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Engagement ring buyers guide

Looking to purchase an engagement ring? There is a lot to consider when finding the perfect ring, but too much homework can lead to information overload !!

We’ve made this short guide to help you choose the perfect ring, however we have done our best to keep things simple.

This guide is wordy (after all it is a review).. If your not the reading type just get in touch and we’d be happy to give some honest advice about engagement rings.

First things first

Every girl loves a surprise.. .. If you can.. keep it a secret!

You may have had some hints? have they been looking in shop windows or browsing online? also have they made any comments on rings they have seen? What about any of there friends rings, have they commented on what they like or dislike about them? Is there a certain shape diamond she hates or loves?

If you can recall any of the above and already have a bit of an idea what your going for, your half way there! If not, don’t panic, no news is good news. Stick to something safe but beautiful i.e a brilliant cut (round) or princess cut (square) diamond.

Price (the scary part)

Some of our customers have a set price in mind, or a certain size diamond they want, this makes things easy as we will show them exactly what they can get for that set price / size etc. If you don’t have anything in mind thats fine, working from a blank canvas makes things easy. The price of the ring will be determined by the size & quality of the diamond. The bigger and better quality the diamond the more the price of the ring (derrrrrr!)

The easiest way to start understanding price, size & quality is to get hands on, we encourage you to come in and look through our stock of engagement rings, this will give you the best head start when finding the perfect ring. We’d be happy to spend some time with anyone thinking about purchasing a ring in the future. Looking through pictures on the net is good to look for styles but is hard to gauge actual sizes and qualities as photos may be not to scale / edited.

We generally find our average engagement ring sale is around £3,000 – £5,000 but we sell engagement rings from £750 to £50,000+. There is no right or wrong here, it varies from customer to customer. We’ve heard certain rules like multiplying your monthly salary, we’re not sure on this one, just keep it simple and find what is right for you.


Where do we start.. This is a subject you can spend a life time learning, we’ve been in the business around 25 years and are still learning new things all the time. Don’t try to gain 25 years of knowledge from a night or two on google!!

I trained with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) grading diamonds, as they are the most well known for being the best in the diamond grading industry. So heres a breakdown of what you need to know.

Colour – Colour ranges from D – Z. D being the best. For example, the majority of our engagement rings will be between E – I colour. D,E & F are colourless, G,H,I & J are near colourless & K,L & M will have a faint colour. The more colourless (clear/transparent) a diamond is, the higher the value of the diamond.


To the untrained eye the difference between one colour to the next is far too hard to tell, but the different in price will vary a lot between different colour diamonds. Putting it simply, if you want something very special, go for a D, E or F, although G,H,I & J are still very good quality, try to stick within this colour bracket. Going below a J colour will mean the diamond will draw a yellow or brown colour (not good).

Clarity – From best to worst.. Flawless (FL), VVS1 (Very very slightly included), VVS2, VS1 (Very slightly included), VS2, SI1 (Slightly included), SI2, I1 (included), I2, I3.
The clarity of a diamond is graded under 10x magnification, so even a diamond that does have small inclusions i.e a VVS2 / VS1 will be near impossible or very hard to see with the eye.


The most common clarity grades are VVS2, VS1, VS2 & SI1 in diamond engagement rings. Flawless diamonds bring a big premium (just like D colour). I1 – I3 stones will be heavily included and many inclusions will be visible with the eye (not good). Again, like colour, the difference in a clarity or two will heavily effect the price.


Shape – The king of all shapes is Brilliant cut (round). We’ve found its been the most popular since day one. The second most popular shape is Princess cut (square). After Brilliant cut & Princess cut we also sell a great deal of other shapes such as Heart shape, Pear or sometimes known as Tear Drop, Emerald cut, Oval, Cushion & Marquise. Want to play it safe, stick to Brilliant cut or Princess cut, think she might like something a bit more adventurous, take a look at some of the other cuts mentioned above.  An unusual cut or shape stone doesn’t have to necessarily look fancy or out of the ordinary. An Emerald cut (rectangle in shape) diamond , set in either a plain mount or simple diamond mount will still look simple & elegant. Now, onto ring mounts…

Mounts – The 3 most popular mount styles at the moment. 1- Plain, either white gold, yellow gold or platinum, styles vary i.e thicker / thinner mounts. The most common plain mount would be a 4 claw tapered shoulder mount, so as the band gets closer to the centre stone it would taper in slightly which gives more of a delicate look. 2- Diamond shoulders, as simple as it sounds, similar to the plain mount but with diamonds set in the shoulders of the ring, you can adjust the look by having smaller / larger diamonds in the shoulders (diamond mount shown in picture) 3- Halo mount, similar to the above diamond mount but with a halo of diamonds around the centre stone. This style of mount can come in any shape to fit the centre stone and gives the ring a ‘wow’ look. We encourage some people who are spending £2,000 – £3,000 approx to go for a halo mount as it will make the ring look very impressive. Saying that we also have a ring in stock thats £20,000 thats in a halo mount so that part is up to you.

Asides for the 3 most popular mounts stated above, there are endless possibilities with ring mounts. We’ve had all sorts of weird and wonderful styles in stock, we’re just trying to keep it simple at the moment and not give you a headache!

Finger size

The best you can do here is an educated guess. If she wears a ring on the other hand (by the way her other hand being her right hand! the engagement ring goes on the left hand. Thank us later) this would be a huge head start. If you could get this ring in to us or someone who has a ring stick or sizer, the exact ring size can be taken, second best would be to try it on one of your fingers and gauge how it fits. So if you try it on your little finger and it stops at the knuckle, or goes on but its very tight, when you come in we have a set of rings that are sizes A-Z , you can try the different sizes until you find one with the right fit. A great bit of advice – its always better to guess the size a bit bigger rather than it be too small, we’re guessing after getting on one knee you’d prefer the ring to actually go on but be slightly big rather than not going on at all! We have an onsite jewellery workshop so sizing is not an issue after you have proposed, bring the ring in and we will size it to fit your partner perfectly also its free of charge and it won’t be long at all !


To Finish.

We have tried to keep this as simple as possible, were always happy to give advice on the phone, social media or email so don’t hesitate if you have any questions!

If you have read this and had a melt down, the team at colebys have years of experience, with GIA (gemological institute of america) trained staff and and onsite jewellery maker/repairer.

Although its a big deal buying an engagement ring we feel the experience should be as stress free as possible, as long as you are happy with where you are purchasing the ring from, the rest should be up to you and what you think they would like.

I’m sure your partner will be happy with whatever you choose 🙂