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Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Tips to Purchase

At Vinny & Charles, we hear from a lot of lovely people who are in the market for an engagement ring - or might be soon - but they just don’t know where to start. Especially if the proposal is a surprise. How do you know what size to buy? What style to get? How much to budget? While we’re sure your Mrs-to-be will love anything you select for her, we want to make sure you’re 100% happy with your engagement ring purchase, so here is our “just the facts” guide to buying an engagement ring that your future fiance will love.

Tip 1: Decide on a Budget

When it comes to buying an engagement ring, budgets can really go from one extreme to the other - there is really no hard and fast rule about how much you “should” spend on an engagement ring.

But, what we can tell you is that you’ll be able to find beautiful rings at either end of the budget spectrum, as well as everything in between. So, deciding on a budget early will allow you to fully explore all of your options within your price range, so you can focus on finding a ring that you love, and that falls within your budget.

Tip 2: Choose a Ring Style

There are so many different styles of rings, so this can often be the hardest choice, because we know that you’re wanting to get this just right! Here are a few things you can do to figure out what style your future wife might like:
  • Think about what types of clothing and accessories your love gravitates towards - this can give you some clues as to whether they’d like a ring that’s classic, modern, glam, simple, or a combination
  • Keep your eyes and ears open - stay alert to any hints your partner may be dropping, have a look at what jewelry she wears, or ask a close friend of hers for some tips

Tip 3: Choose a Gemstone

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they don’t have to be! The classic engagement ring style features a centre diamond, and if that is what your future fiance loves, fantastic! You’ll have so many beautiful options to choose from.

But don’t despair if you think your girlfriend would prefer something a little different, or even unconventional. That’s what we specialise in, so we know that you’ll be able to find something stunningly unique.

Tip 4: Learn about the 4 C’s

If you are set on a getting a diamond engagement ring, it’s important that you know how diamonds are classified so that you don’t land up buying a dud. Diamonds are graded according to the 4 C’s - carat, cut, clarity and colour.

Cut

A diamond’s cut is related to its overall beauty and it is the most important element to consider when buying a diamond. When a diamond has been correctly cut, it’s ability to reflect and refract light is greatly enhanced, so the cut is the biggest factor in creating sparkle. Even if a diamond has perfect colour and clarity, if it has a poor cut, it may appear dull!

Colour

This is the second most important thing to consider. A diamond’s color is caused by natural trace elements of nitrogen that were present when the diamond formed under the Earth’s crust. In most cases a diamond with less colour will exhibit greater brilliance, be considered rarer, and will therefore be of more value (i.e. Cost more).

Carat

Carat is the most visually apparent factor, so it's the one most people are aware of. But it’s actually the most misunderstood. Carat doesn’t refer to the size of the diamond, but it’s weight. You need to consider cut and carat together - a larger carat diamond with a poor cut grade can appear smaller than a smaller diamond with a higher cut grade.

Clarity

With diamonds, there is more to it than meets the eye. Diamond clarity refers to the assessment of small imperfections on the surface of the diamond, or internally, that the naked eye often cannot see.

These surface flaws are called blemishes, and internal defects are called inclusions. Because they are microscopic, they do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any way, but diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades.

The presence of natural inclusions and blemishes on and within a diamond impacts its appearance and value. Inclusions may be crystals of a foreign matter, or structural imperfections, like tiny cracks. The quantity, size, color, location, orientation and visibility of these inclusions all affect the overall clarity grade of a diamond. So, diamonds with no or few inclusions are considered rare and therefore highly valued.

Tip 5: Choose a Precious Metal

The main choices for engagement rings are white gold, yellow gold and rose gold and platinum. At Vinny & Charles, we only create pieces from high quality materials - 9k, 14k and 18k solid gold, or sterling silver. We don’t use filled metals for any of our jewelry creations. To get an idea of what type of precious metal your partner might like, pay attention to the jewelry she currently wears - women tend to prefer one type of metal over another, or they may even be allergic to a certain metal alloy.

Tip 6: Choose a Gemstone Shape

Gemstones are cut into 10 standard shapes, with round being the most common choice.

These are the 10 shapes most common shapes you can choose from: 

Tip 7: Consider Whether to go Custom

Your love is unique, so why not create a custom engagement ring to symbolise that? We are able to collaborate with you to customise our existing designs in terms of unique ring sizes and metal caratages. We can also add personalised engravings to our designs, and depending on the design and availability of gemstones, we may be able to customise the number and type of stones used.

Tip 8: Figure Out Her Ring Size

Determining her ring size - without asking - is tricky, but it isn’t impossible. The most common women’s ring size is US6 - 6.5. Here are a few ways you could get her ring size on the sly:

  • Sneak a ring from her jewelry box and take it to a jeweler to have it sized
  • Get a ring sizer from a jeweler and measure one of her rings at home yourself
  • Pretend you’re buying a ring for your mum/aunty/sister/friend and need her to help you find the right size - just make the “recipient” has similar sized-hands
  • Ask her friends - to ask her, to sneak one of her rings out for you, or to go ring “shopping” with her

Because we sell engagement rings online, we unfortunately can’t help with the sizing aspect in person and it's something that's best to know before you purchase. 

Tip 9: Protect Your Investment

Let’s face it - whether your budget is $50 or $5,000, an engagement ring is an investment, and like you would protect your car from an accident, you should protect your jewelry from the unexpected. We recommend finding suitable insurance to protect your purchase when you receive it.