What She Wants

Everything You Need to Know About The Perfect Engagement Ring

Tips that go beyond assessing the 4Cs.

What's the difference between a diamond's cut and its shape? How do you decide on the setting? How much do engagement rings cost? Here's your ultimate guide to buying an engagement ring in Manila.


1. Get the right size

There are about 21 different sizes on a standard ring chart and you can determine your ring size by measuring your ring finger’s width in millimeters. You can fit your finger through a ring sizer or compare one of your rings against a ring size chart. This part is crucial because you don’t want to go through the hassle of having the ring resized.

More: What to Know Before You Buy Diamond Jewelry

2. Finding the right shape

The diamond’s cut is often mistaken for its shape. The shape of the stone might be the first thing people will notice when they catch a glimpse of the engagement ring. Some of the most common shapes for stones are: round, pear-shaped, oval, marquise, square, rectangular shapes such as the princess, emerald, or Asscher.

3. Cut versus shape

The diamond’s cut will determine its ability to reflect light and sparkle. While one might mistake the shape of the stone to give it its sparkle, the cut might be the most crucial facet of the 4Cs. This is graded through the Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, cut five-point scale that rates the stone. Possible ratings range from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. To analyze this, jewelers look at the brightness, fire, and scintillation. An excellent grading usually means that the diamond has a balanced pattern of brightness and darkness.


4. Choosing a setting

The setting will determine how many stones the engagement ring will flaunt and what pattern these stones will follow. There are endless variations, from Bezel, to Tension to Halo settings but to start you off with the basics, the most common settings according to the GIA include the Solitaire, which showcases a single stone, the Sidestone, where other diamonds are put on display alongside the main stone, Three Stone, which is just as its name describes it, and Pavee, where the main diamond is flanked by other smaller stones.

5. Deciding on the band

Cento by Roberto Coin engagement ring in 18k white gold in C setting

Will it be gold or white gold? You’ll have to gauge your own—or your fiancé-to-be’s—personal style for this one. A few of the choices you can consider range from white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, platinum, palladium, and titanium. Apart from the material’s value, you’ll also have to look at whether it’s hypoallergenic, if sensitive skin is an issue, or if it will look good on the skin tone.

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6. Assessing the clarity

A diamond’s clarity matters especially when dealing with natural diamonds since these would have accumulated blemishes and inclusions throughout their creation. These factors will determine just how the diamond’s clarity will be assessed. The GIA Clarity Scale is an 11-point scale with six different categories. The categories are as follows: Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slight Included, Slightly Included, and Included. The clarity is graded by what the diamond grader sees through 10 times magnification, as many of these flaws will escape the naked or untrained eye.

7. Grading the color

The more colorless a diamond is, the greater the value. Color is graded under controlled lighting and given a grade from D to Z, with D having the least color.

The grading system above applies to the color of white diamonds. If you’re thinking about purchasing a colored diamond, then know that the rarest color is red, followed by green, blue, pink, yellow, and then all the variations of yellow.

More: Blue, Pink Diamonds Make Fabulous Investments

8. Carat weight

A Tiffany & Co. engagement ring set in platinum with an oval-shaped diamond

Finally, there’s the carat weight, which is probably the first area of concern when it comes to engagement rings. To clarify, a carat is a unit of measurement that is equivalent to 200 milligrams. The carat weight will also determine the size of the stone, and bigger stones are rarer, hence the higher price. But carat weight isn’t everything. Two one-carat diamonds can be priced differently, depending on the other factors in the 4Cs.


There are engagement rings that cater to every price point these days, so the important thing is to first set a budget for the ring. This behavior should trickle down to your spending habits for the wedding so let it set the tone.

There’s the old “rule” that one should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring, but current trends reported by The New York Times show that the average American man would spend around two weeks’ salary on the ring. We like to take former jewelry dealer Kit Yarrow’s word for it and “make it a personal decision.”

To give you a rough idea of how much engagement rings go for these days, the iconic Tiffany setting engagement ring in platinum starts at $12,900* (approximately P680,797), while a more detailed design like the Tiffany Soleste Emerald Cut Halo engagement ring with a diamond band starts at $14,500 (or around P765,237).

For Bulgari, a simple yet elegant style such as its Griffe solitaire, which has a platinum setting and a single round brilliant cut diamond, will set you back by SGD$32,700 (or around P1,270,162).**


If you are looking at have a ring customized, know that a round brilliant one-carat white diamond that's Excellent in cut, Flawless in clarity, and colorless, will be priced around P1 million, according to a local jewelry designer. A two-carat round brilliant diamond of the same specifications will go for an estimated P4.6 million. Add that with an 18k gold setting, which is priced around P25,000 to P35,000.


Luxury Jewelry Boutiques in Manila

Tiffany & Co. Engagement Rings

When you think engagement ring, you immediately picture Tiffany & Co.’s quintessential Tiffany setting, which the company boasts as the “world’s most iconic engagement ring.” Breaking from that bold, Tiffany also offers the option to customize engagement rings according to your preference. They also offer other gorgeous designs, such as the romantic Novo, a glitzy Soleste setting, and unconventional Ribbon settings. 


G/F Rustan’s Makati, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, 8178101, tiffany.com

More: A Look At The Making of the Iconic Tiffany Setting Ring

Cartier Engagement Rings

Cartier has perfected the single-stone design since the release of its 1895 Solitaire Ring, which is said to “allow the light of the diamond to flow freely.” The brand also offers the setting in emerald, sapphire, and ruby. 

Cartier is G/F Greenbelt 4, Makati Avenue, Makati City, 7281260.

Bulgari Engagement Rings

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Bulgari knows that diamonds last a lifetime, which is why it’s created a collection of engagement rings that will forever remain a special token of a love.

The Shoppes at Solaire, G/F Solaire Resorts and Casino, 1 Aseana Avenue, Parañaque

Damiani Jewellery Engagement Rings

Damiani Minou in white gold trilogy engagement ring

Italian craftsmanship is demonstrated through the Damiani diamond—where a Solitaire ring can come in any shape of your choosing.

Rustan’s Makati, Ayala Center, 8133739, damiani.com 

Cento by Roberto Coin Engagement Rings

The word "Cento" translates to 100 in Italian, which hints at the fact that the diamonds this collection by jeweler Roberto Coin uses is cut with 100 facets instead of the usual 57.

Rustan's Makati, Ayala Center, Makati, 8133739

Chow Tai Fook Engagement Rings

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World-famous Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook will soon land at the Shoppes at Solaire, giving you more sparkling options.

Soon at Solaire Resort and Casino

Jewelry Designers in Manila

Erica Concepcion Reyes

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If it’s an antique engagement ring you seek, or an inherited piece of jewelry that you wish to have redesigned, Erica Concepcion Reyes is the name to know. The woman behind Riqueza Jewellery possesses a knack for modernizing dated pieces or designing opulent jewelry that holds an old world charm.


Paul Syjuco

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No two Paul Syjuco custom creations are alike. If you’re looking for unique, Paul Syjuco makes it a point to really build a relationship with his clients so that jewelry he produces for them is exquisitely tailored to their personalities. He likes to take details and incorporate these personal stories into his jewelry 

The Peninsula Manila, Makati Avenue, Makati, 812.3456, www.paulsyjuco.com

Janina Dizon

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You can always trust Janina Dizon, a third-generation jeweler herself, to deliver timeless yet breathtaking pieces that can easily be passed down to the next generation.

Janina Dizon, The Peninsula Manila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati, 845.0139

Hans Brumann 

This Swiss-born jewelry designer has been around since 1978, creating bespoke pieces of jewelry for Manila’s expatriate and well-heeled. He continues his craft through a fairly recent boutique at the Power Plant Mall. 

Hans Brumann, 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati, 838.5336, hansbrumann.com


De Capricho

Family-owned jewelry house De Capricho has a notable style that showcases Art Deco elements. Every one of its creations is made by Filipino goldsmiths and uses the highest quality of stones.

5/F Podium South, Joya Lofts & Towers, 28 Plaza Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati, 846.8607

Nicole Whisenhunt

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You might not have noticed but Nicole Whisenhunt keeps a private room in her Power Plant boutique, which she once hinted was for meetings with customers. The jewelry designer, who trained at L’Ecole Van Cleef and Arpels in 2011, is well-known for her bespoke pieces. She can work with inheritance diamonds and transform them into personalized jewelry that will fit to hold new memories for its present wearer. 

2/F Power Plant Mall, Makati, [email protected]

More: 13 Local Fine Jewelry Designers Trusted by Manila's Most Discerning


1. Consider how it will look like with the wedding band.


Envision the engagement ring when worn together with the wedding band. You’ll have to make sure the designs of the two complement each other. This is typically why the engagement ring and wedding band come in the same band material.

2. Ensure that the stone comes with a certificate.

As much as possible, make sure you buy a diamond with a GIA certificate, and make sure the details on the certificate match what you see. The Gemological Institute of America is the highest authority when it comes to grading diamonds, colored stones, and gems. The non-profit institute provides comprehensive and detailed reports accomplished by its professional graders.

3. Give yourself ample time to do the shopping.

You might not know what you or your partner want right away. You could do some window shopping, flip through catalogs, and consult a few jewelers before you find something that speaks to you.


4. Be bold.

You don’t always have to go for the conventional. Consider stones that aren’t diamonds—look at emeralds, rubies, opals, or sapphires. If you’re shopping for your partner, try to get to snoop around and get to really know what she likes.

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More: The Secrets to Choosing an Emerald Cut Engagement Ring

*$1 = 52.63

**SG$1 = P38.84

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Hannah Lazatin
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