Monday, 16 April 2012

Top ten tips for Men buying an engagement ring

Platinum Diamond four claw engagement ring, with G VS1 0.29ct GIA certified Diamond, £1900
1. To buy it as a surprise or to go ring shopping with her?
Before even starting to look for a ring most men ask themselves this question.

The advantages of choosing a ring on your own are:
  • The element of surprise, the romance and the joy at popping the question with the actual ring you have painstakingly hunted down cannot be underestimated.
  • It may be easier to stay within budget without any pressure from your intended or her friends.
  • It may be quicker finding the perfect ring by yourself than with her.
Some men prefer watching a good football match rather traipsing round an interminable succession of jewellery shops every Saturday for the next three months. Yes, we have met women who have been looking at rings for over twelve months, see

The disadvantages are:
  • Will she like it?
    That huge uncertainty and pressure of getting the right ring cannot be underestimated. Have you been given hints or can you ask a friend or sister without letting the cat out of the bag? How choosy is she regarding styles and fashion? Look carefully at her existing jewellery, especially the items she enjoys wearing, are they yellow gold? Are they delicate or bolder pieces? Has she expressed any opinions of her friends’ engagement rings or jewellery? Can you casually walk her past a jewellery store and get some feedback as to what she likes?
These are all factors that will determine whether you should buy the ring on your own or with her. At Lucie Campbell we are happy to exchange an engagement ring for an alternative design if it is not exactly right. I must stress this happens very, very rarely - twice in ten years to be exact.

2. Budget
It may seem obvious but set yourself a budget and look at items within that budget. Certainly look at items outside of your budget for particular styles, but remember that some highly elaborate rings with intricate workmanship may not be available within your budget. You may absolutely adore a £30,000 cushion cut diamond ring but be left totally cold by the same ring within your budget. 

Platinum four claw Diamond engagement ring, with 1.17ct K VVS2 GIA certified Diamond, £7950
3. Enjoy the process.
Yes, it is stressful. Not only are you spending a large amount of money but you are also making this once in a lifetime massive statement of love and with the finality of eternal partnership it is a little bit more than just buying a ring. If you don’t feel comfortable shopping for a ring, or don’t feel in the mood, then don’t. You need to be comfortable, relaxed and positive when looking at rings. It is a wonderful experience and you should enjoy it, so if necessary put it off for a day or two.

4. Be picky and demand the best
By this I mean not only in terms of the ring but also the service that you receive. Rule out shops and sales staff who you don’t feel comfortable with. Find a jeweller who is patient, understanding, knowledgeable and looking to help you find or create the ideal ring for her, not just what they have in stock that day! Ask about their after sales service. What if the ring size is not right? What if she does not like it? What if something goes wrong with the ring? You need to be establishing a long term relationship with your jeweller and feel that they want to make you one of their valued clients not just a one time sale. We pride ourselves at Lucie Campbell that most clients come through recommendations and almost all of them become repeat clients. So ask your friends if they know of any fabulous jewellers.

Platinum Diamond engagement ring, with emerald cut 1.08ct D VVS2 GIA certified Diamond, £12600

5. Plan ahead
Even if you have a very definite idea of your ideal engagement ring be prepared to be surprised. There are many styles of diamonds and even more different styles of rings so it may take you some time to decide which particular combination of diamond and ring you like best. You may also find that rings you liked on your first day of shopping become totally boring and uninteresting a week later. You may be able to find the ideal ring by lunchtime on day one of your search but you may find it takes a little longer to assess and evaluate the vast choice available to you. If you do choose to have a ring custom made for you, a good jeweller may take some time to find the just right centre stone for you and it may take some months to actually make the ring. Beware of jewellers who will promise you the world in one week flat. Insist on seeing actual rings similar to what you are looking to have made, not just pictures, they could well be pictures of competitors work and not their own work.

6. Don’t confuse buying a diamond with buying an engagement ring
The finest diamond in the world without a beautiful setting is just that: a diamond. You are looking for a diamond engagement ring and not a diamond perched upon some ugly metal structure. A diamond dealer may sell you the best diamond in the world but advising you and helping you select the best setting to show it off in the best possible light is a jeweller’s job. A good jeweller will not only show you engagement rings but also a good choice matching bands to complement her ring. At Lucie Campbell we will be able to assist and advise you for all your jewellery needs not just the one sale.

Platinum Diamond engagement ring, with 0.50ct F Si1 GIA certified round brilliant cut Diamond, with Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish and Excellent Symmetry, and diamond border and flat gallery, £4450
7. Choices
Remember you have lots of choice available to you and you should explore all the possible different cuts and styles even if you have quite a specific ring in mind. But if buying the ring as a total surprise and without any specific hints or guidelines from friends or sisters then probably best buy a round diamond. Round diamonds are by far the most popular shape. I am not suggesting you don’t buy a different shape but you will need to feel pretty confident to opt for a cushion say instead of the tried and tested round brilliant cut diamond. Regarding the style of the ring, again keep it simple. Bear in mind what she is like; a woman with an understated style may not want a huge diamond ring. The more elaborate the design the greater the likelihood of getting it absolutely spot on or of being totally off the mark. In the end, choose a ring you really like and almost certainly she will adore it.

8. Jargon
If you don’t understand any of the letters and numbers, just ask for a clear and simple explanation. If the salesperson cannot explain what an F VS2 actually is and what it means to you compared to a D VVS2 then maybe you are not in the right jewellery shop. Your jeweller must be able to explain to you in simple English with examples what this diamond grading thing is all about and why it is important to you.

Platinum princess cut Diamond engagement ring, with 0.51ct DVS2 GIA certified Diamond, and  diamond set shoulders, £3450

9. Certificates
You don’t necessarily need to buy a diamond with a certificate but it does help you figure out what the quality of the diamond actually is. Remember very small diamonds (less than 0.30ct) are not generally certificated but if you are buying a larger diamond it should really come with a certificate from a reputable independent laboratory and not from Hilda upstairs on the first floor with her HP printer. Hilda may have been trained by a recognised lab, but call me cynical, however good a teacher you are you don’t grade your nephew’s GSCEs. The globally recognized premier gemmological laboratory in the world for diamonds is the GIA, see . Yes there are many other labs but many of these are far less stringent than the GIA and dare I say it in possibly sometimes more lenient in their grading. A GIA certificated diamonds may cost 40% more wholesale than a diamond with the same “specification” from one of the less rigorous labs. So beware of the bargain, especially if it is not a GIA certificated diamond. If buying a round diamond engagement ring, I strongly recommend you look at diamonds with excellent cut, polish and symmetry. The cut, polish and symmetry are the three factors which affect the sparkle of a diamond, not the colour or clarity of the diamond. In my opinion you are better off compromising on one colour or clarity and getting an excellent cut diamond because the difference in one colour or clarity grade may be near impossible to see with the naked eye whilst the difference in sparkle, brilliance and dispersion will be easily noticeable. At Lucie Campbell we concentrate on the life and fire of the diamond and specialize in diamonds with excellent cut, polish and symmetry. Come, visit us and see the difference excellent cut, polish and symmetry make to the sparkle and life of the diamond.

10. Platinum or white gold?
No fine jeweller will offer you an engagement ring in White gold. White gold is plated with a metal called rhodium which will wear off and the ring will need to be repolished and replated probably every two years at a cost of approximately £100. It is a false economy to buy a white gold ring. White gold is not white, otherwise why plate it and the French actually call it “Or Gris” grey gold. Certainly consider yellow gold and pink gold diamond rings but remember platinum is most women’s number one choice so stick to platinum unless you know she prefers yellow or pink gold.

Pink Gold Diamond engagement ring, with 0.72ct F VS2 GIA certified Diamond with Excellent Cut, Excellent Polish and Excellent Symmetry, £5800

And an extra tip for good luck: Trust your eye.
Yes, look at the certificate, check the details on the paperwork, but don’t spend more time looking at the certificate than the ring! You are buying a ring, not a certificate. If the certificate is within the criteria you have set yourself, put it down and concentrate on looking at the diamond and the ring. Diamonds with the same specification can really be very different especially if you are looking at fancy shape diamonds (eg not round diamonds). So examine the diamond, does it sparkle, does it talk to you, can you see any marks, is it white, if it is not round, is it a pleasing shape? When you see a fine quality diamond which has been beautifully polished you will not need to look at the certificate, the quality will be obvious, the diamond will wink and talk to you. The ring should be married to the diamond and blend with it in harmony making a perfect union of diamond and ring. This is what you are looking for, a ring which as soon as she opens the box, the reaction is Wow! Yes! I love it!

Email me at or visit Lucie Campbell at 26 New Bond Street - no appointment required! In the meantime, please browse the engagement rings on our website and read a few recommendations from past clients.

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