How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring

Whether it’s a surprise or a shared decision, here’s how to choose an engagement ring which will stand the test of time.

1.84 Carat Diamond 6 Prong Tiffany Style Engagement Ring


Consider Their Other Design Choices

While most people focus on the centre stone of their ring, the truth is, the setting is what will truly set the tone for your new, important jewel. Once you feel confident about the style of setting you’re looking for, everything else will fall into place. So, is your partner one for antiques or do they love sleek, contemporary looks? Keep in mind, that if they have a very active lifestyle or one that requires them to be a bit tougher on their hands, something modern (even if it’s an antique reproduction) might fit their daily life best.

If you don’t automatically know which aesthetic suits, don’t sweat it. Instead, look to the design details they’ve chosen in other parts of their life, such as their choices in furniture, tableware, other housewares, favourite clothes, etc. If they tend to love frilly, romantic details with pretty prints, florals, lots of colour and sweet touches, chances are similar details in their engagement ring will light them up. Antique styles with engraving, fanciful prongs, fancy-cut gems, and even some colour are all great features you can consider.

Katherine James Jewellery Engagement Rings

On the flip side, if their home, wardrobe and other favourite items look streamlined with a simple colour scheme, and modern and sophisticated details (think: colour blocking and stripes) something very refined, simple and elegant is likely more their speed. Consider a monotone colour palette, bezel settings, subtle Art Deco styles, and slick, contemporary details. Of course, these may feel like two extremes and there is plenty of room in between which can allow you to find the perfect combination of varying details which will fit your beloved to a tee.

Keep in mind, when it comes to clothing and other jewellery your partner may have, everyone likes to change it up and try new styles and looks, so these can be a bit misleading when trying to find their true personal style. An engagement ring is something they’ll potentially wear every single day, and needs to be quite classic in some ways, so it will complement their other wardrobe pieces. For the best idea, think of what their absolute favourite items of clothing are, the things they wear the most, and the stores they love to visit and even window shop at. Taking a sneaky peek at their Pinterest page, if they have one, can also be a great way to help you capture their true, overall taste.  


Antique Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring in Yellow Gold


Take a Colour Cue

Choosing a coloured gemstone as the centre stone or accent stones can be a really special way to make an engagement ring feel extra personal and customized to your partner and your relationship. There’s a chance they may have mentioned that this is their preference, or that a standard Diamond is not their style. Of course, that will certainly make it easier, but if not, you can consider the above style hints, again. If you partner is super classic and loves really glamourous details, an all-Diamond design might be best. If they’re more fanciful, artistic or even traditional, something with a bit of colour will likely make them feel extra special.

Birthstones are a great place to start, and again, this can be used as a centre stone or accent stones in a three-stone ring or a halo or on a band. You can also combine your birthstones for a very romantic touch, or even use the stone of the month that you met or will be engaged (or married – if you know that already!) for an extra-creative touch. Of course, if your beloved has a favourite colour, such as Pink, Yellow or Green, or always mentions how much they love a certain ring, such as the Duchess of Cambridge’s epic Blue Sapphire, that is a perfect jumping off point, as well.

 Colour also extends to the metal you’ll choose for the setting. While some gems look particularly ravishing in certain metals, choose the style you think suits the above hints, once again. If you’re going for a goes-with-everything monotone look, Diamonds set in Platinum or White Gold are a no-brainer. If you’re looking for something more unique, coloured gems set in an antique Yellow Gold setting can be extra luxe and romantic looking. If you’re not sure, a setting which combines both has been a major engagement ring trend, and will guarantee the ring will match whichever other jewellery your partner owns or will choose in future. To read more about each Precious Metal, click here.  


Round Brilliant Diamond and Blue Sapphire Halo Engagement Ring


Be Open to Hints

If you’re hoping for a proposal which is a total surprise, you may feel a bit paranoid about giving off even the slightest of hints. However, looking for important clues at this point can make all the difference, and you’ll be surprised what you can pick up on once you start trying to pay extra attention to everything your partner likes and dislikes.  Your fiancé-to-be may just be dropping hints of their own which you hadn’t picked up on before! Things to pay attention to: comments they make while shopping, remarks about jewellery or rings of friends, family or celebrities, how they react to proposal or wedding scenes in movies or on TV. Making an effort to be more receptive to their comments can open up a whole new world of details for you. Also, when they do make comments, use the opportunity to ask subtle questions about the details so you can best understand what they are trying to communicate. You won’t be giving anything anyway. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re both picking out other items, such as housewares, to understand why they like or dislike certain looks.

Friends and family can also be a great resource. If your partner is particularly close to a certain friend, cousin or sibling, they may have even shared what their ‘dream’ ring would look like. They may also help you in clarifying the personal style of your partner. Before you go down this road, just beware of sharing your secret  (you may want to spare the specific details of the timeline etc.) if you’re not totally sure they won’t spill the beans. Also, they naturally may impart their own personal style when offering their opinions on various ring looks, so you many want to take their input with a grain of salt!

Lastly, it goes without saying that you don’t want to invade your partner’s privacy. However, there’s a chance they may have chosen rings they love on their Pinterest board, or even saved some pictures to a file on their computer. Investigate these avenues as much as possible without getting too personal (or caught red-handed!)

Katherine James Jewellery Engagement Rings



1.00 CTW Mixed Cut Diamond and White Gold Half Eternity Wedding Band

When in Doubt, Use a Placeholder (and Don’t Panic)

If you just can’t land on a design that makes you feel confident, don’t fret: you still have plenty of options. You can propose with a stand-in ring, such as one of these Moissanite options, and allow your future partner to choose their own forever piece later. Another option, which can still be very meaningful, is to propose with a band, either streamlined or set with Diamonds or coloured gemstones, which he or she can still wear later as their wedding band.

When it comes to sizing the ring, you can try asking friends or family, or try to secretly trace the inner circumference of a ring your partner already owns and match it up with one of our complimentary ring sizers. As a last resort, an N ½ is one of the most popular ring sizes, and nearly every ring can be re-sized later, if need be.

Just remember that many rings can take at least a couple of weeks to arrive, and custom orders can also take up to eight weeks, so plan ahead if you’re trying to meet a special date. At the end of the day, the love and sincerity behind your proposal is what will mean the most to your partner and if all else fails, any ring can be exchanged or returned at Katherine James Jewellery. We’re always here to help you through your decision making process, contact us here to get started!