“That’s a lovely ring. How many carats?”
If this is the first question you ask when you inquire about a ring, you may need to familiarise yourself with some of the finer details of engagement rings. It’s not surprising, considering most news stories announcing engagements seem to focus on the diamond’s weight:
“Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green recently popped the question to his girlfriend, Hazel Renee with a 6-carat, $300,000 ring.”
“Katherine Schwarzenegger Debuts Her Enormous, 5-Carat Diamond Engagement Ring on Instagram”
“Lea Michele is engaged and showed off her 4-carat ring on Instagram.”
If this any indication of how people shop for engagement rings, you might think it’s as easy as walking into the deli and saying, “I’d like two pounds of Swiss cheese, please.”
Clearly, there’s more to an engagement ring than the carat, and in this post, we’ll look at all of the other elements that contribute to the selection of the perfect ring to mark your commitment.
An engagement ring style says so much about both of your personalities, your quirks and combined experiences together. People with interest in the past tend to prefer vintage styles, and those who look to the future tend to prefer sleek, modern lines. Current trends heavily influence the styles that are currently available, but you can also have a ring custom-designed if you don’t see the style you’re looking for. Remember that this ring will be worn for many years, so choose a look that will endure the test of time.
Current popular styles include the following:
Halo engagement rings have a centre stone that is surrounded by a ring of smaller stones. You’ll see these rings in many shapes, from rounds and ovals to marquise and pears. Some halo engagement rings feature a coloured gemstone, such as an emerald or ruby, in the centre.
Never out of style, classic solitaires feature one precious stone set in the centre of a metal band. The stone may be set with claws or with a bezel setting, but it’s the sole feature. An interesting diamond shape, such as a pear or a heart, can spice up a classic solitaire, but for many people, the simple elegance of a beautiful diamond is perfection.
Wedding Ring Sets
With a wedding ring set, an engagement ring and a wedding band fit together to produce one harmonious piece of jewellery. The wedding band isn’t worn until the marriage is finalised, and many people have the two pieces fused together for convenience and comfort.
The symbolism of the three stone ring represents yesterday, today and tomorrow. In some rings, the centre stone is larger than the other two, and in other rings, the three stones are all the same size.
For those who appreciate the classic good looks of a solitaire engagement ring but would like to add a bit of sparkle, side-stone rings answer the call. Tiny diamonds line the band or cluster around the edges of the main solitaire, framing it with light.
The way the precious stones are set in the ring plays a significant role in the overall effect. Some settings, such as cathedrals, set the stone high up above the band, allowing the stone to sparkle and catch the light. Other settings, such as bezels, hold the stone close to the hand. The wearer’s lifestyle should be thoughtfully considered when you choose a setting. People who work with their hands regularly will be more comfortable with a ring that doesn’t stand up too tall.
White and yellow gold and platinum are all popular choices for engagement rings, but they’re not your only options. Rose gold is gaining a significant following for its warm, peachy tones and feminine appeal. You may also find engagement rings made with palladium, titanium and silver, these metals have their own unique beauty and attractions. Again, consider the wearer’s lifestyle when weighing your options. Let’s look at the properties of these metals:
An excellent backdrop for diamonds, white gold is created by combining gold with other metals like palladium or silver. It’s coated with rhodium, which can eventually start to rub off. If this happens, the piece can be replated to restore it to its original lustre.
The traditional choice for wedding bands, yellow gold is warm and vibrant in appearance and creates a lovely contrast for clear diamonds. Its signature warmth is created by combining gold with copper and silver, and you can find yellow gold in 9ct, 14ct, 18ct, and 22ct combinations.
Sometimes called pink gold or red gold, this metal varies in colour from peach to pink. Its hardness depends on the combination of metals that work together to produce the piece. It’s increasingly popular for engagement rings, especially paired with pinkish stones like Morganite.
Another traditional favourite, silver has been used in rings for thousands of years. It has a classic appearance, but it’s important to remember that silver tarnishes and will, therefore, require some upkeep. Silver also tends to scratch easily.
This impressive metal is uncommonly strong, perfect for jewellery that needs to withstand heavy use. With its darker, steel-grey colouring, it makes for unusual engagement rings. Another interesting feature is that it’s lighter in weight than most of the metals commonly used in wedding jewellery.
First used in fine jewellery in 1939, palladium is a relative newcomer to the wedding jewellery scene. This metal is extremely tarnish-resistant, and it has a soft white sheen, which complements diamonds exceptionally well. It’s also less expensive than some of the other metals.
Rarer, denser, stronger and purer than gold and silver, platinum has a deep, luminescent white hue that is perfect for engagement rings. Because of its purity, it’s hypoallergenic, which may be a consideration for some people, and because of its strength, platinum rings can be difficult to resize.
Most of the engagement rings feature diamonds, and these stones come in many different shapes, sizes and degrees of quality. But diamonds aren’t your only option. Coloured gemstones are increasingly popular for engagement rings, especially when accented with diamonds. Sapphires, emeralds, rubies, Morganite and topaz all make sublime centre stones.
Side or Pavé Stones
Besides the starring centre stone, many engagement rings also feature side or pavé stones, which provide extra sparkle and interest. Side stones may sit on either side of the featured stone, as in the engagement ring Prince Harry designed for Meghan Markle. Tiny pavé stones (so-called because they resemble paving stones) may completely line the band or add sparkle around the base of the setting.
After considering all of these elements, think about how to make the ring truly your own. You can customise the ring by having the jeweller engrave your names or a date or a special message on the inside of the band. You may also want to include symbolism in your design that is special to the two of you.
As you can see, there’s much more to an engagement ring than the carat. Your family jeweller can help you evaluate each of these components during your search for the perfect symbol of your love. And when you find it, safeguard it from the bumps, cracks and losses that could follow. JewelCover will provide the protection your jewellery deserves, take a few minutes and get an online quote today.