes they wear. Do they prefer to keep things simple, or are they more flamboyant? If you're still unsure, look in their jewellery box. If an engagement ring clashes with their existing jewellery, it's probably not the right one.

3. Ask a friend or a family member

This can be tricky as you run the risk of their nearest and dearests ruining the surprise. If you feel that you can trust them to keep your secret, getting a second opinion can help to give you an extra boost of confidence and keep you on the right track.

If you're still uncertain, your best option is to ensure you can exchange or refund the ring if they don't like it. Most good jewellers will offer a 30-day returns policy on rings from their collection.

Just make sure you know the terms and conditions before you buy. Custom-made rings are generally not exchangeable or refundable, so you need to be reasonably confident before deciding to go down this route.

Setting your budget

Various diamond carats

Some people may tell you that you should spend one month's salary or more on an engagement ring, but believe that you should spend whatever you feel comfortable with.

Ingle & Rhode engagement rings start from about £1100 including VAT, but whatever your budget, we offer a wide range of designs to suit most tastes, and if you choose to commission a bespoke engagement ring, we will design and make it to your exact specifications.

You can read our guide on how much to spend on an engagement ring for more detailed guidance.

Choosing a style


If you're choosing or designing a ring without your partner's input, pay attention to how they react to other people's engagement rings or if they point out rings they like! These helpful little 'hints' will help us find or create the perfect ring. It might also be worth speaking to their friends and relatives for advice.

There is a wide range of different styles that you may wish to consider, from classic solitaire engagement rings (set with one stone) to trilogy rings (set with three stones) to vintage engagement rings (often set with lots of small diamonds). Perhaps they love Art Deco engagement rings that capture the romance of a bygone age. Or maybe they prefer the simple elegance of more contemporary, modern engagement rings.

You can read our guide on engagement ring setting styles for more detailed guidance.

Selecting a gem

A selection of ethical gemstones

Choosing the right diamond or gemstone is vital and usually the most significant factor in determining the price of an engagement ring. We offer a stunning range of conflict-free diamonds and ethically-produced gemstones, which can all be traced back to mine-of-origin.

Diamonds are valued according to their weight (carats) and quality (colour, clarity and cut), known as the 4 Cs.

The shape of a gem significantly impacts the look of a ring. The most popular options are the round brilliant cutprincess cutemerald cutcushion cutoval cutpear cutradiant cut, and marquise cut.

But remember, diamonds are not the only option! You may also wish to consider sapphire engagement ringsruby engagement rings, or emerald engagement rings.

Selecting the precious metal

Precious Metals

We offer certified Fairtrade gold and recycled gold and platinum, and you can choose from 18ct yellow gold, 18ct white gold, 18ct rose gold or platinum 950.

If they already wear jewellery, see which metal colour they seem to prefer. Yellow gold is traditional, but platinum is now the most popular choice. Please read our article on platinum vs gold rings to learn more.

Rose gold engagement rings are a bit more unusual, which might work well if you're looking for something a little different.

Our certified Fairtrade gold helps to provide better living and working conditions for small-scale miners and their communities. Our recycled gold and platinum have been refined back to their pure forms before they are alloyed, so they are of identical quality to newly-mined precious metals but without the environmental impact.

Choosing the ring size

Unless you ask them to have their finger measured, or you already know their size, then you may not be able to get their ring size 100% right. But this isn't necessarily a problem.

One thing you can do is borrow a ring from their jewellery box and get it measured. Just try to remember which finger you've seen them wear it on.

If it's the fourth finger of the right hand, then it's likely to be accurate within a size or so for their engagement finger. If it's a ring they wear on their middle finger, it's likely to be between one and four sizes too big for their engagement finger.

Most engagement rings will likely need resizing after the proposal, but this isn't an issue and usually only takes a few days. At Ingle & Rhode, we offer a complimentary resize.

It's worth being cautious if you're thinking of choosing a ring with diamonds all the way around the band. These are harder to resize.

For some people, a ring that is big enough to pass over their knuckle is too big once it is in place on their finger (i.e. it feels loose except over the knuckle). The best solution for this is to add sizing beads (small 'domes' of gold or platinum) to the inside of the ring. This allows the ring to pass over the knuckle but stops it from feeling loose once it's on.

If you can borrow your partner's ring and bring it in, we can measure it for you. If that's not possible, use our sizing chart on the next page to estimate the size. UK ring sizes run from A (the smallest) to Z (the largest).

You can read our article on choosing the correct ring size for more information, and download our ring sizing chart and ring size conversion table.

Further reading

For more detailed guidance, please read our complete guide here, or click on the image below to open our infographic on choosing the perfect engagement ring.

Guide to buying an engagement ring
David Rhode
Together with Tim Ingle, David created Ingle & Rhode to offer a better alternative to the traditional luxury brands. Since 2007, we’ve provided our customers with genuinely ethical engagement rings, wedding rings and fine jewellery – free from conflict diamonds, dirty gold and child labour. With more than 16 years experience in the jewellery industry, David has deep expertise in diamonds, gemstones and jewellery design and manufacturing.