A simple guide to engagement ring shopping for the all lovebirds out there!
The romance levels are high, the scene is set and before you know it, you’re completely swept off your feet as you hear those four magical words ‘will you marry me?,’ finally!
But before you can relax, the hardest part is still to come…they’ve opted for a ‘stand-in’ ring, and now you’re faced with the rather daunting task of choosing the right engagement ring.
And well, let’s be honest lovers, it’s all about the rock. If we’re being really ‘franc’ the engagement ring is the best part of the whole process...well, after the declaration of love, obvs!
As a jewellery label we’d be lying if we said the engagement ring isn’t an essential part of getting married, it can really ‘make or break’ your ‘look’ and general vibe (like forever), so we at Francesca want to help you ensure you discover the right engagement ring to suit your style.
And it doesn’t matter whether you covet a couture three stone ring, prefer a simple solitaire stone or are a boho bride-to-be who digs gemstones, whatever your style, we’ve got you girl.
What to look for in an Engagement Ring
From the budget to the famous ‘Four Cs of diamonds,’ there are a few considerations to keep in mind before making the perfect engagement ring purchase. See our lowdown below!
- the colour
When it comes to diamonds, it’s a lot less ‘crystal clear’ than you’d think. In fact, diamonds are actually are rated on a colour scale, with ‘D’ being completely clear to Z being a light yellow. While ‘D’ is the colourless hue most of us lust after, depending on your vibe, you could also opt for a more unique tone like green, red, blue, yellow or pink!
In our eyes though, you can’t go past a translucent diamond! It’s a classic colour that lasts a lifetime —which is why we love all our ‘Noir Collection’ Francesca diamond engagement rings. They are all ‘H’ colour graded, sparkle in the sun and are set on white gold bands, so they will forever stand the test of time and never go out of fashion.
Think cut and the first thing that probably comes to mind is the shape (i.e. square, circle, oval), but it’s actually all about the way it sparkles!
The way the diamond is cut affects the way it shines and reflects light, so if it sounds confusing, think of it being more about the depth.
Essentially, when a diamond is cut too deep or too shallow the light leaks through the sides rather than from the top, giving it a dull appearance, which ultimately means lower value and ‘brilliance’ - with brilliance referring to the whole ‘shine bright like a diamond’ concept that Rihanna is referring to.
And let’s be honest, what girl doesn’t want a ‘blinging ring’?
To know a well cut from a bad, always look for a reference to ‘brilliance.’ At Francesca, all our engagement rings in the Noir Collection are ‘brilliant’ (if we do say so ourselves!) so you know your purchase is safe if you select one our our beautiful engagement rings.
- the carat
With carats, the higher the carat, the higher the price tag generally speaking. But first, let’s talk the basics — a carat refers to the weight of the stone or diamond you choose and also is what people generally go-to when valuing the cost of the ring.
The main thing to note is: it's not just how ‘big’ a stone looks but how deep the cut and the weight of it is. For example, an engagement ring with a large carat diamond but poor cut can appear smaller than a small (weighted) diamond ring with a higher cut.
Within the Noir Collection, all Francesca diamond engagement rings vary in carat size to allows for a variety of budgets - for example the Francesca ‘Engaged’ Solitaire ring is 0.7 carats based on the total weight of a full diamond band and solitaire diamond in the centre (and is priced at $3,999) whereas the ‘Adore’ diamond ring has smaller diamonds and is 0.15 carats (so is naturally priced lower at $899).
- the clarity
Clarity sounds obvious, but it’s so much more than the crystal clear sparkle! It actually refers to whether the diamond or stone has obvious imperfections. Be it a diamond or another gemstone, all stones come from the earths’ crust so generally speaking, they will have a speck or two that affects the overall perfection of the stone.
To truly know the clarity, it needs to be inspected by a jeweller under a magnifying glass, but for shopping purposes, the easiest way to know (if you’d rather not shop around for a third party inspections) is to check what the clarity rating is. If the diamonds are between 1-2 carats and the clarity grade says SI1 (Slightly included) then its a safe bet that imperfections will not be visible to the naked eye. If the clarity grade is S12, then it’s considered to have slightly less clarity.
If you do choose Francesca diamond engagement ring, be it a solitaire, a three stone engagement ring or halo engagement ring, you can be assured all are designed with clarity in mind and are scaled within the SI grading system.
- the stone
When it comes to stones, without being biased, we definitely believe, the more blinging the better! For those that have ever seen our founder Hannah’s engagement ring, you’ll know what we mean...there’s a reason people refer to engagement rings as ‘rocks’ afterall…;)
Be it a stand alone solitaire stone such as our Epitome Diamond ring or the Francesca ‘Engaged Solitaire’ with a diamond band and solitaire stone, a three stone engagement ring - like our divine Fleur diamond ring or the Epitome, or a halo engagement ring (encrusted with diamonds) there are so many variations on a classic diamond if that’s the stone you choose to go for.
Alternatively though, while it’s less traditional, you could also go for a colourful stone such as a ruby, sapphire or emerald, the world is your oyster! For those wanting to choose a more unique stone, check out our guide to gemstones and their meanings here.
- the shape
The shape of the diamond or stone can really be the difference between ‘OMG I love it’ and ‘What was he/she thinking?!’ and well, no one wants to be in that kind of high pressured situation if choosing a surprise engagement ring, so in our opinion, when in doubt, keep it safe and opt for simple and circular.
While there are a myriad of shapes —from oval, square, diamonds and clusters, it all depends on what your future fiance indicates. Listen carefully and if they see something they love, even on someone else, take note!
A simple circular or oval shaped diamond engagement ring maybe one brides’ dream, while for another it may seem too simple or not as thoughtful. If your lover is into bright colours, quirky cuts and clothes or has a natural vintage flair, then be open to choosing a different shaped stone, otherwise stay with a classic cut.
For inspiration, see our beautiful Noir Collection, we have everything from a circular three stone engagement ring (the Fleur Diamond Ring) through to a classic solitaire diamond ring with a circular shape and a four point square setting (the Francesca Engaged Solitaire Paved Ring).
- the price tag
We hate to admit it, but the price does matter, as material as it may sound. The price can indicate everything from the quality of clarity, cut and carat. However, it doesn’t mean splashing out on the most expensive engagement ring isn’t always the right answer, it’s all down to an individual choice.
In one study of American couples, researchers actually found those who spent less on an engagement ring — between only $500 to $2000 — lived longer, happier marriages than those who purchased rings worth over 2K.
However, in saying that, the latest figures show we still love glitz and glamour, with a recent Bride survey finding the average amount brides-to-be spend on rings is now $7829.
Moral of the story? It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Firstly, get realistic about what you can and can’t afford and what you would rather prioritise budget wise (the ring, the dress, the venue etc) decide on the ‘four c’s and then go from there.
Within the Francesca bridal collection, we’ve created an engagement ring for every budget to empower you to —from the classic solitaire ring starting at $899 through to a three stone engagement ring for $3499, the sky’s the limit really, so go forth and sparkle!