A FANCI guide to choosing the perfect engagement ring

“How do I choose the perfect engagement ring” is a question I hear time and time again so, with 15 years’ experience of helping customers find that perfect ring, here are my top five hints and tips.

Tip 1: Use your partner’s existing jewellery as a starting point.

If it is something they have chosen for themselves then you can be pretty sure that it’s a style they like so following that style with engagement ring designs is probably a safe bet. When your partner isn’t looking, take pictures and carry those pictures with you when engagement ring shopping. Take extra notice of their jewellery. Is most of your partner’s jewellery white or yellow? Do they have a particular type or colour stone they have quite a few of? Is their jewellery chunky or do they prefer delicate jewellery? Having the answers to these very simple questions BEFORE you head off to the jewellers will make the process much simpler and less daunting.

TIP 2: Watch and listen!

When preparing to buy an engagement ring train yourself to notice, what would ordinarily be, passing comments. Your partner may see a ring in a magazine, on television or shop window and they pass a comment to suggest they like or dislike it.

There are now two options

1) Remember it and as soon as you can make notes as to what they liked or disliked about it (if you can find a picture of it online later, even better!).

2) This is for the brave, when your partner passes a comment to suggest they like a design say something along the lines of “Really? I wouldn’t have thought you’d have gone for something like that, what is it you like about it?”. Your partner’s answer to this question will give you an abundance of information to use when shopping for your own ring. Just remember to write it down as soon as possible!

TIP 3: Consider your partner’s lifestyle.

There are thousands of different engagement ring deigns to choose from but one way to narrow down this vast field is to consider the practical day to day wear of the ring. Does your partner have a hands-on job where the ring could be prone to being knocked, bashed, or has the potential to get dirty easily? Do they have any hobbies or interests with a similar risks? Do they regularly need to put on gloves for their work or hobby? Will they be using anti-bacterial hand gel or exposing the ring to chemical based cleaning products regularly? If you give some thought to these questions, your jeweller will be able to guide you to the most suitable designs, settings, stones and metals making your decision making process much simpler.

TIP 4: Take a good look at your partner’s hand and fingers – subtly!!

If somebody asked you to describe your partner’s hands what would you say? Having an idea of whether your partner has long fingers or short fingers, narrow hands or wide hands will help you choose the best band and stone shape to suit their hand. Wide bands can make short fingers look even shorter and a thin dainty design can look lost on somebody with larger hands. This isn’t an exact science and, for me, your answers to tip 1 and tip 2 will always trump the answer to this tip.

TIP 5: Have a budget

How much does a car cost? I guess that depends on whether it is a Ford or Ferrari.

How much does a house cost? Are we talking a 1 bedroom starter house or a 7 bedroom mansion?

How much is an engagement ring? You can probably see where I am going with this.

It doesn’t matter what your budget is, as long as you have one. If you don’t have a budget you will spend a lot of time looking at rings and thinking you’ve found the perfect design to then discover it is more than you’re happy spend.

With a budget in mind you have a couple of options.

1) Visit your local shopping centre and look in the windows of the well know chains such as Ernest Jones, H Samuel, Goldsmiths, Beaverbrooks etc etc. The positives of doing this is all their prices are on display, you know exactly what the cost is going to be before you walk through the door and you can walk away with the ring that same day. The negatives, it’s a high street store with hundreds of branches and therefore thousands of people all wearing the same ring. Not that personal.

2) Visit an independent or bespoke jeweller. This needn’t be more expensive than your budget. A good jeweller will ask you for a budget to work within. Why? So that they can guide you to designs, metals, stone sizes and qualities that will fall within the budget you’ve set. The negative of using a bespoke jeweller. The ring will be made to order so it won’t be available on the same day. The positives; value, quality and service are generally better. If you choose an independent bespoke jeweller who manufactures the rings themselves they usually stand by the quality with a lifetime guarantee. You have the option of selecting the stone you would like used, you have input into the design by viewing computer designs and even a 3D print of your ring and are able to request changes before proceeding to metal. It’s not a transaction but an experience, one which is personal and unique to you.

I hope my top 5 hints and tips to buying an engagement ring is of help. I’m always happy to give advice or guidance so if you have any questions you can reach out to me on shop@fanci.co.uk or via our website here.

Happy engagement ring shopping!


Chris Nash of FANCI Bespoke Fine Jewellery