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How to Choose an Engagement Ring

FEATURE: LONG READ
Words by ELEANOR HIBBERD

Much like finding the love of your life, searching for the perfect engagement ring can take time. Options appear overwhelmingly endless thanks to the vast array of stones and settings, and myriad variations in cut and carat. But help is at hand. We’ve consulted with those in the know to bring you the ultimate guide to engagement ring shopping. Your quest for The One starts here.

What Stone Shape Should I Choose?

The shape of an engagement ring’s stone is intrinsic to its overall aesthetic – “an incredibly personal choice,” says De Beers CEO Céline Assimon, “it’s a reflection of the wearer’s personality and sense of style”. Therefore, think long-term and, of course, trust in your knowledge of your significant other. As Graff design director Anne-Eva Geffroy explains: “It is often the case that the perfect ring finds you. You know your partner best.” Take your time and learn the options.

Models hand wearing stacked rings

Lorraine Schwartz – available in-store. Shop from home with our Personal Shopping service.

Round Brilliant
Long considered the traditional choice for a proposal, round brilliant is the most sought-after cut – boasting an incomparable sparkle by way of 58 facets. An elegant choice for any bride-to-be, but particularly those who are drawn to a more classic look.

Oval
Equally timeless, oval cuts offer a contemporary twist on tradition. “The oval shape possesses a similar ability to reflect light and maximise brilliance as the round brilliant cut,” notes De Beers CEO Céline Assimon. Flattering too, “the elongated shape creates an illusion of greater carat weight and makes the finger appear long and slender,” she explains.

Emerald
Emerald cuts refer to Art Deco design tropes. Their vintage silhouette is best suited to recipients who prefer stylised aesthetics.

Cushion
Also known as the pillow cut, so called for its softened square silhouette. Elegant in its simplicity.

Pear
The focus of Chaumet’s Joséphine collection, the pear cut resembles a teardrop – tapering to a point. Worn with its tip towards the nail, it has an elongating effect on the finger, which is highly flattering.

BETH HANNAWAY, HARRODS HEAD OF FINE WATCHES AND FINE JEWELLERY


"Harrods has such an amazing selection of love and engagement rings, so I highly encourage you to take your time to explore"

Can I Choose a Coloured Stone?

Models hands wearing engagement rings on all fingers

Diamonds are forever – but so are a host of other precious gemstones. It’s important to consider whether traditional diamonds are right for your intended. What else is in their jewellery box? “Rubies and sapphires are great alternatives to diamonds,” say the Chaumet experts. As well as being hard enough for everyday wear, “sapphires represent loyalty while rubies symbolise desire and passion,” they explain. If your heart is set on a diamond, however, you can always play with colour. Graff, for one, is renowned for its yellow diamonds – an extraordinary declaration of love.

Anne-Eva Geffroy, Graff design director

"Some of our most extraordinary engagement rings showcase rare coloured diamonds, while an exceptional ruby or sapphire – embraced by pure white diamonds – is also a magnificent alternative"

Video of emerald ring

Tiffany & Co. – available in-store. Shop from home with our Personal Shopping service.

Diamonds are forever – but so are a host of other precious gemstones. It’s important to consider whether traditional diamonds are right for your intended. What else is in their jewellery box? “Rubies and sapphires are great alternatives to diamonds,” say the Chaumet experts. As well as being hard enough for everyday wear, “sapphires represent loyalty while rubies symbolise desire and passion,” they explain. If your heart is set on a diamond, however, you can always play with colour. Graff, for one, is renowned for its yellow diamonds – an extraordinary declaration of love.

TIFFANY & CO.


"Our clients have long been attracted to non-traditional engagement rings, such as those featuring coloured gemstones; we have seen excitement for yellow diamonds, sapphires of all colours, tourmalines and tanzanites"

Harry Winston engagement rings
What Is the Best Metal?

Platinum and gold – be it yellow, white, or rose – are exceptional choices for an engagement ring. What you select falls to personal preference. Platinum is favoured by many maisons, such as Harry Winston (pictured). At Tiffany & Co., “diamonds are primarily set in platinum, which is 95% pure and beautifully complements the diamonds’ high colour grade”. Meanwhile, for De Beers CEO Céline Assimon, platinum’s practicality is worthy of note. “Platinum is stronger and more durable than gold, so it’s good for engagement and wedding rings as you are likely to wear these every day,” she advises. If your future spouse favours yellow- or rose-gold jewellery elsewhere, however, they may wish for their engagement ring to follow suit. “Don’t forget to consider wedding bands at this time, too, to ensure the perfect match,” says Graff design director Anne-Eva Geffroy.

CHAUMET


"Precious metal is a personal preference; most commonly we see platinum rings chosen, with rose and yellow gold for more traditional brides"

How Can I Make It Feel Personal?

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Today, the landscape of fine jewellery is more diverse than ever – offering a wealth of inspiration for engagement rings and beyond. “Engagement ring trends have become far more varied and personal, celebrating uniqueness and individual style,” explains Beth Hannaway, Harrods head of Fine Watches and Fine Jewellery. Chaumet, for example, notes the dazzling popularity of its Joséphine collection as an alternative to traditional solitaires. Choosing a ring that reflects your other half’s style signifies that you know and appreciate them for who they are. “For those who are less time pressured, creating something bespoke is a highly romantic gesture,” Beth suggests. “Plus, all engagement rings can be personalised at Harrods with an engraving – an extra special declaration from you to your love.”

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More Frequently Asked Questions

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