We Answer The Most-Googled Engagement Ring Questions
For a happiest-day-of-your-life-so-far scenario, popping the question sure does come with a lot of potential pitfalls. There’s the dilemma of timing, wording, etiquette, the (almost) million-dollar question of the ring—and that’s before you even get to whether or not they’ll say yes. But don’t panic yet! We’ve enlisted Google Trends to help identify and answer your most burning engagement questions (except that last one, which can really only be answered by your beloved, not a search engine).
How much should you spend on an engagement ring?
First up, the bad news. Engagement rings are neither cheap nor, normally, optional. While we’d always encourage bucking convention and doing your wedding your way, the engagement ring is a pretty universal tradition in Anglo and European cultures. You’d want to be very confident that your partner is onboard before turning up and kneeling down ringless.
The good news is that, once you’ve accepted the ring as a (fingers-crossed) lifetime investment, there’s a huge array of options out there to suit most budgets. Diamond and watch specialist Ernest Jones sells rings that range from a few hundred pounds for fraction-of-a-carat diamonds set in 9ct white gold, to £25,000-plus for a chunky 2ct solitaire in an 18ct band.
But the most important thing is to be sensible—your betrothed won’t thank you for making financially risky grand gestures. Your jeweler may also offer credit to ease the pain. Ernest Jones lets you spread out payments over up to four years, interest-free.
What finger does the engagement ring go on?
In most of the English-speaking world, it’s the left-hand ring finger—the same as the eventual wedding band. Some countries, such as Spain, Belgium, and Russia, wear theirs on the right. Others switch up fingers pre- and post-big day.
Where should you buy an engagement ring?
It depends on the shopping experience you’re shooting for. High-street retailers should be approachable and straightforward. Online shopping allows you to compare prices and easily search for exact diamond specifications; choose a well-known brand to ensure you’re getting authentic stones.
How do you choose an engagement ring?
Once you’ve established what you can actually afford, the key factor should be your partner’s personal style. Do they go for generous amounts of jewelry or a more minimalist vibe? Are they wild for vintage outfits and accessories, or are their tastes cool and contemporary? The answer should determine whether you go digging in antiques markets or researching up-and-coming designers. Assuming your proposal isn’t an impulsive idea, spend some time keeping an ear out for clues. Have they cooed over the size and shininess of a friend’s ring? Or groaned at someone’s gaudy glitteriness? Shape your search accordingly. If you still find that nothing stands out, a timeless, neutral option is safest (a round stone in a classic setting, say).
Neil Lane 14ct White Gold Diamond Halo Ring, £1999
The Diamond Story Platinum Diamond Ring, £2199
Neil Lane 14ct White Gold Diamond Cluster Ring, £1999
The Diamond Story 18ct White Gold Diamond Ring, £1699
Gemstone-wise, diamonds are both for ever and for most people, but there’s whole spectrum of other precious possibilities, from blue sapphires and red rubies to simple bands and a variety of shapes, such as the dramatic marquise cut. Just be confident your partner isn’t banking on a girl’s best friend before you go tonally off-piste.
If you stay safe with a diamond, you’ll need to know your 4 ‘Cs’—cut, clarity, carat, and color. Carat is weight and clarity refers to the number of tiny imperfections that can dull a stone’s shine; the heavier and clearer a diamond, the more it’ll set you back. The color scale ranges from D (colorless) to Z (a pale yellow) and is mostly a question of personal preference. Cut is how the jewel has been shaped by a master craftsman—the more skilled the cut, the more it’ll sparkle.
Of course, the one way of ensuring you propose with the ring of your loved one’s dreams is to talk to them about it first. This will ruin the surprise but avoid an awkward aftermath; it’s a route to take if you suspect they might have their heart set on something specific (the last thing you want is to hand over a spanking new sparkler when what they’d imagined was saying “yes” to a treasured family heirloom).
What is morganite?
Morganite, a gem in an on-trend pale pink color, has recently become a popular diamond alternative. It’s named for the banker JP Morgan, whose personal gemologist discovered it. If your budget doesn’t stretch to a personal gemologist, the bonus is that it’s quite a bit cheaper than a diamond. Ernest Jones sells a selection in the £500 to £2,000 bracket.
What is palladium?
A white metal used in ring bands, very similar in appearance to platinum but around half the cost. Like platinum, it’s hard-wearing, and acquires a pleasing matte-effect (or “patina”) when scuffed over time.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.