That proposal moment is one that you will remember forever, no matter how simple or elaborate it was. Your engagement ring is the memory of that time, and a sign of the commitment you have made to each other. Personally, I don’t agree with spending a huge amount of money on engagement or wedding rings, as I view the ring as a symbol and not so much a fashion statement. I chose my own from David after his proposal and all that mattered to me was that it was quality-made so it would last decades, had diamonds for tradition and suited my hand. The topic of engagements rings is so vast and people always have so many questions around what they should choose; so I had a chat with jewellers Tim Swann and Gary Thompson. They are based in North Leeds and they own Jeweller’s Loupe. As the name suggests, they make bespoke jewellery from ethically sourced materials and have created a number of engagement rings for clients.
Tell us a bit about the types of diamonds and cuts out there? What are the 5 C’s that everyone talks about?
Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth. They are mined and then cut into specific shapes and sizes to meet the requirements of a huge global market. The cut of a diamond is determined by the number, size, shape and position of its facets (the man-made flat sides of the stone). The most common diamond cut is the Round Brilliant Cut, perfectly round and specially cut to create the greatest amount of sparkle. Other diamond cuts include: Princess Cut (Square), Emerald Cut (Rectangular) and Marquise Cut (Leaf).
You can see various cuts of diamonds in our online shop.
The Four C’s are Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat. CUT is the man-made shape of the diamond, determined by the number, size, shape and position of its facets (the flat sides of the stone). COLOUR is just what it says on the tin; the actual colour of the diamond. It is measured on a sliding scale from D (colourless) to Z (yellow/y-brown). CLARITY is determined by the number of characteristics found within the diamond (such as dark flecks, cloudy sections). It is measured from IF (Internally Flawless) to I3 (Included). CARAT is the overall weight of the diamond.We actually wrote a blog post about the Four C’s.
Read my post on 5 Romantic Places to Get Engaged
What is the most popular style of engagement ring? What influences this?
At the moment, the most popular style of engagement ring at JL is a diamond halo style. This is when you have a central (often larger) stone surrounded by a frame of smaller diamonds. Hence the name ‘halo’. Sometimes, they are called ‘cluster’ rings as they could also be described as showcasing a cluster of stones. Cluster/halo rings are a great way of creating a statement look in a cost effective way (rather that one large solitaire stone).Is it possible for people with all budgets to find a diamond engagement ring in the style they want?
Of course! And you should never have to compromise on quality and ethical sourcing when it comes to a diamond engagement ring – it’s all about clever design. A smaller solitaire diamond can be stunning when set in the right statement setting . Also, using diamonds alongside coloured stones can offer a more cost-effective option. Similarly, a cluster of smaller diamonds can create the same impact as a large diamond but can help with a smaller budget.
Do you have any tips for men buying engagement rings for their partners? What do they typically go for?
We would say to trust your gut. The bottom line is that you know your partner really well (you’re choosing to marry them!). If you’re looking for that bit of confidence in your decision, try to follow their style – notice what jewellery they currently wear, or speak to close family/friends who might have already had the conversation about engagement rings with them. If you’re still not sure, a solitaire diamond engagement ring is a safe and stunning choice.
What is the typical spend/budget that customers have in their heads when buying?
Unsurprisingly, this is a hugely individual decision. Traditionally, it was said that an engagement ring should be the equivalent value of three-months pay. We would say, spend what feels right for you in your financial circumstances. There’s no point blowing all your money on one piece of jewellery. An engagement ring will hold special and sentimental value whatever your budget. And it is totally possible to buy the perfect ring on a limited budget. Have an amount of money in your head that you feel comfortable spending, and spend just that.
Discover why a smaller wedding might be better!
If they can’t afford a diamond ring, what other stones make good engagement rings?
Diamonds are stunning, but there are so many other beautiful precious stones. If you’re looking for an alternative to a diamond, why not try a coloured stone engagement ring. For a more similar stone to a diamond, try Crystal Quartz. It’s clear in colour, but a little cloudier than a diamond. A dreamy and romantic stone.
It can also be deceiving to think that diamonds are always the more costly option. In fact, some coloured stones can be more expensive than diamonds (such as some sapphires). Using an independent, bespoke jewellers could help you to find the perfect stone for you.Tell me about the difference between ethical diamonds and other diamonds?
Ethical diamonds have been sourced consciously from reputable and fair suppliers. At Jeweller’s Loupe, we only offer ethically sourced diamonds, gemstones and precious metals. We believe there should be no compromise on this. All our suppliers are trusted and responsible, ensuring that all the diamonds we source our conflict free. An important thing to know is that the UK (alongside 45 other countries) is a part of The Kimberley Certification Scheme – a certification process that prevents the trade of conflict diamonds.
Thanks to Gary and Tim at Jeweller’s Loupe for their tips and advice.
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