Let's face it, picking out an engagement ring is one of the most important purchases any of us are likely to make... aside from buying a house, probably.
Remember, you're going to be wearing this bling on your finger every day for the rest of your life so you've got to love it.
David Rhode, co-founder of ethical London jewellers Ingle & Rhode, tells us that "selecting a creation that is as personal in style as possible should be the overarching criteria," and explains there are five key questions to ask your jeweller before making that all important purchase.
1. How much should I spend? David insists you shouldn't budge on budget. He says that while, "cost should not rule the decision-making process... Jewellers worth their salt should be experienced and flexible enough to work to a range of prices."
He adds: "Choose your budget and stick to it!"
2. How individual should the design be? "Personal style should be just that," says David. It's easy enough to be swayed by the choices of friends or even celebrities (note how many Kate Middleton-like rings you see next time you're on the train), however, David argues it's important to stay true to your own tastes.
3. What gemstone or gemstones should I select? The type and number of gems selected has a direct bearing on the price of an engagement ring. Diamonds are the most popular choice, but knowing how these are categorised will help you get value for money, says David.
"The price of a diamond is determined by its weight (carats) and its quality (colour, clarity and cut)," he explains.
While all those numbers can leave even the most maths savvy scratching their head, David says it's key to remember that one carat is equal to one fifth of a gram and that the colour of diamonds is graded from D (perfect white) to Z (severely discoloured).
You can also determine the number of imperfections in a stone by referring to 10 ratings from IF (internally flawless) to I3 (the lowest grade of clarity).
"Coloured diamonds are graded on a different scale," he added. "And can often be astronomically expensive. If you're looking for colour, it might be worth considering sapphire, which can come in yellow and pink as well as the more traditional royal blue."
4. What about precious metal? While gold and platinum are the traditional choices many jewellers now stock Fairtrade gold and rings made of recycled metal.
Whatever your preference David says the most important things it, "is to buy a ring you truly love and that you feel represents the commitment you will show to each other in marriage."
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