Vintage Jewellery Australia has put together a guide on helpful tips and tricks to consider when choosing your perfect Engagement Ring.
What’s right for you?
- I always say what’s right for you is what feels right. This could be something that you instantly fall in love with or something that you try on and don’t ever want to take off! Something that feels comfortable and part of you, or even something that’s sentimental.
- You don’t have to follow the rules. There are some lovely traditions when it comes to Engagement rings. But they don’t suit everyone and they don’t have to be followed if you choose not to. Your budget can be what suits you and not traditionally 1 or even 3 months salary. Your style does not have to be a traditional set Diamond. You don’t have to match a wedding band to your Engagement ring if you would prefer not to. Some people prefer to wear the two rings on different fingers or just opt for one ring. And no the man does not have to buy the ring, relationships come in all forms of love and if you also want to be involved in the purchasing process this is a lovely thing to do together as a couple. Do what’s right for you and enjoy the experience.
- Choose something that feels comfortable and will age with you. Consider if you will wear your ring all the time or take it on and off. Choose a shape and style that suits your hand over what you like in a brochure.
Where to start?
- Start an inspiration board – this is perfect to do online. You can ‘favourite’ your preferred styles on Pinterest or even ‘screen shot’ images you come across and add them to a photos folder. Once you have your collection you can look back and spot any trends that pop up more often than others and identify your style.
- Visit lots of Jewellery Stores. Try on lots of different styles. What suits your hand may be different to what you had in mind. Be open and have fun with it. You would be amazed at how many people have one style in mind and walk out with something completely different.
- Be open to having something sized if its not your perfect fit. Seek guidance from the experts to ensure this can be achieved. There is more information on resizing below.
- Look at Antique and Vintage stores. This can be ideal to see many different styles all together in one location. Even better if you have an upcoming Antique Fair or event in your area. This way you can view many different items from many different businesses under one roof while also having a day out. Antique and Vintage jewellery often offer much better value for money.
Old or new, or made to order?
This is a common question early in your thought process. Often this determines where you start your search.
- Antique or Vintage items make wonderful unique Engagement Rings. They are one off pieces that give you a great range of styles and Era’s to choose from. Items that have been loved and adored by those before you that go on to bring joy to their next custodian. A great sustainable option!
- New Engagement rings are widely available online with many different jewelers. Buy from someone you trust and look for a style you love and that works for you.
- Made to order. This can be a great way to design something that is unique to you only. Incorporate something meaningful to you, repurpose old stones or have some fun with the design. This requires having a clear vision of what you want and being able to communicate this to a trusted manufacturing jeweler. Look for someone who is admired and trusted within their industry and who’s style you love.
What style is for you?
There are endless styles to choose from and there is really no limit or set calculation but rather what you love.
- Whether you are choosing New, Antique or Vintage there are many styles you will see on your search. From Contemporary and Modern styles to Antique there is something for everyone. Art Deco is a popular style for Engagement Rings showing bold or simple geometric shapes that don’t tend to date. Also, the more traditional styles show elements of Victorian and Edwardian times.
- Choosing different stones to the traditional Diamond Engagement Ring is quite popular. Coloured stones have made a real come back in Engagement Rings so if that’s what you love don’t be afraid to branch out into some wonderful colours and styles. Emeralds, Sapphires and Ruby’s to name a few. If you are choosing coloured stones then consider how hardy the stone may be and how you intend to wear it before and after your wedding day.
- Look into what profile you would like. You may choose something high and will need to consider if it is comfortable for everyday use. If it has claws holding in the stones you will need to make sure these are secure and have them checked every so often. If you choose something low set or bezel set then the stone may appear darker as there is not as much light coming in underneath.
- If you are having a wedding band look at how it will fit next to your Engagement ring or if it will need to be custom made.
What metals and stones suit you?
Considering what your ring is made of is important and needs to suit your lifestyle. From the metal to the stones and also the style there are things to consider.
- Choose what metal base you would like your ring to be. This includes the colour as well as the material. You may like Yellow Gold, Rose Gold or White Gold or even Platinum. You may need to consider the hardness of the material. The higher the Gold Carat then generally the softer the Gold, If you are wearing anything next to your ring the softer gold could wear against the harder gold. This should be considered if you are going to be wearing a wedding band next to your engagement ring.
- If you are choosing coloured stones then consider how hardy the stone may be and how you intend to wear it. Will you take it off at night or when showering? Some stones such as Opals, Pearls and Emeralds need extra care while Diamonds are quite hardy.
- If you are looking at Diamonds then be aware if your 4 C’s – Clarity, Cut, Colour and Carat. All of these factors will influence the cost and style of your Engagement Ring.
Practical hints and tips
Some practical hints and tips that’s worth considering during the purchasing process.
- If you find a Vintage or an Antique Ring that you love but its not your exact fit you may be able to have it resized. Also consider that your fingers may change over time. Whether it’s just age or a fluctuation in our weight its worth considering if your ring could be resized if required. Generally, a good rule of thumb is if the back of the band is plain and not inset with stones or patterned then this allows for re-sizing. Most rings can be resized within a 2-3 sizes easily but if you need more than that or if you want to check you can ask a manufacturing jeweler.
- It’s a great idea to have your ring checked and cleaned every so often. How often may depend on how often you are wearing the item. We generally say every 1-2 years. A professional clean and check gives you a sparkly ring with the piece of mind that your stones are secure. This is also the time to consider if you need your ring re-valued which is recommended every 5 years or so depending on its initial value and content.
- Depending on where you purchase your Engagement Ring and what type of ring it is may depend on if you receive a Valuation certificate. With Vintage Jewellery we give a receipt with every purchase which details the item and acts as a guarantee. We also have our items with larger stones and a higher cost value independently certified by a Jewellery Valuation Specialist who is a highly regarded member of the Gemmological Association of Australia (GAA) and Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (IAJV). Ask and be aware of what will be provided with your new purchase. If you are looking to have an item valued then we recommend you take a look at - https://ncjv.com.au/find-a-valuer to find a respected Valuation expert in your area. Most good valuations should cost between $100-$200 but may vary depending on your chosen Valuer and location. Valuations should be standard across the industry and not inflated to please the consumer. This will only lead to your insurance company questioning the validity if it was being considered in a claim.
- Once you have found your special Engagement Ring you may want to take a look at your insurance coverage. Usually there is a $ limit included in your household policy that may provide you some cover. However we recommend contacting your insurance company and asking the limitations that may apply. Look at the coverage amount and if there is a per item amount or a whole Jewellery collection amount. Also if the item is covered inside and outside the home. It is important that you also have proof of purchase in case something should happen and you may need to claim. This could be a receipt and/or Valuation Certificate. I always recommend my clients take a digital copy of their receipt and if possible upload this to the cloud so it can never get lost.
- If your looking at sizing ensure you are looking at Australian Ring sizing. Different countries have different sizing units and measurements and this can get confusing.
- When your trying on rings try and look at them in different lighting. In a shop with bright lights then everything sparkles but if you take it away from the artificial light and look at it in natural light you will see the true colour and sparkle that you will see every day.
- If you do choose something that is Plated then you would expect to have this re-done every 2-5 years depending on how much you are wearing it and what you are wearing it next to. Some white gold rings are Rhodium plated to make them a brighter and more more white. This will require some maintenance as they wear.