Choosing an Engagement Ring

Top tips on choosing the right diamond

choosing an engagement ring

I have embarked upon an interesting journey over the last few years. Slowly transitioning from wedding photographer to engaged man and now married man. Having been through the process that all of my clients have, I now feel like I have a unique perspective. I hope you find this series of posts useful. They can streamline the wedding planning process and make your lives easier. There were a few ‘I never knew that’ moments along the way, with these blog posts you’ll be able to preempt and conquer!

One of the hardest decisions you’ll make, or so they say, is choosing an engagement ring. Personally, I don’t subscribe to this school of thought. If you know your partner well enough to consider engagement then you should probably have an idea of their likes and dislikes. If you don’t, then why are you rushing? As it is in most cases, knowledge is power, jewelers are going to help you as best they can, however they’re fundamentally a business, so you need to make sure you know what you’re parting with your hard earned cash for.

First things first, we need a budget.

An engagement ring is a an emotionally attached purchase. It will be easy to up sell you a diamond. It is true that it is an heirloom and an investment, but none of this is suddenly going to swell your bank account, you can afford what you can afford. This can be especially tough for men as it challenges our pride head on “this is what YOUR money can buy”. Get over yourself and move on to the next step.

Choosing a diamond.

The four C’s is what you will hear banded about in any jewelers, so lets get that covered.


This is a unit of weight, not size. A carat is exactly 0.2 grams, roughly the weight of a paperclip. As you would imagine the more carats the bigger the price tag. A tip that may come in handy: diamonds only fractionally under popular carat sizes are cheaper and can look identical. E.g If you’re looking at a 1 carat diamond, a 0.9 carat diamond will be less expensive and no one will be able to tell the difference.


The colour of a diamond can vary quite dramatically. The scale measures from D-Z, D being colourless and Z being having ‘light colour’. This is somewhat of an understatement, a Z diamond is near enough yellow. Buying tip: D,E and F are marked on the scale as colourless, the only way you will be able to tell the difference is if you have them side by side. An F or a G appears colourless to the naked eye.


This is probably the most important factor as customers are willing to pay more for a larger, fair-cut cut diamond than for a  smaller, well-cut diamond. There is pressure on the cutter to sacrifice the quality of the cut in order to keep weight. Cut is rated as follows: Excellent, Very good, Good, Fair, Poor. The closer you are to Excellent, the higher the cost. A tip for Cut: make sure that you see the GIA certificate that should come with the diamond (if it doesn’t walk away). Cut is not uniformly applied across all diamonds, which gives retailers the opportunity to create their own names for Cuts. Make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Tip2, Cut is essentially what makes a diamond sparkly, that’s why its so important. A diamond with an Excellent Cut could score poorly on the other scales but still look amazing. If you’re able to, look at some individual stones and compare them side by side.


Impurities can form inside diamonds as they form, these specks are called inclusions. Clarity is rated as: Flawless, Internally Flawless, Very Very Slightly Included, Very Slightly Included, Slightly Included, Included. (reminds me of father ted, “they look black, but these socks are actually very very very dark blue”) Your aim here is for VVSI upwards, again you wont be able to see any inclusions with the naked eye.

Here’s what they don’t tell you

engagement ring flourescence


Not mentioned by many a high street jeweller, but definitely important. Measured: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor. Excellent-Good is invisible to the naked eye, this is your zone.


Diamonds emit a soft blue glow under UV light, this is referred to as its fluorescence. Measured as Very strong, strong, medium, faint, none. Colourless diamonds with a high fluorescence can sell for around 15% less than one with no fluorescence, this is worth knowing as the only way you would ever see the effects of high fluorescence is if you’re a gemologist in a lab. Interesting fact if you’re setting your diamond in a yellow gold ring. Blue is the complimentary colour to yellow and as such fluorescence can actually work to your advantage, making an I-M diamond appear a whole shade whiter.

Shout out to these guys make bespoke rings and their service is absolutely impeccable, in shopping for a ring these guys hands down wiped the floor with everyone else in Hatton Garden. Don’t waste your time with the jokers on the high street, just look them up on google maps and head straight there. Another big help in putting this article together as well as having exemplary customer service is Woolfe Jewelry in Milton Keynes

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