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#SmalesBridal Series: How to choose the perfect engagement ring

Posted on January 26 2016

Valentine’s Day is still a popular day for proposals. Regardless of whether you’re planning to surprise her with an engagement ring or experience the buying process together, it’s important to understand and carefully consider the decisions ahead of you.

Diamond quality, size and colour, the style of the ring design, metal colour… there’s a lot to think about! An engagement ring can be a big investment and you want her to love it for life.


Choosing the diamond

Firstly, it’s worth spending some time learning about diamonds to ensure you invest in the very best quality for your budget. Bigger isn’t always better! Understanding diamond terminology can be daunting, so as a first step, read our helpful diamond buying guide so you can make a fully informed decision.


Choosing the design

Secondly, consider her style. This will guide the design of the ring and help determine elements such as the diamond shape, setting and band. Her engagement ring should reflect her personality and lifestyle. Is her style classic? Vintage? Fashion forward? Is she the outdoor type?




A round brilliant cut diamond solitaire engagement ring is the most classic and traditional of the engagement ring styles.  Consider adding diamond sidestones or diamond band for extra glamour and sparkle.  With this style the centre stone is the main event and in the case of a solitaire, budget can be channelled towards the very best and biggest stone possible.

Alternatively, you might like to add a point of difference to a classic style with a halo or cathedral setting and/or split shank (which we’ll cover in our next post).




Vintage lovers and romantics may be drawn towards intricate bands and detailed settings featuring milgrain designs and scrollworks. Coloured diamonds and precious gems in oval, square and baguette shapes, and pave bands, are also popular among these brides-to-be.




Engagement rings with the stone set closer to the band can be a good choice for the active woman as they are less likely to snag on materials or become damaged. Bezel settings and channel set bands are both beautiful and robust. 




When big sparkle is the goal then halo and three-stone design with high set stones should be top of your list.

The popular halo design adds a circle or square line of small diamonds around the centre stone and can make it appear larger.

Three-stone designs have been increasing in popularity in recent years. The centre stone is complemented by a smaller stone on either side for an elegant, timeless look that really dazzles.


Fashion forward


Consider capturing a unique-shaped stone in a tension setting and sculptural band for a contemporary look. Pear and marquise-shaped diamonds are beautiful choices or you can opt for a setting where round brilliant cut stones are are held tightly together in pear and marquise shapes to give the illusion of a pear or marquise diamond, without compromising on sparkle.


Choosing the metal

This is usually the easiest of the engagement ring decisions – most women know straight away whether they want yellow, white or rose gold. Difficulties can arise though when choosing between white gold and platinum as they essentially look the same, but their properties (and pricing) is quite different.

White gold rings must be coated with Rhodium to make them look whiter. While Rhodium is a robust metals it does wear eventually and rings should be re-plated every 12 to 18 months to keep them in top condition.

Platinum on the other hand is used almost pure. It’s extremely long wearing and very white so requires no plating like white gold. This quality comes with a price however and it may not be possible for some budgets.

Rose gold is a metal that is very on-trend at the moment. It looks gorgeous against any skin type, particularly fair skinned brides, and looks set to continue as a popular choice into 2016.


If you’re still unsure where to go from here - talk to an expert. Diamond and engagement ring consultants will ask you all the questions to establish a suitable style, answer ay questions you have and guide you down the right path to making an informed decision. 

Make an appointment with your nearest Smales diamond and engagement ring specialist now.

Visit #SmalesBridal on Facebook and Instagram for beautiful engagement and wedding rings, inspiration and helpful information!