Love sparkles. You know that. You see it in movies, feel it in songs. It’s the shining light in all of our lives, the one thing that makes everything worthwhile. And when you find that love, you want to do everything you can to make it last forever. A custom made engagement ring is the perfect way to demonstrate your commitment, love, and eternal passion for each other.
When it comes to choosing an engagement ring, there are so many things to consider. What metal should it be made of? What style should it be? How much should you spend? It can feel a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry, we're here to help. In this comprehensive engagement ring guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular engagement ring designs and explain how to choose an engagement ring your fiancé will adore. So without further ado, let’s get started.
How to pick a precious metal for your engagement ring design
When you’re choosing and buying an engagement ring, it’s tempting to devote all your time and attention to the stone and setting. But picking out the right precious metal for the band is equally important. While yellow gold is the most traditional choice, variations of gold are well worth considering, and platinum is also a popular option. Each metal has unique properties that can make it a good choice for an engagement ring:
- Gold — Yellow gold is the most traditional choice. The intensity of the colour will vary depending on the carat; the higher the carat, the more fine gold is present. For example, 18ct gold is made up of 75% yellow gold and 25% other metals. At Artelia, we offer a range of carats, including 9ct, 14ct, 18ct and even 22ct gold.
- White gold — White gold is a popular choice for modern engagement ring designs. It’s formed when yellow gold is mixed with other white precious metals. At Artelia, we use palladium, a sister metal of platinum, which keeps our white gold bright and fresh over the long term and creates a dazzling finish.
- Rose gold — Rose gold is a beautiful, romantic metal that has a captivating pinkish hue. It is made by alloying gold with copper and often other metals too. Rose gold is less prone to damage from everyday wear than white or yellow gold, but it can change colour over time, so it’s worth bearing that in mind.
- Platinum — Platinum is the rarest and most expensive precious metal, but it’s also one of the most durable. It contains more fine metal than any other option, being 95% pure, and its naturally white colour will not tarnish, oxidise or lose its lustre. Platinum is perfect for an engagement ring that will stand the test of time.
- Mixed metal — You could also choose to create a ring using a combination of two or more metals — for example, a white gold setting on a rose gold ring — to keep a neutral colour close to the backdrop of the diamond.
The next step in designing an engagement ring is selecting a stone
As the centrepiece of your engagement ring, picking out the stone is a huge part of the engagement ring design process, and it can be daunting. There are a few options:
There is something undeniably romantic about diamonds. Perhaps it is their brilliance or the way they catch the light with every movement. Or maybe it is the fact that diamonds are the hardest natural material on Earth, symbolising the enduring strength of love. Diamonds are so resilient that they cannot be scratched by anything other than another diamond, so they will hold their brilliance longer than any other gemstone.
Unparalleled durability aside, diamonds are known for their intense twinkle and brightness, as well as their ability to scatter white light into all the colours of the rainbow, known as ‘fire’. The cut of the stone (which refers to the symmetry, proportioning and polish of a diamond) determines its brilliance and fire, so it is essential to choose a cut that will maximise these qualities.
The colour grade (scaled according to the presence of yellow), clarity (the absence of inclusions and blemishes), and carat weight (the unit of measurement for the physical weight of the stone, not the size) also play a role in determining the appearance and ultimate value of a diamond. But for many people, the most important factor is the emotional connection they feel to the stone.
While diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, there are many other beautiful gemstones to choose from. If you’re drawn to colourful stones, here are a few of the best options for an engagement ring:
- Rubies — A classic choice for an engagement ring, representing romance, wealth, and success. Rubies also symbolise strength and courage, making them perfect for a lifelong commitment.
- Sapphires — These gemstones come in a wide range of beautiful colours, from deep blue to delicate pink and purple. Sapphires are known for their durability, making them a great choice for a ring that’s designed to be worn every day.
- Emeralds — If you are looking for a ring as unique as your love, emeralds are a stunning option with their rich green hue. They represent growth, new beginnings and rebirth.
At Artelia, we have a large selection of loose coloured gemstones to suit every engagement ring style. Whether it’s aquamarine from Madagascar or tourmaline from Brazil, we’ll source a stone to suit your preference for colour, shape and budget.
Diamonds and gemstones come in a wide variety of shapes. The most common is the round brilliant, which has 58 facets (or faces). This shape is the most popular because it is the most ‘brilliant’ or sparkly. The marquise is another popular shape, which is elongated and has pointed ends. The pear shape is also elongated but has a rounded end. The oval is a longer version of the round brilliant, and the emerald cut is rectangular with bevelled corners. There are also many other shapes, such as the heart, Asscher, cushion, and princess, each with its own unique beauty. Choosing an engagement ring shape is a very personal choice, and we always find that it’s best to follow your instinct.
The right setting style can make a world of difference
‘Setting style’ refers to the way your stones are secured to the band, and there are several different options available when designing an engagement ring:
Perhaps the most popular type of setting, prongs lift the stone off the band, giving it extra prominence. For round diamonds, 6-prong settings are most common, while 4-prong settings are more often seen with square or rectangular shapes. ‘Microclaws’ are used to set accent stones like haloes and shoulder diamonds.
A metal rim is set around the stone and extends slightly above its surface, creating a ‘frame’ effect. Bezel settings can make stones appear larger and are often used for gemstones that are particularly fragile or susceptible to wear and tear.
The stones are set into small indentations in the band, so they sit flush with the surface. When multiple rows of grain-set diamonds are offset from each other, it’s called the ‘pave’ setting. This style is often used for diamonds, as it allows maximum light to shine through.
A metal channel runs along the length of the band, and the stones are inserted inside. Then, the top edges of the walls are lightly hammered to secure the diamonds inside.
The stones are set into metal bars that run parallel to the band. This style is similar to the channel setting but with more space between the stones.
In a tension setting, the stone is ‘clamped’ between the two ends of the band, creating a ‘tension’ effect. This style makes the stone appear larger and more prominent.
Trust Artelia’s master jewellers to create the perfect custom made engagement ring
At Artelia, we understand that choosing an engagement ring is a deeply personal, sentimental and emotional experience. That’s why we design and craft expertly-made rings that stand up to the rigours of everyday wear, leaving you to focus on what truly matters — creating a breathtaking custom made engagement ring that your partner will treasure forever.
What are the most popular engagement ring styles?
When it comes to engagement rings, there are endless possibilities to choose from. Getting to know the most common engagement ring design terms that jewellers use to describe the most popular styles can help you put terminology to your preferences:
- Solitaire — The stone is set alone, without any others surrounding it.
- Shoulder stone — Stones are set into the band on either side of the centre stone, but they are not directly next to it.
- Cluster — Multiple stones are set close together in a group, usually large diamonds surrounding a centre stone.
- Halo — The centre stone is surrounded by a ‘halo’ of smaller stones to give the illusion of extra sparkle.
- Trilogy — Three stones are set side by side. This style is popular for engagement and anniversary rings, as it symbolises the relationship's past, present, and future.
- Cathedral — This type of tension setting features a ‘cathedral’ arch over the top of the stone.
What if I can’t decide on an engagement ring?
It can be difficult to decide on an engagement ring design, especially if you’re not sure what style your partner prefers. If you’re considering a surprise proposal, it’s important to do some stealthy research beforehand to get an idea of the kind of ring they might like. If you’re struggling to make a decision, start with their existing jewellery choices.
Does your partner have a handful of staple pieces they always wear or do they change their choices according to the latest jewellery trends? Do they lean towards simple, refined designs, or would they prefer something with embellishments? What colour is their jewellery, and is it vintage-inspired or modern in style? These questions will help you narrow down your engagement ring style options.
How long does it take to get an engagement ring made?
At Artelia, the manufacturing process for a bespoke ring takes between 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the level of intricate detail in your chosen design. However, if you need the ring more urgently, or have a specific date in mind, let our team know. We will pull out all the stops to ensure that your cherished piece is completed for you on time.
How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
An engagement ring is one of life’s most expensive purchases, but the question is how much to spend on an engagement ring? This question has no easy answer, as it depends on several factors, including your current financial situation and the individual engagement ring styles you’re looking at. Round-cut brilliant diamonds on a platinum band will inevitably cost more than cushion cut diamonds on a yellow gold band.
To get the most out of your budget, make sure you buy diamonds from a jeweller that works in accordance with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) — the strictest diamond grading body in the world. The GIA grades diamonds by colour, clarity, cut, and carat — the four C’s — to maintain the highest standard of diamond sourcing.
While some might say you need to spend three months' salary on the perfect ring, the truth is that you need to settle on a figure that you feel comfortable with. Whatever your maximum budget is, it’s worth making the most of it. Choosing an engagement ring is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you will never regret the money you spent.