So, you want to pop the question, or perhaps drop a heavy hint about the type of engagement ring you have your eye on.
Shopping for an engagement ring is no longer limited to a trip to your local high street. With many jewellers offering services online, you can take advantage of a whole world of options from the comfort of your sofa. With the click of a mouse you have access to a wider range of customisation options, all whilst perusing at your leisure (more time to spot a better deal, too).
“The possibilities are endless and not limited by location as most brands will ship internationally,” says Juliet Hutton-Squire, co-founder of Adorn Insight, a leading market intelligence agency for the jewellery industry. “However, its restrictions are getting the sizing right and not being able to see how the ring would look on your partner’s hand.”
To put customers’ minds at ease, most online jewellers have a virtual concierge service that helps pinpoint the perfect piece for the special occasion. Not sure where to start? Work out your partner’s ring size by measuring an existing ring of hers (or his) against a ring sizing guide, which most brands offer on their website. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t get a perfect fit, as any jeweller worth their salt will offer a resizing service.
Is it safe to buy an engagement ring online?
The answer is yes, as long as it’s from a legitimate brand and is a certified diamond. “Research is key – it’s important to ensure the authenticity of the jeweller,” says Hutton-Squire. “Stick to the brands you trust. They will provide the provenance story and globally recognised certification. If you don’t know the brand, check customer reviews or investigate based on recommendations from friends and family.”
There are a range of diamond certifications, but the following are some of the biggest globally recognised organisations: the GIA (Gemological Institute of America); IGI (International Gemological Institute); and the Kimberley Process Certification System (KPCS), which prevents conflict diamonds from entering the supply chain.
Do engagement rings have to be a diamond?
While the majority of engagement rings are diamond, you might want to opt for a colourful gemstone like an emerald or sapphire, which tend to be more affordable. Many of the jewellery companies below offer a bespoke online design service that lets you create the ring of your dreams.
If you firmly believe that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then there are still plenty of options to choose from to suit all budgets. Engagement rings made from cultured – or lab grown – diamonds are less expensive, arguably more environmentally friendly and chemically identical to natural diamonds.
For those who prefer a more vintage look, you could choose to recycle an antique stone which can be re-cut to suit a more modern shape or setting. “There’s something romantic about inheriting a stone that comes with its own stories and adding yours as a new chapter,” Hutton-Squire says.
Finally, there’s the option of buying a diamond online and having a jeweller set it, which is likely to be the most cost effective way to get a higher grade diamond. Jewellers such as Blue Nile sell loose diamonds online.
Whether you’re looking for a new stone, a lab grown diamond or a decades-old heirloom, the same grading criteria applies to determine a diamond’s value: the 4 Cs:
- Carat (ie. weight)
It’s important to tick off the practical elements of online ring shopping, too. Read up on a brand’s return and order cancellation policies before you buy. Check that your delivery will be secure and fully insured. If you’re buying from an international retailer, you will also want to check any extra taxes or duties your package could incur upon arrival.
The best places to buy an engagement ring online