Guide to buying an engagement ring

In the market for an Engagement ring? Look no further. I’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help.

About My Guide.

When choosing an engagement ring, wedding ring or diamond, there are many factors to consider: What shape, what size, what colour, what quality, what cut, what setting?  The list can be overwhelming.  When investing your money to buy jewellery it is important to understand how those characteristics affect the appearance and price.

I love to help with your decisions and so I have created a comprehensive guide to help you make sense of the many options.

An engagement ring should represent your love and commitment to your partner, so choosing the ring can be daunting.  My guide aims to help you with the key decisions such as size, shape, setting and budget.

How Much Should I Spend?

This is a big decision and should be the first step in choosing your ring.  Tradition suggests an investment of between one and three month’s salary, but I really think it is most important to spend what you are comfortable with.

What Setting?

Once you have a budget in mind, a great second step is to choose a setting or collet as it’s sometimes referred to.  I would recommend picking a setting prior to the diamond as this allows you to choose a setting to compliment the diamond.  A further advantage is that you can work out how much money you have left for the diamond.

The two main types of setting are claw and bezel, with claw being the most popular.

Claw Setting

This setting holds the diamond in place with ‘claws’. You can have up to 8 claws to hold your diamond.  This style of setting allows light to freely travel through and around the diamond, ensuring maximum brilliance and sparkle is achieved.  It also draws emphasis to the most important part of the ring, the diamond.

The number of claws you have is determined by the shape of the diamond and personal taste.  Four claws are a good place to start and will let in most light.  Six or eight claws are a little more secure, but allow less light to shine through the diamond.  Four claws are still secure, as long as the diamond has been set correctly and is checked every 12-18 months.

Bezel Setting
This setting creates a rim or collar around the diamond and the main difference between it and a claw setting is its style.  Although claw settings are more popular, the bezel setting is sometimes considered more modern or contemporary. The bezel setting offers better protection to your diamond as the diamond is sunk into the metal and so is recommended for people with active lives. The disadvantage of this setting is mainly the lack of light that penetrates through the diamond.

Side Diamonds
Another option for your ring is to add side diamonds, these can really set your ring apart. The aim here is not to distract from the main diamond, but to enhance its allure. Again, this is personal taste and I could advise you as to what might be suitable during an appointment.

What Rock?

The obvious choice and by far the most popular is a diamond, but I can use any rock you desire. Maybe your girlfriend has dropped hints that she would like something different?!  Perhaps a Sapphire or an Emerald?  Generally, you can’t go wrong with a girl’s best friend–the diamond.  For a comprehensive guide to buying a diamond follow my link to my website: diamond guide

What Metal?

I work with both gold and platinum.  A good starting point would be to choose a colour and this can often be based on what your partner already wears.  The options include yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and platinum.  The most popular trend at the moment is white (White Gold or Platinum).  White gold is a silvery grey in colour and platinum is virtually the same.

Coloured Golds

Yellow, rose and white gold are all ‘real’ gold.  When gold is used to make jewellery, pure gold is not used as it is too soft.  Instead alloys of other metals such as silver, palladium and coper are added to it.  The type of alloy used determines the gold’s colour.  All colours retain the same percentage of pure gold and therefore both their cost and quality characteristics are very similar.  The percentage of pure gold determines the carat (not to be confused with carat, a diamond’s weight).

Carat Gold

If you have decided to go for gold, then I would recommend using 18 carat (18ct) gold.  It contains 75% pure gold and is the best quality for making rings.  If a cheaper option is specifically requested, we can use 9ct (which is 38% pure gold).  Higher carats such as 22ct are too soft for making diamond jewellery and so are not recommended.

Platinum vs White Gold


In short, platinum is a more durable, hardwearing, heavier and expensive metal than


white gold. It also remains white and shiny for its lifetime unlike white gold.

The process of making white gold ‘white’ includes a plating of rhodium.  This plating


gives white gold a better initial shine in comparison to platinum; however, this plating wears off over time.  Because white gold is made from pure gold, as the plating wears off a tinge of yellow will be seen.  We therefore recommend that white gold is re-plated approximately every 18 months.


Having engraving on the engagement ring, or not?  Again, it’s personal preference.  If you’re going for a vintage look, then some rings can look great with hand engraving around the shank.  If however you’re unsure, then it may be best to go without engraving; you can’t go wrong with a classic look.  You could always opt for engraving after you have proposed.  Engraving the date you got engaged is always a nice personal touch.  Engraving is one of my specialities and lots of our designs incorporate hand engraving, making them truly unique to you.  From patterns to dates and names, just ask; the possibilities are endless.

To conclude, there are many different variations of styles and metals and diamonds, so my best advice is to give yourself enough time.  You know your partner better than anyone, so you are the best tool in choosing the perfect engagement ring.  Ask questions if you’re unsure about what you’re buying. You can never ask too many questions.

I hope I’ve helped in some way.

Tanzanite And Diamond Ring

My Client and The Tanzanite Diamond Ring.

My Client. 

First off I should say I love blue stones. So I was pretty excited to get a call to potentially make a Tanzanite and Diamond ring. My Client wanted something to wear on special occasions but without being to dramatic. They wanted a tanzanite, oval and nothing too big. Its always nice when a clients knows exactly what they want. The tanzanite was to be the focal point of the ring. Diamonds were also to be incorporated into the ring. My client showed me examples in the way of pictures to give me a good idea of what they had in mind.

The design.

I set about drawing up a design of the ring I thought would work best biased on the information I took from my client. A ring with an Oval Tanzanite, some diamonds on the shoulders and nothing too big. I then showed the design to my client and we had the go ahead. The next stage was sourcing the tanzanite and showing them the diamonds. I like to give my clients as much control over the design and selection of the stones as possible. By doing this I feel the piece of Jewellery becomes much more personal.


After showing the customer the stones and the deign as been agreed its time to start making. I first start by making up the collet for the tanzanite. Its all done by hand so taking my time and concentrating is crucial. I then make the shoulder collets and fit the three pieces together. Once this is complete I make the shank and fit it to the head. After all the pieces are made and tacked in place, its then time to solder all the joins with hard solder. Once the assembly stage is complete the ring gets a good clean up and sent for Hallmarking at the Goldsmiths Hall Assay office.

Setting The Stones And Showing The Client. 

Once the ring is back from the Assay office its then time to start setting in the stones. This is a crucial stage of the making process. Making sure the seats for every stone is cut correctly and no movement is visible insures the stones are properly set and will not fall out. A final polish and Rhodium plate and its ready for my client.

My client came to pick it up and she loved it. She was so pleased that we were able to make something that was exactly what she wanted. It looked beautiful on her finger and I’m really pleased she was so happy.


Two Tone Wedding Ring

Two Tone Bands and How My Process works

Meeting the Client. 

I met my client at a Wedding Fayre I was exhibiting at recently. They wanted to make a wedding ring using the gold from a wedding ring that belonged to a family member. I explained that this was defiantly possible and we should set up a meeting. The ring they wanted to use had been in the family for a long time and was old and warn. I explained we could create something that incorporates the old wedding ring but with a new platinum band for it to sit on.

Putting Pen to Paper.

Its not always known straight away what they really want in the way of a wedding ring. So we start by showing samples and examples of weddings to see what they do like and what they don’t. Once I had a good understanding of what they liked I could then draw out a sketch to show them the deign I had in mind for them, a Two Tone Wedding ring. We came up with creating a wedding ring that sits on a wedding ring.


I started by making up the 7mm wide platinum band that would sit under gold band. We then channeled out a groove in the platinum band for the new reformed gold band to sit into. I always feel a sense of gratitude and pride when a customer asks me to make something new from a piece of jewellery that has a history to it. The metal in the ring has such sentimental value. It was a pleasure to make it for them.

Showing the Client. 

They loved what we had created for them. Incorporating an old wedding ring and making something new that he can wear with the knowledge that there is still a history to it and now a new chapter.


The 4ct Diamond Ring.

The Diamond Ring process and How it works.

Meeting the Client.

So Ive been meaning to put this on for a little while, I made this beautiful 4ct diamond cushion cut ring for such a lovely client recently.

A few months ago I was approached to make a diamond ring. This was no ordinary ring however. My client knew exactly what they were after. A 4ct Cushion cut diamond set with 4 claws into a handmade bespoke mount with 2x tapered baguette diamonds sitting either side. They had been into various different shops to find something they wanted. After searching for some length of time they came to me to see if I could create what they wanted. With such a size of stone I explained that it could possibly take a little longer to source a stone thats right for them as it was such a specific size and quality they were after.

Sourcing and Drawing up Designs.

I first set about sourcing a diamond that was of the best quality for the budget they had. After a while of looking at different stones of various sizes and quality I found the perfect stone for them. Great colour and quality and on budget. Once I’d shown my client I had the go ahead straight away. I set about drawing up a design for the ring. This would include showing what the ring might look like from different sides with a few variations in the style of mount.

Making and Setting.

I then made a silver copy of the ring so I could show my client exactly what the ring would look like before it was created in platinum. When this was approved I could then cast my design in platinum. Once the cast was back I set about cleaning up the rough cast and getting it hallmarked. I then marked up and pierced out the ring ready for the round brilliant cut diamonds set round the shank. I then set the diamonds and the rest is history. From start to finish I loved making this ring.

Showing my Client.

As soon as I showed my client they fell in love with it. It was such a pleasure, and I feel proud to have made it for them.